KCCD Editor: Jason Madson
This week I had the opportunity to chat with Saints featured writer on Bleacher Report, Jason Bernos. We discussed the game and the teams troubles from a Saints point of view. I went on Jason’s radio show Thursday night and discussed the same from a Chiefs angle. Head inside to learn more about today’s opponent.
How are Saints fans dealing with the 0-2 start?
Saints fans were pretty pumped about this season, even more-so than the year coming off of the Super Bowl victory. That’s because this city loves a good underdog, and NOLA had a built-in excuse to be underdogs given the whole bounty scandal even with the talent that’s there. This city never gives up on this team in hard times because the team never abandoned them in their time of need.
So, it’s been a rough start, but nothing New Orleans can’t withstand.
Have you had the opportunity to watch either of the Chiefs games this year? Do you expect to beat the Chiefs?
I caught both games through NFL Rewind, and I can say that there are some similarities with both teams. For example, they are both loaded with talent, but neither has shown any desire or fire in their 0-2 starts. There’s no “want-to”. It just seems like they are going through the motions and trying to win on talent alone.
I don’t expect anything any more. The NFL is so jumbled up that at any given time anyone can be beat.
What are the early season strengths to the Saints?
There’s one big early-season strength, and that is the running game (as long as the plays are called.) The Saints have the deepest and most diverse group of running backs in the league today, and it seemed like they forgot that in the first game. With Pierre Thomas and Mark Ingram both healthy and sharing the load, this team can be unstoppable on the ground. I didn’t even mention Darren Sproles, who was the team’s leading rusher last year, because he has mainly been given his touches through the air. There’s also Chris Ivory and rookie sensation Travaris Cadet to think about if the top two get injured.
Early season weaknesses?
Where to begin? Ha, I joke, but really, what hasn’t been a weakness?
If I were to just choose one, it would have to be the lack of a run defense which has plagued the Saints in every year since Sean Payton arrived here. They just can’t seem to get it right. The talent level is high on defense, but i just think the players are still getting used to the new scheme/terminology. That would put players out of place on some plays. This area really needs to tighten up quick.
How badly is Sean Payton missed?
Payton is missed badly, and it’s not in the way many people think.
He is not missed in play-calling (although, he is one of the best in the business at that) because he relinquished those duties last season without a hitch to the offense.
Payton is missed badly in in-game adjustments and attitude on the sidelines. He held everyone accountable, and, when needed, would light into anyone not “Doing their Job” like the sign says.
What do you feel is the number one reason the Saints are 0-2?
The number one reason would have to be the defense. They haven’t stopped anyone, or even attempted to slow them down. Drew Brees hasn’t helped with uncharacteristic decisions that have given the defense a short field to defend. Like I said earlier, as the players become more comfortable in Steve Spagnuolo’s defense, the 40-point outbursts will be a thing of the past.
Saints turn their season around if what happens?
If they rely more on their rushing game and ease the pressure off of the hundred million dollar man. The defense will get better, but when the offense is running smoothly and is balanced, it doesn’t matter what the defense does, honestly.
Prediction for the game?
Saints 31, Chiefs 27
I see both teams come out firing on all cylinders. This game will be hard fought. The Chiefs outside pass rush will give the tackles fits, but I give the slight edge to the Saints only because they are at home and Jamaal Charles looks like he won’t play that much. (Even though I think Peyton Hillis gets a workmanlike 100-yard game.) The Saints will find a way to win this game at home.