Free Agency Day 2: Reggie Bush Signs With Detroit

Bush bolts for Motown

Bush bolts for Motown

Just when the Lions had Mikel Leshoure come back from injury they are relegating him to the bench offering the starting job to free agent Reggie Bush. He agreed to terms for 4 years and the financial information will be shared later. There will be a press conference later today. Bush resurrected his career in Miami when he ran for 1,086 yards with 6TDs in 2011, then ran for 986 yards and 6TDs in 2012.

Leshoure looked stiff last season and they will probably split time 65/35 with Bush getting the bulk of the carries. You know that this move was to give the Lions a little more threat from the backfield in 3rd down situations with the pending retirement of Jahvid Best. Now it’s Matthew Stafford, Calvin “Megatron” Johnson, and Reggie Bush as the stars of the offense. The key is you can’t concentrate on “Megatron” and TE Pettigrew when Bush can slip out on a linebacker. Will this add a game breaking element to the offense?? We’ll soon see. Reggie Bush is a Detroit Lion now.

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Taylor Blitz Times new logo!!

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NFL Week 3: The AFC East – Bizarro World

Reggie Bush breaks out for a 65 yard touchdown against Oakland.

If you are a fan of any of the AFC East teams last week, you undoubtedly were scratching your head on Sunday night. First you had the New York Jets, without a touchdown in week 1 while obliterating the Buffalo Bills 48-28, get throttled by the Steelers 27-10. The Jets scored a touchdown on their opening drive and never saw the endzone again. If you close your eyes and listen you can hear the faint chants of “Tebow” starting up.

After one of the most drab editions ever of “Hard Knocks”, it looked like the Dolphins were in for it with rookie QB Ryan Tannenhill taking his lumps, especially after an 0-1 start. Enter Reggie Bush. Not only did Bush dazzle with a 26 car. 172 yard afternoon. He caught 3 passes for 25 yards and energized Dolphin fans on both of his touchdown runs while being named AFC Offensive Player of the Week. With a 35-13 win the Dolphins are feeling confident when they face the Jets this week.

Speaking of AFC Player of the Week candidates: What about CJ Spiller in Buffalo?? Not only does he lead the NFL in rushing after two weeks (292 yads), his play seems to have brought life to a Bills offense beating the Chiefs 35-17. Going back to week 1, Buffalo looked dazed and confused while sleepwalking against the Jets. However once Fred Jackson was injured, Spiller came in and broke a long touchdown run to give the Bills some hope. He carried it into this last game scoring on the first two drives and the team never looked back.

Which brings us to the New England Patriots and the…serious… get up off the floor. Alright we’ll get back to that in a minute. Lets take a look at the AFC East standings…

East Division

W

L

T

PCT

PF

PA

HOME

ROAD

DIV

CONF

STRK

LAST5

New York Jets Jets 1 1 0 .500 58 55 1-0 0-1 1-0 1-1 L1 1-1
New England Patriots Patriots 1 1 0 .500 52 33 0-1 1-0 0-0 1-0 L1 1-1
Miami Dolphins Dolphins 1 1 0 .500 45 43 1-0 0-1 0-0 1-1 W1 1-1
Buffalo Bills Bills 1 1 0 .500 63 65 1-0 0-1 0-1 1-1 W1 1-1

Yes, the New England Patriots fell to the undefeated Arizona Cardinals 20-18 when Gostkowski missed a last second field goal. Are you serious?? Even in their 2008 Super Bowl run, Arizona lost 47-7 in Foxboro. The Cardinals were let off the hook after Ryan Williams fumbled the football with 2:00 left in the game. However there was a huge hold by TE Rob Gronkowski when Danny Woodhead broke what appeared to be the game winner. Very uncharacteristic of a Bill Belichick team. The game itself was a defensive struggle and the one thing New England could take away from this loss was the solid play of their young defense. After 2 weeks they are ranked 2nd in the NFL.

