When I went to breakdown the tape, I wanted to zero in on Terron Armstead just to see how the rookie progressed from the first game to his second. But before I get to him I’ve got a few observations from Friday night.
As we all know by now, when the Saints had their 1st unit on the field they were dominant. One thing that stood out to me was the tempo on both sides of the ball but mostly the offense. Yes Oakland’s offensive and defensive lines are…well to put it bluntly, offensive but that can’t take away on a really impressive outing by Drew Brees and company. When this offense gets into this type of rhythm and with Sean Payton in Drew’s ear setting the tone, I don’t care who they are playing, they are close to impossible to stop.
On the defensive side of the ball Rob Ryan showed a bit more than last week, he blitzed a lot, at one point it seemed like he sent Corey White on every play. He also showed multiple defensive fronts, I was kind of surprised he did but he probably wanted to get a feel if these guys could handle some of the schemes he has thrown at them.
Some of the players that stood out: Of course you would have to be blind not to see the excellent outing Ramon Humber had, he was everywhere Friday night. But I also thought Kevin Reddick had a really good game backing up Humber, I feel much better than I did last week concerning the ILB depth. When the Saints got the safety in the second half, even though Reddick did not get credit for the safety, he caused it. He made the penetration and hit the running back first causing him to back track to the left where Jerico Nelson finished it off. Reddick also had some tackles for losses, he’s someone to keep an eye on, after a slow start to camp he’s starting to come on.
John Jenkins also looked solid, he may not have gotten to the quarter back but he was pushing the middle of the pocket. For a man his size, he moves pretty well and has a good motor, he doesn’t give up on a play. On another play where Pryor scrambled for the touchdown, it was called back because Jenkins was held on the play; he can’t be blocked one on one. It looks like he will get into the rotation and contribute this year, and for that I have to say hats off to Loomis and Payton for pulling the trigger on the Ivory trade and moving up to get Jenkins.
Khiry Robinson looked good again Friday night, I love the way this young man runs. I know he was going up against the third string in both games that we saw him but you can see he has great vision running the ball; he knows how to use his blockers and has no hesitation hitting the holes. If Cadet doesn’t get his fumbling issues under control, Robinson might sneak up and grab his roster spot.
It’s also good to see the defense getting some work against the read option with Pryor at the helm; the Saints will see it four or five times this year.
Ok on to Terron Armstead, he had another up and down night. Surprisingly he struggled in pass protection but excelled in run blocking, it seems he is still getting used of the speed in the NFL. Let’s hope it slows down for him because even though Charles Brown has looked good so far, he’s an injury waiting to happen.
On Armstead’s first play he got beat off the edge causing Wallace to roll out of the pocket away from the pressure but them came back the next play with a run block that pushed the defender four yards back.
Like I said it was up and down, this time the safety beats him on an inside move tackling Cadet for a five yard loss. It was a shaky start but he did get better as the game went on. Again he responds with a couple of nice pass protections.
On the first fumble by Cadet, Armstead really made a nice block; it’s really a shame because Wallace was moving the team at this point. On the Sack/fumble by Wallace in which the Raiders scored, that was Armstead’s man that got the hit on Wallace. In all fairness to Armstead, Wallace held the ball way to long and didn’t feel the pressure coming. The pressure came on an edge rush not a bull rush which is a head scratcher because Armistead has quick feet, maybe it was one of those days but he got beat a lot on the outside.
On the play where the defensive back was flagged for trying to take off Saalim Hakim’s head, Armstead got away with a hold, I know I sound negative but Terron had his moments too. On the 18 yard scamper to the outside it was Armstead sealing the edge with a text-book block. On some plays in his run blocking, I seen him plowing ten yards down the field, a lot of times the Saints ran to the right side behind Bryce Harris but when they did run behind Armstead, they had success.
Even though it won’t happen, I wish we could see Armstead with the first unit. I’m sure he would look a heck of a lot better with Drew’s quick release and underrated footwork back there, yes Wallace had a bad day back there but on some plays Armstead just flat-out got beat. I still think the sky’s the limit for him and I’m thankful he’ll get more games under his belt but at this point he has a lot of work to do.