New Orleans Saints: 3 Keys to the Game vs. Green Bay
Desperate for offensive cohesion. Desperate for Steve Spagnuolo's defense to stop someone. And, most importantly, desperate to remove the goose egg from their win total.
Will the team right the ship this week?
Who knows, when the are paid up with an equally disappointed Packers team who are still reeling from the debacle in Seattle (Thank you for coming back, refs.), anything could happen.
Let's take a look at a few keys that are going to help this team be victorious for the first time this season.
Run the Ball
This will sound like a blatant generality, but when you have the best running back depth in the NFL, you might want to use them.
It's not that the Saints can't run the football, because their five yards per carry average is very impressive, but when the plays aren't called, it's just a waste of your best positional group.
New Orleans averaged under 20 carries a game through the first three weeks, and that number is just unacceptable considering how much it looks like Drew Brees is "pressing" in the passing game.
Ease the tension off of Brees and run the rock at least 30 times this game. If they do that, they will keep Aaron Rodgers off of the field longer, and it will set up the downfield, play-action throws that we are used to seeing out of the Saints offense.
Keep Brees Upright
Brees might be the $100-million man, but none of that matters when the offensive line is struggling.
You can probably count on one hand the number of times that Brees had time to throw in the pocket and wasn't rushed.
That can't happen against a pass rush like the Packers', which features one of the premier rushers in the game in Clay Matthews.
The Saints need to shorten Brees' dropbacks and give him quicker reads so Green Bay doesn't have the opportunity to just tee off on his deep, seven-step drops. They also could use David Thomas or Daniel Graham, the two tight ends who excel in blocking, as a "crutch" for the offensive tackles, because they could surely use the help.
Keep Brees upright and clean, and he will pick apart a defense quick, but he can't do that from the ground. That's the name of the game this week.
Pressure Aaron Rodgers
The Seahawks racked up eight sacks versus the Packers last week. Now, I wouldn't expect that kind of production out of the Saints' defensive line group, but putting pressure on Rodgers early and getting him frazzled seems to be the name of the game this year.
Compare those eight Seahawks sacks to a whopping six for the Saints, for the entire season.
That would put New Orleans on pace for just over a meager 30-sack year. And considering that "Spags" is a sack guru, those numbers are very disappointing.
Now if the Saints do happen to get pressure on Rodgers, they have to remember to keep it contained to the middle of the field, because having him roam around on the outside would be just as dangerous as getting no pressure.
Keep him inside the pocket and collapse it. Simple enough, right?
Let's see what happens this week.