One thing that needs to take place is Wes Welker has to be a larger part of the offense. The Patriots offense really bogged down once they lost TE Aaron Hernandez. However the Patriots were beaten on the line of scrimmage and Tom Brady saw pressure most of the game. The riff between Welker and the front office has to stop and they need to go to him 12-15 times in this Sunday nighter against Baltimore. The short pass is what Brady needs to keep from getting hit and he’s been sacked 3 times each game. This is the wrong stat when facing the Ravens defense which promises to bring pressure. Here is where Welker needs to be prolific although Kellen Winslow has been signed to replace Hernandez. However losing their  first home opener since 2002 did raise some eyebrows. Surely the meetings and practices will be ratcheted up because a second straight home loss could send off alarm bells.

CJ Spiller leads the league in rushing after 2 weeks.

How did Buffalo look so anemic in week 1 yet show so much explosiveness against the Jets?? No question CJ Spiller is drinking some different gatorade in his third year. It could be the reincarnation of OJ Simpson where he played for a few years without distinction and BOOM the light goes on. There has been no player more explosive in these first two weeks in the NFL. He’s on pace to gain over 2,200 yards and right now Bills fans are thinking “Fred Jackson, take your time in coming back.” Jackson was the starter at the beginning of the season and just signed a big contract extension but would you bench him for Jackson right now??

Its been his play that allowed QB Ryan Fitzpatrick to get comfortable last week after a horrible outing against the Jets. The jury is still out on his play for 2012. This week he gets a tune up against the Browns defense that is missing CB Joe Haden to a suspension. He has to get going to complement Spiller and open it up with Stevie Johnson for in two weeks they host the Patriots. By then Belichick figures to return the AFC East to some normalcy. Buffalo’s new playmaker may have something to say about that though.

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The Peyton Manning Sweepstakes

Peyton Manning wearing his Super Bowl XLI championship ring.

The NFL’s free agent period is about to begin in a few hours as teams try to improve their chances of making it to Super Bowl XLVII. The largest prize to be landed this offseason by far is Peyton Manning. As he goes so does the rest of free agency. His signing will influence a series of events from free agents to a team, free agents within the division, and will alter draft strategies. You don’t think the destinations of WRs Reggie Wayne, Mike Wallace, Mario Manningham, or even a Randy Moss wouldn’t be altered with a Manning signing??  In fact with Drew Brees being franchised, the Saints could possibly lose WRs Marques Colston and Robert Meacham.

As we speak, Manning is less than a week away from making a decision by his own admission.  Although he had lengthy visits with the Arizona Cardinals and Denver Broncos, we believe his odyssey will end with a signing in Miami with the Dolphins. He already has a house there and it was the first place he went after his press conference announcing his release. He’s been throwing and working out with his former Colt teammate Reggie Wayne there. Why do we believe he will wind up a Miami Dolphin?? Several reasons

  • He already has a home there and with no state income tax teams would have to offer more to match an offer from Miami.
  • The Dolphins have an up and coming defense led by Cameron Wake and have WR Brandon Marshall (2011 Pro Bowl MVP) to team up with possibly Reggie Wayne. Wayne also went to school in Miami and being a confidant of Peyton’s it seems a logical fit.
  • He enjoys his position as one of the faces of the game. The rivalry between he and Tom Brady would be elevated to new heights with them in the same division. The competitor in him will pull him in this direction.
  • The Dolphins, of all teams that missed the 2011 playoffs, are only a stable quarterback and one more high quality skill position player away from making a playoff run.

