Black & Gold Xs & Os: The Day-After Coaches Review of Saints-Lions Game

Will Osgood@@BRwillosgoodAnalyst ISeptember 14, 2009

NEW ORLEANS - SEPTEMBER 13:  Mike Bell #21 of the New Orleans Saints is pushed out of bounds by Larry Foote #55 of the Detroit Lions at the Louisiana Superdome on September 13, 2009 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

On Sunday, Drew Brees and company started their season out strong against a more resilient opponent than expected.

But the stars were clearly Drew Brees and Mike Bell, although the Saints had many stars on the day on both sides of the ball.

Below is a copy of my grades for each play (until about 10 minutes to go in the fourth since my DVR cut off) and each Position, followed by individual players overall grade.

I understand this is not exactly how it is done by coaches, but I felt the need to simplify it in hopes that would be easier to understand for you, the fan.

I also want to clarify that this is only my opinion and certainly may not reflect the opinions of any of the Saints coaches.

Week One Saints vs. Lions Play-By-Play & Overall Grade Sheet

Sunday, September 13, 2009

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Special Teams

Play     Type      Grade

1          KO            A

2          PAT          B

3          KO             A

4          PR             B

5          PAT          B

6          KO           A-

7          DFGA        A

8          KOR         D+

9          Punt          C

10        PR             F

11        Punt           F

12        DFGA          B

13        KOR          B-

14        PR             B-

15        PAT          A

16        KO           A

17        PR            B

18        PAT          B-

19        KO           C+

20        PR             F

21        FG             F

22        KO            C+

23        DFGA       A-

24        KOR         C

25        FG             B+

26        KO            F

27        DFGA       A-

28        KOR         A-

29        PAT          A

30        KO           A-

31        DFGA      A-

32        KOR        B-

33        PAT          A


Play     Type      Grades

1           Pass       QB: A  RB: A TE: B WR: A OL:  A

2           Pass       QB:  A  RB:  A   TE:  B  WR:  B  OL:  B

3           Run        QB:  A  RB:  A   TE:  A  WR:  B  OL:  A

4           Run        QB:  A  RB:  B   TE:  A   WR:  A  OL:  A

5           Pass        QB:  A  RB:  B   TE:  A   WR:  A  OL:  B      Touchdown

6           Draw       QB:  A  RB:  B   TE:  B    WR: B   OL:  A

7           PA           QB:  A  RB:  A   TE:  B    WR:  A  OL:  A

8           PA           QB:  A- RB:  A   TE:  B+  WR:  A   OL:  A-  Touchdown 

9           Run          QB:  A- RB:  B-  TE:  B    WR:  A   OL:  B-

10         Pass          QB:  B   RB:  A   TE:  N/A  WR:  B  OL:  A

11         Pass           QB:   Penalty                                      OL:  F

12         Pass           QB:  A   RB:  A   TE:  A    WR:  B    OL:  A

13         Run            QB:  A   RB:  A   TE:  B     WR:  B   OL:  B

14         PA              QB:  A   RB:  A   TE:  B+   WR:  B   OL:  B

15         Pass            QB:  A   RB:  A   TE:  B      WR:  B   OL:  A

16         Screen         QB:  A   RB:  B+  TE:  C    WR:  B   OL:  A-

17         Run              QB:  A   RB:  B+  TE:  C    WR:  B   OL:  B

18         Run              QB:  A    RB:  A   TE:  A     WR: A   OL:  B+

19         PA                 Defensive Penalty

20         Run              QB:  A     RB:  A    TE:  B     WR:  B-   OL:  A+

21         Run               QB:  A    RB:  A     TE:  B-    WR:  B-  OL:  B-

22         Flea-Flicker   QB:  C-   RB:  B-   TE:  C-    WR:  C    OL:  C          Interception

23         Run                QB:  A    RB:  A     TE:  B+   WR:  B    OL:  A-

24        Pass                QB:  A   RB:  B       TE:  C+  WR:  C-   OL:  A

25        Draw              QB:  A    RB:  A       TE:  A    WR:  A-  OL:  A-

26        PA                  QB:  A    RB:  A-     TE:  A-    WR:  A   OL:  A-

27        Run                 QB:  A    RB:  B       TE:  B     WR:  A-  OL:  B

28        Run                 QB:  A    RB:  A       TE:  B-     WR:  B   OL:  B-

29        Pass                 QB:  A    RB:  A       TE:  A      WR:  A   OL:  B+

30        Pass                 QB:  A    RB:  A       TE:  A       WR:  A   OL:  A

31        Run                  QB:  A    RB:  B       TE:  A       WR:  A   OL:  A

32        PA                    QB:  A    RB:  A+    TE:  A       WR:  N/A OL: A   Touchdown  

33        Pass                  QB:  A-   RB:  A-     TE:  B+     WR:  A-    OL:  A

34        Pass                  QB:  A    RB:  A      TE:  A        WR:  A     OL:  A

35        Pass                  QB:  A     RB:  A-     TE:  A-       WR:  A   OL:  A-

36        Pass                  QB:  A+   RB:  A-     TE:  A+      WR:  A    OL:  B-  Touchdown

37        PA                    QB:  B-    RB:  B       TE:  B+       WR:  B-   OL:  B

