What a difference a week makes, where has this team been at? The only word I can muster up after last Sunday’s Saints win is – domination. When was the last time in memory that the Saints made a team wave the white flag and bench their starting quarterback in the 4th quarter? The Patriots in 2009?
It’s still too early to tell if this performance is an anomaly or if they will use it as a stepping stone to stack some wins.
Disclaimer: I have eaten a big ole bowl of crow gumbo after my scathing remarks in last week’s Grind Factor article. And I’m okay with it, I want them to prove me wrong and that this team is in fact different than the one that has shown up the last three years.
What makes this victory and the way the Saints manhandled the Panthers even more amazing is that they did it with a severely depleted squad. Two starting tackles, two starting corner backs and a starting wide receiver didn’t even suit up. Hats off to the guys who stepped up, especially Ken Crawley who had to endure two weeks of being a healthy inactive the first two weeks – he didn’t waste this opportunity and in my opinion proved the coaching staff wrong, the young man has talent and deserves to be on that game day roster.
I was going to write this article highlighting the secondary and their three interceptions but the more I thought about it the more I think that the offensive line deserves props. In the off season when the Saints signed Adrian Peterson we had envisioned a three back attack that would wear down defenses. After the first two games we thought that ship had sailed but what we had seen in Carolina is just how effective it could be.
When the game was still within reach for the Panthers the Saints running game sucked the life out of that stadium and to be frank, that team looked completely demoralized. Yes the Panthers are a paper tiger but to do that on the road desperately needing a win gives us hope moving forward.
The Grind Factor New Orleans at Carolina
Okay lets get to it and take a look at this patchwork offensive line and the three headed monster running game (and some passing)
This is the Screen to
Pierre Thomas Mark Ingram in the second quarter. The Saints use a little misdirection trickery on this one faking the reverse hand-off to Tommylee Lewis. This will freeze the Carolina defenders just enough to slip out guards Senio Kelemente and Larry Warford with Mark Ingram also getting into the flat for the pass.
As the play develops you can see wide out Brandon Coleman getting a key block down field. Coleman is probably the best blocking receiver the Saints have and it was no mistake he was on that side of the field.
The rest is up to Ingram to weave his way through the defenders, Mark has come a long way in the screen game compared to his first few years in the league, he has shown what a good screen needs – patience and knowing when to accelerate.
Next up is a Mark Ingram’s 11 yard run to start the 4th quarter. This play really demonstrates how teams adjust to the speed of Tommylee Lewis. When the Saints first line up Lewis is on the right side. Carolina has Strong Safety Mike Adams close to the line of scrimmage with free safety Kurt Coleman playing 12-15 yards deep.
When Lewis goes in motion Adams drops back to deep center field and Coleman comes up to the line of scrimmage as seen in the two screen shots below.
As the play gets underway Brandon Coleman really makes a fantastic block on the FS Coleman. Michael Hoomanawanui also makes a key block sealing the edge along with RT Ryan Ramczyk getting a second level block. If Ram could have held his block just a touch longer, Ingram would have picked up another 5-10 yards or maybe more.
All Ingram has to do is bounce it outside.
Next up is the 25 yard touchdown run by Alvin Kamara to put the game away. The future is bright for this young man, no tricks on this play just great vision, speed and hard nose running.
When the play gets under way Kamara can either kick it outside or inside, he chooses the latter. (Kuechly is always lurking)
The key here though is guard Larry Warford getting that second level block on Kuechly to spring Kamara.
The rest is Kamara dong what he does best – making people miss. He may not have even been touched if it weren’t for such a weak down field blocking attempt by Ted Ginn Jr (take some lessons from Coleman, Ted) it’s really a testament to Kamara that he was able to shake the tackle and score on the play.
Well that’s a wrap for this edition of the Grind Factor. It sure is a nice change of pace of not having to abuse my liquor cabinet to get through my film study.
The Saints should be able to take care of business in London this week but they can’t take the Miami Dolphins lightly even though they got destroyed by the lowly New York Jets 20-6 and are near the bottom offensively (27th) and defensively (25th) The Dolphins were humiliated last week and I expect them to come out swinging.
The best way to counter that is to hit them early and hit them often, it won’t take much to break their will but if you let them hang around it’s anyone’s game.
I expect a joyous plane ride home for the Saints and with a bye week to get some players back, a 2-2 record would really look good considering how the season started and I believe with that, we can all say….as always – WHODAT!