One glaring issue that lingers is the fact that the Cardinals and Dolphins ranked 30th, and 31st in sacks allowed with 52 and 54 sacks respectively. It’s up to each team to show a diligence in signing top shelf WRs to minimize how many hits he’ll have to take. He’ll need weapons and his ability to read defenses and audible to safe plays, he will be able to hold off defenses trying to blitz him. http://www.nfl.com/stats/categorystats?seasonType=REG&offensiveStatisticCategory=OFFENSIVE_LINE&d-447263-n=1&d-447263-o=2&d-447263-p=1&d-447263-s=PASSING_SACKS_ALLOWED&tabSeq=2&season=2011&role=TM&Submit=Go&archive=false&conference=null&defensiveStatisticCategory=null&qualified=true

The same claim could be made for the Cardinals with Manning and Wayne teaming up with Larry Fitzgerald. This is the team with the legitimate threat to knock off the Dolphins and sign him. Each team plays in a warm clime, and the dome out in Arizona, as he had in Indy, could be appealing to him. Make no mistake about it, Wayne will have some sway in this.

For Manning’s entire career, he was able to play for the same organization with the same coaching staff with players suited to his abilities. Going to a new environment in 14 years will be an easier transition with a confidante making it with him.As we go to press with this, it’s reported that Peyton will visit the Tennessee Titans. Yet when you think about it: This wasn’t the messy divorce like Brett Favre leaving Green Bay. We don’t think after that respectful departure he would come back and sign with a division rival. Not when he has all these choices. Manning always takes the high road. The only upside to signing with the Titans would be the chance to get back at the Colts two times a season. After watching Favre’s legacy tarnished to a degree, we figure he’ll pass on that in the end. Especially with a team in offensive disarray. Titans?? Not a fit.

So tonight it begins. Midnight calls and conference calls with players crossing the United States to sell their football wares. Yet if you’re a Miami Dolphin fan, remember Manning said “no thank you” to the train wreck that is the New York Jets, so no love lost there. Imagine the Patriots coming to Miami for an important divisional game and the Dolphins have Manning, Brandon Marshall, Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark, Davone Bess in the slot, and Reggie Bush to throw to. So it’s 3rd and 6 at an important juncture of the game: Who do you key on or double??

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NFL Week 12 Thanksgiving Edition II: Leon Lett Bowl

Murray breaks a 95 yarder a few weeks back.

Now how many of you saw the Miami Dolphins vs the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving and had flashbacks to the famous Thanksgiving game in 1993?? It hit me immediately and I know NFL.com had a vote to redeem Leon on their site with a snickers campaign. While that is a fun look at a past encounter between these two teams, it was nowhere near as surprising as to wake up Monday morning with Dallas first in the NFC East. Are you kidding me?? Cowboy fans were ready to hang Tony Romo in effigy and still are dissatisfied with his performance.  The Eagles shocked the Giants in the New Meadowlands on Sunday night to quiet Cowboy detractors.

However when you look at this team something is missing. You want to call this an elite team yet you can’t because they don’t pass the eyeball test. Yes even though they are 6-4 and have won 4 of their last 5 games. First you have the 4th quarter interceptions that have caused every Cowboy fan concern. Deion Sanders, and Thomas “Hollywood” Henderson to name a few, have been critical of throws that were not only poor in judgment but should have been thrown away. It cost the Cowboys games against the Jets and the Lions directly yet his numbers aren’t all that bad. For the year Romo has completed 64.5% of his passes for exactly 2800 yards, 19TDs and only 7 interceptions. Its just when the interceptions come in the fourth quarter or rather being thrown right at Darelle Revis, huh Hollywood. Alright we’ll leave it alone but he is well on his way to throwing for nearly 5,000 yards as we explained he would do in our PreSeason spectacular. https://taylorblitztimes.wordpress.com/2011/06/08/2011-dallas-cowboys-preview/ Passing records will fall in Dallas as they are more of a pure pas.sing team than a pure running team.

