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Started off the pre-season with a 17-7 victory over the Bengals. Any thoughts so far? I only was able to watch the first half, and saw some highlights but I'll share some.
Overall I thought there were some things that were very encouraging... some disappointments but the overall reaction was positive in my opinion.
I'll start with the good.
- Defense definitely had a different vibe, they looked aggressive and active. They gave up some yardage which does concern me, but they made the opposing WRs earn their yards for the most part, and put some hits on them.
- It's great to have a leader like Jon Vilma on Defense, he was the star on that side of the ball tonight making plays all over the field. Hustling to recover a fumble and he almost returned it all the way, making a great Interception on 3rd down.... (although the called fumble at the end of that play was incorrect I believe)
- Robert Meachem impressed me, he has the opportunity to step up this season and make some noise.. he has the speed to blow by Defenders like we saw on the 64 yard TD pass.. but more impressive I thought was the catch in the first quarter where he laid his body out along the sidelines to make the toe tapping catch, and still hold onto the ball after taking a good lick.
- Seems like Brees is developing that explosive connection with Shockey... Shockey made some big time plays. I think and hope that he will prove this season he was worth the trade.
alright now onto the bad...
- I'll start off by saying the Officiating was very sketchy I don't know if it was the Officials not wanting to overturn calls in the Pre-season or not.. but I thought both of the reviews they upheld ended up being the wrong calls. I thought Vilma regained control of the football before his arm hit the ground, and it clearly showed Ochocinco's foot out of bounds after Grant clipped him along the sidelines.
- Hartley missing that first 20 yard Field goal makes me nervous. He did later redeem himself by making a 54 yarder.
- There were good signs with the Defense but there were also some causes for concern... even with some pressure the Secondary gave up some chunks of yardage in the air because they were not playing their Receivers tight, giving them too much of a cushion at times. Also we gave up a little more than I would've liked to their 1st string ground game, when their power personnel was in.
- Jason David stood out again not in a good way. Just not sure if he has the Physical tools to be an effective Corner on the field, there were some plays where we had pressure on both Palmer, and O'Sullivan and Jason David still ended up giving up plays...
- With the amount of rushes Pierre, and Reggie got we can't really make an informed judgment on the 1st team running game but from the limited snaps they got our running game did not make much of an impact. Still worried about our short yardage game. Will we be able to pick up those 1-2 tough yards on 3rd or 4th & shorts?
I just don't get the staff's obsession in Jason David.... He doesn't do anything but get burnt, like he has really brought nothing. No one can possibly do worse.
Running game is a concern but 1 pre-season game with limited snaps isn't enough to get a fair evaluation.. I'm sure they're still ironing out things through out training camp in that department. Come Week 1 against the Lions... if they still can't get anything going then I'll worry.
As far as David I think he only really saw that much time vs the Bengals because Porter was out, and they didn't want to throw Jenkins in there too early.. if he makes the team it will be because we carry 5 CBs.. and Greg Williams will not have him on the field if he is going to be a liability.
38-14 win over the Texans. The most important thing coming away from this game was that the Saints actually showed the ability to run the ball with some effectiveness. Mike Bell went a long way towards locking up the 3rd RB spot behind Bush/PT with his performance, very decisive North-South running today.
Again on Defense they gave up some yardage, but for a pre-season game the overall effort was solid. I'm not sure if the Texans would've went for it on 4th down that early in the game if it was the regular season; and even still the penalty was iffy. Still would like to see them come up and lock down the run a little better, but then again with a healthy Schaub, and those weapons that Offense will cause frustration to a quite a few Defenses this season.
I thought Adrian Arrington looked very impressive, made plays when he was in there and made a really nice adjustment on the deep pass from Brunell on the last drive. I don't know if he's going to make it with the Receivers we have, but I think he's a darn good receiver. Would've liked to see Meachem do a little more with the opportunities he had, especially after his performance against the Bengals. He still has has some maturing to do.. There was a deep pass where Meachem was held up by the Corner, but after the contact he just stopped going on the play and they ended up not calling the Interference most likely because he didn't play through the entire play.
Special Teams is still a major concern. Penalties, shaky Field Goal kicking.. it seems like they need to work on this area a lot.. leading up to the Regular season. It is a weakness as of now.