The New Orleans Saints fell to the New York Jets and have now lost two out of their last three after a hot start. The Saints problems aren’t very complicated—they are just getting too cute, especially on offense. If the Saints want to right the ship, they need to stop being so arrogant and just get back to basics.
The New Orleans Saints’ offense, numbers-wise, has had their productive numbers. However, this doesn’t mean that the games have gone smoothly. The old adage in football is that the key to a good offense is balance.
Against the New York Jets, the Saints rushed the ball only 13 times which is unacceptable in a game where they were down by one score. In the Jets game, Pierre Thomas and Mark Ingram were both averaging over 4.5 yards per carry. The lack of trust in the power running game was inexplicable and was seen when the Saints tried to run a reverse on a 4th and inches. What was even more dumbfounding than the reverse was the fact that they tried it with a third string tight end!
In the Bills game, the Saints ran the ball 26 times and were able to win, but most of the attempts came from running out the clock, not building a lead. Against the Patriots, the other Saints loss, the Saints ran it 26 times, but not when it mattered—at the end of the game trying to run out the clock. They passed it more and even tried to run Brees out on a roll out instead of just trusting the run game. In that game, the team average 5 yards per carry, including a whopping 7.6 YPC on Khiry Robinson’s 7 carries and 4.6 YPC on Pierre Thomas’ 11 carries.
Getting back to basics and staying balanced will help the Saints with all their other problems like pass protection. When a team drops back 51 times, the defense catches on, and the Jets were able to pin their ears back and take advantage of a shaky Saints offensive line.
Everyone understands that Sean Payton and Drew Brees are great, but that doesn’t mean that they can do everything through the air. Payton’s arrogance is getting in the way of team success, and if he really considers himself one of the premier play callers in the league, he needs to do a better job of balance. No matter how great a quarterback is, balance, though not sexy, is needed to win games and that axiom isn’t going to change.
I, as a fan, know that, so I am sure a football genius like Sean Payton can figure that out. And I expect this loss to the Jets to be a wake-up call for the play callers. Expect the Saints to emphasize and establish the run going forward as they will not want another debacle like the one in MetLife Stadium.
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