What I see Offensively 8 weeks in (1 Viewer)

ELLIASJWILLIAMS

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I was asked to do this and so I will but my expertise is admittedly defense. Yet I'll give it a try.


Stars - Drew Brees(QB) Terron Armstead(LT) Michael Thomas (WR)

Starters - Ingram(RB) Cooks(WR) Peat(LG) Unger(C) Fleener(TE)

Role Players - Snead(WR) Hooman (TE) Lasco (RB)

Middle Tier Backup - Josh Hill(TE)

Backups - Tommy Lee Lewis (WR) Brandon Coleman(WR) Kelemente (G/C) Cadet (RB) Luke McCown (QB)

Wild Cards- Strief(RT) Evans (RG) Grayson(QB) - Both players are past their prime but provide some stability on the right side of the line. Strief is a top 5 (RT) at the moment but there is just no telling when his play will drop off a cliff. Same is the case with Evans. Both could be listed as starters. Meanwhile Grayson either is going to win the backup job or be cut but that will put QB right back on the list in a years time.

Upgrades Needed - RG(Tentative), 3rd Down RB, RT(Tentative) 4th WR - Cadet needs to be upgraded. Not because he's awful but because he doesn't provide the big play ability you'd like from that position. He's a very average starter in that spot at best and would serve better as a backup/ST's contributor. Meanwhile again Strief is playing Admirably but with Peat looking best used on the Left side the need for a RT is back to where it was a year ago with Strief being another year older. Obviously RG is the same issue. 4th WR probably will catch people off guard but at our best or WR corps was 4 deep and Coleman has been Average at best. Very similar to Cadet here.


**OF Note** Something that was interesting about the usage of Cooks this past week. #1 we used him to occupy Marcus Peters majority of the game. We did target him 3x's for 3 receptions but he was mainly used to keep Peters busy. I'd expect a similar game plan against a tired/hurt Sherman this week. Also on his scoring TD we used him as a RB out of the backfield to get a favorable look. That should have been the 3rd down RB in that look. We got creative but I can't help but think we don't use that if we have a 3rd down back capable of winning that matchup.

You will also note that I have Cooks as a Starter and not a Star/ opposite with Michael Thomas. When I think about this offense at it's peak the speed option was a role and the big bodied WR was the focal point. In the last 2 games MT has a whopping 18 targets. Against the Chiefs MT caught Slants, Drags, Curls, Back Shoulders. He won to the inside/outside and made guys miss. Currently he's forced at least 8 missed tackles (might be off) To me he like Rankins has star written all over him.

I've also noted that someone mentioned that Ingram should be used out of the shotgun more and incorporated into the finesse portion of the offense more vs being used so much in the power run game and telegraphing his touches. I can't say that I don't agree with that but If Lasco can stay healthy there is on doubt he's the better fit for this offense from an explosion standpoint. I don't know when, i don't know if, but I do know that at some point Lasco would make sense to be the 1A with Ingram the 1B grinder at the end of games. That may be far off and for now it's reversed but we need juice at the RB position. With that being said Lasco IMHO makes a perfect slashing compliment to Ingram.

As with anything else feel free to swap guys and place them as you wish but the top two tiers are important. We lack a little oline depth but are rather deep everywhere else, especially at the skill position.



A FA acquisition I'd keep an eye on and I'd love to have is Cordarrelle Paterson (WR) - Vikings. He'd make a great 4th WR/ST's guy that would add some juice in the return game and be an upgrade over Coleman as the 4th WR. Easily sliding into the Middle Tier backup Spot/Role Player.


The offensive side of the ball isn't nearly as detrimental as the defensive side and doesn't have much need for true Starter upgrades...maybe 3rd Down Rb. However developing OL talent needs to be important because Unger/Strief/Evans are all 30+. Meanwhile WR/RB can be addressed for cheap/in the draft. No need to spend heavy money.



Regards,
 

msl

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nice write up, does Peters only play one side of the field? They mentioned it in commentary but I wasnt sure?

I definitely think we do need a more explosive running back, someone in the mould of Ivory. Lasco has looked good in his limited touches and looked like he was rb2 against SD
 

Outbackjack

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Nice write up.


However, Snead listed as a role player along with Hooman and Lasco?

He's a huge component to one of the top offenses in the league.......no comparison to Hooman and Lasco.

Other than that, I really do like this.
 

duckjr78

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This offense only really needs one thing, IMHO.

