Saints takeaway number one: Offensive Line
The Saints' offensive line has got to get things figured out sooner, rather than later. In the past two weeks we've seen Derek Carr have to evade defenders and make throws on the run more than he should have to. Carr has been sacked 8 times in two weeks, including four from Carolina Monday night.
The lack of production from the offensive line wouldn't be so frustrating had it not been for the hefty investments made to the unit. Trevor Penning, Ryan Ramczyk, and Cesar Ruiz were all first round picks while Erik McCoy was a second round draft pick (but the Saints' first pick in 2019). Not to mention, McCoy, Ruiz, Ramczyk, and James Hurst have at least two full years of experience playing with each other, so you'd think there'd be a bit more fluidity up front.
While there was some ugly, it wasn't all bad as second year tackle Penning really improved greatly against Carolina. He was doing a great job of finishing blocks and thrived in the run game. Most of the mishap was happening in the interior of the offensive line.
While it's easy to point the blame on the offensive line, and at times rightfully so, they were facing off against a team that knows them very well. The Panthers currently have four players who used to play in New Orleans; three of which spent last season in New Orleans. That is an obvious advantage for Carolina who easily were able to comprehend the strengths and weaknesses of each player individually.
This isn't a 'bad' offensive line by any means. The Saints invested heavily into their front five for a reason and they've shown flashes of being a dominant unit. It'll be fun to watch them face off against a good but neutral Packers team on Sunday.