Saturday, October 31, 2009

Saints Nation: Big Sports Weekend

Here's what I've got carved out for myself on Halloween weekend leading up to the Monday Night showdown in the Superdome against the Falcons:

Saturday (all times Eastern)
3:30pm: Georgia @ 1 Florida
8pm: Tulane @ 9 LSU, 3 Texas @ 14 Oklahoma St., 5 USC @ 10 Oregon

4:15pm: Panthers @ Cardinals, Vikings @ Packers
6:00pm: Hornets @ Celtics

7:30pm: Hornets @ Knicks
8:30pm: Falcons @ Saints

Lots to watch if you feel like locking yourself inside and watching TV all weekend!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Saints Nation: Heath Evans placed on IR, out for the season

The Saints suffered a huge blow today as star fullback Heath Evans was placed on the injured reserve, ending his 2009 campaign with the Saints. Evans was a catalyst for the Saints' running game and a big reason behind their rushing average exceeding an impressive 4.6 yards per carry. Evans had also found the end zone three times in the Saints' six games. This one hurts badly, arguably as bad as All Pro left tackle Jammal Brown being gone for the year. To replace him Kyle Eckel has joined the team. Eckel is known as a decent lead blocker and tough inside runner, but he doesn't have anywhere near the pass receiving skills Evans demonstrated. Major bummer.

As for Sedrick Ellis and Scott Fujita, both are still out and not practicing. It's safe to assume both Anthony Hargrove and Troy Evans will take their respective places in their starting lineup Monday Night. Ellis is suffering from a knee injury similar to what both Pierre Thomas and Mike Bell had earlier this year, so he could miss a couple weeks. The Saints have been tight lipped on Fujita, who is dealing with a calf ailment.

Saints Nation: PJ Hill leaves Saints, Herb Donaldson returns

Running Back P.J. Hill (pictured) has been signed off the Saints' practice squad to the Philadelphia Eagles' active roster according to THIS ARTICLE. When players are on a team's practice squad, they can be signed to another team if they are willing to give them a spot on their 53 man active roster. After Brian Westbrook's recent concussion the Eagles felt they needed more depth at his position and they were obviously impressed by the big numbers Hill put up in preseason. has an article on the pickup HERE. It's a smart move by Hill for his career. I'm sad to see him go, but he was stuck behind Pierre Thomas, Reggie Bush, Mike Bell, and Lynell Hamilton who are all healthy and have performed well this season.

The good news is that in the wake of this departure, the Saints have made a move of their own re-signing running back Herb Donaldson to take Hill's place on the practice squad. Donaldson was a promising rookie free agent running back this preseason that lost out on a chance to make the team given the crowded number of good players the Saints had/have at the position. Now he'll get his chance to continue to grow in the system and hopefully improve and contribute to the team down the line. Welcome back Herb!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Saints Nation: The state of the NFC South

7 weeks into the season, the NFC South Standings look like this:

Saints 6-0 (3-0 in conference, 0-0 in division)
Falcons 4-2 (3-1 in conference, 1-0 in division)
Panthers 2-4 (2-3 in conference, 1-1 in division)
Buccaneers 0-7 (0-5 in conference, 0-1 in division)

While the Saints are currently in the driver's seat with a two game lead on the Falcons, the 6-0 record is misleading because they've yet to play an NFC South opponent (crucial games to have in winning the division) and half of their wins have come against AFC opponents. While wins are all important, the AFC victories carry slightly less significance because they don't factor in tie breaking scenarios for seeding. The game Monday night is a big one for the standings. If the Saints win, they'll go up 3 games on the Falcons with a tie breaking advantage and 9 games to go. Conversely, they lose and they're only 1 game up with 9 to go, and down in the tie breaking scenario. Most people don't realize how up to the Saints' heels the Falcons have been this season. They haven't been as good or as perfect as the Saints, but they've been pretty close. I think it's safe to assume that the Bucs' season is completely over, and the Saints are fortunate to still have two upcoming games against them. The Panthers are quickly sinking, too, but their personnel and style of play always gives the Saints trouble; so the upcoming 2 games against them are less comforting. As for Atlanta, the upcoming 2 games (including Monday Night) are scary. To assume those two will be anything less than a dogfight would be imprudent. So while the Saints are sitting pretty good, things are far from secured and there's a long way to go. By no means have they established breathing room to separate themselves from Atlanta, but it's something they can fix on Monday.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Saints Nation: Falcons sign former Saint Aaron Stecker

This article claims Aaron Stecker has caught on with the Falcons just in time for their Monday Night Football match up this weekend against the Saints. Eerie timing? Forget about it. This is the oldest trick in the book, and the Falcons took the opportunity of a banged up backfield to pick Stecker's brain about the Saints playbook. I'm sure they'll get him to divulge as much as possible. That is so 1997. Whatever, as if Aaron Stecker is going to help them stop Drew Brees or give them tips they might not catch on 6 games of tape this season when Stecker wasn't a member of the team. I hate the Falcons with a burning passion, and it makes me SICK that a player I liked as much as Stecker is on the team. I'm going to go throw up now.

Saints Nation: Defensive and Special Teams Player Grades @ Dolphins

Below are the grades for the Saints' defensive players and special teams @ Miami. The grade represents the player's performance in the game, and the GPA represents the player's cumulative grade for the season.

Will Smith: C (2.56) Smith disrupted the Dolphins' passing attack on occasion with nice pass rushes, but he was quieter than usual. Facing off with emerging superstar Jake Long was no easy task. He finished with just 1 tackle and a tipped pass, but did knock down Chad Henne a couple times.

Charles Grant: C- (2.33) Grant regressed a little from his stellar form of late. Just 1 tackle in the game and he was mostly neutralized on passing downs. He did a good job of holding his ground on running plays, especially against the wildcat, but I didn't see the hustle from him that had become such a pleasant surprise this season.

Bobby McCray: D (2.07) When he played, he literally did nothing. He hasn't had the kind of pressure on passing downs that I hoped he would have. Hopefully he can have a breakout game soon because I know for a fact he is capable of better.

Anthony Hargrove: A- (2.40) Speaking of breakout games, it's sad to say it but the Saints almost benefited from Sedrick Ellis going down to injury. From the second Hargrove stepped into a full time role, he dominated. He registered two sacks, including one where he completely ran over the left guard and pushed his way into Henne. He also dropped Ronnie Brown for a loss on a running play and ended with 4 tackles. With Ellis injured, expect more playing time for Hargrove and hopefully more big plays.

