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Saints Week: Passing Offense

darren-sharper

This is not the Saints we are all used to, as their secondary, while not perfect, is a respectable group that has made plenty of plays this year.

The Saints still rank 26th in stopping the pass and will have a challenge when facing the Vikings 8th ranked passing offense.

In looking at the stats, it is interesting to note that the Saints pass defense is at a greater disadvantage than the Vikings pass defense in this matchup.  Outside of turnovers, the Vikings should be looking to put up major yards and points against this saints defense.

However, while the main purpose of these segments is to explore the stats and the trends, we all know that figures lie and liars figure.  The Saints passing defense still has plenty of challenges.

As usual, the Vikings success will have to start up front.  Bryant McKinnie is in for another big challenge as he has to face Will Smith who registered 13 sacks throughout the regular season.  It seems to me, however, that the Vikings can afford to give McKinnie some extra help against Smith this week as the rest of the team only managed 22 sacks combined.  Their player with the second most sacks was Charles Grant (5.5) and he was recently placed on injured reserve.  With giving McKinnie some added help, I don’t see any reason why Favre should face consistent pressure from this defense on Sunday.

Time will be essential for Favre, however, as he is facing a team that has racked up 26 interceptions over the course of the regular season.  Ball-hawking safety Darren Sharper leads the regular season efforts with 9 interceptions and a tendency to bring them back for scores (3 on the season).  This means that the Saints have the potential to swing the momentum of a game, and that even a three-score lead will not make us feel safe on Sunday.  Scoring that extra touchdown in the 4th quarter would be considered a mere safety net against the Saints, rather than “rubbing their nose in it.”

If the Saints, however, decide to sell out to stopping the run, then our pass catchers provide superior mismatches to this secondary.  Physical mismatches, speed mismatches, height mismatches, and talent mismatches should be available on just about every first down play.  Even for Darren Sharper, Sidney Rice and Percy Harvin are not going to be easy to stop.

Jonathan Vilma is actually one of the best pass defenders on the Saints, and he has the potential to neutralize Visanthe Shiancoe and our running backs in the passing game.  This is yet another reason to get the Saints to commit to the run and utilize the play action whenever possible.

Last week the Vikings stomped all over the Cowboys.  They were led by Brett Favre who utilized his own mobility and the play action when he threw for 234 yards and 4 touchdowns.  The Saints trounced the Cardinals despite giving up 266 passing yards.  Strangely, defensive end Will Smith was the only player to intercept a pass against Kurt Warner.  Sedrick Ellis was responsible for the lone sack of the day.  The Saints defense was not that great, but rather the Cardinals just could not keep up with the points put up by the Saints offense. 

Brett Favre will have to be on top of his game again, as this is heating up to be a showdown for the record books.

PLAYER TO WATCH:  Sidney Rice is coming off of one of the very best receiving performances in playoff history.  Against the Cowboys 20th ranked pass defense he had 6 catches for 141 yards and 3 touchdowns.  One can’t help but wonder what type of numbers he is capable of putting up against a 26th ranked pass defense like the Saints have.  If the Saints sell out to stop the run and leave Rice in single coverage with Randall Gay (5’ 11”), Tracy Porter (5’ 11”), or Jabari Greer (5’ 11”) then Rice could be putting up crazy numbers for the third consecutive week.


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5 Responses to “Saints Week: Passing Offense”

  1. […] Saints Week: Passing Offense » Vikings GabTime will be essential for Favre, however, as he is facing a team that has racked up 26 interceptions over the course of the regular season. Ball-hawking safety Darren Sharper lead… Vikings Saints Game Time from Bloglines […]

  2. bigjohnny84 says:

    I feel pretty good about our offense this week especially if Cheech is ready to go. The only thing I’m concerned with is our pass D.

  3. […] unknown wrote a very interesting post today.   Here’s a quick excerpt:This is not the Saints we are all used to, as their secondary, while not perfect, is a respectable group that has made plenty of plays this year. The Saints still rank 26th in stopping the pass and will have a challenge when facing the … […]

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