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Random thoughts midway through the season

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  • I have always in my mind divided the season into four 4 game mini-seasons. I figure if you go 3-1 in each mini-season you end up at 12-4, probably win your division and maybe even get a bye. Its hard to win 12 games in the NFL. 7-1 is a great mid season record. Before the season started I would have taken 6-2 in a heartbeat.
  • After Brees got hurt I was hoping for 5-3 and thinking even at 4-4 we were in the hunt for the West with 2 games each left with Atlanta and Carolina. I did not see 7-1 coming after L.A. game and then road trip to Seattle. Not in my dreams did I foresee 7-1.
  • I wrote earlier this year the biggest news that happened which passed with little fanfare was the signing of Sean Payton to a new deal. I rue the day Drew retires, but I think as long as Payton is our coach we will be competitive. His coaching work with Brees hurt has been the best of his career, and that is saying a lot.
  • I have this image in my head of Payton waking up on Mondays with a mad scientist hat on figuring out what devious new play he will design for his swiss army knife, Taysom Hill. I am still waiting for the end around flea flicker where Taysom takes the handoff and throws a bomb to himself.
  • Insurance can be expensive and you often regret paying it because you so rarely need it. The Saints paid a very large sum to Bridgewater the last two years for an insurance policy in case the the historically durable Brees got hurt, god forbid. Did that turn out to be a great move or what? Bridgewater got the keys to the Ferrari and Payton made sure he never...

Breakdown: Saints Pressure Defense

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Hey guys, sorry it's been a few weeks. Like I said I was officiating my brother's wedding, and this week I just got a new HC job so there was a lot going on with personnel decisions, hiring staff and media obligations. But I have been wanting to do this breakdown for a few weeks now, so I hope everyone enjoys it.

Before I get started, the only thought I want to immediately share on the last (2) games is that Chauncey Gardner-Johnson is a beast. He is playing like a high-level starter, and out of nowhere. I have been really impressed with him and can't see PJ Williams getting that nickel spot back. But I'll save the rest of my takeaways for a different thread.

Saints Pressure Defense
The Saints' defense has been lights-out this season and is a huge reason why the Saints have won the last 6 games including those without 2 of the best players in the NFL (Brees and Kamara) on offense. And while the defense as a whole has really progressed and improved each and every week, what I really love is what they are doing in pressure situations with their "amoeba" front.

**Full disclosure: I have been using the same pressure principles in my defensive system for the last 3 years** I refer to the variations as either Banshee or Psycho depending on what I am asking my guys to do up front alignment-wise. Because I don't like the term "amoeba front" I will just refer to it as "Banshee" for the rest of this breakdown.

What is the Banshee Front and Why does it work?

One of the most important lessons I learned as a Defensive Coordinator is to stop...

Baldy Breakdowns - Saints Vs. Bucs

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Another week, another batch of breakdowns -

Will add more if they come.

Edit: A fresh batch of videos midweek, that's awesome!

He just posted a bunch more :

Saints #BaldysBreakdowns - Dallas @ Saints

Initial Reactions to the Cowboys Game

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-The Saints found another way to win, as they have managed to do in each of their wins--all of which were against top-quality opponents (Texans, Seahawks, Cowboys). It's still very early in the season, but they are playing like a contender, and they are coming into each game extremely prepared.

-To elaborate on what I mean by "extremely prepared", the kind of "catch all" for good coaching is the idea of "a good gameplan." Gameplanning is important, but it is extremely fluid, and the ability to respond and adjust is far more important than the play menu you go into the game with. And what I have really been impressed with with the Saints--and where I think they're winning--is their situational preparation. Playing smart with field position, knowing when to go for it on 4th down and when to flip the field or take the points. Being decisive and making those decisions right on the back end is the true art to coaching. There is an expectation that a coach must always make the right decision, but the truth is he needs to be prepared enough to quickly make an informed decision. And if his staff and players are bought in, they will make him right on the end.

-They have also found a way to make momentum changing plays in pivotal situations. A number of defensive players continue to step up. Von Bell is playing relentless football and finding ways to get after the ball and get it back to the offense. He's been involved in 3 turnovers in the last 2 games and that's huge. I also think Marcus Williams is extremely underappreciated because a lot of those times coverage...

Takeaways from the Seattle game + Bonus: Michael Thomas's Craftiness on 3rd Down (Film/Breakdown)

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-The same presnap penalties plagued us early on. Clearly being on the road, in a notorious loud stadium w/ a new (starting) QB contributed to the communication breakdowns, but I really hope this does not become an issue. I was happy to see them overcome it.