Sedrick Ellis: B- (2.78) Too bad he went down with a sprained knee, he's a big part of what the Saints do defensively. He had 3 tackles and provided good push and pressure up the middle. Hopefully he can come back quickly, his injury does not sound like a season ender but could linger a while.

Remi Ayodele: B- (2.34) Pretty good game from Ayodele. At times he played the wildcat masterfully and at others he was pushed around by the Dolphins' line. He ended with 4 tackles and was present up the middle. The Dolphins did convert twice on 3rd and short, running right at Ayodele with fullback Lousaka Polite.

Scott Shanle: B+ (3.11) Shanle was blown up a couple times by a lead block on running plays and he was manhandled out of position on the 68 yard touchdown run by former Saint Ricky Williams. Other than those plays, he was his usual solid self in run support and pass defense, and tackled as good as always. He finished with 6 tackles, including one in the backfield for a loss. His biggest play was a HUGE fumble recovery before halftime that led to a big touchdown. That fumble recovery was the start of the big momentum shift.

Jonathan Vilma: A (2.95) Vilma was pretty much dominant throughout. He was constantly in the backfield and all over the field making tackles. This was by far Vilma's best game of the season and he ended with 10 tackles (3 for losses). He stopped a run on 3rd in short absorbing a big block and standing his ground before laying a vicious tackle, getting the Saints the ball back when they needed it badly. His tackling ability was stellar all day and he was on point. Great to see him play that way. After that long Ricky Williams touchdown run, you saw very few successful plays by the Dolphins on the ground and that was largely due to Vilma's presence.

Jabari Greer: B+ (3.61) Per usual, he was helpful in run support and very good in pass defense. He jumped a flag route beautifully but let a sure interception go through his hands. 4 tackles and 2 passes defended. Could Greer be inching close to the "lockdown corner" label? Maybe not, but at the least he's VERY good.

Tracy Porter: B+ (3.11) Porter had a couple egregious plays overshadowed by his tremendous plays. He had 9 tackles and was picked on often with mixed results. He defended 3 passes, including a deep ball that was played perfectly and a tipped pass into the hands of Darren Sharper that set up a 42 yard touchdown return. Porter took a horrible angle on Ricky Williams' long touchdown run and he played a slant route poorly that resulted in a 67 yard pass to Brian Hartline. Porter did show impressive aggression on his hits and impressive speed catching up to Hartline at the Saints' 5 yard line. Ultimately his most memorable play was the game sealing 54 yard interception return for a touchdown. The Saints are lucky to have such a good young corner.

Randall Gay: B- (3.09) Randall Gay was victimized on the Dolphins' first third down conversion pass of the game covering Davone Bess. While it was clear on the replay that Bess dropped the pass, the replay booth magically "malfunctioned" during the Saints challenge. Suspect at best. Gay had 3 tackles. Nothing special, no big mistakes.

Roman Harper: B- (3.17) Harper laid some big hits but over-pursued a lot. He didn't play the wildcat perfectly, but he active. He finished with 4 tackles, but misplayed two touchdown runs in close. His grade could have been worse, but he forced the fumble before halftime that Shanle recovered.

Darren Sharper: A- (3.28) Sharper stepped up and made some plays in the running game, and had yet another interception run back for a touchdown. That's 6 interceptions in 6 games, and 3 touchdowns. That guy is incredible, and he's having a Pro Bowl season. He finished with 4 tackles including a terrific open field tackle on Ronnie Brown. The one bad play was a bad angle on the long pass play to Hartline, but overall Sharper was solid.

Troy Evans: C (1.67) Evans filled in for Fujita and was attacked on running plays often. Luckily, Vilma moved well sideline to sideline and helped the Saints defense immensely. Finished with 2 tackles and he was quiet. He seemed a little lost at times in the Saints' complex defense, but didn't have any serious errors.

Jo-Lonn Dunbar: C+ (2.33) Dunbar was subbed in often for Evans in the second half and did some nice things, especially in pass coverage. On Ronnie Brown's pass to Fasano he laid a nice hit to make sure the ball fell incomplete once Fasano bobbled it. He had 2 tackles as well, and I'm thinking he might be a better option than Evans if Fujita needs to miss another game. Ultimately Dunbar didn't play enough or do enough to earn a better grade.

John Carney: B- (2.72) I was really impressed by the 46 yarder that Carney hit early on. It was right down the middle and had some distance. I thought to myself, "he's going to get an A today". He missed from 50 later on just a little wide, but had nice distance on the kick - hard to blame him for that one. He missed an extra point but it was largely Mark Brunell's fault for bobbling the snap. Still, 2 missed extra points in 6 games is inexcusable. The Saints need to get that rectified immediately because it left them up 6 points late in the game and potentially exposed to a loss if the Dolphins had gotten into the end zone. He did bounce back to hit a chip shot that extended the lead to 6.

Thomas Morstead: A- (3.22)
Morstead had a bad punt early that went 35 yards and still got a 14 yard return from Davone Bess. Besides that weak effort he was very solid, including a big 53 yarder from the end zone to get his team out of trouble that was aided by a terrific Courtney Roby tackle. He averaged 45.7 yards per punt on 3 punts, and the Saints yielded 8.7 yards per return on 3 returns. Most importantly he gave the Dolphins no chance at a kickoff return late with 3 straight kickoffs for touchbacks. He did have a kickoff out of bounds, but I'll give him a pass on that since the game was out of reach after the Porter touchdown.

Courtney Roby: B+ (2.67) Roby finally broke a kick return free, returning it 87 yards. While that was a big play that got the Saints right back into the game after going down 7-0, he was caught from behind and he spiked the ball resulting in a 5 yard penalty. Overall his returning the rest of the way was perfectible. The punt coverage play mentioned above where he hit Ted Ginn Jr. for a 2 yard loss following a 53 yard punt was one of the better kick coverage plays of the season.

Defensive Player of the Game: Jonathan Vilma
Special Teams Player of the Game: Thomas Morstead

Monday, October 26, 2009

Saints Nation: Offensive Player Grades @ Dolphins

See below for the grades of the Saints' offensive players. We saw lots of mistakes and lots of pressure on Drew Brees, but they still managed to amass yards, put up points. and most importantly get the win.

Drew Brees: B- (3.17) I struggled with this grade. Part of me wanted to give him a worse grade because he turned the ball over 4 times, including 3 interceptions. While the first interception was a terrible throw and a bad mistake, the other two were defensible. The other part of me saw Brees showed grit scoring on 2 touchdown runs, and he should be applauded for talking Sean Payton into going for the touchdown before halftime. From what I remember Brees has NEVER led the Saints to a 4th quarter come from behind win. Check that stat off his list. He made the plays when the game was on the line, and finished 22 of 38 for 298 yards, 1 touchdown, 3 interceptions, 2 fumbles (1 lost), and 2 rushing touchdowns. It was a mix bag, but pressure was in his face constantly. His stature limitation was also evident, leading to a few batted passes at the line of scrimmage. Give him props for a great block on Bush's touchdown run.

