Defense pitches second straight shutout, gives fans hope
The Black and Gold making a bit of history Saturday night as they shutout the Texans 13-0 to improve to 2-1 in the preseason. It was the first time the Saints shut out an opponent in the preseason since 2008 when they blanked the Bengals 13-0 in the third game of the preseason that year.
The shutout seemed in doubt late due to a Saints fumble inside the 30 but on 4th and 3, Adam Bighill and Obum Gwacham combined for a sack and the offense would run out the clock.
DE-FENSE. DE-FENSE. Saints fans have been hoping to cheer that in the Dome where once again it meant a big play was about to happen. A sack, a pick, a big pop, something positive as opposed to what it’s become over the past couple of seasons, a pleading cry of hope that the defense could hold them to just a field goal.
I know it’s preseason but the Saints defense has 16 sacks over three preseason games. They are also limiting teams to just 2.7 yards per run. You can say hey these games don’t matter but if the number were on the other side of things fans would be in panic mode once again about how poor the defense will be.
Saturday night they picked up four sacks, made by Adam Bighill, Raphael Bush, Darryl Tapp and Al-Quadin Muhammad. The defense also had 9 tackles for loss, 9 quarterback hits and 12 pass breakups. More importantly to me it’s coming from all three areas on the field the defensive front, the linebackers and the secondary.
Totally understand the fact that the Saints defense hasn’t faced Pro Bowl quarterbacks in Osweiler, Kellen Clemons and Tom Savage but it was exactly those caliber of quarterbacks in the past that went on to have player of the week performances against the Saints. I’m starting to have a hard time believing that things will be drastically different come the regular season, that the pass rushing, tackling and communication that we are seeing will stop. I’m not calling them the ’85 Chicago Bears but I’m pretty confident they won’t finish last in many categories as they’ve done the past few years.
ROOK UP: I’ve said that the success of the 2017 Saints will be heavily dependent on how the first and second year players perform. On the opening drive in which the Saints forced a three and out, three rookies in this year’s draft class got the start. LB Alex Anzalone , CB Marhson Lattimore and S Marcus Williams saw first series action and contributed with tackles or in Lattimore’s case a PBU to force a punt in third down. Defensive linemen Sheldon Rankins, Tyler Davidson are second year players who showed up in the game and rookie Al-Quadin Muhammad was the last player drafted back in April and he picked up his 3rd sack of the season.
OFFENSE: We finally got to see QB Drew Brees, RBs Mark Ingram and Adrian Peterson play and well you can tell that they were seeing their first action of the season. Brees finished the night 11 of 15 for 76 yards while Ingram gained just 9 yards on 4 carries and Peterson finished with 15 yards on 6 carries. I’m not concerned about how this offense will perform but Payton spoke after the game about how their lack of success on first and second downs didn’t help sustain drives.
BANGED UP: A pair of Saints linebackers went down in the game. Nate Stupar appeared to reach back for his hamstring as he was rushing Texans QB DeShaun Watson. Stupar slowly made his way to the locker room following the play. Manti Te’o appeared to take the brunt of a friendly fire hit on his left should or arm area. He stayed on the bench to finish watching the game.
Saints defense. How can they not? They had several players stand out but I give it to the unit because you could see that preserving that shutout in the 4th quarter meant something. They’re may be something to that building a culture thing.
WR Tedd Ginn Jr: Ginn showed in just four plays tonight what he can bring to the table as far as speed and big play ability wise. He had three catches for 26 yards and an end around go for 24 yards that would have been longer if not for a black in the back.
HAVE A SEAT SON, WE NEED TO TALK
SAINTS OFFENSE: I’m having trouble signaling out a specific player that may need to have a chat with coach. I think thought the inconsistency and ability to score touchdowns when Brees was in was an issue. 1st and 2nd downs did not yield to 3rd and shorts.
LAST CALL: The Saints didn’t look outmatched against a playoff team. You didn’t watch tonight and say well the Saints have a long way to go to be a playoff team.
UP NEXT: The Saints will close the preseason on Thursday night in the Superdome against Baltimore. The regular season opens up on Monday September 11 at Minnesota.