I broke this down in two parts, the first and second half, basically because I’m lazy but mainly because it took more time (and space) than I thought it would, so this is the first part of two in Friday night’s game against the Rams
Finally Saints football is back, can I get a Who Dat? I know it’s just pre-season but it still felt good to see the team in action in the Saints at Rams game. A lot of what goes on in these games I take with a grain of salt because it’s pretty vanilla with minimal game planning involved, for instance if the defense is caught in the wrong scheme they rarely check out of it but instead want to watch the players in the defense called.
What I like to look for is offensive tempo, how fast they are in and out of the huddle but I’m also looking at individual battles to see how the young players are handling their assignments. I’m not really looking at the veterans we know what they can do instead it’s the depth positions that I focus on.
The first thing I noticed about this game was, what’s up with Gregg Williams goat tee? it looked like he soaked that thing in blue-black shoe polish. Gregg you might want to try some just for men dye that matches your hair, Okay now that that’s out-of-the-way lets take a closer look at the game.
With the fist team out there, the left side of the offensive line looked really good, a good example is Mark Ingram‘s 18 yard scamper on the Saints first possession. Left guard Senio Kelemete does a great job on Rams RDE Eugene Sims while LT Terron Armstead showed his athleticism getting out front with a key block on Rams MLB Jo-Lonn Dunbar. Ben Watson and Jimmy Graham also had key blocks on the play. Another good run play on the first possession had Saints FB Austin Johnson with a nice lead block on Dunbar who was shooting the gap, Ingram would pick up six yards. Jimmy Graham still needs to work on his blocking as Rams RDE Eugene Sims does an easy swim move on him to throw Travaris Cadet for a six yard loss.
Interesting that on the Saints first defensive series newcomer Marcus Ball is in with the one’s on a sub package playing close to the line in run support. After LILB David Hawthorne got beat badly by Rams TE Jared Cook for 24 yards it set up a touchdown by TE Cory Harkey who was lined up as a fullback, complete busted coverage on Harkey coming out of the backfield….there was no one within fifteen yards of him as he jogged into the end zone.
Tim Lelito had a really nice block on Rams DT Alex Carrington sealing a hole for Khiry Robinson‘s 10 yard run on the Saints next possession, FB Austin Johnson did just enough to clear Jo-Lonn Dunbar out-of-the-way. On the 14 yard Travaris Cadet screen, Tim Lelito really laid the wood to Jo-Lonn Dunbar to finish the play, gotta love a little mean streak in the young center.
On the first play of the Saint next possession Mark Ingram is thrown for a five yard loss by Rams WLB Phillip Stewart but it was Jonathan Goodwin‘s missed block on Rams DT Aaron Donald and subsequent miss pick up by Austin Johnson that blew up the play. On the 50 yard pass play to TE Josh Hill (who was lined up as a slot TE) Ryan Griffin delivered a bullet on a crossing pattern to Hill right at the 1st down marker. Hill does a great job of using his body to shield the coverage of Rams SLB Ray Armstrong, then it’s all on Hill breaking three tackles to take it down to the Rams 12 yard line. This is why when some people were saying that Hill’s job was on the line, I defended him saying it wasn’t, there is a reason Sean Payton kept this undrafted rookie and threw him into game action last year, he can be a younger version of Dave Thomas.
On the Khiry Robinson touchdown, Marcel Jones (who is now playing left guard) seals off the lane with a good block on Rams DT Kendall Langfotrd while C Jonathan Goodwin does a nice job clearing up the linebacker. It looked like the Saints caught them off guard with the quick line up and snap…tempo.
The next Rams possession running back Benny Cunningham peels off a 19 yard run, Tyrunn Walker blew up the play getting great penetration five yards behind the line of scrimmage but OLB Kenyunta Dawson took the wrong angle and got turned around while Cunningham popped it outside for the gain, tackled by S Pierre Warren. On the Rams touchdown pass it was simple one on one coverage by CB Stanley Jean-Batiste on WR Stedman Bailey, QB Shaun Hill throws a good pass on Bailey’s go route and to be honest Jean-Batiste had good coverage but was slow in his turn around and reaction to play the ball, he was in position though, I liked the coverage just not the end result.
The next Saints possession, the Saints have the ball at their 32 yard line, the Rams SLB Alec Ogletree is loading the right side of the line with a blitz while FB Austin Johnson fails to pick up the WLB on the left side Phillip Stewart. Ryan Griffin had no time and had to throw it away….this is a typical GW stunt, if it is picked up he would have had TE Josh Hill for an easy reception and probably a 1st down.
The Saints have the ball at their 43 yard line an Mark Ingram really does a good job with this play (single back set) Guard Jason Weaver gets it going with a solid block on Rams DT Matt Conrath and TE Josh Hill seals the lane with a nice block on Rams MLB Phillip Stewart. as does TE Nic Jacobs with a block on Rams SS Mo Alexander. Ingram is finally pulled down by Rams LDE Ethan Westbrooks after a 22 yard gain, good running and really good blocking.
Next up is the Mark Ingram touchdown run towards the end of the first half, this was really great blocking up front and good vision by Ingram, First FB Austin Johnson cleans out Rams WLB Phillip Stewart with RT Thomas Welch doing the same on Rams LDE Sammy Brown. Ingram makes a great cut back behind Tim Lelito across the grain and it was nothing but net after that, nice touchdown run by Mark for 22 yards.
Whelp that’s it for the first half and this breakdown, its way too long to do it this way, and I would just bore you so I decided to break into two halves. Tomorrow I’ll have the 2nd half out so just bear with the egg on this and if you do decide to throw tomatoes, please don’t throw Creoles, make a BLT instead.
You can find me on twitter @eggheadwhodat if you want to talk Saint or anything like food, especially Rudy’s BBQ in Texas….I need that sauce, really I do