After Further Review: Four Things to Think About - FOX 8, WVUE, fox8live.com, weather, app, news, saints

After Further Review: Four Things to Think About

No need to talk about it. The Saints know the time is now.

Here are four things to think to about for Sunday's game in Green Bay.

1.) Looking for Graham or Colston

One thing that has gone missing from Saints offensive attack is the vertical seam routes flawlessly run by Marques Colston and Jimmy Graham.

You know the one I'm talking about.

Not exactly a deep route, but definitely not a short route. It's that 15-20 yard pass up the seem to either Colston or Graham (think Graham's last touchdown vs. San Francisco in the playoffs.) Brees would put the ball up, Colston or Graham would go up, use their large frame to box out defenders to make a very difficult catch.

It was the play the Saints used to rip off chunks of yardage in 2011.

Those plays haven't happened this year. I'm hoping that changes this week.

Although he's played all three games, Colston has clearly not been at full strength with the foot injury. Colston was not on the injury report for Sunday.

With a gimpy Colston, teams have been able to pay more attention to Graham. Graham has not been completely shut down. But he's faced more double coverage than he did last year, especially on the vertical route.

A fully healthy Colston could change that.

If Colston is at full strength, look for him, Graham or both to have big games Sunday.

2.) 3-4 the New Norm?

It's game number four for the Saints but it's the third time Drew Brees will face a 3-4 defense. Historically Brees has needed some time to adjust to that alignment with the complicated pre-snap read. While I consider it a small one, it has been a factor in his slow start.

Coincidentally, the Saints will face another 3-4 team next week in San Diego.

3.) Sproles the X Factor

Darren Sproles was the reason the Saints were able to stay in the game last year in Green Bay. In his first game as a Saint, Sproles had seven offensive touches for 82 yards.

But it was in special teams where he really shined. Sproles had four returns for 158 yards including a 72-yard punt return for a touchdown and a 57-yard kickoff return.

A repeat performance of those numbers could be the difference between a win and loss for the Saints on Sunday.

Sproles is my X-factor.

4.) Stick with the Run

The Saints are 22nd in the NFL in rushing offense. But it's not a product of their running backs. It's a product of their commitment or lack thereof. They rank 30th in the NFL in rushing attempts. However, the Saints running backs rank sixth in the NFL in yards per carry at 5.1.

Translation:

When the Saints run the ball; it works. They just haven't stuck with it.

Through three games, every unit on the offensive side of the ball has struggled; except the running backs. They've remained as steady as ever. Particularly Pierre Thomas who trails only Buffalo's C.J. Spiller in yards per carry at 7.3.

The Saints offense is seriously underutilizing what could be a HUGE asset for that side of the ball.

 

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