Of course there has been a few strides in the running game with DeMarco Murray for the last 4 games he’s started. Get this?? Of the 747 yards he’s rushed for he’s only made it into the endzone twice. As a team the Cowboys have only rushed for 4 touchdowns in ten games which isn’t acceptable. Sure Murray has run with a little thunder as of late but he really is a 3rd down back in the Steve Sewell mode for the 80’s Broncos. He along with Felix Jones should be breaking touchdowns yet can’t finish off big plays. These are the reasons Cowboy fans don’t trust their team, even with a surprise vault into 1st place in the NFC East.  How will they fare tomorrow??

After 7 straight losses and looking as though there was no life left in them, the Miami Dolphins have awakened. It’s not that they have won a few games, they have played with a reckless abandon as though the game means something to them. Do you realize the Dolphins in this 3-0 rebound has held each team to under 10 points and two of those three to under 247 yards total for the game?? This is the same team that gave up 517 passing yards to Tom Brady in week 1?? Well last week they shut down Buffalo’s Ryan Fitzpatrick to the tune of 2 sacks while intercepting him twice. However it is also due to committing to the run. In the last two games they have averaged 32 rushes to rest their defense and the game against Kansas City had 24.

Reggie Bush

The other factor for this resurgence is Matt Moore. He’s outperformed Chad Henne and not turned the ball over as much. Do you realize that in the four games Moore has played he’s thrown 5 ints to Henne’s 4 although he’s thrown 75 more passes?? This has translated to his throwing 7 TDs to Henne’s 4 and the impetus for the 3 game winning streak. Look they’re not beating themselves like when Henne was in there. In their first 7 games, this Dolphins team was -8 in the turnover department as compared to being +2 in the last 3 games. This team would play well, fall behind from a careless turnover and press to get back into the game and turn it over some more.  Now the punt is they’re friend and playing a ball control game. In fact Reggie Bush has a chance quietly to rush for 1,000 yards this season.

Much like the Oakland Raiders once they lost JaMarcus Russell, they aren’t demoralizing themselves and have found a new spirit. One of the true reasons for the turnaround is they have vaulted from #31 in defense after two weeks to a respectable #16. Although they are still only 25th against the pass they are 7th against the run and 5th in rushing average allowed at just 3.4 yards per carry. Watch for #91 Cameron Wake to come off the corner and harass Tony Romo. Can they hold the Cowboys pass offense down enough to force Dallas to run the football on draws and bubble screens?

One thing that’s missing in this four game winning streak is the Cowboys defense has slid a little statistically. Going into week 8, this defense was #6 overall and #1 against the run and then came the 34-7 loss to the rival Philadelphia Eagles. Now they are ranked #11 overall and are 10th against the run. Right now they are being aided by a more stout running game as of late. They have forced 8 turnovers in the last three games and that opportunism was showcased in the 44-7 rout of Buffalo. Yet who is this team?? The one who clobbered Buffalo or was sodomized in Philadelphia??

Well this game will answer several questions and has two teams coming in on 3 game winning streaks. We don’t think the Dolphins DBs will be able to handle Jason Witten, Miles Austin and especially Dez Bryant. The Dolphins have some fire power but it’s going to be hard to slow DeMarcus Ware who has been terrorizing with 14 sacks so far. He should star in this game and sack Moore 3 times. Our crystal ball tells us Dallas wins a close game and Snickers will have a Leon Lett redemption commercial. He was just hungry and thought the football was a Snickers!! Honestly!!

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2011 New Orleans Saints Preview

Its amazing what happens in pro football when a team becomes Super Bowl champion.  Every little nuance is studied and every small flaw gets worked on until it becomes a crack, then transformed into a team’s Achille’s heel.  However when you think about it, the same problems the Saints had in 2009 were there in 2010.

