Initial Thoughts on Week 1 (1 Viewer)

rockthedox

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Call me an optimistic, but I saw a lot of good things today. Had we not had that last penalty, or made the 50 yard field goal, or fill-in-the-blank, people would be having a very different conversation right now. So, don't look at it in terms of wins and losses....it's bigger than that. This was on my first, casual watch of the game and I plan to go back and watch it to break it down later this week.

1. This is a VERY young team. They're going to do some great things and do some really boneheaded things. But they're young and can grow together. I like that. We could be fielding a team of washed up vets.

2. Our O-Line was actually one of the strongest points tonight. Who saw that one coming? The Raiders front 7 is a top 5 defense. Khalil Mack is rated #1 at his position. I didn't hear his name called the whole game. Jahri is all that we needed. We didn't get rid of him because he couldn't play, but because he wasn't worth his high salary. He'll solidify that RG spot and Peat slides in nicely at LG between two strong players, Peat and Unger. Lelito and Kelemete are above average backups. All of a sudden, this line isn't looking too bad. I don't remember the last time I watched a game and wasn't afraid that someone would kill Drew. He looked safe today.

3. I like Lutz. I don't really know why but I just have a good feeling. I think kicking, more than any other position, is mental. We have had a revolving door on kickers and it makes it super hard knowing that if you miss you'll probably be fired the next day. Is Lutz the best guy we've had in the Peyton era? Who knows, but I like that Peyton is standing behind him and said that Lutz will be kicking here long after he is gone. He's certainly not the worst that we've had and if our game constantly comes down to a field goal we've got other problems anyway. Let's commit ourselves to this guy for a while and see how it goes. I like the idea of letting him actually grow into the position. The article about him coming from the same 'training school' as Tucker, Hauschka, and Gano makes me feel even better about him.

4. Will people stop talking about Drew getting old or losing arm strength? He's going to have another 5,000 yard season or close to it. I watched quite a few games today and looked at other QBs around the league. He still has it in a big way.

5. By the end of the season Cooks, Thomas, and Snead will be the best trio in the league. BMW (is that the moniker we're rolling with?) is solid and complimentary. The only competition I could see would be the Steelers (but Martavis Bryant is out and Markus Wheaton is also out for a while) and the Cardinals: Fitzgerald, Floyd, and Brown are pretty unstoppable. Here's the awesome part though...Fitz is 33 (and this is probably his last year), Floyd is 26, Brown is 26. Snead is 23, Thomas is 23, and Cooks will be 23 in a few weeks. That is an insanely young group of guys to be as talented as they are and we've got them locked up for a while. This group is lethal.

6. Was Fleener playing tonight? I bought into the hype last year and got really excited about Josh Hill. I was pleasantly surprised to see Watson emerge and have a breakout year. I expect big things from Fleener and I'm not really sure what role Manhertz will have yet. I miss Hooman. Maybe with the emergence of 3 solid receivers we don't really need the Tight End role anymore?

7. I was surprised to see Spiller be a healthy scratch. I thought we'd see a healthy dose of him tonight and we really didn't have a back that did that passcatching thing that Peyton likes so much. I can't believe we ran the same play to Cadet three times before he got it right. I like Cadet but I think he's already reached his ceiling. Give the other guys room to grow. Murphy is boom or bust. Everyone hates him until he busts out a huge run. That didn't happen tonight so people are calling for his head again. Ingram was solid, but not spectacular. I think he'll be a top 15 running back again this year. Hightower is a solid backup, but I miss Khiry. He had 'it' when he ran. I'd like to see Lasco take over the backup role as the season progresses. I can't think that we'll keep 6 running backs for long and maybe that's the reason Spiller sat out tonight. He wanted to give Cadet a chance to carve out a role? I like Cadet, but I'd probably cut him and keep him on speed dial. We'll need the roster spot. Kuhn is the real deal. Glad we picked him up and that he's still got some left in the tank.

8. Did we get any sacks or pressure? I don't think we did. That's discouraging after two members of their starting OL left the game. I really wanted to see Kruger and Jordan light it up and expected to see big things from Fairly too. Not sure if it's on the players or the playcalling without rewatching the game.