Reggie Bush: C (2.22) I struggled with this grade, too. Bush was honestly in line for a D- until he made one of the most athletic and incredible plays I've seen this season. His touchdown leap was an absolute thing of beauty, and it single handedly saves his grade. He also converted a HUGE 3rd down play by shedding a tackle late and tip toeing the sidelines before turning upfield. Those plays came with the game in the balance, so give him credit. His punt returning was once again an atrocity, and his stats were forgettable: 3 carries, 10 yards, 3 catches 16 yards. He had a touchdown and he also fell down for a loss with no defender in sight earlier in the game. He also had a terrible block on a blitz pickup that allowed Brees to get sacked.

Mike Bell: A- (3.42) Bell didn't play in the 1st half, but ripped a monstrous 35 yard gasher on his first carry in the 2nd half. He ran with brutal authority, and continues to have that violence about him that always get extra yards at the end of his carries. He did everything the Saints asked of him and finished with 12 carries for 80 yards. Give him credit for milking some clock as the Saints had the lead late. The only regret was him not scoring on a couple goal line carries inside the 5, but Heath Evans was banged up so he didn't have a true lead blocker.

Pierre Thomas: C+ (3.17) Not Thomas' best game, as he ended with 8 carries for 30 yards. Bell's second half emergence kept Thomas benched for the latter parts of the game. Thomas turned a 3rd and 16 play early into a 14 yard screen pass, just shy of a 1st down. The only reproach I really have was a play he tried to bounce outside that turned into a loss - it was very reminiscent of Bush's trademark screw ups.

Heath Evans: B- (3.11) Evans was blown up for a 5 yard loss on one screen pass, and he made a nice first down play on another 8 yard screen. He had 1 carry for 2 yards to give the Saints breathing room outside of their own end zone. The running game was mediocre early, so hard to give Evans a better grade. Give him credit for Bell's emergence. He left the game with what looked like a sprained ankle. Knowing the kind of guy he is I'm sure he'll be ready to go next week.

Marques Colston: B- (3.06)
If you look at his stats you'd think he must have played pretty well. Colston was the most targeted player ending with 5 catches for 72 yards and a touchdown. Colston did have a couple drops, though, and he should have hauled in a pass that was stolen away from him at the goal line for an interception. Colston did make some impressive plays downfield, though.

Lance Moore: C- (2.78) Very quiet day for Lance Moore. Almost too quiet. 2 catches for 18 yards.

Devery Henderson: B+ (3.11) Devery was his usual self making plays for the Saints in the passing game. He ended with 4 catches for 71 yards, none bigger than a 37 yarder downfield as the Saints were mounting their improbable comeback. He also showed off his terrific speed taking an end around for 13 yards.

Jeremy Shockey: A- (3.39) Shockey was very quiet for a long stretch in this game, but he made some of the biggest plays when it counted. His most memorable was a 66 yard reception where he broke a tackle, then stiffed armed his way down to about the 10 yard line setting up a touchdown. Brees looked for Shockey often in the 2nd half, and Shockey ended with 4 catches for 105 yards. As always he showed terrific and reliable hands.

David Thomas: D+ (1.92) Poor blocking and poor catching day for the Wendy's founder namesake. A bad game overall for the Saints' backup tight end. The one pass he did haul in was a screen that went for a yard loss.

Jermon Bushrod: C- (2.74) Bushrod gave Brees some time late, and did an effective job run blocking, but otherwise he almost got Brees killed. He gave up 2 sacks to Jason Taylor, allowed Joey Porter to knock Brees down a couple time and overall just didn't pass protect the way he had to this point in the season. The Saints really missed Jammal Brown in this game. He also had a bad false start inside the Saints' 5. He needs to improve if the Saints want to win the ultimate prize. He also missed assignments on blitz pickups.

Zach Strief: C- (2.67) Didn't make a difference run blocking like he normally does.

Carl Nicks: C+ (3.17) Pass blocking was overall pretty suspect for Nicks against Miami. When Brees would step up in the pocket his man would typically get some contact on the Saints' quarterback. He failed to help Bushrod on a couple plays, and he wasn't his usual dominant self run blocking.

Jonathan Goodwin: C (3.06) He's typically terrific at pulling on screen passes and springing them free, but he missed his assignment on screens to both David Thomas and Heath Evans that resulted in lost yardage. A very average performance from the Saints' center.

Jahri Evans: B (3.45) Evans was by far the most solid Saints' offensive lineman on the day. Given how much Brees was hit all day it's hard to give anyone on the line better than a B, but Evans handled his man throughout the game and sprung some nice runs on his side. Bell's longest run was set up by a terrific seal job on Evans' part, and many of the hard nose medium running gains the Saints had were behind big Jahri.

Jon Stinchcomb: B- (2.83) Stinchcomb had at least one penalty that I can remember, and was quite frankly playing a miserable game getting beat on the edge and doing a poor job of run blocking. Then a weird thing happened. He seemed to go down with an injury, but he returned on the next drive and was lights out for the rest of the game. His run blocking was effective, and I never saw pressure again come from his side. He finished out the game very nicely.

Offensive Player of the Game: Jeremy Shockey and Mike Bell (tie)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Saints Nation: Saints overcome 21 point deficit, beat Dolphins 46-34 in heroic effort

What a comeback it was! If you missed that game, how could you?? Down 24-3, the Saints mounted the most impressive of comebacks. You can check out the box score HERE. The win moves the Saints to 6-0, and now 2 games ahead of the Atlanta Falcons who lost @ Dallas. Check back for player grades!!

