Well, it looks like the saints could start proving "experts" wrong on a frequent basis this year. Although the end result wasn't all that impressive, and it was against a Browns team struggling to find its identity, the win did tell me a few things about this saints team that I don't think anyone expected:
- The saints defense isn't as bad as advertised. They did a great job stopping the run, and limited the Browns to 85yds rushing, most of which came by their QB on desperate scrambles (44yds). All in all the defense held them to under 200yds of total offense, which will be good enough for a win most weeks.
- I said before this game that it would be Marques Colston's coming out party. A seventh round draft pick out of HOFSTRA, this 6'1" 235lb athletic WR will be a name to remember as the season moves on. He is the reason why the saints were so willing to deal Donte Stallworth. His stats weren't spectacular (49yds rec ; 1 TD), but he made some key catches using his size that Stallworth doesn't make. Drew Brees loves big targets, and he is a sure-handed big target that is sure to be utilized more and more as this season progresses.
- Duece is back in form. A lot of attention will deservingly be placed on Reggie Bush, but Duece showed he is back to pro-bowl form. Duece and Reggie combined for over 150 yds rushing, and both averaged over 4yds a carry. The saints rushing attack will rank in the top 5 this year, mark it down.
- Our offensive line is pretty good. Brees was never sacked or really pressured for that matter. One overlooked player will be rookie guard Jahri Evans. He is a wonderful surprise and is dominating his side of the line. Again, this is something the sportscasting world will take a while to catch up with. They seem to think that our line stinks when they have actually been playing solid all through the pre-season and now into the first game of the regular season.As always there were also a few areas that need some improvement:
- Pass coverage: CB Mike McKensie is still getting caught 5yds off the ball a bunch. Now I know CB's are supposed to keep plays in front of them, but he is taking that a little too far at the moment. On the bright side, our young safeties look like they are going to be solid.
- Drew Brees: He was a little off today. He botched a number of timing routes, doing WR Joe Horn a disservice on at least 3 plays. I know he isn't 100% yet, and it showed today. He should get better as the season goes on......
- Anyone know any good fullbacks? Both our starting fullback, Mike Karney, and backup (Keith Joseph) went down with injuries before the 2nd half. Hopefully one of them will be ready to go next week.
All in all, it was a game we statistically dominated, and dominated at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. The score really doesn't show either. The saints need to work on the red zone offense and start putting up touchdowns instead of fieldgoals, and it will start to show on the scoreboard more too. Make no mistake, the team has a way to go to be contenders, but the writing on the wall is that they are going to get there sooner than later.
Oh yeah, that Reggie Bush kid is pretty good too..........
- Dude out