-Special Teams really kept us in the game in the first half. Not just the big return by Deonte Harris--who, by the way, is already one of the most explosive returners in the league--but the incredible punts by Morstead. That combined with the heads-up strip by Apple and recover/TD by Bell really kept the Saints in the game while they were struggling on offense.

-I am really happy with Bridgewater. Really. Don't expect him to be Drew Brees. He's not. But he is handling the offense well, he is running the system, being smart with the football and finding ways to make plays when there is nothing there. Right now the Saints are receiving terrific return on their investment in him, and I believe he can keep us in playoff contention and atop the NFC South until Brees returns.

-It is hard to anoint anyone "best player in the league" when it comes to the NFL... but Alvin Kamara is the best player in the league. I try to temper my judgement with him, but he is incredible. He had 25 touches last game and I still felt like it wasn't enough. I could go on and on but I won't. The Saints are weathering the storm of Brees being injured because Alvin Kamara is healthy.

-PJ Williams is a liability. He is a penalty machine, and teams are going to attack him all year on 3rd down and critical situations. The times where he didn't...

(Delayed) Observations from the Rams game

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Hey guys, I won't be able to do any sort of in-depth X&O's breakdowns this week. The travel back from Italy and other stuff has just eaten up my time, and I haven't even been able to look at the coaches' film from the Rams' game yet (I will probably do so before Sunday). But here are my observations from the previous game:

- Losing Drew Brees is devastating... emotionally. But it shouldn't be devastating to the Saints' season. This is the reason why the Saints paid Teddy Bridgewater to stay in New Orleans and not go elsewhere to compete for a starting job. I haven't had a chance to read many of the reactions to his play vs. the Rams, but I thought he performed admirably, especially early on. I saw him moving around in the pocket, finding throwing lanes, coming off of his progressions and executing on time 2nd window throws. The offense was hampered by an insane amount of drive-killing penalties, negating momentum plays and keeping points off the scoreboard. Bridgewater won't be Drew Brees, but with him and Taysom Hill on the roster, the Saints are in a better backup QB situation than 31 other teams in the league.

- Speaking of Hill, I would expect to see a lot more of him at QB this week since he will (hopefully) be less demanded at WR.

- After coming off one of the best blocking performances I've ever seen vs. the Texans, the OL completely **** the bed vs. the Rams. They blew assignments, lost individual battles, and committed inexcusable penalties. I don't really have an explanation because I haven't reviewed the film, but that group is too talented to drop a...

Latest Saints News

Vegas currently sees a Patriots-Saints Super Bowl

  • News source: Mike Florio
  • Replies: 0
The folks at the Westgate Superbook have updated their Super Bowl odds. And they currently project a matchup of the New England Patriots and the New Orleans Saints in Super Bowl LIV.

The Saints are 7/5 favorites to win the NFC title, and the Patriots are 6/5 favorites to win the AFC Championship.

Elsewhere in the NFC, the 49ers have 7/2 odds, followed by the Packers at 6/1, the Vikings at 7/1, the Seahawks at 8/1, and the Cowboys at 10/1. The Rams, who opened as...
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Saints offensive line gets back on track with a strong performance against Buccaneers

  • News source: BY LUKE JOHNSON | Staff writer
  • Replies: 0
A proud New Orleans Saints offensive line was mortified when re-watching its performance against the Atlanta Falcons last week, like they were watching imposters wearing their uniform on the field.

The ugly film was quantified by some ugly numbers. Six sacks allowed, four penalties accepted against them and nine points on the scoreboard.

“That Atlanta game was not what we're about and something we weren’t proud of at all,” right tackle Ryan Ramczyk said. “There's a...
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Antonio Brown is hoping for a decision “very soon”

  • News source: Mike Florio
  • Replies: 0
Lost in the Myles Garrett and Colin Kaepernick sagas of last week was the fact that Antonio Brown had his interview with the NFL last Thursday in South Florida.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, Brown remains hopeful that a decision will come “very soon.” There’s a sense of optimism from Brown’s perspective that he will be cleared to return to the NFL before the 2019 regular season ends.

