Saturday, October 16, 2010

Week 6: Missing Our Running Backs and Is Something Wrong With Drew?

The Saints lost to the Arizona Cardinals last week in a way that was so puzzling that I have heard people try to analyze it all week and I still don’t quite know what happened. The only offensive touchdown from Arizona came on a fumble that was recovered by an offensive lineman after the Saints almost ended their rookie quarterback’s career. If the Saints offense doesn’t turn the ball over there is no way they lose the game because Arizona’s offense was clearly not ready to win an NFL game. The entire season so far has been about the Saints beating themselves. That’s the difference so far between this season and last.

I think some of the fans have forgotten the fact there weren’t many blowouts last season. There were a handful of games where we were special and destroyed the other team like the Giants and the Cardinals but most of the games were tight and we won by not making mistakes and winning the turnover battle. I don’t think we are out of the woods yet. This Tampa game may be a little harder than it should be.

The Saints have a lot of injuries to key players. No one in the media seems to be mentioning that we are missing so many starters especially Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas. I don’t know any team that could lose their top two running backs and look the same on offense. Don’t be fooled by the flashes Chris Ivory or Ladell Betts might show. The Saints offense needs Reggie and Pierre. The lost of both of those guys is really hurting and it’s affecting the way Sean Payton calls the game.

My friend got mad last week because he said the Saints weren’t running the ball enough to keep the defense honest. I told him it wouldn’t matter if they ran the ball twenty plays in a row, teams still wouldn’t respect Betts or Ivory and put extra people in pass coverage. They have no fear of the running backs we are playing now beating them. Defenses are scared of Reggie’s big play potential so they always keep someone around to watch him. When Pierre is in the game he can make defenses pay for not committing someone to him but gaining big yards on screen plays and dump off passes. Last year the most important player on that offense besides Drew Brees was Pierre Thomas and if he is not out there with his skill set things are going to be different. We need those guys back or the passing game is going to have problems.

That brings me to the great Drew Brees. Fans seem to be worried about Drew. Some people think it’s the Madden curse. Some folks think it’s because his wife is about to have his second son. I don’t think either of those things are an issue. There may not be anything wrong with him but since I am a fan and it’s my job to read more into things than what’s really there here’s a new theory to add to the list. I think that Drew wants to please everyone so much and win so badly that he is pressing the issue.

Think about where Drew Brees is now and how he got there. He’s not a pedigreed first round pick like the Manning brothers or a Superbowl champ that plays in a city where the media would blow him up like Tom Brady. He’s from Texas and wasn’t really recruited by any of the major schools there so he ends up at Purdue in Indiana. He takes them to the Rose Bowl but ends up as a second round pick by San Diego. They thought so much of him that they drafted Phillip Rivers in the first round when he was already there. He hurts his shoulder and no one is sure if he can recover. He tries to go Miami but they preferred Daunte Culpepper instead and he ends up in a flooded city with a rookie head coach. Five years later he’s so beloved around this area that I am willing to bet there are babies from the housing projects to gated communities with some variation of Drew in their names. There’s a little girl name Drewbreenisia that’s learning how to walk right now in honor of him.

There’s no one in any NFL city as beloved to the fans as that guy and he embraces every minute. I know he wants to win and make us all happy but I just want to tell him that at this point it doesn’t matter what he does. We’ll love him anyway. He delivered the first title. He represents us well wherever he goes. He could throw for 50 yards tomorrow and it won’t change how we feel about him. Take what the defense gives you Drew and punt if you have to. We’ll win ugly until reinforcements arrive.

The only reason this game is so crucial tomorrow is that everyone seems to be letting Atlanta off the hook and they keep winning. We don’t want to be too far behind them going into the later part of the season. I think Sean Payton and the team knows that so we should be focused. The game will be close because we are playing shorthanded but I say we beat the young Tampa squad and get one week closer to being healthy.

Saints 20- Buccaneers 13

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