Saints, Bucs Week 1: Observations from the cheap seats
By Tony Twillie
Observations, part two
The Saints defensive line was simply non-existent. They got little pressure on Bucs QB Ryan Fitzpatrick all day. There wasn’t much special to the blocking assignments at first glance. They bunched the linemen up and then ran off them. The Saints just didn’t get off their blocks at all.
It might be worth noting that Tampa Bay’s head coach Dirk Koetter was not calling the plays in the game yesterday. The play calling was done by their offensive coordinator Todd Monken, a one-time coach at the University of Southern Mississippi. Their offense looked explosive and open.
Alex Anzalone played a good bit early in the game and was apparently the Will linebacker, the same spot he played last year before his injury. He seemed like his head was swimming much of the first half. He missed people running right past him.
There were 551 yards of total offense combined – in the first half. This was not a game for defensive purists.
A blown call with an inadvertently blown whistle got the wrath of Sean Payton near the end of the first half. Michael Thomas dove to make a catch and was not touched down. He got up and continued to run, but the line judge either felt Thomas was touched while down or that he was giving himself up. Thomas was doing neither. Sean Payton was in his ear the rest of the first half and then again as they went into the locker room for halftime.
At halftime, there was quite a moving memorial for the Saints late owner Tom Benson as his name was added to the Saints Ring of Honor. Mrs. Gayle Benson was on the field along with Saints president Dennis Lauscha and general manager Mickey Loomis.
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Drew Brees set one of what could be many records for this season. He broke Peyton Manning’s record for most touchdown passes on opening day. The record had been 34. Brees threw two TD passes, so the new record is 36. And counting.
As if you didn’t already know Brees is a cool cat… As the junior tee retriever was coming off the field after picking up the tee from the second half kickoff, Brees went over and gave her a high five. One of those special moments that cost nothing but will live in that child’s memory forever.
The sophomore slump seemed to have hit all our second-year guys except Alvin Kamara. Ramczyk, Williams, Anzalone, and Hendrickson all struggled. The one who was really a surprise was Marshon Lattimore who was simply human all day. It could be due to lack of pressure on the QB that he was not as much a factor.
Along those lines, it’s very early in the process, and even Cam Jordan took a while to get his footing, but first round pick Marcus Davenport didn’t impress tremendously. One tackle and a pass defensed for a guy we gave up a third-round pick to move up and get isn’t very inspiring.
Ken Crawley reverted to be the Crawley we saw in 2016. He was routinely beaten on routes and was challenged all day. He did not weather the onslaught well.