In ’09 the ball just seemed to keep bouncing their way, from the Robert Meachem stealing the ball from a Redskin who intercepted Brees then ran it in for a TD, to the tipped pass to Darren Sharper who returned it for a clinching TD in a struggle with the Dolphins. What goes up must come down and all those you climb over to get that ring are all of those who will give you their best shot on your way down.  Does it wear on a team? Week after week everyone takes their best shot and the war of attrition sets in…yes  By the end of the 2010 season the New Orleans Saints were running on empty.  We at the Taylor Blitz Times are still waiting for the Saints to tackle Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch.  With the additions and target on someone else’s back, can they liberate the NFC South mantle from the Atlanta Falcons??

Quarterback: Aside from Green Bay and New England, no team is in better shape at the quarterback position.  You could argue that Drew Brees is still the NFC ‘s best quarterback over Aaron Rodgers.  Hell the NFL for that matter. Without his steady play this team would have slid into the abyss with a running game that wasn’t as formidable as the title run the year before.

Although Brees passer rating dropped to 12th, (90.9) he threw a whopping 658 times completing 448 for 4,620 yards, 33TDs yet had 20 interceptions. Having to overcompensate for the anemic running game and being forced to throw, contributed to the high turnover totals.  Sounds like a down year coming off of his 5,ooo yard masterpiece two years before but get this… He was still 3rd in yards passing, 2nd in touchdowns thrown while leading the league in completion percentage at 68.1%.  Even in the 41-36 playoff upset loss to the Seattle Seahawks he was forced to hoist 60 passes. Far too many.  He completed 33 for 404 yards and he was masterful in that game throwing no interceptions.  He now ranks 1st in every Saints  career passing category: yards, completions, attempts and touchdown passes.

What hasn’t been showcased is how to get the best of Drew Brees as a defense.  Even last season he threw several interceptions late in games when he was forced to take chances.  Sean Payton has constructed a passing game that gets the ball out of Brees hands the instant his back foot hits the turf.  They make great use of 3 and 5 step drops and bubble screens to get the jump on opposing defenses.

Teams may be better suited to come up and press his receivers and send overload blitzes at him because the way the rules are now, he’s going to go up the field throwing 5 to 6 yard throws.  Send a series of zone blitzes and overload blitzes to rough him up seems like the only way. Otherwise its basketball on grass and you won’t stop him.  He is in his prime and barring catastrophy should have another 5 years left in him.  Without question quarterback is Super Bowl quality in New Orleans.

Offensive Backfield: After being derailed by backfield injuries, the Saints pulled the second biggest coup of the 2011 draft landing Heisman winner Mark Ingram from Alabama.  They stole a lot of thunder being made on draft day by their NFC South rivals, the Atlanta Falcons, for trading up for Julio Jones, Ingram’s teammate from the 2009 National Championship team.  This solves a tremendous problem the Saints have had for several years now: running consistently tough between the tackles.

Many think Ingram is a “can’t miss” running back and an Emmitt Smith clone.  A patient runner with short choppy steps who runs with a low pad level to prevent him from fumbling while powering forward for the tough yards.  He had a few injuries in his senior season where he rushed for 875 yards, yet dazzled in his Heisman season where he ran for 1,658 yards and 17 TDs.  The running back position in the NFL is not a position where a player grows into it. All great running backs have their best years in the first three.  Running the football, Ingram will prove to be a fit immediately.

Speaking of a fit, time to talk about a running back who doesn’t. This should spell the end for Reggie Bush who couldn’t make it work in the pros unless he was in space. A bust with a few splash plays per year doesn’t merit the $11 million he is scheduled to make this season.  He has had some impact on special teams but face it, his 36 carries for 150 yards rushing and 34 rec. for 208 yards for a combined 2 TDs is nowhere close to enough. After Mike Bell departed for Cleveland, the rushing game was turned over to Chris Ivory, who led the Saints with 716 yards, and Pierre Thomas who gained 269 more.

