By Jesse Brooks
So while I’m not being paid as professional commentator, it can be kind of hard to keep my biased emotion in check when it comes to the New Orleans Saints. Now that the smoke has cleared, here are some of my week one thoughts:
– The NFL isn’t FBS college football. The season isn’t over because of a week one loss, even if it was to a perceived lesser than divisional opponent.
– The defense gave a terrible performance. Was disappointed in how bad the secondary, including Marshon Lattimore, got burned. However, that defensive front needs to figure it out. Even elite secondaries in the NFL will get torched if you do not get pressure in the opposing backfield. Here’s to hoping Dennis Allen cleans this up soon.
– This is no excuse, but Tampa Bay is a better offense under Ryan Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick doesn’t have the same arm but he’s a Harvard smart guy with leadership qualities. Jameis Winston is no leader. Consider Payton Barber, Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson and all of the sudden that group looks solid.
– The Saints offense looked good, but they are not without problems: WR Mike Thomas was amazing collecting 180 yards on 16 catches (despite one very Colston like turnover), but the great numbers present a hidden problem. Who is going to emerge as that consistent second receiver on the other side? Ted Ginn is your over the top guy. Who is going to fill the slot game? Meredith? Smith? Come on. Time’s a wasting. Secondaries are going to start doubling Thomas after this week, particularly if they don’t see Kamara in a formation. Someone else needs to emerge.
– Alvin Kamara did Alvin Kamara things. Superstar.
– The Mark Ingram suspension issue is very much looming at the present. Mike Gillislee made a costly fumble and Jonathan Williams didn’t see the field. Without that bruising back, it puts more miles on Kamara and it makes it harder for Drew Brees and co. to control time of possession. More passing results in quicker 3-and-outs or punting situations. This is a problem when your defense is performing poorly because it means they’ll see more time on the field. Consider that after a HOT first half, they failed to score until midway through the fourth quarter in the second half.
– Ultimately, week one games are kind of wonky and this is characteristic of teams sitting out their starting units more and more each preseason. There is hope, and good reason to believe, the Saints can make a tremendous step forward in week two.