9. I thought our linebacker play was pretty solid in the beginning and died out as the game progressed. We are absolutely a better team with Ellerbe and he has to figure out a way to stay healthy. Even if he's just in a rotation we are a better team with him on the field. I thought Robertson did well in his place and that last penalty on him was BS. I saw Anthony in there a little but expected more from him.

10. Breaux. Man.... Cornerback was the one position I wasn't worried about. Lewis, Breaux, and Swann was a solid starting trio and I was super pumped about Williams and the UDFA guys that were coming along in Crawley and Harris. Who would have thought that we would lose ALL THREE presumed starters and be rolling with three NFL Virgins for week 1? That being said, I thought they did pretty well. After watching Corey White, PRob, and Browner for a few years you've got to give it to these guys. I didn't see them get badly burned on anything. At least not in the ways that had me yelling at the screen like I did with White, PRob, and Browner. Give them time and we may have something. That being said, we have to pick up or trade for some cornerback depth. Which leads me to the next crazy point...

11. Keenan Lewis. Like Jahri, I think we cut him for more of a money/injury reason. He's tested the market. Bring him back on a team friendly deal if he's well enough to play now. My understanding is that we wanted to put him on IR to start the season and that he wanted to play Week 1. It's been a few weeks. Kick the tires and see what's there. Maybe the ship has sailed, but I can certainly see us giving him a call.

12. Vacarro needs to live at the Line of Scrimmage. I love seeing him roam around like a crazy man just doing his thing. It's really hard to be a ball-hawk if you're never around the ball. I get that he's the Free Safety and last line of defense, but there's got to be some middle ground. With the lack of CB depth, I would have to think we're going to see some more 3 safety sets going forward. Similar to the Offensive Line, put the best guys out there regardless of position. I didn't really see Harper or Bell, if they played. We need to see some more safety blitzes. Really, I just want to lock down the other positions and let Vacarro run around.

13. Everyone is giving the Saints Defense a hard time because we gave up almost 500 yards and 35 points. Well, we were one of the worst defenses in the league last year. That shouldn't have come as a huge surprise. Do you know who one of the top 5 defenses last year was? Raiders. They also gave up 500 yards and 35 points today but no one is talking about their terrible defense. Their defense isn't as stout as it was last year and our offense will be the #1 one ranked offense again this year, but I think people need to lighten up on our defense a bit. More than half of our defense was new to the team. Our entire CB group (minus Breaux who didn't play most of the game) had never played an NFL game before. There can't really be any expectations can there? We were at the bottom last year...we can only go up.

14. I like that Lutz took over kickoffs so that Morstead can focus on punting and not have to worry about injuries. I think I even saw him as the holder today. The average career length for a Punter is 5 years and we've already gotten 7 out of Morstead and he's still going at an elite level. That's a really cool luxury and I like that we're protecting it. Plus, did you see him doing chinups on the uprights during pre-game? Dude is a beast, but also seems like an all around good guy. Let's keep him around.

15. Think about how incredibly lucky we are. We have gone through almost a complete rebuild over the last couple of years. Many of our positions feature a completely different group of guys than were here in 2014. Most positions might one or two guys that have been around for more than a few years. This is an insanely young team and it's really talented. Our draft and FA scouting is getting better and our coaches are doing better at developing players. We're still a few pieces away from really being contenders but we're close and it should be a lot of fun to watch.

16. Don't think about it in terms of wins or losses. This is long term development. Was this not a fun game to watch? Cooks broke the team record for longest play from scrimmage. Snead looks unstoppable in the middle of the field. Thomas is smart and sharp. Our O-Line improved OVERNIGHT. We through a completely untested kicker out there and he did pretty well. They even let him go for a 61 yard kick and he almost made it. I didn't think he had any chance but thought it was cool for them to believe in him enough to let him try but he was actually really close. That's a long kick. Yes, defense needs some work. But we had the worst D in the league last year and were down our 1st round pick DT, starting LB that makes the entire defense play better, top pass rusher, all three of our presumed starting Cornerbacks...what are we afraid of?