Yet each proved unable to handle the pounding and the Saints had to bring in former Dallas Cowboy Julius Jones off the streets to man the backfield in the playoff loss to the Seahawks.  These backs just couldn’t stay on the field and when they were, the offense couldn’t sustain drives which caused team wide problems. Having to pass so much led to being unable to control the clock which put an undersized defense on the field too much. (See early 90’s Buffalo Bills) Its a systemic solution that one solid running back, in Mark Ingram, should  solve.  At running back the Saints leaped back to very good. He can also power the ball from in tight and the Saints should improve on 9 rushing TDs.

Receivers: The beneficiaries to all this passing is a receiving corp devoid of stars yet are solid intermediate receivers.  Marques Colston led the way with 84 rec. for 1,023 yards and 7 TDs followed by Lance Moore’s 66 receptions for 763 yards with a team leading 8 touchdowns.  What is unique is Colston, Devery Henderson, and Robert Meachem are the same type of receiver, tall, rangy and they play relatively slow.  Its Brees throwing the ball on time that makes this receiving corp look better than it is.

Yet Moore is quick and darts in and out of small cracks to gain 40 first downs out of his 66 catches. He and Colston  each made 1st downs on their receptions 60% and 67% of the time respectively.  This team runs the bubble screen as affective as any team in football.  This was an extension of their running game in 2010.

Yet this group is slow and defenses should press this group more. Teams are playing so fearful of Brees that they immediately drop into zones when this team has no burners on it.  Defense this receiving corps with combo coverages on their slot players and get physical with your corners on slower receivers and make Brees throw out of rhythm. This pressure on the receivers would make Brees pump fake and pull the ball down allowing your pass rush extra time to sack him.

Looks like the Saints will be moving on at tight end going with Jimmy Graham as Jeremy Shockey’s successor. Their numbers were nearly identical yet Graham reached the endzone 5 times to Shockey’s 3 yet this is a salary cap issue. They get to maintain that production while paying less and thats the NFL we follow now.  Receiver is serviceable to good in the Crescent City.

Offensive Line: In the words of Vince Lombardi, football is always going to be a game of blocking and tackling.  Well this offensive line had some issues with the blocking side of that equation. This team only rushed for 1,519 yards (28th) yet averaged 4.0 yards per attempt yet had problems pushing into the endzone when the team drove down close.  The 9 rushing touchdowns (28th) this team scored is evidence of that. What is unique is between the 20s this team ran off right tackle and gained first downs 67 times which ranked 9th.  You would think that would translate down at the goal line. Puzzling.

The Saints passing statistics from a line standpoint are mixed.  One of the aspects of Sean Payton’s playbook is for Brees to get the ball out quickly with 3 and 5 step drops.  The Saints were 5th lowest in sacks allowing 26th and were ranked 11th in allowing Brees to be hit 67 times.  They need to improve on their pass protection with the Buccaneers building a strong defensive front as a division opponent and the Panthers will be building a defense under former defensive co-ordinator and current Head Coach Ron Rivera.

Teams will be coming after Brees and if he is injured the Saints would be in trouble.  The New Orleans front did have a pro bowl performer in LG Carl Nicks out of Nebraska. This line is average to below average…just doesn’t get the push when close to the goal line and those passing numbers are high for a team that throws from short quarterback drop backs.

Defensive Line: This line had a fair year yet needs some help. Of the 33 sacks the Saints collected, 21.5 came from a committee of 7 linemen with none totalling more than DT Sedrick Ellis’ 6.  Will Smith needs to stop acting and rapping and get after the damn quarterback.  His sack total of 5.5 doesn’t cut it for a former first round draft pick and is down from 13.5 from the year before. In defensive co-ordinator Greg Williams scheme, DEs are to get after the quarterback and check on the run on their way there.

This is the system Jevon Kearse broke in with. So come on Smith, get after it. The Saints spent their1st round draft pick for the services of Cal DE Cameron Jordan to help bolster the pass rush. At 6’4, 287lbs he has the size and wingspan to rush in the pros.  His father Steve Jordan was a pro bowl tight end with the Minnesota Vikings in the 80s and 90s so the athletic pedigree is there.  They also drafted Greg Romeus out of Pitt to help get after the passer. Veteran DE Alex Brown may be the odd man out.