Saints Nation: Saints @ Dolphins

The Saints face off against the Dolphins in Miami today at 4:15pm Eastern (3:15pm Central). Chad Henne will lead the 2-3 Dolphins into battle against the 5-0 Saints. Enjoy the game and GEAUX SAINTS!!!!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Saints Nation: Defending the Wildcat

The key to beating the Dolphins tomorrow will be to limit the effectiveness of the wildcat when Miami has the ball. I posted on Canal Street Chronicles HERE who the key players will be for the Saints. Check it out!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Saints Nation: Predictions Requested for Saints @ Dolphins

Please comment below and give me your predictions for the Saints @ Dolphins this weekend. Who wins the game and by what score? Feel free to be more detailed if you like. You must sign in with your gmail accounts to comment.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Saints Nation: Remi Ayodele has supplanted Kendrick Clancy at starter

In one of his weekly press conferences this week, Sean Payton announced that youngster Remi Ayodele was now his starter at defensive tackle alongside Sedrick Ellis. Suprising news to me, at the very least, as I had been calling for Kendrick Clancy to return to the lineup as soon as possible. Despite being in my opinion one of the most underrated players on the Saints, Clancy is now burried on the depth chart with a minimal chance at playing time. While I haven't been blown away by Remi Ayodele's play to this point, he has been serviceable and he even scored a touchdown (pictured) against the Jets. Either Clancy's knee injury is more serious than the Saints are letting on, or they've been impressed enough with Ayodele's performance that they believe he is the best man for the job. To be honest, I have no idea which of those two theories is more likely at this point. My hope is that Ayodele will continue to improve as he gets more playing time, but my opinion is the Saints are weaker at defensive tackle now than they were when the season started.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Saints Nation: If You HAVE to Find Something to Complain About...

Having witnessed 5 straight BEAT DOWNS the Saints have laid on opposing teams - what is there to complain about? I mean, let's face it, Saints fans can be a bitter bunch. After years of losing you accrue some negativity. You guys all have that Saints fan buddy who rains on the parade. "Yeah, they won by 50, but the running game was awful"... or "yeah, they won, but that one guy had a meaningless personal foul so they clearly don't have discipline". You get the idea: The Debbie Downer guy. The Saints have been so close to flawless this year, there is literally almost NOTHING to complain about. That guy has been pretty much entirely shut up. Well, at the risk of sounding like that guy, I think there's still perfectible things. The offense and defense by and large have both been good, so it's actually the special teams (coverage and returning) that has been the most disappointing aspect of the team's efforts this season.

The Saints average just 22.1 yards per kick return this season and just 3.9 yards per punt return this season. By comparison, they yield 26.8 yards per kick return and 12.2 yards per punt return. That's not just losing that phase of the game, that's getting demolished in that phase of the game. All of this and the Saints' closest game all season was a 14 point margin! It goes to show, if you win 2 out of the 3 phases (offense, defense, special teams) each week, you will win the game. The Saints have won on offense and defense EVERY SINGLE WEEK. That said, the Saints have been so good you have to start thinking big picture. Are we going to be satisfied with a 12-4 finish and a playoff run short of the SuperBowl, or are we aiming for the ultimate prize? If the Saints want to go that far, they have to get better on special teams. Sooner or later the offense could have an off day, or the defense could give up a few big plays... Will special teams be able to make a play to balance the "off day"?

So there you have it. I was able to find ONE THING that hasn't been ideal in the Saints' first 5 games. Hey, if they get that corrected they'll start beating people by 40 points? Right?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Saints Nation: Player Grades vs. Giants (defense and special teams)


Will Smith: C- (2.67)
Smith ended with just 1 tackle and had a very quiet day. He was double teamed several times, a sure sign of respect for his abilities. He did a good job of turning a Brandon Jacobs play on the edge into a negative gain by pushing back the point of attack. Other than that he was more absent than usual.

Charles Grant: B- (2.47)
Grant was involved downfield and I've noticed a lot more hustle from him this season. While he didn't have as impressive of a day rushing the passer, he did a good job against the run. He finished with 4 tackles.

Remi Ayodele: C- (2.25)
Ayodele didn't do a good job against the run, and he looked slow and out of position on numerous plays. On one pile up he showed poor awareness and allowed Jacobs to push the pile for a yard extra before jumping in to get him down. He saves his grade somewhat with a meaningless sack at the end of the game.

Sedrick Ellis: D+ (2.80)
Ellis was utterly invisible. He did a poor job rushing Manning and finished with 1 tackle. The Saints were fortunate the Giants didn't run the ball much because Jacobs got hurt and they were down so much they had to pass. The Giants did look effective when they ran, and averaged 4.4 yards per carry for the game. A forgettable performance by a guy who's had a good season.

Bobby McCray: C+ (2.34)
We know McCray can rush the passer and get after it with his motor, but it was really nice to see him get involved against the run and make a couple plays. He was close on a couple pass rushes, knocking down Eli Manning twice. He finished with 2 tackles.

Anthony Hargrove: C (2.08)
Hargrove had 2 tackles in limited action. Relatively quiet day, but he seemed active when he was in the game. I've yet to see Hargrove duplicate the kind of performances he had in the preseason which earned him his roster spot. I have a feeling his breakout game will come soon.

Scott Shanle: B+ (3.07)
Fans like to rip on Shanle and talk about how he can be replaced, but this game was a perfect example of how solid he is. Shanle finished with 5 tackles and played a very sound game. He was involved on numerous plays, and ran very well sideline to sideline. The guy is a sure tackler and he seems to always play within the defense without making mistakes. Shanle recovered a fumble that he picked up and ran inside the Giants' 10 setting up a Saints' touchdown. I can understand why Gregg Williams loves him.

Jonathan Vilma: C- (2.73)
Unfortunately for Vilma, the most memorable play of the game for him was a roughing the passer helmet to helmet hit on Manning that negated a Darren Sharper interception return for a touchdown. As the team's leading tackler a year ago, he finished with just 4 tackles and is off to a slow start in his tackle tally total.

Troy Evans: D+ (1.33)
Evans made some mistakes filling in for the injured Scott Fujita. He looked especially weak in pass coverage and he was beaten badly on an 18 yard pass to Kevin Boss. He did have 4 tackles, but he didn't have that sure tackling cerebral play that we're so accustomed to with Fujita. Hopefully we'll get #55 back next week, otherwise Evans will have to step up his performance.

Jabari Greer: A (3.67)
Greer was absolutely fantastic in coverage and he tied for the team lead with 5 tackles. As usual he was helpful in run support when the opposing runners would hit the second level and he tackled well when receivers made plays. He intercepted Eli Manning in the 3rd Quarter which killed a promising drive, and he also broke up a deep ball playing picture perfect coverage.

Tracy Porter: B+ (3.07)
Porter laid his usual hard hits, finished with 4 tackles, and defended a couple passes as well. He laid a huge blow on Steve Smith on what would have been a big gain, but the hit jarred the ball loose for an incomplete pass. We've got one heck of a tandem at cornerback. Porter showed nice speed catching Nicks from behind, too.

Randall Gay: B- (3.22)
Gay had 1 tackle and had a couple plays where he showed off good coverage. Quiet game, but no major mistakes.

