New Orleans Saints: Bright spots still show on struggling team
By Jake White
This is not how the New Orleans Saints or their fans thought the season would start. The loss to the Arizona Cardinals was expected for the most part since they are a very good team. But to lose to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is not a good sign for the Black and Gold. With that being said, I wouldn’t give up on them just yet. In reality, it has only been two games, which means there is plenty of time to turn the season around.
The way the New Orleans Saints looked last Sunday was kind of hard to watch. Coming into the season, I was expecting the offense to keep the Saints in the game as usual, but it was the exact the opposite. The offensive line has been pretty bad at blocking for both the run and pass. The only consistent player on the line seems to be Terron Armstead. If the Saints want to have any shot at winning, they have to get that fixed immediately. If that means putting in the first round pick Andrus Peat, then they need to do it, because Drew Brees, who is now questionable to play this week with a bruised shoulder, can’t take hits like that anymore. There were tons of negatives in the game last Sunday, but I want to talk about the bright spots.
Yes, there were some positives, not many, but some. Much of the good was on the defensive side of the ball, and a lot of it came from rookiw, which is a good sign considering how the Saints draft picks have been in the past. Hau’oli Kikaha had another solid game, causing a forced fumble in back to back contests while also racking up his first sack. This rookie is everything the Saints could have hoped for. He may not be the fastest, but he makes up for it with his relentless motor and pass rushing and abilities.
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Stephone Anthony seems to be fitting in nicely as well. He’s very good at diagnosing plays and doesn’t shy away from contact. I’m expecting Anthony to have a big game this Sunday against the Carolina Panthers. He’ll have his eyes on Cam Newton all day. Carolina’s offensive line and wide receivers are not the best, so I would expect a lot of run plays, which could lead to a big performance Anthony.
The steal out of the draft for the New Orleans Saints may very well be their fifth-round pick, cornerback Damian Swann. He has been pretty good in both games at the nickel spot. He seems to be better at man to man than he is at zone, but the guy has been holding his own on the field, and that is exactly what you want out of your defensive backs. Delvin Breaux had one really bad play last week and struggled against the Cardinals, especially with penalties. However, I thought other than the one bad play, he looked good. I also expect Bobby Richardson to get more playing time this upcoming week. The undrafted free agent has been a pleasant surprise. He took over against Tampa Bay when the struggling Akiem Hicks was benched.
I thought the defense really stepped up last week, especially in the fourth quarter. Now, with all that being said, the New Orleans Saints were still a pretty bad team. They did just lose to a Tampa Bay team with a rookie quarterback, but there still is hope. The Saints have too much talent to not be in the playoff hunt. I’m hoping Brees gets healthy and the offensive line gets fixed so we can see that high-powered offense that we are so used to. Don’t give up, jump to conclusions or start thinking about next season (mock drafts in particular). I expect to see a team on a mission come Sunday.