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New Orleans Saints Film Room: what must improve against Patriots?

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The New Orleans Saints were dominated in Minnesota. There’s no way to sugarcoat what happened in Week 1. And with the Saints hosting an offensive juggernaut in the New England Patriots on Sunday, they’ll have to make some improvements. Let’s go to the film room.

Let’s be clear about one thing first: the Minnesota Vikings are legit. From top to bottom they have one of the most elite rosters in the league, and it showed in their 2017 debut against the New Orleans Saints.

With that said, the Saints didn’t provide much of a challenge. On the offensive side, Brees was able to move the ball relatively well, though the offense stalled on several occasions in the red zone.

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In a clean pocket, Brees recorded a PFF grade of 85.1 as he went 24-30 for 280 yards with a 116.7 passer rating. When given ample time Brees was able to make some throws and move the ball down the field, even with Michael Thomas held in check. Though, when that vaunted Vikings front pressured Brees, he went 3-7 for 11 yards and a 50.3 passer rating. Not good.

Things were worse on the ground as the Saints had 21 rush attempts for a mere 60 yards, averaging out to an abysmal 2.9 YPC. Notable is the fact that rookie Alvin Kamara saw more usage than expected, as he led the team in rush attempts at seven. Unfortunately those seven carries only translated to 18 yards.

There’s no doubt the offense could use some improvement. Sean Payton has to implement some more creativity into his offense and better set up his players to, well, make plays. The offensive line has to work to make holes and the running backs have to hit those holes. Brees has to play smart and his receivers have to help him by getting open.

Though my real worry lies with the defense. All night Vikings receivers Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen ran free. Quarterback Sam Bradford had a stellar day completing 27 of 32 passes for 346 yards and 3 touchdowns, a performance that earned him NFC offensive player of the week.

So, what went wrong on Monday night? Honestly, more than I can fit here. But for this post, I dove into the film and pulled several plays focusing on the secondary. Likely the weakest part of the 2017 New Orleans Saints, here are some improvements they must make before the Patriots come to town.

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