A frickin' time masheen! Oh, to be able to see the answer to 2 specific questions.......

Oline age/health? If it was possible to know whether or not Strief and Evans would make it through another year (or 2!), it would completely change the off season strategy this year. Not knowing which one, when, or how either of them may "be done" is a serious question. That said, it's better to have them than not because you can perhaps invest draft picks to solve that issues as opposed to having to spend the up front money on FA's.

Lasco as a feature back? I've said this a few times on here, 4.5 ypc isn't 4.5 yards at a time. In the NFL, the players on both sides of the ball are really, really good. You are going to lose plays, make bad play calls, get unlucky, etc. Heck, even the Saints D stops running plays for -1, 0, 1 yard at various times. But when the offense wins those plays, you have to get close to 10 yards. Bonchie is right, Ingram only gets 5 on those runs. Now you have to beat the defense again to get a first down. The plays you win only result in a net "tie" with the defense, effectively. IMHO, the 2nd most important piece in this entire offense, other than a healthy #9, is a running back with vision and burst. PT and Reggie both had it. When your Oline and OC "win", you need to get 8+ yards. 4-5 just won't do. 2nd & 1's or 2nd & 2's offer so much playcalling variability that they are very scary for defenses. Little fullback blasts to shot plays, the entire playbook is wide open. Chunk plays can be had in these situations. Very important. Also, the ubiquitous running play/draw play on 2nd & 10 after an incomplete pass on 1st down. The D knows its coming. The O knows the D knows. The announcers know. The fans know. The hot dog vendor knows. But you still gotta get yards to make the 3rd down manageable. Vision and burst are what get you 5 yards in that situation, as opposed to 2 yards.

Ingram is a consummate pro. He has worked hard, learned pass pro, and made himself into a 3 down back. The problem is that it took 7 years and now the burst he had is simply not there. He never really had elite vision. Lasco is an elite athlete and could easily be the type of back, like PT (vision & balance) and Reggie (burst & agility), who can thrive in this offense because they have elite qualities. Ingram simply doesn't have those, anymore. He may have had them as a younger back. He still is elite in ball security (I know, a recently sore subject, but it's still a fact) and when combined with his 3 down ability, I believe he has tremendous value as a 4th quarter back who can run out wins and spell your main guys, absorb some carries, a few short yardage carries, and occasionally have a hot hand during the game. Mike Bell, if you will.



Long story medium, the offense, unlike the defense, doesn't have gaping holes. There are a couple of patch jobs that could certainly use repairing or they will become gaping holes right before our eyes, in the middle of a promising season, and that's no go. The good news at RB is that you can find a very, very nice RB in the middle rounds and typically, they can come in and contribute quickly. IF, big IF, they earn Payton's trust like PT did. And the good news at Oline is that due to the nice play of Evans and Strief this year, both of the offensive patch jobs can *possibly* be taken care of with draft pick resources. At worst, you sign a "nice" free agent at whichever spot you think is most likely to falter, RG or RT and spend a draft pick on the other. At best, Turner comes along wonderfully and Strief continues to play well and all you have to spend is an early/mid rounder on a future starter at RT.

This offense will be elite for as long as Brees is and it will be more than "Super Bowl winning" caliber for at least a few years after that. Thomas, Cooks, Snead, Armstead, Peat, Unger, & Fleener are all good enough (most are really, really good) that a "mediocre" Brees will be able to lead them down the field well enough, and that's a very comforting thought.
 

bobad

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Good write up.

I'll just say that our underutilized running game is unnecessarily stressing our defense. When we are 2 scores up in the 2nd half, a good running game can turn the lights out.

I think Payton likes Lasco, and I think he can be a 4 down back. He can be very dynamic in screens, if his hammy will heal 100%.

Actually, Hightower is a 4 down, 30 carry back, and is a little under appreciated.

To me, Snead is a star. His numbers don't show it, but we would be a much worse team without him.
 
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ELLIASJWILLIAMS

ELLIASJWILLIAMS

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Nice write up.


However, Snead listed as a role player along with Hooman and Lasco?

He's a huge component to one of the top offenses in the league.......no comparison to Hooman and Lasco.

Other than that, I really do like this.
You are probably right that there should be some adjustment because when looking at the snap counts recently Thomas/Cooks are playing in closer to 90% of the snaps with Snead settling in around 80%. The 3WR 1TE got heavy use in the last game so I think you could move Snead to Starter. That 3rd WR is the equiv of the NB on defense.

