Sunday, September 20, 2009

Saints Denied!!! (50 points, that is)



Bad game. Sloppy game. We all wondered if Kevin Kolb and the offense would be good enough for us to win. We figured the defense would be beaten by Brees and the Saints, but would keep things under control. STs pointed in our favor based on the opening week.

That's why they play the games.

Kolb throws for 391 yards and a pair of TDs. The defense gives up 440 yards and 41 points. The STs has costly penalties over and over and a fumbled KOR leads to an easy TD for New Orleans.

Give the Saints a lot of credit. They made big play after big play. Brees was terrific, as usual. I hated our defensive strategy. We tried to rely on the front four to bring pressure most of the time. The Saints blocked well and Brees had enough time to pick us apart.

Kolb played well. He looked like an NFL QB. He was poised in the pocket, ran the offense, and threw the ball well. Any questions about his arm strength should be over now. He did have 3 INTs. One came on the final play and was simply a case of him heaving the ball downfield. The other 2 were costly, but they were typical of a young QB. Adjusting to the speed of the game and dealing with veteran defenders isn't something that you get without experience.

We ran a lot of gimmicky stuff. I wasn't sure if that was the Philadelphia Eagles or I was watching someone like Cal Poly or Navy. Some of the Wildcat and trick stuff was well done and smart. You need any edge possible when playing a backup QB. I thought Andy overdid it, though.

The biggest problem we had was the Red Zone. Kolb struggled down there. The playcalling was too creative. God forbid we line up in the I-formation and try to run behind the big OL. Instead we did all kinds of stuff. Even when we ran it was based on tricks. If you don't run the ball in a conventional set up it takes away using play-action passes. I thought Kevin was handcuffed by this.

I'm not down on the team or coaching staff. This was going to be a tough game no matter what. I was disappointed with the performance, but I mostly saw mistakes based on execution, not a lack of talent or coaching. Those kinds of mistakes are fixable.


* Brent Celek had a great game.

* Winston Justice seemed to play pretty well.

* Akeem Jordan had another INT. I have to look up the last time we had a LB with multiple picks in a whole season, let alone 2 games.

* DeSean Jackson showed how valuable he is. He had 4-104 and a TD. He ran the Wildcat for us a few times.

Link to the gamebook:


Rob said...

Tommy - Big fan of your work, thank you.

I have a comment regarding the Eagles defense giving up two game opening drives for TDs in the first two weeks. It seems like this has been a problem for the Eagles for a while where the defense doesn't "warm" up quick enough or the defense is plain vanilla for the first drive then makes adjustments. Any thoughts?



izzylangfan said...

Many frustrating comments on this game.

First. The defense was terrible and the defensive strategy was worse. In fact I saw no strategy to get to Brees except to rush the front four - plain vanilla. Was there anything else going on. McDermott after a masterful game last week laid an egg this week. I did not see any adjustments either. On the Saints first offensive series they gashed us with their tight ends -- suggesting there is still a problem there. It looked like Trent Cole dropped back into pass coverage several times on that drive. I'm guessing that is normal considering all the tight ends the Saints had in formation.

Kolb had a lot of yards but only completed one long touchdown drive. The other TD was drive was short thanks to Hobbs' long KO return. He made at least 5 major mistakes. Three interceptions the first of which was really bad. A blown short pass to DeSean at third and short when we were backed up against the goal line at the end of the first half. That failure to get a first down resulted in a Saints touchdown on the ensuing possession. And a missed third down short pass toa wide open Westbrook that ended that series.

That gift touchdown at the end of the first half resulted from three eagles mistakes: DeSean fielding the punt on the two, a ST penalty and finally Kolb's missed pass to DeSean mentioned above.

In my view the two Kolb interceptions in the fourth quarter show that he lost concentration and intensity as the game went on and reflect negatively on his mental toughness. I thought he displayed some overconfidence all along in acting like he is a seasoned veteran. He still has no wins and before today he had no touchdowns. Should he be confident - yes he should have a general confidence in his abilities and his team. But he should also be a bit more modest. Until you have delivered at the top level there is no way you can be sure you can do it. To me his act comes off as false bravado.

My overall report card on Kolb is that he has starter potential in the NFL but he is not yet ready to take over the reins of a winning team. So Reid has a tough choice to make next week if McNabb can't go - Start Garcia or get Kolb the experience he needs.

