Mark Ingram

This certainly wasn’t the way I envisioned starting my 1st grind factor of the season and no amount of lipstick is going to make this pig look good. The Saints got hammered on both sides of the ball and the only silver lining I could find is that the newly acquired long snapper seems to be a keeper (for now)

Where do I start? red zone ineffectiveness? Drew Brees with no time to throw the ball? Sam Bradford with all the time in the world to throw the ball? or Jason David De’Vante Harris repeatedly getting torched.

I knew going in that the Vikings were an up and coming team and that playing them in their home opener was a tall task but for that team to make this Saints team look that bad raises raises every red flag that I own.

The Saints made Sam Bradford look like a hall of famer (27/32 346 3TD) and made you do a double take that Randy Moss was suited up with Adam Thielen grabbing 9 balls for a 157 yards with an eye popping 17.4 per catch. On the flip side the Saints tried to run the ball to the tune of 60 total yard with a measly 2.9 per carry and their biggest offensive threat was Coby Fleener. It Doesn’t matter how you slice it up that is a recipe for losing football.

But the biggest gut wrenching thing to emerge from this debacle was losing RT Zach Strief to a knee injury that will sideline him for at least a few weeks. Going into the game this was the one injury the Saints could ill afford to have. The Saints had no healthy back-up tackle on the roster, Payton rolled the dice and came up snake eyes.

As we all watched the game I’m sure many of you like me wanted to throw something at the TV with the sight of so many of the Vikings weapons running free throughout the Saints secondary. I think I will limit the grind factor to just that because Lord knows I would be writing until next Sunday if I covered all the mistakes the team made last Monday night.

The Grind Factor New Orleans at Minnesota

You live by the sword you die by the sword.

This play is just a horrible risky defensive call. The Saints are in man coverage playing a cover zero with Marcus Williams blitzing off the edge and Kenny Vacarro close to the line. PJ Williams and Marshon Lattimore have the man coverage. Below is a look just as the ball is snapped.

PJ Williams gets caught cheating into the backfield and take a step forward – it’s over at this point, he’s toast as he corrects himself as seen below.

The result was an easy Adam Thielen 44 yard catch and run. With time running out in the half Dennis Allen dials this up? The Saint gambled and lost.

Next up is another head-scratcher dialed up by Allen. This is the 35 yard catch and run by Thielen with Manti Te’o in coverage.

Below is a pre-snap look. LB Craig Robertson is going to drop back and play zone in the left short flat and release his man, this is going to draw safety Marcus Williams to his side. Meanwhile Manti Te’o is going to drop back and cover Thielen on an inside slant route.

As the play gets underway you can see at the top of the screen shot Vacarro and Lattimore are boxing in the crossing route. When Thielen goes on his route Te’o takes a wrong angle and Thielen cuts behind him, at that point it was just a matter of catching a perfect pass.

The result was a predictable easy catch and run for Thielen.

Dennis Allen really struggled with some of his play calling to go along with some of his players just playing bad. I have to give the Vikings credit where credit is due, they had a great game plan and at times they knew exactly what the Saints were going to run both offensively and defensively.

I have to cut this grind factor a little short because of the short week and to be honest there really wasn’t a turning point in this game to put my finger on – the Saints were outclassed Monday night and sometimes you just got to lick your wounds and move on.

This coming Sunday it sure doesn’t get any easier with the defending champion Patriots coming to town. If there’s a silver lining it’s that the Patriots got their ass handed to them too and if Alex Smith can light up their defense I think Drew Brees should make his mark also.

It’s still way to early to hit the panic button but it’s an uphill climb from here. I usually wouldn’t say that one game in, but that performance Monday night seems like deja vu all over again.

I hope I’m wrong.

The Saints may surprise this coming Sunday and right the ship, anything is possible, it’s the home opener after all. Lets get that dome loud and rocking Sunday, the Saints can use all the help they can get and to that I say as always….WHODAT!