Sunday, August 30, 2009

Saints Nation: Bullet Points from Raiders game

Hard to find a lot of fault with the Saints 45-7 blowout win over the Raiders. To the objective bystander watching this game the apparent question was "Are the Saints really this good or are the Raiders this bad?". Well, maybe it's both. One thing is for sure: The Raiders were horrible. They couldn't hold on to the ball, the play of their quarterback was erratic at best, and their defense was incapable of getting off the field. We knew the Saints' offense was that good. Maybe they surprised us a little bit with their effectiveness in short yardage situations, and maybe they surprised us in their ability to move the ball without Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas. But they are the #1 offense for a reason, and that's Drew Brees. He was on full display during his 14-17, 179 yard, 2 touchdown performance. Brees was supposed to play 3 quarters in this game - and he was so dominant coach Sean Payton decided he had seen enough with 11 minutes remaining in the second quarter. The surprise through 3 preseason games has been the defense's ability to create turnovers. Once again the Saints forced fumbles, three this time, with heads up plays by Pierson Prioleau, Roman Harper and Remi Ayodele. I don't care if from a yardage standpoint they end up the 25th defense in the league, if they create turnovers at this volume this team will blow people out on a weekly basis.

Other notes:

-- Safe to say Herb Donaldson's chances of making the roster are now dead. Perhaps he still has a shot at the practice squad, but he's clearly last in the pecking order based on the reps he gets. Add to that the STELLAR performances of Lynell Hamilton and PJ Hill and it's hard to see him moving up the depth chart by September 5th. The only question that remains is who will win the #4 running back slot between Hamilton and Hill? This may come down to the final preseason Dolphins game. I think it's a safe assumption the Saints will keep 4 based on the injuries Bush and Thomas have going into the season.

-- While it's also safe to say former LSU Tiger Skyler Green's chances are dead as well, it was nice to see him run a very clean route and catch a perfectly thrown ball by Harrington for a touchdown. Perhaps it will build his resume and help him catch on with another team.

-- While rookie free agent Danny Gorrer has been a very pleasant surprise all of training camp, the TD he gave up which included a horrible missed tackle could do him in. He just couldn't afford a slip up based on the uphill battle he was facing, but perhaps the practice squad is in the cards for him too.

-- It's great that Thomas Morstead won the punter job without really showing us anything, but now that he can relax without Glenn Pakulak looking over his shoulder - can he show us why the Saints drafted him? Through 3 preseason games this guy has yet to do a good job.

-- Great to see John Carney perfectly nail his 35 yard field goal attempt. Right down the middle. Makes me feel slightly better about our kicking game going into the season.

-- Jamar Nesbit wants to get back in the starting lineup, I'm sure, but he did himself no favors negating a touchdown run with a blatant hold that was flagged.

-- Brees went to Moore and Shockey almost exclusively on the touchdown drives, and also looked Henderson's way a good bit. With Asomugha on Colston, Brees worked his other weapons. Be careful in fantasy leagues picking Saints players because you just never know what target Brees is going to go at from week to week.

-- Mike Bell converts a 3rd and 1 from the 5, and Heath Evans punches in the TD from the 4 on the next play. That's what I call power running. Awesome to see. Maybe not the Saints bread and butter, but making plays like that will be the difference between 8-8 and 11-5.

-- On the touchdown pass from Brees to Henderson (3rd and 10 play, no less) - Jermon Bushrod did a FABULOUS pass blocking job at left tackle to buy Brees enough time to make the big play.

-- Lance Moore looked healthy and back to his old tricks. I almost forgot how good that guy was.

-- Mark Brunell's interception in the Raiders' end zone was horrendous. I'm not even going to say what I'm thinking but I'm sure all Saints fans know and agree.

-- Don't feel too bad about Meachem getting caught from behind. First, he made a terrific move and showed great speed to get separation, and second, the guy that caught him (Chris Johnson) reportedly ran a 4.18 40 at his pro day 6 years ago (Fastest recorded at an NFL combine has been 4.24 by RUNNING BACK Chris Johnson of the Titans).

-- Saw good things out of Troy Evans, Randall Gay, Chris Reis and Pierson Prioleau. Bobby McCray also got a sack.