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Deke Bellavia

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Twitter: @dekebigchief
Email: bigchief@wwl.com

Big Chief's Saints vs. Redskins Preview & Breakdown

What they are saying

Washington QB RG3 on playing in the dome - “I’ve been to games at the Superdome before. Both of my parents were born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana, so I know what it’s like to be a fan of the Saints and the atmosphere that it will be like once we step into that stadium and that dome. It’s definitely going to be loud. They are going to be pumped up, ready to go. It’s just our job to go out and execute.”

  “I don’t think you can truly prepare for the noise that you will get at any given stadium, but of course you can do your due diligence and make sure you’re practicing with the loudest noise you can possibly imagine. That’s what we have been doing for the last couple days and really just working on communicating when you can’t hear each other. Because that’s what it’s going to be like at certain points throughout the game. The crowd’s going to be into it and they’re going to make it extremely hard for us to communicate. It’s our job to know what we have to do, not only just knowing our offense, but knowing it without even really having to communicate clearly to each other.”

 Saints Coach Aaron Kromer on facing Redskins QB RG3- “When you get a guy that can really run, it is important that you contain him, that you keep him within the realms of the defense where you can corner him in and not let him out and run in space. You give a guy like that, that’s that fast and elusive a lot of space, that is a problem.”

 Saints QB Drew Brees on is this the most talented Saints Team - “I feel like we have the potential to be. Just as you watch it, I would agree this was one of the harder teams to make since we’ve been here with talent across the board. It was so competitive at so many different positions with guys vying for a spot on this team and it’s a reason why we took five running backs. This guy (Travaris Cadet) can play. How do we find a way to keep this guy, even though it’s a little bit unusual. We know this, the 53 guys that made it deserve to be here. They worked their tails off to have this opportunity. We’re going to need everybody down the stretch. That’s for sure.”

The Redskins File

 2011 Washington Redskins Numbers
 Offense - 16th overall (336.7 ypg), 25th rushing (100.9 ypg), 14th passing (235.8 ypg), 19th scoring (21.3 ppg)
Defense - 13th overall (339.8 ypg), 18th rushing (117.8 ypg), 12th passing (222.1 ypg), 21st scoring (22.9 ppg)

The Redskins have been downright bad the last few seasons.  Washington has compiled a 23-41 record the last four seasons, with no playoff appearances in that span as well.

But now, a new ray of hope comes in the form in one of the best college football players ever in Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III.  Griffin will have some bumps along the way, but RG3 will look no further than last year’s prized rookie to have hope that he too can have a great rookie season.

A year ago at this time everyone was downplaying Cam Newton…and all Cam went on to do was to have the best rookie season ever for an incoming QB.  Those expectations are not too high for RG3 but I think that he will have a tougher time than Cam did.

The Redskins added WR Pierre Garcon this off-season to give Griffin some help.  And TE Fred Davis is coming off a season in which he hauled in 59 receptions for 796 yards.  Washington will look to take some pressure of their young QB with a stable of RB’s.

Rookie Alfred Morris and second-year players Evan Royster and Roy Helu will all see action in the Redskins Backfield.  Morris made the club as a 6th round draft pick out of Florida Atlantic while Royster and Helu combined for nearly one thousand yards and two scores in 2011.   

Defensively the Redskins are very good.  Even though Washington was -14 in the turnover ratio last season it was not because their defense did not take the ball away.  Washington forced 21 turnovers in 2011 and with a little better ball security they could be much better in this area in 2012.

The 3-4 scheme that Coach Jim Haslett implements features a solid front seven led by inside linebacker London Fletcher.  Fletcher is like a fine wine, he only gets better with age.  The 37-year-old Fletcher is as good as ever, coming off a season in which he posted 166 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and 2 interceptions.

The middle of the defense features nose tackle Barry Cofield, and DE Adam Carriker, who had 34 tackles and 5 and half sacks last season.
And, arguably the best pass-rusher the Redskins have, and one of the best young players in the league, is Brian Orakpo.  Orakpo had 59 tackles last season with nine sacks to his credit.  Josh Wilson, DeAngelo Hall, Reed Doughty and Madieu Williams lead the charge in the Washington Redskins Secondary.

