SAINTS: Bumbling, stumbling and fumbling away their chance at playoffs
Two weeks ago the 2006 version of the New Orleans Saints looked as though they had reappeared back on the football field.
After falling out of the starting gates to a 0-4 start, the Saints had battled their way back into the playoff contention with four straight victories, but the last two weeks the Saints of the early part of the 2007 season have reemerged.
The same sort of problems, fumbles, penalties, dropped passes, untimely interceptions, and missed coverage assignments have seemingly been rebooted back into the Saints football grid.
In the 23-10 loss to the Houston Texans the Saints had every chance to get back to the .500 mark, but two tipped passes that went into the hands of a Texan defender and a very costly Reggie Bush fumble at the Texans 1 yard line, along with a blown coverage assignment that wide receiver Andre Johnson took 73-yards downfield for a touchdown put the stake in the heart of the Saints in Houston.
Right now the Saints are not good enough to commit numerous penalties, turnovers, blow assignments and drop easy throws to win. Very few teams can overcome this sort of series of events that have turned this season sour again for the Saints.
On offense the Saints show that they can move the football, but if they were a country they would only have an air attack and no infantry units to attack others on the ground.
The Saints without star halfback Deuce McAllister, lost for the entire season due to a knee injury, in the lineup and not having their best run blocker left tackle Jammal Brown, missing time due to a lower leg injury, the Saints just can not muster a ground attack.
Reggie Bush is giving his best to fill the void left by McAllister, but Reggie is not built for this heavy duty burrow into an opponentsí inside.
Bush is a satellite football player, best as a performer used in space and out on the edge as a runner and receiver.
This week against the team that passed on him with the top overall selection in 2006, Bush ran for only 34 yards on 15 carries and he caught 12 passes for 70 yards.
Donít blame everything on Bush. The offensive line just isnít getting the job done with their run blocks and many times the former Heisman Trophy winner is greeting a team picture of opponents a second after he touches the football.
Everyone can clearly see that head coach Sean Payton does not have a great amount of confidence in this running game and he prefers to use the short pass like a run.
The 2006 version of the New Orleans Saints are not wearing the black and gold. Right now that group is playing in Green Bay. The Packers are the feel good story of 2007 in the NFL and the media darlings and the Saints are trying to find their own identity.
On defense the Saints did give up over 100 yards rushing to the Texans, but many of those yards were gained when the game was out of reach and the defense was worn down.
Basically the Saints have to run the table to get a good shot to reach their goal and return to playoff competition.
Is it possible? Yes, but they have little to no margin of error and the holes on this football team are apparent.
The off-season of hope and excitement is quickly fading and football reality is starting to set in. Right now the New Orleans Saints are an average team in the NFC and that will not have you playing in the postseason.
The college coaching carousel has started to turn and many of the nationís top schools, Michigan, Texas A&M, Baylor, Auburn and SMU will be looking for new head coaches.
That list just might include LSU if Les Miles follows his heart and decides to return to his alma matta in Ann Arbor. I have no doubt the Wolverines will show great interest in Miles and I would be shocked if he didnít follow his heart and return to Michigan.
The tricky part is what will happen in Baton Rouge. With two games left on the schedule and a possible BCS National Championship in his grasp, would the Wolverines go after Miles now or wait until January. And would Miles want to get into contract negotiations now and possibly get the focus off the play on the field and more on the events off the field.
Stay tuned, because this scenario of events will be very interesting to watch..
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