7-Things for

Jets Part II.


Patriots Game


7-Things for the Saints: Part II.

By Tom Mahoney

4. This is a Gameplan League- The Pats primary problem this year is that their great QB hope is a Rookie. He made some terrible rookie blunders last week, like that terrifying half-fumble half-toss to the RB. It was just pure luck that it wasn’t a fumble. But that’s what rookie QB’s do. They take the best laid plans of mice and men, and poop all over them. The Big Mac has been shockingly unrookie-like. But his rookie-ism will rear it’s ugly head from time to time this season.

“(Big Mac) was someone that we were really high on. I think he processes information fast. At Alabama if you watch closely his tape? The ball comes out, decisions are made fast,” Saints HC Sean Payton said. “I think he sees the field horizontally as well as vertically well. He has the arm to make the throws that you want. His decision-making and processing are where I felt were really strong suits with him and I think he’s handling it well. It’s not easy to all of a sudden come in and start week one as a rookie, but he’s a smart player.”

As he plays more, he progresses more. But as a rookie he will flash inconsistencies. He will also show weakness on Tape. Each week, great NFL coaches will notice when he struggles with a scheme, a coverage, or when you take away a particular player, and they will copy it. He will have to play against the schemes that he struggled against in early games, more and more each week. He will be facing a superior Saints Defense, on the Road, and schemed to take advantage of all the weaknesses and mistakes he made in the first two weeks. This is a Gameplan League.

“I think the No. 1 thing is he's protected the football for the most part, and I think that's critical. With any young quarterback and certainly, when you look at what Coach Belichick's been able to do, one of the hallmarks is they don't turn the ball over and they understand how to help a young quarterback. I see this quarterback doing a really good job of being smart with the football,” Saints DC Dennis Allen said. "I think he does a really good job of going through his progressions, and he takes what the defense gives him and doesn't try to force the ball into spots, and is willing to check the ball down some. They certainly have an alert system within their offense, where they can check some runs to the pass or a pass to the run based on the look that they're seeing. But you certainly see them making all the checks at the line of scrimmage that you would expect from a New England offense."

5. The Road- Rookie QBs don’t win on the Road. Big Mac was so great last week, winning on the Road in New Jersey. It is a tough ask for a rookie QB to travel down to New Orleans and win on the Road. again. It is a ton more difficult than flying over to New York. He is going to have to face a lot more difficulties than a bad Rookie QB, a short flight, and badly coached team. The Saints have one of the premier coaches in the NFL. The Saints are going to be prepared and ready for the Pats, at Home.

“We've definitely gotten better as a unit. Just at first in the preseason games, you might get this many reps with the ones or whatever. So now we're all together, and we understand like who's going to be out there together and kind of what we expect,” Big Mac said. “So I think just getting the extra reps and obviously there's times I'm always going to say that I wish I could have done differently in the game or whatever, but you can't focus too much unless you're just looking back to see how far you've improved. I think we've definitely improved, and we just have to continue to do that, so we will, and it just goes back to practice and fixing what we can fix, and then keeping everything that we know and that we're good at in our back pocket, and when it comes up, we know how to do it.”

Big Mac is going to need all he learned from all those extra reps. He’ll be seeing a defense like he has never seen before. With smart coaches who can scheme to hurt his Offense. Sean Payton is an Offensive Genius. But he is also smart enough to get a terrific D-Coordinator, and help him with the offensive schemes he will be facing. There is no comparing the Jets sad defense to the Saints terrific Defense. This will be a great learning experience for Big Mac.

“I think it's offense, you have control of that situation. Defense, you're reacting to everything, and I've never played. Actually, I have played defense. I played cornerback like when I was in Little League, but you're reacting to what someone's doing,” Big Mac said. “Not all the time you know what they're doing, so I think that's part of it is just, we have to figure out what we're doing first and then react to what they're doing, and they also have to react, so it kind of just all goes hand in hand, and you can't over complicate it, and I think there's definitely times when I watch the film and I wish I threw the ball down the field more, but at the same time, I'm just going to continue to do what I do and take what they give me.”

6. The Road- This is all about the Road for the Pats. How do they handle it. I think these two teams are pretty evenly matched. Even at QB. The Pats have the rookie QB, but the Saint have the veteran QB who throws INTs like a rookie. The Pats defense has to take advantage of every misstep Winston makes. And he will throw some bad ones. The Saints are in a minor rebuild, with major Cap issues. They also are missing Michael Thomas who is Winston’s main weapon. Anything that hurts Winston helps the Pats.

“I didn’t have this sit down, official announcement, tap the microphone, stand up in a team meeting. We just don’t operate like that,” Sean Payton said. “Jameis is going to be our starter. He’s done a great job. He’s earned that.”

Every time I think of a reason the Pats can win? I think about the play of rookie QBs on the Road against legit NFL Defenses. We will learn about a lot about Big Mac here. Is he truly as advanced as he has looked since he came to the Pat (I had that pick;). Big Mac just can’t put the Pats in bad situations. He was as good as it gets for a rookie QB on the Road last week. The question is can Big Mac do it again? Can he rise above all the crap on the Road and lead his team to a Victory. If he does? This would be a Brady-level win, pure grit and determination.  

“Sean's got his team very well prepared for all the one play-type of situations and game situations. Things like that, so it's a lot to get ready for,” Belichick said. “Obviously, a team we're not very familiar with personnel-wise or scheme-wise. We haven't seen these guys in quite a while. So (we) got a lot of work to do this week. But very-very good football team. Very well-coached and play a lot of smart football. They really know what they're doing in all three phases of the game. So there's no plays off this week.”

This is a Road Game in a Dome (I think?). As troubling as the Road is for a Rookie QB, we don’t know how much the natural disaster that destroyed New Orleans again is going to affect them. Which team overcomes all the obstacles the best wins this game. I’m afraid that playing this game will still be a relief for all the players all they’ve face this week, and they come out to get a win for their City.

7. Pats Win- I have trouble saying a rookie QB is going to beat a veteran QB on the Road. The Pats have two strikes against them, with a rookie QB behind the count.

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