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Saints, Browns Week 2: Observations from the cheap seats

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Observations: Part two

Drew Brees
NEW ORLEANS, LA – SEPTEMBER 16: Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints drops back to pass during the second quarter against the Cleveland Browns at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on September 16, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /

– Noticed on a Drew Brees incomplete pass on a Ted Ginn, Jr. target that Ginn needs to do a better job fighting for the ball. He’s a speed receiver by definition and in practice, he’s not physical, he doesn’t have great hands. He catches the deep ball and still can outrun many on the field. But don’t look for him to fight off blocks, get great separation on any routes but deep ones or fight a DB for a pass.

– The cat and mouse game between quarterback Drew Brees and Browns defensive coordinator Gregg Williams was pretty much a draw. Most times Williams dialed up an extra blitzer, Brees read the play well and found an open receiver. Brees picked them off with the pass, negating many of the blitz schemes.

While Brees had a 114.6 passer rating, that number belies a few passes Brees wishes he had back. We are used to seeing great games from Brees, and though his rating says he was efficient, it doesn’t show the flaws.

– Tommylee Lewis came out with an injury on a punt return late in the first half. He was done for the game.

– Odd clock management choices to end the first half. The Saints have the ball on offense on their own 25 with just inside of two minutes left. On the first play after a kickoff to us, we lose two yards on a completed pass. One might think Cleveland would call a time out to possibly get the ball back in decent field position, maybe with over a minute to play before the half. They don’t call the timeout and 30 seconds tick off the clock before the Saints run another play, of course another pass because we are trying to score before halftime.

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On second down, the Saints gain four yards so it’s third and eight. Again, Cleveland, with all its time outs available, opts not to use one and another 33 seconds come off the clock. Third down and the clock reads 52 seconds, the Saints throw incomplete and punt with 48 seconds left.

Cleveland could have gotten the ball back with just under 1:30 left to play in the first half and had a chance to move the ball down the field. Instead, they let the Saints dictate the play, a move that may have saved us the game. If anyone wonders why Cleveland stinks, this might be why. Meanwhile, the Saints pulled their own odd choice by calling their third timeout while on defense with 33 seconds to go in the first half, and after a two-yard run by the Browns. Very strange.

Andrus Peat has been hurt a lot through pre-season and he was inactive for Week 1. He played this week but was hurt on the first series of the second half. Fortunately, he came back in later in the quarter.