Now I know why the team wanted Michael Vick so badly. They wanted to use the wildcat as a major part of the offense anyway. But I am not in love with the wildcat even though it was somewhat effective. But it prevents the Eagles from developing a running game since it apparently is a substitute for a traditional running game. Thus when we were not in the wildcat the Saints knew we were going to pass except for a few feeble running attempts up the middle until the game was out of hand. Most teams try and figure out how to stop Brian Westbrook when they face the Eagles. But with the Eagles heavy use of DeSean Jackson as a playmaker and then the liberal use of the wildcat the Eagles themselves have taken Brian Westbrook out of the game. In addition there were too many runs up the middle - don' t we want to get him in space.

I know we didn't want to be afraid of the new quarterback and thus avoided a total strategy of dinks and dunks but an occasional dink would help set up some deeper passes later on.

I just can't remember a worse all around effort.

Cliff said...

Reid doesn't face a tough choice. Kevin Kolb is the quarterback if McNabb can't play. Garcia is here only as insurance. That was especially proven after today.

It's a shame that Celek and Jackson's huge performances were wasted because the defense was pitiful. Everytime Brees faced a 3rd and long it was almost a given they'd convert. Makes me sick.

Stephen said...

We can harp on Kolbs mistakes izzy, but don't pin those 2 last minute picks on him as "losing his concentration" or whatever, the one came when the game was already well out of reach and the other was just a last second heave. About as far from game deciding as you can get.

I hated hated hated the defensive gameplan. Why on earth would we sit back in zone and rush 4 against a QB that excels at picking defenses apart in the short to intermediate passing game? Time after time after time recievers were running loose through our zones. We gave Devery Henderson way too much respect too, I almost puked when I saw Asante Samuel giving him a 5 yard cushion 15 yards into his route on that one third down out route he ran.

Despite how miserable our gameplan was it didn't help that our front 4 wasn't getting much pressure at all even when we did manage to make brees wait a few seconds to get the ball out. This Saints OL looked like pro bowlers out there against us. Trent Cole shoulda been eating that backup tackle for lunch but I saw him single blocked successfully time after time.

The overall nature of this game was such a mistake driven penalty filled slopfest it was hard to watch. When we weren't busy missing penalties or tackles we were just busy not playing well.

The offensive playcalling was getting stupid, so much gimmick and wildcat stuff. Trust Andy to take a gimmick and try to make it part of the base offense. The man just can't help but try and be cute all the time.

There were some bright spots in the game, Celek, Jackson and Avant all delivered and Akeem Jordan had that really nice pick. Westbrook ran pretty well and so did Shady when he wasn't putting the ball on the ground.

Overall we looked like pretenders rather than contenders today.

T_S_O_P said...

The first strike to DeSean was not necessarily a good thing in my mind. I'd of liked a long clock eating ground drive with the statement, we are going to run all over you. That statement would have also told me that the A.R.M.M. collaborative are serious about the running game this year. What I saw from them was an even bigger shift away from the the traditional running game with the instillation of the wildcat and its gimmickry.

Though DeSean's TD put us even, after the ensuing drive by the Saints the TOP was 4 - 1 in their favor!

R said...

First I have to give credit where credit is due. Kolb exceeded my expectations. He played pretty well considering he is basically a rookie QB in his first game. I have to imagine that all of the wildcat formations in the first half hurt his rhythm. He still needs to try to get the ball in more intermediate to long routes more. Stretch the field.

Brent Celek was one of our best offensive players on the field. He looked like he really wanted to win. The guy is an NFL starter. Where is Alex Smith though? How come we never run 2 TE sets?

Lie most fans, defense was my biggest concern coming into this season. They are clearly not as good as last year. In the past you could always expect JJ to make some adjustments in the second half. What were the adjustments yesterday? Did Macho make any plays? Did Babin play? Cole can't do it by himself.

Does Daisher have a job next year? I don't want to even talk about special teams.

Is it just me or does this team seam like the most penalized team to start the season in a while.

On a positive note, I thought the O-line played well.

orangecrush007 said...

You can't turn the ball over on the kickoff then turn the ball over on the first play of the next drive and expect your defense to man up.

Turnovers lost us this game.

Pitmanite said...

I agree with everyone about the obvious fact that the defense did not play well. When you take our defenses performance and combine it with the special teams play it's easy to see why we lost.