I think your opinion also warrants Lasco being moved to Middle Tier backup considering he hasn't carved out a role yet on the offense and also maybe swapping Hill/Hooman.
 

ACCOUNTNOLONGERINUSE

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I was asked to do this and so I will but my expertise is admittedly defense. Yet I'll give it a try.


Stars - Drew Brees(QB) Terron Armstead(LT) Michael Thomas (WR)

Starters - Ingram(RB) Cooks(WR) Peat(LG) Unger(C) Fleener(TE)

Role Players - Snead(WR) Hooman (TE) Lasco (RB)

Middle Tier Backup - Josh Hill(TE)

Backups - Tommy Lee Lewis (WR) Brandon Coleman(WR) Kelemente (G/C) Cadet (RB) Luke McCown (QB)

Wild Cards- Strief(RT) Evans (RG) Grayson(QB) - Both players are past their prime but provide some stability on the right side of the line. Strief is a top 5 (RT) at the moment but there is just no telling when his play will drop off a cliff. Same is the case with Evans. Both could be listed as starters. Meanwhile Grayson either is going to win the backup job or be cut but that will put QB right back on the list in a years time.
Great analysis, I never considered Lasco as a potential 1a and Ingram as 1b. That would be ideal!! I'd like to see Ingram improve in the screen game--what in the heck made PT so good at doing it? Was the blocking better when PT was playing? Is it a lack of patience/vision on Ingram's part?

And what might be the game plan as far as the running game for Seattle? If Lasco is back, will he take Hightower's touches? Will the coaches go with Hightower as Ingram's backup again especially after his play against the Chiefs?...Will they prefer a vet over a rookie against a defense like Seattle? It never seems like the coaches (Carmichael/Payton) go with the hot hand and instead have a pre-determined number of carries for each RB that they refuse to deviate from. I like Ingram, I think he's a better overall back than Hightower but I'm not blind, Hightower was the better back on Sunday. Or is Hightower not trusted in the passing game--Bobby Hebert (forgive me, I'm an out of towner) said that Hightower was an embarrassment at pass protection in camp. Lasco was at times considered dominant in pass protection--and his collegiate career proves it--he was one of the best pass protecting RBs in college football in 2014 and 2015:

"Over the past two seasons Daniel Lasco has a 98.5 pass blocking efficiency, 2nd-best in this RB class (min. 50 pass protection snaps)"

We have to find out if Lasco is the future--he's smart, confident. Unfortunately, we may not have the opportunity to see more of him this weekend because the Searats may not allow the Saints to develop a running game.
 

SaintsJunkie

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Strief has been the STAR of the OL this season, I don't care about who has the most talent, he has played and played well, Unger and Evans for the most part have been solid, I know you didn't say he wasn't , but had to mention it.

also love to see Cordarrelle Paterson work with Brees, not sure he has the smarts to learn our offense, since that keeps him off the field where he is
 

ACCOUNTNOLONGERINUSE

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Strief has been the STAR of the OL this season, I don't care about who has the most talent, he has played and played well, Unger and Evans for the most part have been solid, I know you didn't say he wasn't , but had to mention it.

also love to see Cordarrelle Paterson work with Brees, not sure he has the smarts to learn our offense, since that keeps him off the field where he is
If Patterson is unable to flourish in the Vikings offense, I doubt he can in ours. He had a good game this past week though but I think it was because one of the other WRs was hurt. Or maybe it'll take a season or two more to better understand the game.
 

duckjr78

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Great analysis, I never considered Lasco as a potential 1a and Ingram as 1b. That would be ideal!!
I know it is a bit of a bitter pill to swallow given the price paid for Ingram (multiple high picks) and the time invested vs. the price paid for Lasco (7th round pick) and the fact that he's a rookie, but this is the truth.

IF, huge IF, Lasco can grasp the playbook and pass pro responsibilities (massive in Payton's offense), his burst (elite athlete) in the running game and passing game would make him the prototypical lead back in this offense. 14 carries and 4 receptions a game. But, on the plays where the Oline "wins", he can get you 10-12 yards and a first down. Make a guy miss on a swing route and take it for 9 instead of getting shoestringed for a 2 yd gain.

Just like an elite QB or running QB give you a chance to get a positive result even on plays where the defense "ties" or even "wins" the down, a dynamic RB gives you the same possibility.
 

