Three Reasons the Saints Aren’t Winning Games According to an Unathletic Sports Blogger
I'll be honest, I think I may be the person best suited to talk about this topic on the face of the Earth. I happen to have watched every single second of Saints football this season from a 1080p digital antenna taped to my living room window.
I never played competitive football at any level higher than high school, and even then I never started.
But I am going to identify and solve the three biggest problems with the 2022 New Orleans Saints. I am chosen for this arduous and heroic sacrifice.
So without further ado, three reasons the Saints are losing and how they can stop doing those things.
Pete Carmichael Doesn't Know Who His Quarterback Is
Ole Petey C has a long history with the Saints and has helped oversee some of the most potent offenses in football alongside future Hall of Fame coach Sean Payton and future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees.
But neither of those legends are around anymore. So take hold of that offense, Pete. Make it your own. Write your own story. Stop throwing screens on third-and-long that take 12 seconds to develop and gain like 3 yards on average.
Jokes aside, the playcalling this year has been questionable at best. Even when Jameis was playing with all of the pieces of his back in the right place, the passing game has been unacceptable. The amount of behind-the-line swing and screen plays have only gone up since Sean retired and the number of balls that get down the field has gone down.
Jameis can't do these passes. Now that his eyesight actually works, if he can make out his receiver's face, it freaks him out. He only wants to throw to players so far away that they're blurry because it's what he's used to. I know its funny, but look at the best Saints offensive plays from the first three weeks.
(Hint: They're all long passes.)
Jameis wants to throw those intermediate balls, maybe it just suits his arm better or maybe he hates YAC, but this swing offense just isn't doing it.
But surely all of that can be rectified. This team has Alvin Kamara, one of the most potent pass-catching backs in football. So all we have to do is run him through the A gap 15 times a game and occasionally have the blocking break down so badly that he bounces out around the outside of the tackle and breaks it big.
Man, if only there was a way to call plays for the running back that were designed to go outside of the tackle, then I bet AK would be unstoppable.
So my solution?
Fire all the coaches and start over from scratch but with me as head coach and Lyn and Scott and Blaise can have like assistant head coach roles, I am very smart and I would only ask for 5 mil a year.
Change up the playcalling. A lot. Line AK up at slot receiver more. Give him more swing routes and outside the tacklebox runs. Upgrade Mark Ingram from podcaster and hype man to between-the-tackles 1st down back to get a basically guaranteed 2-3 yards on first down.
Throw more intermediate, simple route concept passes. And for the love of God, don't make Jameis call his own protections. Thought he was going to audible his linemen into blocking each other last week.
There are some people theorizing that maybe old Pete didn't even want to be OC, but sadly the Nasty Nick methodology doesn't account for people stepping down, and I genuinely don't think that would really help. And so, we move on.
Mediocre Disease is Contagious
Does everyone remember last year when the Saints had a decent o-line, and Jameis was playing really good? Yeah? Ok do we all remember when the Saints' best offensive weapons, outside of an extremely overworked Alvin Kamara, were Marquez Callaway and Tony Jones?
Well the torch has been passed, ladies and gentlemen. All that was mid is now good again, and all that was good has become mid.
The Saints this year have a top-flight rookie receiver, one of the best slots in the game, perennial Pro-Bowler Alvin Kamara, all the decent receivers from last year, Taysom Hill, and Mark Ingram to back up AK.
Oh and there's this dude some people may have heard of. Apparently he's pretty good at the whole catching footballs thing. And he has a name. His name is Michael Thomas.
So with the skill positions going from tragic to magic, what about that solid o-line and careful, measured Jameis Winston from last year?
They look awful.
This offensive line couldn't block an alley with a limousine. And it's not like there's no talent there. Most of the pieces are the same, except for a missing Terron Armstead, who's currently having the time of his life in Miami blocking for yet another quarterback that can't see over him.
So why are they not playing any good?
Well, cast your mind back to about a minute or so ago where I wrote:
And for the love of God, don't make Jameis call his own protections. Thought he was going to audible his linemen into blocking each other last week.
Yeah, that quote is me. I said that.
If you go back and watch any play on which Jameis is hurried or sacked, you'll see linemen that legitmately don't seem to know where they're going.
That's... not good.
So, the skill players that used to stink are talented, and the linemen that used to be secure are letting people pass like a bad security guard.
Solving this part of the equation is simple. Or rather, the solution is to be simple. Keep the protections as simple as possible and make audibling to something else just as easy.
As for how to accomplish that? I don't know! I don't have all the answers! Jeez, can't you figure something out for yourselves?
They're Not Mistakes, They're Happy Accidents!
Nothing kills a team's chance at winning games like boneheaded mistakes. And right now, the Saints are making plenty.
Aside from the usual ref-ball inherent in existing anywhere near a black and gold jersey, there are still way too many routine penalties. Holds, false starts, illegal formations, and playing for the team are all things that the Saints have been penalized for way too much this season.
Countless times have I sat, weary from watching the Saints play horribly, only to see a drive begin to build momentum. I sit up on my couch, eagerly awaiting a big play. I finally see it! A long ball over the middle! Caught! First Down!
There's a flag. It's coming back. I fall back into my couch, nearly knocking it backwards because it's weirdly top-heavy for some reason. The Saints have done it again.
And don't even get started with the turnovers. With as good as this defense is, the Saints should be 2021 Ragin' Cajuns dominant when it comes to turnover margin.
And yet, the anemic offense is making Alvin so sick, even he's coughing up the ball.
So how do we solve this conundrum?
Alright, fine, I'll admit it. This one stumped me. I tried to come up with a genuine coaching idea that the team could implement, or some kind of funny joke.
But the whole team just has to play smoother, slower, and by using that thing they have between their ears.
Maybe then, this team can start to win some games.
Or Alvin Kamara could just score 6 times this week like he did on Christmas against the Vikings the last time the teams played.
Y'all didn't really think I was gonna end on a sour note, right?