38        Pass                  QB:  A-    RB:  B       TE:  B+       WR:  B     OL:  B

39        Pass                  QB:  B-    RB:  B+      TE:  B         WR:  B+   OL:  A

40        Draw                 QB:  A     RB:  B        TE:  B         WR:  B     OL:  B-

41        PA                     QB:  A-   RB:  A-       TE:  B         WR:  B      OL:  A-

42        Run                   QB:  A     RB:  B+       TE:  B         WR:  B     OL:  B-

43        Bubble              QB:  A     RB:  B+        TE:  B        WR:  B     OL:  B

44        Run                   QB:  A      RB:  A         TE:  B        WR:  B     OL:  B+

45        Pass                   QB:  A      RB:  A         TE:  B        WR:  B+   OL:  B+

46        Run                    QB:  A      RB:  A         TE:  B-        WR:  B     OL:  A

47        Run                    QB:  A       RB: A          TE:  B-         WR:  C   OL:  B-

48        Pass                    Offensive Penalty

49        Pass                    QB:  A       RB:  N/A      TE:  A-       WR:  A-  OL:  A

50        Pass                     QB:  B+    RB:  C           TE:  B-       WR:  B+  OL:  C+

51        Pass                     QB:  A+    RB:  B           TE:  B-       WR:  A+  OL:  B   TD

52        Run                     QB:  A       RB:  C-       TE:  C       WR:  B    OL:  B-  Fmbl Rtn

53        Pass                  QB:  A+            RB:  A       TE:  B      WR:  C        OL:  B-

54        Run                   QB:  A            RB:  B         TE:  B       WR:  B        OL:  B+

55        Run                   QB:   A           RB:  A         TE:  A-      WR:  B+     OL:  A

56        Sprint                QB:  A            RB:  A         TE:  A        WR:  B+     OL:  A

57        Run                   QB:  A            RB:  A          TE:  A        WR:  A-     OL:  A-

58        Run                   QB:  A            RB:  B+        TE:  A-       WR:  B       OL:  B-

59        Run                   QB:  A            RB:  C           TE:  B+      WR:  B       OL:  B-

60        Run                   QB:  A            RB:  C-          TE:  C        WR:  C-      OL:  B+

61        Pass                   QB:  A+         RB:  N/A        TE:  A        WR:  B       OL:  B

62        Run                    QB:   A         RB:  B             TE:  A-       WR:  B       OL:  B-

63        PA                      QB:  A          RB:  A-           TE:  A-        WR:  A-     OL:  B

64        Run                     QB:  A          RB:  B+          TE:  A    WR:  B+    OL:  D Holding

65        Pass                     QB:  B          RB:  B            TE:  B-        WR:  C        OL:  A-

66        Screen                  QB:  A+       RB:  A-        TE:  B-         WR:  B       OL:  B+  TD


Play     Type      Grades

1          Run        DL: B LB: A DB: B

2          Pass       DL: A LB:  B DB: A

3          Pass       DL: B LB:  A DB:  A

4          Pass       DL:  A- LB:  B  DB:  B

5          Run       DL:  B   LB:  B  DB:  A

6          Bubble   DL:  B  LB:  B  DB:  B

7          Run        DL:  C  LB:  B  DB:  B

8          PA/Scr    DL:  B  LB:  C  DB:  B-

9          PA          DL:  A  LB:  A   DB:  A

10        Run         DL:  B-  LB:  B  DB:  A

11        Run         DL:  B   LB:  A   DB:  A

12        Run         DL:  B+  LB:  A  DB:  A

13        Pass        DL:  B  LB:  A     DB:  A

14        Pass        DL:  B   LB:  A     DB:  A

15        PA          DL:  A-  LB:  A    DB:  A

16        Draw      DL:  B   LB:  B-    DB:  A+

17        Pass        DL:  A-  LB:  D     DB:  B

18        Run         DL:  C   LB:  C     DB:  B      Touchdown   

19        Run         DL:  B+  LB:  B   DB:  A

20        PA           DL:  A   LB:  A   DB:  A

21        Run          DL:  A   LB:  A+  DB:  B+

22        Pass          DL:  A   LB:  A    DB:  B

23        Run          DL:  B    LB:  B+  DB:  B

24        PA            DL:  B    LB: A     DB:  A

25        Pass          DL:  A    LB:  A    DB:  A-

26        Pass          DL:  A    LB:  A     DB:  A

27        PA            DL:  B     LB:  A     DB:  A

28        Pass          DL:  B     LB:  A-    DB:  B

29        Pass          DL:  A     LB:  B      DB:  A+

30        Pass          Offensive Penalty

31        Pass          DL:  A     LB:  A      DB:  A+     Interception   

32        Run           DL:  B-    LB:  B      DB:  A 

33        Pass           DL:  A     LB:  A      DB:  A

34        Pass           DL:  A     LB:  B       DB:  C-

35        Run            DL:  B     LB:  B       DB:  B

36        Run            DL:  A     LB:  A+    DB:  A

37        Pass            DL:  B     LB:  B       DB:  A

38        Run            DL:  A+   LB:  A      DB:  A

39        Run            DL:  B      LB:  C       DB:  N/A               Touchdown

40        Run            DL:  B+    LB:  A      DB:  A

41        PA              DL:  B-     LB:  C-     DB:  B

42        Run            DL:  B       LB:  B       DB:  B

43        Offensive Penalty

44        Pass           DL:  B+      LB:  B       DB:  A-