Roman Harper: A- (3.27)
Harper had a major error in coverage that led to a 58 yard pass play to Hakeem Nicks, but it's hard to get mad at him when he makes so many plays. I love that Gregg Williams blitzes him so much because he is great at it and he always seems to cause trouble in the backfield. Right before halftime Harper sacked Manning and forced a fumble the Saints would recover. He had 5 tackles, and also had good pressure on the interception by Greer causing an errant pass from Manning.

Darren Sharper: B- (3.20)
It's too bad Vilma had that roughing the passer penalty because Sharper almost had his 6th interception in 5 games, and his 3rd touchdown. Sharper looked slow and beat on a couple plays, including one that was a sure touchdown had Manning not overthrown the ball. Sharper had another shot at an interception on the touchdown pass to Mario Manningham, but had the ball wrestled away from him. Otherwise, he was active and around the ball. He had 3 tackles and 2 defended passes.


John Carney: C- (2.73)
Easy day for Carney, he attempted 7 extra points and that's it. Hard to give him a much better grade when he had an extra point blocked.

Thomas Morstead: C- (3.13)
Morstead wasn't great punting. He had a touchback on one punt and he outkicked his coverage twice setting up Hixon for big returns. Morstead got less depth on his kickoffs than usual, but give him credit for saving the Saints twice on poor kickoff coverages. He had a tackle once, and redirected Hixon into a tackler another time.

Courtney Roby: B (2.50)
Nothing too special, but Roby did a good job hitting his lanes hard. He wasn't able to break one, but he did get the Saints 15 extra yards twice (once getting horse collared, once being brought down by a facemask penalty). Roby averaged 22.8 yards per return and gave the Saints pretty good field position.


Monday, October 19, 2009

Saints Nation: Player Grades vs. Giants (offense)

See below my player grades for the Giants game. Remember, the letter grades represents the grade for the game and the GPA in parentheses behind it represents their cumulative GPA for the season.


Drew Brees: A+ (3.27)
Brees receives the second A+ I've given out. What can you say about his performance? Simply flawless. He threw for 369 yards, 4 touchdowns, no interceptions and he wasn't sacked. He threw the ball at will to whoever he wanted, and was unstoppable.

Pierre Thomas: B- (3.45)
Decent game by Thomas. He finished with 72 on 15 carries, though 25 came on a run late. He was stacked up on 4th and inches from the goal line on a play where it seemed like he could have made a better effort to finish off the run. That play could have hurt the Saints if the defense hadn't give the offense a second chance with a forced turnover before halftime. Overall he ran with authority and kept the chains moving.

Mike Bell: B- (3.34)
Mixed bag from Bell. Right before the 4th down Pierre Thomas run mentioned previously, he was stopped on 3rd and short from the goal line. He also converted a crucial 4th and 1 from the 2 yard line for a touchdown on the game's opening drive. He seemed to get stacked up late, but showed impressive power on some plays. Finished with 15 carries for 34 yards and a touchdown. He did have a nice run along the sideline for a touchdown, called back by a holding penalty.

Reggie Bush: B- (2.27)
Bush had 6 carries for 17 yards and a touchdown, 1 catch for 7 yards and 2 punt returns for 0 yards. His punt returning was atrocious as always. He had a couple nifty runs, including a 9 yard run around the edge and beautiful 7 yard touchdown run. He also had his trademark "dancing" rushing attempts. Brees bypassed him wide open a couple times in the passing game.

Heath Evans: B (3.20)
Evans capped off the Saints' final scoring drive with a 2 yard touchdown run. Otherwise, he threw devastating blocks at times where the Saints needed it the most. He negated a Mike Bell touchdown run with a holding penalty which costs him a better grade. He also caught a screen pass for 5 yards.

Marques Colston: A+ (3.13)
Colston receives the 3rd A+ of the season. He was Brees' favorite target all day and completely torched the Giants. They had no answer for his frame and hands. He made tough grabs in traffic, grabs downfield, ran terrific routes and showed good ability after the catch. Colston finished with 8 catches for 166 yards and 1 touchdown.

Lance Moore: A (3.34)
It was nice to see Moore's number called, and he responded in a big way. On the opening drive he was targeted several times, and he had a juggling reception that converted a crucial 3rd and 7 for a first down. Nice to see Moore back to his old form from a season ago. He had 6 grabs, 78 yards and a touchdown.

Robert Meachem: A- (2.92)
Just two catches for Meachem, but they were both huge. He finished with 2 catches for 70 yards and a touchdown, and his 36 yard TD from Brees was the best grab of the day over two defenders. His other catch went down to the 1 yard line and he would have scored but the ball by Brees was slightly underthrown. He also rushed for 2 yards on a reverse that went down to the Eagles' 1 yard line.

Devery Henderson: C+ (3.06)
Just 1 catch for 6 yards on the day for Henderson who was very quiet on a day where everyone else was anything but. Henderson did beat his man deep on a throw that could have been a touchdown, but Brees underthrew the ball because he was hit by Justin Tuck as he released the pass. Give Henderson credit for a terrific block around the edge that sprung Bush's 9 yard run.

Jeremy Shockey: B+ (3.33)
Shockey blocked well on running plays, and he was used often in the first half. He kind of disappeared in the second half, but with everything the Saints tried working offensively you can't really complain about Shockey's performance. Nice to see him score against his old team, he made a nice grab and did a good job holding onto the football going down. Shockey, true to form, ran crisp routes and showed sure hands. He finished with 4 catches for 37 yards and 1 touchdown.

David Thomas: D (2.11)
Thomas did a poor job blocking on a couple plays, allowing his man to get into the backfield, he didn't catch a pass, and he had a false start on 3rd and 7 which resulted in the Saints getting pushed back 5 yards further. Quiet day for the backup tight end.

Jermon Bushrod: A- (3.00)
Bushrod had in my opinion what was his past game as a Saint. He completely shut down Osi Umenyiora's pass rushing ability. I'm starting to believe the Saints can feel safe with Bushrod holding down the left tackle spot for the rest of the season. You'll notice the Saints also attacked the left side of the field on rushing plays several times and Bushrod was effective.

Carl Nicks: A (3.34)
We know he's a mauler and we know that run blocking is his specialty. What was nice to see against the Giants was the pass blocking he exhibited. In helping Bushrod, he knocked Umenyiora flat on his back twice showing nice athleticism and incredible strength. This guy just keeps getting better and better. What a draft choice he was in the 5th round.