If the Saints want to regain the NFC South crown one thing they need to do is play a little more stout up front against the run.  This team was 16th against the rush and gave up a mediocre 4.3 yards per attempt. At times this line was shoved into the linebacker and the safeties faces. With big running backs to face in the division with Atlanta’s Michael Turner, Tampa Bay’s Blount, and Carolina’s Jonathon Stewart / DeAngelo Williams combo, this has to be a priority. Surprisingly they didn’t draft a DT, yet right before the lockout they picked up Shaun Rogers, former Cleveland Brown, to help hold the middle.  At 6’3 350 lbs he should eat up blockers and allow Vilma, and Shanle to make plays. Defensive front is slightly below average and they should get another DT when free agency opens up.

Linebackers: The anchor of this defense is Pro Bowl MLB Jonathon Vilma out of the University of Miami.  He led the team with 107 tackles, had 4 sacks and forced 3 fumbles. He’s instinctive and quick yet at 230 lbs can be engulfed by blockers so its imperative the DT play improves.  Scott Shanle (76 tackles) and Danny Clark (59 tackles) are the starters on the outside. They’re solid tacklers yet rarely make big hits or splash plays.

Between the two of them there wasn’t a sack or interception turned in all year…and they still haven’t tackled Marshawn Lynch.  Saint’s brass must be in agreeance with us since they spent two draft picks here on Illinois linebackers Martez Wilson and Nate Bussey in the 3rd and 7th rounds respectively.

Linebacker is below average thanks to the outside ‘backer play.  This group needs to force more turnovers and its puzzling that they don’t since they play pretty fast.

Secondary: When a pass rush can’t get to the quarterback, the play that is most affected will be that of the secondary. The starting quartet only pulled in 5 interceptions among them.  Former Buckeyes Malcolm Jenkins and Jabari Greer each had two interceptions.  The secondary missed the veteran play of Darren Sharper at free safety, however Jenkins is a converted corner and should grow with the position.  Its a good thing SS Roman Harper likes to tackle, he gets many shots at it. Not only did he make the pro bowl in 2010, he was second on the team with 94 tackles, had 3 sacks, and forced 6 fumbles. Thats a tremendous performance.

Tracy Porter only had 1 interception in 2010 while defending 6 passes.  This is as solid a secondary as the NFC South offers.  It rates better than what is shown statistically.  Once the pass rush resumes, this team will pick off more passes.  Porter in particular since Will Smith is on the same side.

It sounds like we’re piling on Smith but one of the recipes for interceptions is for quarterbacks too throw over a disruptive, tall pass rusher. If you can’t get to the quarterback, at least get your hands up.  This is how Lester Hayes once picked off 13 passes in a season behind a 6’8 Ted Hendricks, and an Everson Walls snatched 11 the next year behind a 6’9 “Too Tall” Jones.  Smith did deflect 5 passes last year so keep watching.

Overall: This is going  to be an interesting year for the Saints.  Drew Brees enjoys being one of the faces of the league, will he turn around and hand the ball off to Mark Ingram as much as he should??  Brees like any other good athlete has an ego.  This will be a good watch to see what he audibles to and how he responds if his rhythm is thrown off with a more balanced attack.  Will Ingram fit into the passing game well enough so they can have him as an every down back? If he is platooned, the Saints could suffer from the syndrome that affected the Dallas Cowboys last year.

They telegraphed what they were going to run based on which running back was in there.  Defenses would get the jump on them. We’re still unsure at Taylor Blitz Times if they did enough on the defensive front to solidify themselves against the run.  We see a mixed year coming up with a record of 9-7 to 10-6 and another wild card berth.

Pathp
Word count: 1256 Last edited by jeftaylor on May 20, 2011 at 12:00 pm

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