And a great week it was! It is always a great week after a Saints win, BUTT this week was different. We all basked in the glory of our team’s performance, the return of our coach, and the win over our rival. The pleasant surprise for most of us was in the performance of the defense …. and that makes this week different.
The team was facing the expected difficulty of a new defensive coordinator, new scheme, new players, facing a very powerful offense of the Falcons, and then the injury bug bit and bit often. As usual we were confident, BUTT we had no idea what would develop on the field. Before we settled in for the game, we were confronted of the best and the worst. The first four and out for the Falcons gave us an early optimism, then the next six plays saw the defense not only give up 7 points, BUTT also one of those back-breaking big plays (50 yard pass to Douglas).
It would have been hard to believe the defense would be the highlight and the reason we would win this emotional season opener. Simply, they were. This week we will be challenged with more injuries and the opportunity to show last week was an emotional-charged short burst. Defense sets the tone for the year with a division road dominance.
As I write this, I am headed to the stadium to join the large throngs of WhoDats that make the trek to Tampa, every year. Fire up the grill, chill the bear, we are ready for Saints 2013 week 2.
The keys for this week vs the Bucs:
- Stop the run. It will be hot, our depth will be thin. Not only does Tampa depend on the run to generate offense, they will want to keep pressure on our defense and our offense on the bench. They will work hard to burn clock, control tempo, and keep our defense on for long series.
- 3rd down conversion. On defense we must get off the field. Holding the Falcons to a 27% success on third down was OUTSTANDING! 30% is the most we should allow, more important we need three and outs. The Falcons had 63 plays on 11 drives – the six play average needs to be held closer four this week.
- Offense Efficiency. I am not worried about the offense, it will get better each week. Three trips into the red zone are not enough. We help our defense this week, by using our offensive depth, weapons, and creativity to build points, burn clock, and keep our defense fresh. Offensive efficiency also means no turn-overs – protect the ball .. hold possession….win the game.
Bucs have turmoil in the house, a college coach that appears to be losing control of his team early, a team that is coming off a demoralizing loss, and with their home opening…this could be a trap! This year SP will not allow traps…Saints will be ready, Freeman will be forced to win the game with his arm…. Saints win 34-13.