We're a young team that played with heart. Give them a chance and go along for the ride.
 

Heathen Saint

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Unfortunately we don't have the talent/depth on defense to keep up with a magnificent offense led by Brees. Again.

We need an actual consistent pass rush, more depth at corner and to get rid of Jairus Byrd
 

GasBag

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Rockthedox, good analysis, but a bit t overwhelming. I thought the saints played extremely well. The 4th quarter really surprised me. I thought we had the game in hand. I think Drew did would he could. I think everyone on the team did did well. My most PO'd call was PI on a uncatchable pass, way over head and OOB - but they called OPI. That, I didn;t understand. I saw the replays. No evidence there.

I think there three things to look at weaknesses,
- 0 rushing TD's, Raiders had 3
- Saints had 4 passing TD's, Raiders had 1
- Saints had 0 sacks, Raiders had 1 that cost us a lot
 

Freshcakes

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Byrd was out of position and slow on so many plays. I thought he was an instinctual player?
The guy is the biggest disappointment signing of this regime. Either he's injured, overrated or simply mailed it in after getting paid.

He makes no plays on the ball, no breakups, no ints, is late and reactive.

We need better coverage safeties since vaccaro is not one.

Sadly this defense is farther away from being solid than it was 3 years ago since we'll have more dead money once byrd is cut.

We need a better ILB. A starting DE opposite Cam. Better depth across the DL. A playmaking LB. 2 more CBs.

Why we only have 4 is beyond me. It lost us the game today imo. Finnegan or Moore would have been an improvement.
 

Jortizcardona

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OP, great writeup. I think if you write that same exact thing, but Brees was 31-32 y.o., I would be excited. Even though he is still elite, I cant be too excited about the future because the main guy is in his late 30's. Exciting WR corps? You bet! Without Brees? Maybe not so much. I echo the feeling that defense can use a trade or veteran FA. Not, Keenan Lewis. He is still without a job, theres a reason for that and its not that he is a bad cb. Finnegan will get the call. How much can he contribute? Who knows. But it's necessary.
 

DEUCERICKBOY02

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Byrd was out of position and slow on so many plays. I thought he was an instinctual player?
The guy is the biggest disappointment signing of this regime. Either he's injured, overrated or simply mailed it in after getting paid.

He makes no plays on the ball, no breakups, no ints, is late and reactive.

We need better coverage safeties since vaccaro is not one.

Sadly this defense is farther away from being solid than it was 3 years ago since we'll have more dead money once byrd is cut.

We need a better ILB. A starting DE opposite Cam. Better depth across the DL. A playmaking LB. 2 more CBs.

Why we only have 4 is beyond me. It lost us the game today imo. Finnegan or Moore would have been an improvement.
Hmmmm saints have cap space next year and Eric berry could be there. He is worth it and is a leader unlike Byrd
 

jeg12181

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All good observations... Fourth quarter meltdown - so Saints -like. Also, you forgot one important observation: our QB threw for 430 yards and 4 TDs and we LOST at HOME! I can't imagine another team in the league that could pull that off.
 

BoNcHiE

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I think they played much better then about 75% of this board thought they would.

Yeah, we lost, but most were thinking Mack would destroy us and that we'd have no shot. Instead, we had that game won if not for a terrible PI call.

What I take away from that is that we are a better team then conventional wisdom gave us credit for. Especially offensively.

The difference is going to be whether we can learn to win close games or not. In the NFL, that's the difference between being a playoff team or sitting home.
 

BoNcHiE

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OP, great writeup. I think if you write that same exact thing, but Brees was 31-32 y.o., I would be excited. Even though he is still elite, I cant be too excited about the future because the main guy is in his late 30's. Exciting WR corps? You bet! Without Brees? Maybe not so much. I echo the feeling that defense can use a trade or veteran FA. Not, Keenan Lewis. He is still without a job, theres a reason for that and its not that he is a bad cb. Finnegan will get the call. How much can he contribute? Who knows. But it's necessary.
Brees is going to do what he did yesterday until he's 39 at the very least (i.e. Brady's age now).