Brown, who is a free agent, can sign with any team at any time. He...
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Video: John Fourcade breaks down Saints season

  • News source: CCS Staff
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Against the Saints, Devin White treasured his chance to play against 'hometown hero' Drew Brees

  • News source: BY AMIE JUST | Staff writer
  • Replies: 0
Sunday's game between the New Orleans Saints and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was special for one player on the field in particular.

Rookie Buccaneers linebacker Devin White finally had his chance to go against his home-state team.

White, the first LSU player to win the Butkus Award, was active for the team's first meeting this season in New Orleans, but he was held out due to a sprained MCL in his left knee.

On Sunday, White tore up the field in his fifth game...
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NFC South after Week 11

  • News source: Chris Dunnells
  • Replies: 0
At the end of the day, the New Orleans Saints lead in the NFC South has grown to three games. Here’s how it all went down:

In Week 11, the division kept all of their fighting in-house. The third-place Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-6) hosted the first-place New Orleans Saints (7-2) while the second-place Carolina Panthers (5-4) hosted the fourth-place Atlanta Falcons (2-7). Both games were in the Sunday early slate.

Both away teams won their games in dominating fashion...
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Fleur-de-Links, November 19: Cameron Jordan on career best pace in sacks for Saints | News around NFL

  • News source: Deuce Windham
  • Replies: 0
Marcus Williams protecting the back end in New Orleans Saints secondaryInterception against Tampa Bay was his team-leading fourth this season

Updated NFC playoff picture: Saints, 49ers remain the teams to beatThe New Orleans Saints and San Francisco 49ers are both dominant teams that could win a Super Bowl, but there's even more quality lying in the NFC.

Thanksgiving feast for the Saints? It's possible they could clinch the NFC South in Atlanta | Saints |...
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Week 12 NFL Power Rankings: 1-32 poll, plus each team's most underrated player

  • News source: - New Orleans Saints
  • Replies: 0
The NFL Power Rankings are all about evaluating teams every week. Since we have to rank all 32, there aren't teams that fall through the cracks. That's not the case with individual players, though.

Some players, no matter what they do, don't get the big headlines. Whether they are stars who aren't fully appreciated or role players who defer the praise to their more celebrated teammates, our NFL Nation writers identified that guy on the team they cover who quietly...
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Saints revive offense with heavy dose of Alvin Kamara

  • News source: - New Orleans Saints
  • Replies: 0
METAIRIE, La. -- Coach Sean Payton didn’t specifically plan for running back Alvin Kamara to touch the ball on 11 of the New Orleans Saints' first 19 plays in Sunday’s 34-17 win at Tampa Bay (including a touchdown that was nullified by a penalty).

But it wasn’t an accident either.

Payton knew his offense needed a jolt after a dreadful loss to the Atlanta Falcons a week earlier. And what better player to provide it than the dynamic Kamara, who needed a bit of a jolt...
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Thanksgiving feast for the Saints? It's possible they could clinch the NFC South in Atlanta

  • News source: Staff report
  • Replies: 0
The New Orleans Saints might be able to celebrate an NFC South division title in just two weeks on its fiercest rival's home turf.

Here's how that scenario could unfold...

First, a win Sunday at Mercedes-Benz Superdome vs. the Carolina Panthers would propel the Saints to a 9-2 record and drop the Panthers to 5-6, giving the black and gold a four-game lead (plus the tiebreaker) with five games left.

And that sets up this possibility: A few weeks after being...
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Buccaneers abandoning the run makes Saints defensive snap counts look different than usual

  • News source: BY AMIE JUST | Staff writer
  • Replies: 0
TAMPA, Fla. — The snap counts for several New Orleans Saints went against the grain against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.

Starting defensive end Marcus Davenport had limited usage on Sunday, totaling just 23 snaps for 34% of New Orleans' defensive plays. Both of those marks tied his career lows. He didn't register a single tackle against the Buccaneers, something he's only done four times in his two years as a Saint.

Saints coach Sean Payton said on Monday...
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Emmanuel Zanders to appear Sunday at Saints Hall of Fame Museum

  • News source: Ken Trahan
  • Replies: 0
A star at Jackson State, Zanders played for the Saints for seven seasons from 1974-80 and was a team captain from 1976-79. Zanders was voted the Saints offensive lineman of the year in 1979. He played in 87 games, starting 78 for the Saints. Zanders He went on play one season with the Chicago Bears in 1981. Zanders was inducted into the Jackson State Hall of Fame in 2004.

Those with tickets to the game will be admitted free of charge to the museum Sunday. Only those...
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