The Saints are 2-0 with two preseason games to go. So here is what I classify as the Good, Bad and Ugly in the Saints 31-24 win over the Tennessee Titans.
Ugly: Penalties! Way too many flags, AGAIN! Two were completely unnecessary (from TE Jimmy Graham) and one could argue that the NFL Refs have gotten caught up in looking for too much in pre-season games. But after two games with 32 flags and 288 yards in penalties to their credit, the New Orleans Saints are a sloppy and undisciplined team right now and that’s coming from their head coach. “It was painful to watch,” said Sean Payton. I fully expect a much cleaner game from the Black and Gold next Saturday against the Colts. After a week of practice where Sean Payton reminds his team of how undisciplined they have been in two preseason games, the Saints have to do better.
Bad: Saints kickoff coverage - Last season the Saints were not a good team when it came to covering kickoffs (26th in the NFL). After two pre-season games, poor kick coverage is a problem that still very much exists. St. Louis averaged 27 yards per kick return in week one while the Titans got 28 yards each time their fielded a kickoff. New Orleans kickoff team has defended 11 kicks allowed a total of 299 yards for an average of 27.2 yards per return. That’s too much!
Good: There were several things that I thought were good in the Saints 31-24 win over the Titans. First I’ll say that anytime you can force five turnovers that is good, damn good! I thought that the Saints defense once again got after the opposing team’s QB at a consistent rate. For the second week, the Saints recorded four sacks. Through two games the Saints have eight sacks for -53 yards. That’s real good. And the QB’s were very good. Ryan Griffin is 29-of-42 for 358 yards and 3 TD’s in two games. And veteran QB Luke McCown was 12-of-20 for 117 yards with 2 TD’s and had a rating of 109.8 in the Saints win over Tennessee. The battle to see who backs-up Drew Brees continues. Pass protection has been very good through two preseason games. Keep in mind that two of the best offensive guards in the game today (Jahri Evans & Ben Grubbs) have not played one snap. LT Terron Armstead, LG S Kelemete, C Jonathan Goodwin/C Tim Lelito RG Marcel Jones and RT Zach Strief have given up one sack in 82 pass attempts. To me, that’s pretty good!
Quote of the night: Payton said “Obviously, that was painful to watch. I can’t recall ever a game with that many penalties. And here is the thing; most of the ones I saw were good calls, so this isn’t about a crew calling a lot of penalties, this is about something I have to do a better job with. We will find ourselves at the short end of a game and then wonder about our offseason goals and what happened and we won’t know exactly what happened and you’ll hear about... in a preseason game, 22 penalties, I’ve lost track. I have to do a better job in that area and it will start at practice on Sunday.”