What was also upsetting to me was Andy's gameplan once again. When you have essentially a rookie QB, most coaches decide to take pressure off of that guy by focusing on the run, keeping the defense guessing, so that when he throws you hope things open up for him. I looked up the stats and through in the first half we passed 65% of the time (most of the runs were wildcat gimmick, not a situation where we lined up and fed it to Westy or Shady to let them get in a groove). To me that's just so backwards. You know Kolb isn't going to win a shootout so wouldn't you try to jam the ball down their throats? Aside from helping your young QB if you have success it also eats the clock and keeps the saints offense off the field. Which when you have a team like the saints the best way to defend their O is by keeping them off the football field.

The other issue is Tommy mentioned our redzone scoring. It's becoming more and more clear that we're not going to get that problem fixed because our offense has no identity. When you play gimmick football and you don't run the ball, once you get into that redzone and the field becomes much smaller, your offense has to be able to be tough and rely on what typically makes them successful. Our playcalling is always all over the place so I don't know what the h#ll we're good at. Also, we never get our line in a run blocking groove, and wear out a defense and then we get into the 5 yard line and think we're going to blow the d-line off the ball all the sudden. Let's try running a conventional offense for once!! Not another trick play where westy rolling out and throwing a pass to weaver.

One more thing about this wildcat, I was reading about how (may have been Tommy) the Dolphins really started using it was because they don't have a great QB. You've got ragged are C. Pennington back there, so it makes sense to try and throw out the wildcat. We've got a top 10 quarterback. I don't mind throwing the wildcat out there every once in a while, but with a top QB, you line up and play football.

orangecrush007 said...

I loved the one Wildcat Formation when there were three OL men in the middle and Two outside each by the numbers with a runner behind them. It seemed to me most of the Wildcat plays were successful. One would have been a red zone TD if Weaver can make a catch that most any of us could make.

Desean Jackson is so damn fast.

And I thought Reid ran the Wildcat to keep the Saints off balance so not so much pressure was on Kolb. I think people are just still complaining because the Eagles don't run their offense like the Steelers. Get over it. GOD!!!!!

izzylangfan said...

The wildcat cannot be a substitute for the run game. The non wildcat run pass mix must be similar to what it was without the wildcat. Otherwise when we line in regular formation everyone knows it is going to be a pass.

In addition the run game has the effect of wearing down the defense. We must be hitting them hard repeatedly and giving Westbrook the chance for big plays. You never know when he is going to break one. But if he doesn't get the ball his chances are substantially reduced. This is football - how about breaking a few heads.

It can make sense to add the wildcat to the mix because it gives the defense something else to think about and diversifies the offense. But if you subtract the run as a possibility (from the non wildcat plays) it simplifies the defense and takes away a big positive from the Eagles offense.

Thus the mix should be run, pass, wildcat. Never consider any wildcat play as a running play or a passing play it is a separate category.

orangecrush007 said...

Wildcat Summary :

1. D. Jackson lines up at Quarterback. 10-D.Jackson right end ran ob at PHI 29 for 6 yards.

2. J. Macklin lines up at Quarterback. 36-B.Westbrook left end to PHI 25 for 7 yards

3. B. Westbrook lines up at Quarterback. 36-B.Westbrook right guard to PHI 45 for 5 yards

4. Direct snap to #18 who hands off to #36 36-B.Westbrook left end to PHI 45 for no gain. (lateral back to Kolb followed by attempted pass)

5. D. Jackson lines up at Quarterback. 10-D.Jackson right end to PHI 32 for 5 yards

6. B. Westbrook lines up at Quarterback. 36-B.Westbrook up the middle to NO 47 for 16 yards

7. D. Jackson lines up at Quarterback. 10-D.Jackson right end to NO 36 for 4 yards

8. D. Jackson lines up at Quarterback. 36-B.Westbrook up the middle to NO 18 for 2 yards

9. B. Westbrook lines up at Quarterback. 36-B.Westbrook pass incomplete short right to 43-L.Weaver (Should have been a TD)

On the run plays out of the Wildcat they averaged 6.6 yards.

The lateral to Kolb was ver gimmicky but wasn't a bad play. And the pass by Westbrook was on point.

I would call this a success and we don't even have Vick yet.

orangecrush007 said...

You want Westbrook to run up the middle and pound defenders? How many plays will that last for?

orangecrush007 said...

why would a direct snap to Desean Jackson who -runs- the ball on 3rd and two, picks up the first down, and the Eagles score a 71 yard TD the next play NOT be considered a run? It is a run. DJax got a rushing attempt. That is a run.

izzylangfan said...