45        Pass           DL:  B         LB:  B      DB:  B-              Incomplete/ FGA

46        PA            DL:  B-          LB:  C     DB:  C

47        Pass          DL:  B           LB:  B      DB:  B

48        Pass          DL:  B           LB:  B+    DB:  A

49        Pass          DL:  B           LB:  A      DB:  A

Position-By-Position Breakdown


QB:  Drew Brees A+

RB:   Mike Bell   B+

         Heath Evans  B+

         Reggie Bush   C+

TE:  Jeremy Shockey A-

        David Thomas    B

WR:  Marques Colston  B

         Devery Henderson  B+

         Robert Meachem     A-

         Lance Moore           B

OL:  Jahri Evans               A-

        Jon Stinchcomb         B+

        Jonathan Goodwin     B-

        Jermon Bushrod         B-

        Carl Nicks                  C

        Zach Strief (LT/TE) B+


DL:  Will Smith  B

         Charles Grant  C

         Bobby McCray  B

         Jeff Charleston   B

         Sedrick Ellis       B

         Kendrick Clancy B

         Anthony Hargrove B

LB:  Jonathan Vilma     A

        Scott Shanle          B+

        Scott Fujita            B

        Marvin Mitchell     B

CB:  Tracy Porter          B

         Jabari Greer         A-

         Randall Gay         B+

         Malcolm Jenkins  C-

S:      Darren Sharper     A-

         Roman Harper      A-

         Pierson Prioleau    B   

Observations Coming From the Film

- The Saints played a lot of 3-4 defense in the first half, bringing in Marvin Mitchell to play a second middle linebacker spot.

- They used this to rush four but disguise which four rushers were coming.

- Williams found different ways to put eight men in the box on most occasions. Roman Harper is an absolute animal who has a chance to do big things this year. He made several tackles within five yards of the line of scrimmage after defensive linemen and linebackers would eat up blockers.

- Something is wrong with Charles Grant. He looked slow and out of shape on Sunday. I think Bobby McCray is a better player, especially for Gregg Williams's system. On the other side, Will Smith looked quick and agile and can be the player the Saints expect him to be.

- Jonathan Vilma may have an even better year than he did last year. The guy flew all over the field on Sunday. Williams' system seems to be a perfect fit for Vilma and his skill set.

- Special Teams was bad Sunday; especially early in the game. But as it went on, those problems got corrected. It was mostly angles being taken by blockers/tacklers. Emphasis must remain on this next week against a good returner in DeSean Jackson.

- Zach Strief played roughly 10 snaps as a second tight end. He kept his lineman number so he was not an eligible receiver, but was a nice addition to the blocking scheme. That is a new wrinkle I do not remember seeing from the Saints in any of the past three years.

- Jeremy Shockey sat out the last quarter and a half, presumably as a healthy scratch. He was very effective as a blocker, and a valuable weapon in the passing game for Drew Brees.

- Mike Bell had a great game mainly because the line consistently got off the ball quickly and were aggressive. This made Bell's job easy.

-Reggie Bush's struggles in the run game were due in large part to a hesitation to hit the hole. He wanted to bounce everything, instead of carrying through the designed hole. The line did a good job for him as they did for Bell. 

- LG Carl Nicks looked lazy and slow, and often was caught out of position and/or lunging for a defender to block instead of simply moving his feet and using the long arms he possesses to out-muscle a player.

- This should not come as a huge surprise, but Brees showed why he is so good Sunday, not just because of his numbers, but by the way he moved around in the pocket, found throwing lanes, and showed patience in going through his progressions and choosing the appropriate receiver. 

- Robert Meachem finally appears to be reaching his potential. Meachem caught one of Brees' long touchdown passes, but was used in a regular rotation and not just as a special package guy. He is the Saints best blocker at the receiver spot and is learning how to get open and not just using his speed to gain separation. 

- The same thing could be said for Devery Henderson, although he's not as good a blocker.

- Heath Evans is a versatile fullback, who was nearly flawless Sunday. He missed a couple reads as far as who to block in the running game, but gives the Saints yet another weapon.  

- In order to improve, the Saints must keep their focus on finishing. They did a really good job of that Sunday while avoiding penalties. Turnovers need to be eliminated as well to make this the team it is capable of becoming.

All in all, Sunday was an exciting game, and should work out to be a really good tuneup for the Saints as they will travel to Philadelphia next week to play a much more complete football team in the Eagles, who whooped the Panthers on the road.

Geaux Saints!


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