The Saints dropped a bad loss to the Jaguars 27-24 in the Superdome after being down 17-10 at halftime with the starters matching up against each other. By no means am I interested in suggesting the sky is falling – once again this was a preseason game. Still, the Saints were absolutely facing one of the worst teams in the entire league at home – and they got smacked around. The Saints’ offense sans Sproles took a while to get rolling but by the end of the half they seemed to come into their own. The defense looked poor, especially in run support. While the potential for this team remains high, this game signaled just how much work they have left to do. Make the jump for my bullets on the game.
- The referees in the game were positively atrocious. I am now fully sold on how desperately the NFL needs to get this lockout settled before the season starts. I am terrified of what a crew like that could do to ruin the NFL game experience for fans. Bad calls are one thing – something you can come to expect from the best over the course of a season – but this was on another level. These refs clearly had no understanding of when to penalize for pass interference. To see Corey White twice get victimized by flags for perfect coverage was really discouraging. An injustice more pronounced than Roger Goodell’s antics. It didn’t help that the refs destroyed any flow to the game by burning through several minutes to come up with any sort of decision. It was miserable.
- The Saints lost the game with 13 seconds left on a touchdown pass on 4th and goal from the 11 when Steve Spagnuolo decided to go all Gregg Williams and send a zero blitz. That left Kevin Elliott is bad single coverage against Cord Parks for an easy touchdown catch. I have nightmares from the 49ers game all over again.
- The Chris Ivory and Travaris Cadet battle is really starting to heat up. I read a lot of “Cadet just made the roster” tweets which is just absurd – there’s still two games left – but a lot of that was based on how well he was playing. Ivory ran as well as he’s run so far in camp with his signature punishing style. Cadet looked more like Darren Sproles lite with his shifty runs and pass catching skills. Cadet did have one of the best plays of the Saints’ preseason so far with a tremendous 24 yard touchdown reception on a great throw from Chase Daniel with 1:53 left which should have given the Saints the win. I have to admit getting rid of either Ivory or Cadet based on this game would be difficult to stomach. I know the Saints are still hoping Cadet can be stashed away on the practice squad – but clearing waivers is not a given based on how he’s playing. There’s still some time but a tough decision could be looming. Could the Saints maybe keep 5 halfbacks?
- The Saints got their first taste at what looked like very serious injuries to important players. LB Chris Chamberlain injured his knee and it looked very serious. Andy Tanner also turned his ankle very badly and could miss extended time. That’s too bad because Tanner really proved good enough to make this team based on his first couple of games. Now he’s at the mercy of his health and recovery.
- This game vaulted Joe Morgan back ahead of Tanner not only because of the injury, but because of Morgan making a huge play with a 53 yard wide open touchdown reception. Just in case the Saints forgot, he has some serious speed.
- The tackling and run support was a joke all game long, but especially in the first half with the starters. Brodrick Bunkley and Sedrick Ellis both looked lost out there. It didn’t matter who was in there, the Jaguars largely gashed the Saints at will on the ground. Not good.
- Junior Galette and Martez Wilson both continue to get tremendous pressure in pass rushing situations off the edge.
- Martez Wilson continues to exert the mental capacity of a 4 year old on the field.
- Chad Henne is almost as bad as Sean Canfield. The fact that that guy actually started in the NFL is revolting.
- Rookie Justin Blackmon looked the part for sure. If the Jags can find a way to keep his head on straight, which is a big if, he’s going to be a special player. As bad as Gabbert was a year ago, he looked improved too.
- I was sick to see that interception overturn and two pass interference calls made against Corey White. The poor kid plays great and kept being victimized by the striped shirts unfairly. Give the rookie a lot of credit for playing well. Elbert Mack looked good in coverage as well.
- Johnny Patrick was up and down, but at times gave way too much cushion.
- Garrett Hartley was semi tested with a 37 yarder which he was pefect on. That increases him leg in the kicker battle to a still ever so slim margin.
- Michael Higgins continues to show good hands that suggests he deserves a spot on the roster.
- The Saints had a beautiful 4th and very short stop deep in their own territory that reminded me of the Falcons game last year in Atlanta.
That’s about all I have to say about this game, and I’m glad I ended it on a positive note because… well… yuck.