Jonathan Goodwin: B (3.27)
The Saints didn't run many screens, so we didn't get a chance to see Goodwin pull and throw the lead blocks off the edge he is so good at. That said, he played a solid game.

Jahri Evans: A- (3.53)
Another textbook performance by Evans, who was dominating on the interior. Once again, any time Brees felt pressure on the edges he would step up in the pocket and feel zero pressure because the interior blocking was so superior. Evans did a good job springing the 25 yard Thomas run, and he hustled downfield a few times to help finish off plays.

Jon Stinchcomb: B+ (2.87)
Facing arguably one of the most dangerous pass rushers in the entire league in Justin Tuck, Stinchcomb held his own very well. His running blocking wasn't perfect, and late in the game when the Saints ran behind him they struggled. Stinchcomb did show good technique as always, and played a very clean game. The fact that both tackles held Umenyiora and Tuck sackless is a big tribute to the way they played.

Zach Strief: C- (2.87)
I've given this guy praise all year for how he's done coming in as the extra tight end on blocking downs. He just didn't perform all that well today. Usually he comes in and uses his immense size to completely demolish the lighter ends as the Saints run behind him. He played a significant amount of plays in the Saints' last two drives, and that was when they struggled the most to run the ball.


Check back for my defensive and special teams grades.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Saints Nation: Saints bulldoze the Giants 48-27, move to 5-0

In a game that was under the Saints' control from the very start, the Saints blew out the visiting New York Giants 48-27. The Giants drop to 5-1 on the season, while the Saints move to 5-0. The Saints were dominant offensively, moving the ball at will and scoring a touchdown with 7 different players. You can check out the box score of the game HERE. This game leaves zero room for anyone to argue that the Saints are a legitimate contender. This team is for real, folks. They have won all five contests in convincing fashion, including their biggest offensive output against what was supposedly their toughest competition. Check back later for player grades.

Saints Nation: Gameday vs. Giants

We have finally arrived. Today your 4-0 New Orleans Saints host the 5-0 New York Giants at the Superdome for a 12 noon central kickoff (1pm eastern). The Saints have looked dominant and impressive through 4 games, but this will be the real measuring stick. How do they stack up against an elite team? Any doubters the Saints have left can be quieted starting today. Enjoy the game and GEAUX SAINTS!!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Saints Nation: Matchup vs. the Giants -- Front Four

Check out the post I wrote on the Giants vs. Saints matchup HERE. As I mentioned previously I will be writing pieces for Canal Street Chronicles a couple times a week and I'll be including links here. To me, the keys of the game this Sunday will be each team's ability to get pressure with the front four. Geaux Saints!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Saints Nation: Rod Harper placed on IR, Chase Daniel re-signed

Wide Receiver and Preseason Punt Returning hero Rod Harper has been placed on injured reserve with an apparent foot injury, unfortunately meaning he's been shelved for the entire season. While this is sad news, the Saints have used the open roster spot to re-sign rookie quarterback Chase Daniel.

Saints Nation: Catch Dat Brees available for your purchase!

In efforts to raise funds for the Brees Dream Foundation, fine art signed by Drew Brees featuring both Brees and characters from the Looney Tunes (Warner Bros.) is available for purchase. The art is named "Catch Dat Brees" and it's a tribute to Brees' 5000 yard passing season which culminated with a completion to tight end Billy Miller. To learn more about the art (pictured) check out: Catch Dat Brees. To learn more about Drew Brees' foundation, visit:

The Press Release on the art:

New Orleans, LA and Los Angeles, CA (October 13, 2009) – Catch Dat Brees, a fine art limited edition featuring Drew Brees and the famous Warner Bros. Looney Tunes characters, has just been released to commemorate the second time in NFL history that a quarterback has eclipsed the 5,000 yard passing threshold. This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to own a numbered fine art lithograph or hand-painted cel limited edition, both personally signed by Drew Brees, will raise funds for the Brees Dream Foundation.

“I am honored to be the first football player to be featured in a Warner Bros. animated fine art lithograph and cel,” said Drew Brees. “I love this art and I’m excited for my son to see his Dad throwing a pass to Bugs Bunny,” added Drew.

The limited edition has Drew completing the pass to Bugs Bunny for this colorfully captured moment in sports. Notice that Daffy Duck has just finished turning the 50 yard line into the “5000” yard line. “Bugs Bunny is wearing Billy Miller's number since Billy caught the pass that put us over 5,000 yards,” said Drew. “This could not have been accomplished without my teammates, coaches, fans, and of course, the great city of New Orleans.”

“I get to play a fun role in this piece as I’m immortalized as the one and only Bugs Bunny” said Billy Miller. “Catching the pass that put Drew over the 5,000 yards mark means a lot to me and helping him raise funds for the Brees Dream Foundation, our team, and the city really brings it all home,” added Billy.

Catch Dat Brees is the first animated Warner Bros. sports limited edition to feature an athlete in nearly a decade. Drew Brees is the first football player to be featured in a Warner Bros. animated limited edition making him a part of American animation art history. Drew Brees joins the company of sports legends Michael Jordan, Muhammad Ali, Wayne Gretzky, and Derek Jeter.

“I am so proud of Drew and our family is very fortunate to be a part of this great city,” said Brittany Brees. “The Brees Dream Foundation is committed to providing care, education and opportunities for children, and this wonderful project with Warner Bros. is a part of our ongoing efforts in New Orleans.”

Join the tribute to Drew and help raise funds needed for the Brees Dream Foundation for their ongoing efforts in Louisiana. Special introductory pricing is available for a limited time, so visit to be a part of this limited edition only available for this season.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Saints Nation: Making Comments on this Site (Administrative Update)

Thanks to some of the recent "colorful" comments made by anonymous posters, I've made a change to the comment postings on Saints Nation. Moving forward, you must be signed into a gmail account in order to comment. I hate to ask people to do that, but my hope is that it will deter people from making inappropriate comments if their identity is revealed. You can no longer make a comment as "anonymous". Please know that I encourage comments and I love hearing from YOU, the fans, but with kids visiting this site I do want them exposed to some of the language and inappropriate comments some of you can't help yourself from sharing. Thanks for your cooperation and understanding, and PLEASE, don't hesitate to comment using your gmail account. I love constructive feedback from you guys! It can even be negative feedback, just please refrain from anything offensive. Thank you. As always I appreciate the support so many of you have given this site - it wouldn't be the same without you.

Saints Nation: What's to make of Lance Moore?

