Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Saints Nation: Saints' Current Play Starting to Make Me Nervous

Given the way the Saints have played the last for weeks: sloppy, mistake prone and vulnerable, it's semi miraculous they are still undefeated. They've beaten Miami, Atlanta, Carolina and St. Louis despite turning the ball over 13 times in those 4 games. That averages out to 3.25 turnovers per game. Now sure, the Saints have had mounting injuries. Sedrick Ellis has been out, Lance Moore has been out, Darren Sharper missed a game, Jabari Greer missed a game, Scott Fujita has missed a good amount of time, Kendrick Clancy got placed on IR, Tracy Porter just got hurt and you could point to injuries before the season started like Jammal Brown and Billy Miller. The truth is, though, that most of those injuries are happening on the defensive side of the ball, and that's not the side of the ball that all those turnovers are coming from.

It's admirable that the Saints can do a beyond awful job of taking care of the football and still find a way to win. That's the sign of a very good team, that can get the job and win despite playing ugly. But we're talking about 4 games in a row where turnovers have been a major reason the Saints have let the opposition stick around much longer than they should have. The defense will get healthier and play better once key players return, but with the same offensive line all season and the same offensive lineup (save Lance Moore) there is no excuse for the continuous issues hanging onto the football. One game is an aberration, 4 games in a row is a trend. Drew Brees has been at the forefront of this ball security issue. Starting this Sunday against Tampa, I think the Saints need to focus on limiting their turnovers. As their defense gets more banged up and starts to play worse, not turning the ball over will become even more necessary. The wins are great, and I don't want to come off as negative as the Saints are 9-0, their best start in franchise history. But I've seen the Saints make the playoffs before, and I've seen them win a playoff game. That's not enough to satisfy me as a fan, especially when I see this team truly has the potential to make the SuperBowl. There is no question they are good enough. What they are doing right now, though, will get them beat in the playoffs. The point is they may be 9-0, but they're not currently playing like an NFC Champion team. Five games into the season they were, and they've since regressed. It's 4 games in a row they keep donating the ball to the other team, so it's time to stop the streak there.