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3 Things We Learned in the Saints' 35-27 Loss to the Panthers

Jason BernosContributor IIOctober 8, 2016

3 Things We Learned in the Saints' 35-27 Loss to the Panthers

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    Another week and another eight-point loss to drop the New Orleans Saints to 0-2 on the season.

    It's still early, Who Dat Nation, so there's no need to push the panic button. Yet.

    Nothing has gone right for the Saints in their first couple of games, so the things that you would learn coming out of this one, especially, are not going to be positive.

    Let's take a look at the three things that were painfully learned on Sunday.

Saints Can't Defend Read Options or Screens

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    In the first two weeks, the Saints have faced dual-threat quarterbacks, and one thing is very apparent with Steve Spagnuolo's new defense: If the opponent's quarterback can run, you can beat New Orleans.

    Period.

    The Redskins and Panthers both used screens and read options to constantly confuse and put the Saints' defense in bad positions.

    So far, that has been the recipe to beat Spagnuolo's soft zone defense. Hopefully, the defense is just working out some kinks with the new schemes. 

    Hopefully.

The Saints Really Miss Robert Meachem

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    There is no doubt in my mind that the Saints offense misses Robert Meachem more than it would lead you believe.

    Even with Meachem's injury history, he was a very consistent deep threat when he was on the field.

    The offense just doesn't have that anymore, and that is why receivers aren't getting open. Brees is pumping three times and having no one to throw to.

    And with no receivers getting open, it gets harder and harder for the offensive line to hold its blocks that long. 

    Joe Morgan has the speed, but is not a consistent enough option to put fear into opponents, and Devery Henderson, before his head injury, had lost a step and that separation he once had going for him has gone by the wayside. 

    Even with big tree trunks like Marques Colston and Jimmy Graham, you still need that threat of the deep ball, or teams are just going to crowd everything within 15 yards of the line of scrimmage.

The Saints Look Stronger Running the Ball Than Passing It

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    The Saints have not looked good at all throwing the ball, and most of that can be blamed on the offensive line giving Drew Brees no time to get anything going.

    To me, Brees has looked like the 2010 version of himself that was trying to do a little too much, and that only leads to turnovers.

    At least this year, the Saints might be able to lean on a really good running game (when they actually call the plays).

    Pierre Thomas and Mark Ingram combined for 25 carries and 163 yards on the ground. That tandem could be just what the Saints need to balance their attack, especially since it looks like they will be using Darren Sproles primarily as a receiver/returner.

    During the 2009 season, the running game was the catalyst that set up everything else in the offense and that year ended pretty well.

    How about they duplicate that recipe and limit Brees' mistakes by taking the ball out of his hands every once in awhile?

    Would be a start to get a mark in the win column. 

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