Dec 29, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints free safety Rafael Bush (25) grabs the jersey of Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Timothy Wright (81) on a tackle during the first half of a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Yes, the New Orleans Saints are off to a rough start and the news of Jairus Byrd’s season ending injury doesn’t help ease the pain. However, what’s in the past is in the past, so it’s time to focus on now. Like the great Sean Carter aka Jay-Z once said, it’s on to the next one, and next, we have the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The last two meetings in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome have been pretty one-sided, in the Saints’ favor, or course. In 2012, which was a dark time for the city and franchise without head coach Sean Payton running the show, New Orleans was still able to shut out and destroy the Bucs with a final score of 41-0.
2013 was not much different as Tampa Bay once again fell to the Black and Gold in a not-so-close contest, 42-17. Again, the past is the past, so focusing on the proper preparations for this Sunday’s game is the most important thing.
Looking at the first four games, the Saints just seem to be missing that high-powered flicker that they have been so notorious for in the past. Exploiting teams early in the game, like they did in the first quarter of the Week 3 matchup against the Minnesota Vikings is a big part of who they really are. However, keeping the momentum throughout the contest was something that Sean Payton and company were unable to do.
If the Saints can come out swinging early like they did against the Vikes, the team should have no trouble entering the bye week with a 2-3 record. Unfortunately, we should be entering our break with at least three wins, but things don’t always go the way we want. It’s still early, so maybe handing Lovie Smith‘s squad a good old fashioned Buccaneer beat-down and putting 40 points on the board will light a spark and help turn the season around.
QB Drew Brees mentioned during Wednesday’s press conference following practice that the team goes out there every week with intentions to score at least 40 points. It can be done — the Saints certainly have the offense to do so. It’s just a matter of when they’re going to do it. The ticking time bomb has yet to explode, but there is a good chance it does in a couple of days against a struggling Bucs team, who are fortunately missing some vital pieces to the their puzzle.
Rookie WR Mike Evans, DE Larry English and S Dashon Goldson are all ruled out along with LB Mason Foster, who is doubtful to suit up on Sunday. Of course, the Saints are missing some pieces as well, especially after the news of Jairus Byrd. However, Drew Brees and the receivers are healthy and Khiry Robinson continues to run the ball well in the absence of the injured Mark Ingram.
The only concerns the team should really have on offense is containing the versatile, pass-rushing line backer in Lavonte David and DT Gerald McCoy, who were both named First-team All-Pro in 2013. If the offensive line can step it up and protect Brees, the Saints have a shot at running up the score on their division opponents.
On the defensive side of the ball, New Orleans looked great in front of a home crowd against Minnesota. It’s like their a whole different ball club when playing in the Big Easy with impostures dressing out for the away games. With Mike Glennon taking over for Josh McCown, the Saints will have to contain the second-year gunslinger from NC State.
Coach Payton had nothing but good things to say about Glennon during Thursday’s presser. He and GM Mickey Loomis had the quaterback ranked high on the board in the fourth round of the 2013 NFL Draft and would have likely selected him, but the Bucs got to him in the third.
With the contest just days away and the way the Saints are playing at the moment, there seems to be no guarantee of a victory. However, with a loud home crowd and a high-octane offense that could be just one big play away from devastating an opposing defense, New Orleans could also be just one big game away from shifting the season’s momentum.
The Saints just need to play the game their used to playing. It’s time to reestablish the basic fundamentals that they’ve been lacking on defense this year, play the game they know and have the offense come out firing on all cylinders.