So we've got 3 years to get it figured out and make a run.
 

SaintsNY

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I can probably find a post from 2014 or 15 that sums up my feelings about yesterday's game
 

superchuck500

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Rockthedox, good analysis, but a bit t overwhelming. I thought the saints played extremely well. The 4th quarter really surprised me. I thought we had the game in hand. I think Drew did would he could. I think everyone on the team did did well. My most PO'd call was PI on a uncatchable pass, way over head and OOB - but they called OPI. That, I didn;t understand. I saw the replays. No evidence there.

I think there three things to look at weaknesses,
- 0 rushing TD's, Raiders had 3
- Saints had 4 passing TD's, Raiders had 1
- Saints had 0 sacks, Raiders had 1 that cost us a lot

They certainly ran the ball better down the stretch, and that was probably the difference maker.

The more and more you think about the totality of this team, the more it seems like the short-term answer is to figure out how to run the ball better in the second half. Get a lead, and then shorten the game with ball control.

If our D is so bad, like generationally bad year-after-year, we should be doing whatever we can to keep them off the field.
 
OP

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OP, great writeup. I think if you write that same exact thing, but Brees was 31-32 y.o., I would be excited. Even though he is still elite, I cant be too excited about the future because the main guy is in his late 30's. Exciting WR corps? You bet! Without Brees? Maybe not so much. I echo the feeling that defense can use a trade or veteran FA. Not, Keenan Lewis. He is still without a job, theres a reason for that and its not that he is a bad cb. Finnegan will get the call. How much can he contribute? Who knows. But it's necessary.
I think our WR core is definitely going to be spoiled on precision and timing that they probably won't get from the next QB. But look at guys like DeAndre Hopkins. He had four guys under center last year and was still one of the top WRs in the league. His most consistent QB was Hoyer, followed by Mallet. I'd like to think that our WR will be so disciplined and excellent that it will make the QB transition easier. I agree with another poster that Brees will be playing at an elite level for at least another 2-3 years, even longer if the line holds up.

There's a reason that every FA doesn't have a job right now. Ultimately I think I'd like to see a trade. We have some very good players that just haven't found their place here. Maybe we can find a suitable CB that hasn't quite found their place somewhere else.
 

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The Raiders have a really good oline this year so I'm hoping the dline just had a bad day against a good line. I think we'll improve in the pass rush department. Might not be amazing but we'll get better.
 
OP

rockthedox

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The Raiders have a really good oline this year so I'm hoping the dline just had a bad day against a good line. I think we'll improve in the pass rush department. Might not be amazing but we'll get better.
The Raiders are a far better team than people give them credit for. Their defense is one of the best and Carr, Cooper, and Crabtree are on the rise. This isn't the laughable Raiders team from years ago. We got beat by a good team.
 

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I agree with you OP. There are lots of reasons for optimism! The Raiders are a good team with a good oline and a good front seven. Our oline held their own and kept Brees upright for the most part. Brees looks sharp as ever and this WR trio has an insane amount of potential. Running game wasn't terrible and should've been utilized more in the 4th.

Everyone seems to ignore that we had only allowed 10 points with Breaux in the game. We likely win by two TDs if he never goes out. People also forget Breaux looked fairly bad for the first few games of the season last year before becoming a shut down corner. The coaching staff is high on these young guys so let's give them a few games before we condemn them. Obviously if Breaux is out long term they need to add a vet, but give these UDFAs some leeway.

The biggest concern was our defensive line. They need to get more pressure. Won't argue against that.

In the end, we lost a close game against a solid team by a point. A game where our rookie kicker was inches away from hitting a 61 yard game winner. A game where we stopped their final drive on fourth and got a bogus PI call.

There is reason for optimism! We might go 6-10. We might go 10-6. We'll likely end up 8-8. But this team is moving in the right direction and with Brees the window is never really closed.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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We really missed Rankins yesterday. Having him in the rotation would've helped out quite a bit and perhaps we wouldn't have been as gashed up the middle late in the game.
 

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