Another week, and another loss that makes it difficult to find the "winners" out of this bunch.
This Saints team just doesn't have the fire that past teams have had, and that is probably the thing they miss most from Sean Payton's absences, his unspoken "swagger." It just seems to me like this is a case of "the boss is away, so the employees just kind of go through the motions at work."
If that wasn't bad enough, the defense is looking out of place on some plays, but the good news is that should be corrected as players get more comfortable in this system.
Let's get to the winners and losers of this second eight-point loss in as many weeks.
Jordan might have shown some flashes of what could be a Pro Bowl season this year.
His stat line might just say one sack and one QB hit, but anyone who watched the game saw that he was everywhere.
He was taking Cam Newton out of his comfort zone and abusing the Panthers tackle not named Jordan Gross. He looked like the only player on this defense that was trying to make a play and not just wait for the tackle to come to him.
And if you do that with teams that run the option, you are gonna end up either getting blocked or running yourself out of the play.
Jordan's play gives the Saints hope.
This comes from the "Office of Redundancy", but the Saints' run defense has been horrible.
Every offseason, they bring in the new "flavor of the week", but none of them seem to be working. Hopefully, Brodrick Bunkley, the man they brought in to stop the run, can get a little help from others or else he's going to be the one taking the fall.
It also doesn't help that his interior linemate, Sedrick Ellis, gets blown three yards back on certain run plays.
When this side of the defense gets tightened up, the pass defense won't get as burned by the deep, broken plays.
This group was the one bright, shining star on the offensive side of the ball even with the Saints sitting two of their 18 running backs this Sunday (Travaris Cadet and Chris Ivory).
It was more of a two-headed attack lead by Pierre Thomas and Mark Ingram with both of them combinig for 163 yards and a score. Darren Sproles didn't get a carry rushing, but was used more in the screen game and in short routes which are basically extended hand-offs.
Thomas might have gone over the century mark, but don't discount Ingram's paltry average. Ingram, as well as Thomas, ran with a purpose, and it looked like that purpose was to run guys over and not just go around them.
The Saints should call at least 35 rushing plays next week if this game was any indication.
You might look at the stats and see that Brees passed for over 300 yards, so the receivers must have had a good day, right?
The bulk of the targets went to Jimmy Graham and Sproles, and rightfully so since those are your best playmakers when the ball is thrown their way. (Sorry, Lance Moore and Marques Colston.)
Besides backs and tight ends, the receivers had seven catches for 93 yards and one big dropped touchdown by Moore, who has the best hands on the team with Jimmy Graham.
That unit needs to step up big time.
Courtney Roby will never have the stats that are going to pop out at you, or win you any fantasy games, but he does a tremendous job on kick and punt coverage.
He will, however, lead your team in special teams tackles and is an ace at downing punts inside the 10-yard line.
His intangibles and leadership are what have kept him a part of this team for so long, and barring injury, the only stats we will continue to see out of him are on special teams, hopefully.
I know, I know, I was the one saying Patrick Robinson would take a step up to Pro Bowl status this year. I guess that's why I haven't won at the lottery either. (Don't ask me for predictions!)
But if there's anything I can count on from " P-Rob" this season, it's dropped interceptions and bad coverage.
He might stick his nose in and make a key tackle here and there, but he gives up too many big plays and doesn't compensate for those when he has the chance to.
The few times that he had guessed right on plays, he dropped the pick.
"P-Rob" will only be called Patrick to me until he learns to "rob" the opponents of opportunities.