Coming off a stellar season in which Lance Moore was the most pleasant surprise of the year, he's followed it up with a whopping 3 catches for 39 yards through 4 games. Mostly to blame for his incredibly slow start was a shoulder injury he suffered prior to training camp while lifting weights, and a pulled hamstring he suffered early in the season. Moore may be finally turning a corner after extended rest during the bye week and seems primed to resume his prominent role in the offense. Can we expect a big resurgence though? My thoughts are things will come slowly.

As much to blame as his injuries for Moore's inactivity is the emergence of Devery Henderson. For years Henderson was a one trick pony. He'd run the token deep route on most plays where he saw action on the field. Sometimes Drew Brees would take a shot deep at him, but mostly it was used to stretch the defense and force the opposition to respect the possibility that he COULD BE thrown to. Fast forward to today and Henderson is fresh off a new contract signing and he's being used in a variety of new ways. He's being trusted to block downfield on 1st and 2nd down, he's being trusted on slant routes, and most importantly he's seeing the football on 3rd and short passing plays. To his credit, his pass catch reliability woes are a thing of the past. His emergence this year as a more polished and balanced receiver has and will mean less looks for Lance Moore, unless Henderson suffers an injury or a serious regression. Don't forget that even with the little plays Henderson makes still comes the explosiveness that could turn anything into a homerun.

Another item that could stunt Lance Moore's performance is the the current defensive schemes the Saints are facing. If you watched the Bills and Jets games, you noticed that teams are so scared of the Saints passing on them that they're leaving the door wide open for the Saints to run the ball at will. The theory, I assume, is that Sean Payton is so hard headed that he'll insist on passing even when he's dared to run. So far he's proven the opposition wrong and you've seen Pierre Thomas and Mike Bell run absolutely wild on every team the Saints have faced. This approach in "stopping" the Saints offense has yielded two straight touchdown-less games for Drew Brees, but that's about all the good it's done. It seems as though teams are picking a different poison, but the result on the scoreboard has arguably been better for the Saints. In other words, the feature back for the Saints is as valuable as ever until it becomes trendy to adopt a new scheme when facing the Saints offense (which based on the way the Mike Bell and Pierre Thomas are running the ball could be very soon).

Despite the improvement in Henderson's game and the running game prowess, expect Moore to upgrade his usefulness in the coming weeks. He's still by far the best route runner on the team (Colston could take some major lessons from him), and his hands are as sure as anyone on the team. Moore is a master at finding that dead spot in zone coverages and Brees developed a terrific rapport with him last year. Expect him to get 3-5 touches the next few weeks per game. Depending on what develops beyond that with injuries and how Moore produces, he could start to become the Lance Moore of a year ago - but don't expect that anytime soon. Right now Colston and Henderson are the clear #1 and #2 guys, but the good news for Moore is the Saints rotate their receivers often and he'll see plenty of action. Sean Payton loves the three wide receiver set package, too. Here's to hoping Sir Lance can make the most of his return to the field.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Saints Nation: Remembering Brett Bech

Check out the article I posted HERE on Canal Street Chronicles regarding former Saints' WR Brett Bech.

Saints Nation: Opposing Opinions

I caught up with my colleagues at the top Giants blog: "Big Blue View" to get their thoughts about the upcoming matchup. Check out the Q&A below for their impressions on the game and the Saints. Special thanks to Jim S. for taking the time, and good luck to your boys the rest of the season (except for Sunday).

Saints Nation: Eli is from New Orleans so he has many local fans. How is he doing in New York? After getting off to a rocky start, has the Super Bowl win gotten the monkey off his back or does he still deal with scrutiny? Has he won over the fans completely?

Big Blue View
: There are very few quarterbacks who have played in the NFL who didn't have their detractors, Eli is no exception. Eli will never be the quarterback his brother is, but with the Giants, he'll never have to be. Eli just has to be Eli. In my mind, he is the best in the league in the two minute drill. He's done it time and time again, at home, on the road, in the Super Bowl. His teammates call him "Easy-E" for a good reason, nothing rattles him. I think most fans have embraced Eli, winning a Super Bowl will do that.

SN: How do you feel about the Giants-Saints matchup?

BBV: I'd feel much better about it if it was at Giants Stadium. I know the Giants are a great road team, but you'd still rather play a team with an explosive offense like the Saints in your own house, out in the elements. Guess we'll have to wait for the NFC Championship Game to get the Saints in Jersey. :)

SN: What scares you the most about the Saints?

BBV: That they won back to back games without Brees throwing a TD pass, that tells you how good they are. These are not the Billy Joe Hobert Saints. The other thing that scares me is Jeremy Shockey catching the game winning TD. I still have two gently used number 80 jerseys for sale if anyone is interested, ha ha.

SN: Can you give Saints fans a sense of what to expect from the Giants? Fill us in on maybe something we might not know?

BBV: With the Giants, you can talk about Eli, Jacobs, or the new wideouts, but New York Giants Football is and always will be about the defense. The Giants are going to have to get their pass rush going, try and get to Brees early, and see if they can knock him around a little.

What are your expectations for the Giants this season? Do you think this could be a possible matchup in the NFC Championship game?

I am forever a Giants optimist, but usually stay away from bold predictions, until this year. I truly feel they are the best team in the NFL, and I think they have to be considered the favorite to win the Super Bowl. I definitely see this as a potential NFC Championship preview.

How does this Giants team compare to the recent Superbowl championship team 2 years ago?

This team is better. The 2007 team was a very good one, but this team has a better balance of talent, and are deeper at just about every position.

SN: Give us a prediction on the score.

BBV: Oof. This is going to be a fun one. Two very good offenses, two very good defenses. Giants win, but it may take more than 4 quarters to do it. Giants 30-27 in overtime.

Thanks again to the guys at Big Blue View and don't forget to go check out their Giants blog!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Saints Nation: Hartley activated from suspension

Garrett Hartley has rejoined the Saints after coming off his four game suspension. Hartley joins John Carney as the second kicker on the roster, as the Saints have for the moment decided to carry both. Third string quarterback Chase Daniel has been released to make room on the roster for Hartley. Beyond keeping Hartley around for future seasons, it's pretty unclear what his role will be for the rest of the season. Carney has been accurate and reliable, and rookie punter Thomas Morstead has had the kickoff duties on lockdown since taking over. Interesting that the Saints decided not to part ways with Carney, yet decided to hang on to Hartley as well. Keeping two kickers on the roster, especially when one is inactive for games, is a very odd decision. It looks like the Saints didn't want to mortgage their future, nor did they want to change the good thing they have going with Carney. The good news is the Saints can absorb two kickers on their roster currently given the relative good health of the team, but down the road they may be forced to make a tough decision and release one of the two players if injuries become a factor. I can't imagine the Saints will keep 2 kickers on their roster indefinitely when one serves no purpose on gamedays. While Hartley could contribute on kickoffs, I'm sure the Saints see no reason to replace Morstead who has been extremely effective. My guess is Hartley will have to prove in the next couple weeks during practice that he's reliable, that way when the Saints' hand is forced to make a decision at some point Hartley will be under consideration as the full time kicker over Carney. There is no question Hartley has a much stronger leg at this point in his career, but he'll need to show he's as accurate as Carney inside 40 yard attempts too. Based on Hartley's performance in preseason that's not obvious. There's also the regret from the current regime for letting Carney go the first time, and the danger of paying for that same mistake again gives Carney a psychological advantage staying on the roster through the end of the year.

