Bucs vs. Saints: 5 Halftime Adjustments New Orleans Must Make

Matt Birch@TheMattBirchFeatured ColumnistOctober 16, 2011

TAMPA, FL - OCTOBER 16:  Quarterback Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints warms up just before the start of the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium on October 16, 2011 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
J. Meric/Getty Images

The Saints currently trail the Bucs, 20-10, at the half in today's game. Here are four adjustments New Orleans must make at halftime in order to win this game:

Establish the run

The Saints have rushed only nine times for 34 yards. They are too pass-heavy and the offense has been predictable thus far.

New Orleans must establish the run in between the tackles and force Tampa out of its zone coverage. This will make Brees' job easier and open up the vertical, deep pass.

Do a better job protecting Drew Brees

Brees has been pressured all afternoon and it’s affecting his performance. The Bucs have done a great job up front and the aggressiveness has clearly hindered some of his throws.

The Saints need to draw up some quick outs and blitz-beater plays to make Tampa Bay pay for its relentless blitzing.

Spread the Bucs defense out and let Brees go to work

Outside of CB Aqib Talib, the Bucs’ young secondary is nothing to write home about and are known to blow a cover or two. The Saints have plenty of offensive targets for Brees to throw to, and they need to spread the field to open things up a bit.

Get Darren Sproles the ball in the open field

This is the perfect potential counter for Tampa Bay’s constant blitzing.

Sean Payton has done a great job utilizing Sproles since acquiring him in free agency this offseason. The running back has been a huge force in the screen-passing game and has come up with some big plays in key spots.

Currently, Sproles has only one rush, but it did go for 16 yards.

Improve timing on blitzes

The Saints have brought a lot of pressure on QB Josh Freeman but he has burned them badly as a result.

New Orleans needs to do a better job bringing and disguising coverage to take Freeman out of a rhythm. The young quarterback has no problem throwing into coverage at times and if the Saints can confuse him, they can possibly force a few turnovers.