I want to get Westbrook in space. I want the line (and didn't we get a new fullback) to do the pounding. Will Westbrook take some too, of course but how do you avoid that unless you don't give him the ball.

orangecrush007 said...

Did ya see Mike Bell run yesterday? That is what you want. That isn't their fullback and that isnt westbrook and that isn't McCoy. If that is what you want you should become a Steelers fan.

kanin said...

"Kolb played well. He looked like an NFL QB. He was poised in the pocket, ran the offense, and threw the ball well"

Wow. I wish I could have seen [i]that[/i] game instead. I got the Saints@Eagles game and... Hey! Wait a minute..

orangecrush007 said...

Kolb played okay. I hated the int. I loved the 71 yarder. I loved the 4th and goal TD. I still don't know about him. Some say those ints come from inexperience. I thought it was a blatant mistake, that first one. Very poor timing for it.

Brendan said...

I'm with crush on this one about the wildcat. If it works, use it.

That said, Jason Peters is a god damn monster when he is run blocking and I would love to see some stretch plays go his way. While on the subject of the run; Westbrook is not the same running back he was. It pains me to say it but he just isn't making people miss like he used to. That shoulder juke isn't working without the footwork and burst to match. I am (sadly) excited that Westy tweaked his ankle and we'll hopefully get to see McCoy a lot more next week. I see some real potential in that kids speed, moves and patience. Put Westy on the shelf until after the bye and then use him sparingly. We may be able to capture some of his past magic by using him situationally, but he is no longer a 20-25 carry back.

The defensive game plan was ugly, enough said. I trust McDermott and I don't think it's all his fault, E-hobbs and Kolb gave them 14 points at a crucial point in the game.

Overall, I can't wait until next week. I think the D is going to come out pissed and the O will have hopefully ironed out some of the mistakes which occured.

Pitmanite said...

orangecrush: i don't disagree that the wildcat was effective. here is the problem. take away the wildcat and look at the percentage of the times we ran when the quarterback lined up under center. the key to keeping a defense off balance is that they don't know whether to expect a pass or a run. everytime we lined up under center yesterday there was an 80% chance we were throwing the ball, which means you're a pretty one dimensional team. it also takes away any guesswork out of the play-action pass. the whole point of faking that handoff is to pull the d-backs up, but when our QB runs it there is no fear of the run because we don't run the damn ball!

you keep using the steelers as an example, but look around at every good team and they make a true commitment to run the ball. even when the colts and rams were throwing the ball all those years with great receivers edge and faulk still were running for 1,200-1,500 yards and last time i checked we didn't have near the wide receivers they had.

you don't need to be a bruising back to run between the tackles. you need good blocking and you need to be patient. one of the reasons we were excited about weaver was his ability to run and catch. how often are we utilizing his skill set?

when you have a whole field to work with and the defense is giving you more space, it's not so tough to move the ball. yet when you're in the red zone that's when the points get tough. that's when a team has to rely on making sound football plays that they are comfortable making time and again. we've got a veteran team with many guys who have played together and w keep hearing how "we've got to make some adjustments to get better in the red zone, etc, etc." well what is it? it's either the coaches or the players, and if you're telling me we've got the players than where does the blame fall?

orangecrush007 said...

adjustment number 1. Tell Weaver to catch the ball.

We lost because of the Hobbs turnover and then the Kolb turnover. You can't do that against a good team like the Saints.

vet said...

Tommy I have to say that constant lack of execution to the point where it routinely affects the outcome of games is a direct result of poor player preparation. And THAT is a direct result of coaching. You can't really get around it. We have loads of talent and not much discipline.

Pitmanite said...

Agreed Weaver needs to make that catch even though it was not a well thrown ball. I have confidence that the defense will turn around, and new orleans can make a D look bad. just like delhomme can make a D look better than they are. the ST miscues don't seem like they should be too hard to fix.

My problem with the offense is that it's the same old story all of the time. How long have we heard about the red zone problems and these vague ways it will be fixed. In my opinion (not sure that means a whole lot) it's the overall philosophy of our offense and, it gets magnified in the red zone when the goaline helps contain everything. We've had westy as a great running back and shady seems like the real thing, but we won't see his full potential if we don't ever say, "hey you know what let's ride these guys for a little and see where they take us." forget the gimmicks, or incorporate them along with a real run game and see where it opens up the pass.

T_S_O_P said...

What is going on in the world of football if a team can score 27 points in under 14 minutes of a game!!! The ARMM collaborative can hold this up as justification for the way they do things. :(