Keys to the Game: Cardinals vs. Saints

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Offense

Sep 15, 2013; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers outside linebacker Jonathan Casillas (52) and outside linebacker Lavonte David (54) tackle New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram (22) during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. The Saints won 16-14. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Oh boy, here we go.

New Orleans is dead last in Red Zone offense TD scoring percentage (14.29%). What’s crazier? New England is ranked right above them at #31 with 25%. You can’t blame their play selection (81 pass attempts to 49 rush attempts), or the aggressive play calling. However, despite this stat, the Saints still have 2 in the win column. It’s not typical production from a Drew Brees/Sean Payton offense (see past seasons), but it’s a stat, and it’s out there.

The Saints are only averaging 3.1 yards/carry (league average is 5.3 through 2 games). The 76.5 yards/game average is actually not the worst in the NFL, but it’s ranked 24th.

To suggest the offense is ‘struggling’ isn’t exactly fair, but they have a good bit of improvement to make. If you don’t buy any of what I’m saying, then maybe just hear it straight from Drew Brees. He had a few encouraging words to say about the offense in an interview.

Drew also had this to say about that 4th & Goal call to Ingram that everyone was/is still furious about:

No it doesn’t all fall on him.  There are a lot of guys out there that have to do their job in order to get him in the end zone.  Listen, that was a great defensive effort and combined with guys on offense doing all the right things, but it was kind of a stalemate on the one inch line.  Credit to them, they stepped up and did a great job stopping us.  So much, I think, in those calls is based upon on momentum and confidence at the time, a play call that you really like and then hey, did you get the look you thought you were going to get.  And for us, no that was not the look we thought we were going to get.  There were adjustments that had to be made.  I thought we did a good job of, but it’s not what we practiced.  Listen, our job, at the end of the day, is you call the play, we make it work and we didn’t get in, so that’s on us.

We will have to see what transpires on Sunday, but given the first two offenses the Cardinals defense faced (Rams/Lions), they showed success can be attained in various forms. Darren Sproles could be primed for a humongous day (see Reggie Bush). The other thing I’d expect to see is more of the ball spread around to other receivers. Lance Moore, Kenny Stills, and Robert Meachem were only targeted once in the passing game last week. I won’t say too much else about the offense at this point, as it may be in another area (hint hint).

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Tags: Arizona Cardinals Bruce Arians New Orleans Saints NFL 2013 Week 3 NFL Week 3 NFL Week 3 Matchups Sean Payton

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