AshleyShaffer

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--what in the heck made PT so good at doing it? Was the blocking better when PT was playing? Is it a lack of patience/vision on Ingram's part?.
I don't know for certain, but I do know that Pierre Thomas was an excellent kick-returner. If I remember correctly, he broke Red Grange's record for kick return yards while at Illinois. Thomas also had a few huge clutch returns during his time with us. Being such a great kick-returner requires great vision and an ability to read blocks and see things develop. I think that translates well into executing the screen as a RB.
 

duckjr78

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While he was average when it came to burst, PT had elite vision and elite balance, both of which made him deadly in the screen game. He also didn't have insane top end speed, so he wasn't often tempted to run past his blockers. He also had fantastic patience to go with all of those other physical attributes.

And he had a healthy and young Jahri Evans (and John Stinchcomb) leading the way. Most of those huge and important screen plays were run to the right side, remember?
 
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ELLIASJWILLIAMS

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While he was average when it came to burst, PT had elite vision and elite balance, both of which made him deadly in the screen game. He also didn't have insane top end speed, so he wasn't often tempted to run past his blockers. He also had fantastic patience to go with all of those other physical attributes.

And he had a healthy and young Jahri Evans (and John Stinchcomb) leading the way. Most of those huge and important screen plays were run to the right side, remember?
The thing I've noticed about our screen game as of late is you can't even tell if its a problem with RB vision...its getting blown up/read shortly after the play is snapped.

Last few attempts have ended with Drew throwing the ball into the ground. I agree with someone else that there seems to be a OL tell now. Either that or the RB's aren't selling it enough. The two common denominators appear to be the loss of PT and the addition of Unger.

With that being said Khiry b4 he broke his leg had a few productive screens in the Pre-Season and first few weeks of the Season last year. So IDK...but something is missing.
 

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I'd like to see Ingram improve in the screen game--what in the heck made PT so good at doing it? Was the blocking better when PT was playing? Is it a lack of patience/vision on Ingram's part?
The screen game is more about the O line and the QB than the RB.

First, you need the threat of a running AND passing game. Then you need a decent OL that is stable and experienced. Screens are very intricate. The QB, RB, and OL have to sell it. Then, the OL must have quick feet to move 3-4 yards laterally before the LBs sniff it out. Think of it as a dance. If a curl pattern pass is the twist, a screen is the tango. It takes a little talent, and a LOT of rehearsal.

Payton loves the screen. If he could be using it, he would be using it. Something is stopping him, and it must be the OL.
 

duckjr78

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The thing I've noticed about our screen game as of late is you can't even tell if its a problem with RB vision...its getting blown up/read shortly after the play is snapped.

Last few attempts have ended with Drew throwing the ball into the ground. I agree with someone else that there seems to be a OL tell now. Either that or the RB's aren't selling it enough. The two common denominators appear to be the loss of PT and the addition of Unger.

With that being said Khiry b4 he broke his leg had a few productive screens in the Pre-Season and first few weeks of the Season last year. So IDK...but something is missing.
The screen game is more about the O line and the QB than the RB.

First, you need the threat of a running AND passing game. Then you need a decent OL that is stable and experienced. Screens are very intricate. The QB, RB, and OL have to sell it. Then, the OL must have quick feet to move 3-4 yards laterally before the LBs sniff it out. Think of it as a dance. If a curl pattern pass is the twist, a screen is the tango. It takes a little talent, and a LOT of rehearsal.

Payton loves the screen. If he could be using it, he would be using it. Something is stopping him, and it must be the OL.
Great observations, points, and reasoning from both of you guys.

The lack of a screen game right now isn't simply because Payton doesn't want to use it. Heck, it's one of his most favorite toys!

Like you both, I have to think that the constant rotation on the left side of the line, along with the age of the right side of the line, is causing the issues.
 

Hotdog_Skin

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The thing I've noticed about our screen game as of late is you can't even tell if its a problem with RB vision...its getting blown up/read shortly after the play is snapped.

Last few attempts have ended with Drew throwing the ball into the ground. I agree with someone else that there seems to be a OL tell now. Either that or the RB's aren't selling it enough.
Yes! Our screen game has been pretty bad for a while now. It started declining even when Sproles was here towards the end of his tenure.

It used to be so electric for a while, but it seems like it gets blown up before the RB even gets across the line.

We have relatively athletic linemen to throw blocks, and it seems like the blockers get out in time, but they just get overwhelmed because defenses sniff out the play and make the stop.

Really miss having that old screen game..
 

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