Saints Nation: Posting for Canal Street Chronicles

I've begun to start writing in addition to Saints Nation for the most followed Saints blog on the internet: Canal Street Chronicles. You can check out my first post HERE. Don't freak out, fans, nothing will happen to Saints Nation and I will continue to post daily as always. Saints Nation is my baby and I'm eternally grateful for the support you all have given me. Hopefully this will be another way to get my thoughts on the Saints out there and this will be a chance to enhance both blogs!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Saints Fans Have Spoken: The All NFC South 1st Team

Below is the All NFC South 1st Team Saints Nation Fans selected. Thanks for your participation throughout the polls! The team features 14 Saints, 5 Falcons, 4 Panthers, and 3 Buccanneers.

QB: Drew Brees
WR: Steve Smith
WR: Marques Colston
HB: Michael Turner
FB: Heath Evans
TE: Tony Gonzalez
T: Jammal Brown
T: Jordan Gross
G: Jahri Evans
G: Carl Nicks
C: Jeff Faine

E: Julius Peppers
E: John Abraham
DT: Sedrick Ellis
DT: Kendrick Clancy
OLB: Mike Peterson
OLB: Thomas Davis
MLB: Jonathan Vilma
CB: Jabari Greer
CB: Ronde Barber
FS: Darren Sharper
SS: Jermaine Phillips

K: Jason Elam
P: Thomas Morstead
KR: Courtney Roby
PR: Reggie Bush

Saints Nation: Giants @ Saints setting up to be a monster showdown

The Giants will come to New Orleans on Sunday with a perfect 5-0 record, making for a early showdown with major implications. While you might think to yourself "we're 4-0, it's not a huge deal if we lose one here", I beg to differ. If the ultimate goal is the SuperBowl, this is a must for the Saints. It's clear the Giants will be competition down the stretch for homefield advantage throughout the playoffs. This would be a crucial tiebreaker to own, unless you guys feel like going through New York in January sounds like a feasible path to glory. I've said it before and I'll say it again: the Saints' roster is not built to win games in harsh weather. That's not to say they can't, but they're built to play their best under clear conditions, and so playing at home in the dome when the stakes are at their highest is their best chance to go far. And before you tell me "hey they beat Buffalo and Philly on the road", those games were won in September. I'm not saying that losing this game will cost us the season, and I'm not saying the Saints can't rebound from a subpar performance (should that happen). I am saying this game is crucial for possible playoff seeding down the road, and this would be a major step towards the Saints putting themselves in a favorable position to succeed. There's going to be games the Saints can afford to lose down the road this season, but I believe this is NOT one of them. Should the Saints lose, this will be a hole they'll need to climb out of. Geaux Saints! I've got a little Q&A with a Giants blog going - so check back later for their thoughts on the matchup.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Saints Nation: Bye week pleasantries

Being 4-0 going into a bye week is the ideal scenario, and while having no Saints game on Sunday is a mild bummer, we'll have the next 12 weekends to enjoy crucial football games with our beloved team.

With the Saints off this weekend I'm turning my attention to three things. It will be nice to watch these three games without the major anxiety I get for the Saints (LSU being the possible exception).

1. #4 LSU Tigers hosting #1 Florida Gators tonight. I don't think there's any way Tim Tebow won't play in this game. While it's not the Saints, I'm admittedly a big LSU fan and I can wait for this matchup at 7pm central, 8 eastern tonight. Both teams are undefeated and the game is in Baton Rouge. Big time college football.

2. Atlanta Falcons at San Francisco 49ers. The Falcons have made it very clear with their 2-1 start (that included a mighty fight in a loss to the Patriots) that they are for real this year. The 49ers are 3-1, though, and they're hosting the Falcons. The 49ers defense looks especially tough which is no surprise considering Mike Singeltary is at the helm. How the Falcons' high powered offense that features Michael Turner, Roddy White, Tony Gonzalez and Matt Ryan fares against this 49ers defense in San Francisco will be a VERY interesting matchup. We should all be big 49ers fans this weekend. This will decide whether the Saints are 1 game ahead or 2 games ahead going into next week's Giants game. The Falcons thus far are proving to be unquestioned competitors to the Saints for the NFC South crown and every game counts.

3. Washington Redskins @ Carolina Panthers. While I've written off the Tampa Bay Bucs at 0-3 for this season as being a viable competitor in the NFC South, I'm not ready to write off the 0-3 Panthers yet. I'm curious to see how they respond tomorrow against the 2-2 Redskins. This is a tailor made opponent for the Panthers to turn around their season against. The Redskins' have looked nothing short of positively WOEFUL in their two wins (9-7 over the sorry Rams, 16-13 over the rebuilding Bucs), and let's not forget they were on the losing end of the Lions' first victory since 2007. If the Panthers lose this game, you can write them off, because the Redskins look pathetic this season. If they win they can still be dangerous to the Saints. I don't think I can bring myself to root for the Redskins, but I sure as heck can't pull for the Panthers either. I guess I'll just watch the game and see what happens.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Saints Nation: NFC South Standings

NFC South TeamWLT PctPFPANet PtsTDHomeRoadDivPctConf

New Orleans Saints4001.0001446678182-02-00-0.0002-0

Atlanta Falcons210.6675753472-00-11-01.0001-0

Carolina Panthers030.0003787-5040-10-20-1.0000-3

Tampa Bay Buccaneers040.00054107-5370-20-20-0.0000-3

Mmmm, first place. It's made all the sweeter based on how awful Carolina and Tampa are doing. A long way to go, but things are right where we want them to be.Sidenote: Check out THIS STORY. How crazy is that? The Saints are #2 in the ENTIRE LEAGUE in TV ratings. That means more people nationwide are watching the Saints than the Cowboys, Giants, Redskins, Brett Favre led Vikings AND the Patriots. CRAZY!