The Saints File
2011 Saints Numbers
 Defense - 24th overall (368.4 ypg), 12th rushing (108.6 ypg), 30th passing (259.8 ypg), 13th scoring (21.2 ppg)
 Offense - 1st overall (467.1 ypg), 6th rushing (132.9 ypg), 1st passing (334.2 ypg), 2nd scoring (34.2 ppg)
Nothing else matters now but the 2012 season.  Whatever has happened in the past, good or bad, has to be put behind the Saints.  New Orleans has all that it needs, and then some, on offense…and now the team has made some big moves to help improve their defense.
 I mean, let’s be real here…When your offense averages 34.2 points per game, your defense does not have to be great.  If the Saints defense allows per game (21.2) what it did a year ago, and if the defense can get more takeaways, or at least have the defensive players catch the ball when it hits their hands, then the Black and Gold D will be much improved this season.

 Over the course of the last three seasons, the Saints have built a group of running backs who are arguably one of the best in the NFL, to go along with a solid WR core.  RB’s Pierre Thomas, Chris Ivory, Mark Ingram, Darren Sproles and newcomer Travaris Cadet all bring something different and special to the table.

 If New Orleans gets a lead on their opponents, they now have the luxury to keep pouring it on, or they can hand the ball off to one of these backs who are all more than capable of wearing down a defense as a group.

But enough about the offense…I could go on and on with names like Brees, Colston, Graham, Moore…well, you get the point.  If anyone is worried about the Saints offense I would advise you to point your worries elsewhere.  

With that said, how the Saints do without Coach Sean Payton is something that we will monitor all season long, as will the national talking heads.  The big thing that can make this team even more aggressive and even better is the play of their defense. The addition of guys like Curtis Lofton, David Hawthorne, Barrett Ruud and Brodrick Bunkley have the coaches optimistic about how improved this team could be.  
 Insert DE Cam Jordan.  Jordan is expected by some to have a breakout season after having an excellent training camp.  Jordan was on the winning side of one-on-one drills more often than not, and he’s an aggressive player against the run.

 Turk McBride was off to a good start last season before he got hurt, and newcomer DT Brodrick Bunkley has been brought on board to help to get some type of push up the middle.

 Sedrick Ellis has proven he can be effective, but we need to see the Ellis of two years ago.  The defensive backfield should also be better, with an emerging Patrick Robinson at one CB and the reliable Jabari Greer at the other.

Safeties Malcolm and Roman need to catch the ball, and they should at least triple their interception total of 2011, which was zero.  

The Big Chief’s Final Analysis

Simply put, the Dome will be loud.  The fans are fired up.  It’s opening day.  And there is an early Christmas Gift under the tree for us all.  The line in this game started at 9 and now it is down to 7.  That means that Vegas is not getting much action on this game, or that folks are loading up on the Redskins and the bookies want to even things out.  7, 9, man I don’t care, you have to go with the trend here.  And the trend is the Saints.

Five reasons to load up on New Orleans: The game is in the dome, the game is in the dome, Drew Brees, Drew Brees and the other team has a rookie QB in his first game.  For Washington to have any chance at all, they will need to win the turnover battle, have as many rushing attempts as passing attempts, and they will have to get a score via special teams or defensive points.

I think RG3 is going to be great.  But what Cam did and what RG3 does are two different things altogether.  Lay the seven points and start 2012 off on the plus side.  

Washington Redskins @ New Orleans Saints
Sunday September 9th Noon Kickoff Mercedes Benz Superdome
 Series History:  Washington leads 15-8
Last Meeting:  December 6, 2009 in Washington when the Saints won 33-30.  The Redskins have won the last three meetings in the Superdome.  Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan is 3-1 against the Saints as a head coach.

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Topics : Sports
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Locations : LouisianaNew Orleans
People : Aaron KromerAdam CarrikerBarrett RuudBarry CofieldBrian OrakpoBrodrick BunkleyCam JordanCam NewtonChris IvoryCurtis LoftonDarren SprolesDavid HawthorneDrew BreesEvan RoysterFred DavisJabari GreerJim HaslettJosh WilsonLondon FletcherMadieu WilliamsMark IngramMike ShanahanPatrick RobinsonPierre GarconPierre ThomasReed DoughtyRobert Griffin IIIRoy HeluSean PaytonSedrick EllisTurk McBride

09/07/2012 11:46PM
Big Chief's Saints vs. Redskins Preview & Breakdown
Please Enter Your Comments Below
09/08/2012 2:15PM
Rod Guidry in Sacramento
I get to see the game as it will be televised here. The Saints will be fired up, the fans will be fired up. A lot like the FAILCON game in 2006 and the Saints won big. Look for penalties and turnovers from that noisey crowd. Interceptions and fumble recoveries by the Saints. You want a score!! Saints win big 42-14!!!!! WHO DAT! TWO DAT!!! year.
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