Noteworthy - The New Orleans Saints take on the Kansas City Chiefs tonight in the first preseason game for both teams. Kansas City is coming off a 2-14 season while the Saints were 7-9 a year ago.
The two teams have met nine times in preseason play with the Saints holding a 5-4 edge over the Chiefs. The Saints and Chiefs are tied at five wins each in regular season meetings.
Did you know? That former Saints Defensive Coordinator Gary Gibbs coaches linebackers for the Chiefs? And our very own Cajun Cannon Bobby Hebert had 211 yards passing a two TD’s in the Saints 17-10 win over Kansas City back in September of 1991.
The last time the Saints met the Chiefs: Well we all know that when the Saints and Chiefs last met, it was the beginning of the end for the Saints 2012 season. Sure New Orleans was already off to a 0-2 start. But a loss to a team that had no offensive life and trailed New Orleans 24-6 late in the third struck a blow to the Saints that the Black and Gold never recovered from.
Yes, that was then, and this is now. But that week three meltdown hurt the Saints bad. How bad was it? OK, since you asked… Drew Brees threw a 6 yard TD pass to FB Jed Collins. The Saints went up 24-6 with 5:36 left in the third quarter.
The Saints looked like they were going to notch their first win of the season and get to 1-2. But then the bottom fell out and disaster struck. The Chiefs roared back to win the game 27-24 in overtime. Kansas City had nothing going on offense until late in the third when RB Jaamal Charles reeled off a 91 yard run.
In fact the Chiefs racked up over 300 yards of total offense on their final seven drives of the game. On the flip side the Saints Offense ran 19 plays for just 32 yards during their last seven offensive possessions. Yikes!
What they are saying about the game
Saints Coach Sean Payton on what he's looking for in the first couple of series…
“Typically, in this first game, you say the first quarter, but it’s one side of the ball or the other ends up with more snaps. Somewhere between that 14 to 16 play mark, we will try to divide it up into phases. In other words, phase one, phase two, (and) phase three. Defense might be moving into phase two, and yet, we are still in phase one on offense. We will try to communicate that way. There are a handful of players that are going to transition, and they may be on the field in phase one and then playing some in phase two. So, the first quarter would be a good starting point.”
Saints DB #27 Malcolm Jenkins on what he's looking for from his individual play as well as the Saints defense…
“Individually, I think it’s just about getting into the groove of the game. Being able to get out there in the first fifth teen, making the proper adjustments in the secondary, making sure my eyes are lined up, fly around, and just do the little things right. From a defensive standpoint, the game plan is pretty simple. Get out there, execute, fly around, be physical, and that’s it. We just want to see guys cut it loose and play hard. We can add the Xs and Os later but for right now, this is all about evaluating individuals, seeing how smart they are, how physical they are, and how they can grasp the game. Some of the young guys will probably get a little gassed during the game and this is a chance for us to see what they do when they get tired, if they result in mental lapses, penalties and things like that. It will be a good chance to evaluate where we are.” Saints WR #88 Nick Toon on how excited he is about playing the Chiefs.
“It’s exciting. It’s been a long time coming. I’m finally healthy and ready to try and get out there and get rolling.”
Saints back-up rookie QB #4 Ryan Griffin on if he's a little nervous at his first game in the NFL…
“I mean you always have a little nerves before (a) game, it’s just going to be different not going out and not playing right away and waiting. I’m kind of waiting and trying to get back in the second half and get ready then. That’s the one thing I'm trying to figure out how to adjust to that.”
Looking ahead to tonight’s game – Our Resident Pros Bobby Hebert and Hokie Gajan…
Well Saints Fans after having a healthy week of training camp the first week of practice, injuries hit Saints Camp at the end of last week and on into week two of practice. "I tell you the injury bug has hit us. All teams go through this kind of stuff. That does not make things any easier," said Saints Color Analyst Hokie Gajan
This past week has been a tough one for the New Orleans Saints. The Saints were hit hard by the injury bug. Two more key players were lost for season. WR Joe Morgan and DE Kenyon Coleman were both lost for the entire 2013 season after suffering injuries at practice.
Morgan had two injuries as the speedy WR suffered a meniscus tear and Morgan also has to have an ACL repair. Coleman suffered a pectoral tear. Saints Coach Sean Payton talked about the loss of Moran and Coleman. "So there’s two players that are significant. Obviously they are losses, and we have to find some guys to step up and take their spot.” The Saints also lost pass rusher Victor Butler during OTA's earlier this summer.
Gajan says that when a player goes down it gives another player an opportunity to step up. "Rob Ryan is going to have to reshuffle the deck. We knew that Vic Butler was brought here to rush the passer. And Kenyon Coleman was brought in to stop the run. Now, both of those guys are out. We were counting on those guys and now somebody else has to step up."
What will #3 the Cajun Cannon look for in the New Orleans vs KC Game?
"I'm going to be focused more in that first quarter on what the first (team) units do. I'll be watching what our offense does against their (KC) defense and the same for our defense against the Chiefs Offense." Bobby takes notes during Saints game in a very unique way. The Cannon uses two legal pads and three different highlighters along with an ink pen to give the Who Dat Nation the best and most comprehensive breakdown of Saints Games.
So what else is the Cannon going to be eying in the first preseason game for the Black and Gold? "I like to watch the individual players and how they do as the game progresses. I want to see who's making tackles on special teams, kickoff coverage and punt coverage as well."
Bobby advised the Who Dat Nation to be in their seat right at 7PM when the game kicks off. Hebert says that the starting players won't play much. "Pretty much the first couple of drives will have the one's (first team players) versus the ones. And that's the closet thing you're going to get to a regular season game."
The Cajun Cannon will look to see which WR can enhance their shot at becoming the #3 WR. And Bobby says watch the Saints Running Backs. "I would expect that Travaris Cadet and Khiry Robinson to get the bulk of the carries. The coaches know what Pierre Thomas, Mark Ingram and Darren Sproles can do already."
Our pros will also be watching who stands out at left tackle. Charles Brown, Terron Armstead and Jason Smith are the players battling for that spot. And Hokie wants to see more improvement in the Saints Defensive Backfield. "They (DB's) have been playing a lot faster. The defense has been very aggressive during camp and I'll be looking to see if that continues in the first preseason game."