You’re The Reason Our Kids Are Ugly

Dec 29, 2013 by

Saints LogoLast Episode…
Sean Payton made drastic changes to the New Orleans Saints roster after a miserable game in St Louis in which the team could only muster 16 lousy points. Gone were DB Chris Carr (11 games, 1 INT, 4 PD, 9 T, 4 A) and K Garrett Hartley (57 games, 82/101 FG, 176/177 XP). Semi-gone was T Charles Brown who was placed on the bench in favor of untested rookie Terron Armstead.

The results were even worse.

The Saints scored 13 total points. Only the 7 points scored against Seattle is lower this season. Aaron Kromer’s lowest score was 13 points in 2012. Shayne Graham debuted at 100% nailing two FGs and one XP and that was the extent of Sean Paytons “new look” Saints’ effectiveness. Armstead was beaten thrice, twice by Greg Hardy, for sacks against Drew Brees who went down six times total in the loss. And leave us not forget two false start penalties that Armstead committed. To his credit, Armstead managed to stifle his jitters in the second half only alowing one sack.

Of course, this is far from a vindication of Garret Hartley -who indeed had trouble this year- but it sheds light on the bigger picture. Hartley was not the problem. Not one single missed kick would have changed the outcome of any game this season. But rather than address Drew Brees’ apparent faltering arm and vision, the offensive line’s inability to open a lane for the running backs, or the RBs inability to rush into anything resembling open space, Sean Payton took it upon himself to focus on the least of his problems.

Not to mention Payton’s newfound penchant for Mora-esque dink plays. A friend of mine, Savage Joe, hit the nail on the head last Sunday when he dubbed it the “prevent offense”. A glance at the gamebook tells the story: Of our ten longest plays only five were over 20 yards! 11, 13, 13, 13, 19, 21, 22, 34, 35 and 46. The 34-yarder was a Mark Ingram run. The other nine were passes, only three of which are classified “deep”” meaning over 10 yards. Three!!

That’s not a kicking problem, folks, that’s a play-calling problem. Yes, Payton finally showed some fire with a first-half onside kick and it worked, but later in the game he tried a fake kick that was so poorly executed that the players probably should have been! Fake kicks work when you snap to the holder and he passes or runs the ball. Not when the kicker slowly trots over to line up as a blocking tight-end giving the defense time to shift into ready positions!

And then there’s the old clock-management bugaboo. With 6:37 left in the game, after going up 13-7, the Saints defense held Carolina to three-and-out. We got the ball back with 4:52. And what happened? 2-yd rush, incomplete, sack, punt. That left 3:52 and again the defense held Carolina to three-and-out. Saints ball with 1:57 to go. Three runs in a row, up the middle into the tangled mass of bodies, no holes anywhere, no real yardage and no damn first down.

After watching Payton walk dimissively away from an obviously pissed-off Drew Brees during last week’s game after a horrible series I wonder if the honeymoon is over. Payton might as well have stayed in fucking Texas if this is going to be the outcome every other week. (Or, if you’re a fan of empirical observation, every week…) Jim Mora’s been hanging around town for no reason other than his weekly babble segment on WDSU; we could put him back in charge for a tenth of the cost and still get these results!

Week 16
Here we go again… The numbers say Saints but they’ve been saying that for the last three weeks. If the statistical team shows up today it’s a lock. If Sean Payton’s team shows up… well, then it’s anybody’s guess.

Saints 23 – 424 yards: 307 passing, 117 rushing
Buccaneers 18 – 336 yards: 211 passing, 125 rushing

Department of Statistical Frippery:
Shayne Graham (2-21st-t) becomes the 26th player to kick a ball for the Saints and passed Mike Cofer and Skip Butler (1 each) on the franchise FG list. Graham is now tied with John Leypoldt, Tony Galbreath and Toni Linhart.

Mark Ingram (353-18th) passed Aaron Brooks (340) in franchise rushing attempts. Ingram (1443-15th) also jumped Brooks (1410) and Donald D Brown (1383) in rushing yards. Ingram is 5 attempts away from dropping Archie Manning (357) down a spot.

Jimmy Graham (299-6th) passed Reggie Bush (294) in franchise receptions. Graham (3792-8th) also passed Quinn Early (3758) in receiving yards.

The Sack Race:
Cameron Jordan (20.5-17th) and Junior Galette (19.5-18th) each recorded a sack on Cam Newton after being blanked against St Louis. Jordan (12.5) remains ahead of Galette (10)  on the year.


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