NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — On a Monday when everyone has the answer to the Saints offensive woes, I have a question.
Which NFL team led the entire league in yards gained Sunday? Anybody, anybody? Well, your New Orleans Saints.
The Saints gained 430 yards, six more than the vaunted and feared Miami Dolphins. Derek Carr threw for 353 yards, and played his best game as a Saint. Yet, on a Monday, the hundreds of thousands of NFL experts are calling out Carr, head coach Dennis Allen, and offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael.
All three have their hands dirty in this current black and gold malaise.
Sunday, Carr, on more than one attempt felt phantom pressure and threw off his back foot. He needed to step up and make a throw with authority. But, considering how much Carr has been hit in six games this season, can you really blame him?
Allen has made some poor decisions. Especially with personnel. If rookie kicker Blake Grupe makes the a 29 yard field goal early in the fourth quarter, the Saints could have kicked subsequent field goals when later drives end at the Houston 15 and the Houston 24. But when he missed, the Saints were later forced to go for it on disadvantageous downs and distances.
Decisions like this catch up with you. Ask the coach of the 49ers. In the offseason, they moved on from Robbie Gould, who has yet to miss a field goal or an extra point in a postseason game in his NFL career. Instead they spent a draft choice on Michigan kicker Jake Moody, who missed the game winner in the final seconds Sunday in Cleveland. Gould would have made that 41 yarder, blindfolded. Kyle Shanahan better hope that error in judgment doesn’t cost him homefield advantage in the NFC playoffs.
Then, there’s Carmichael. He’s blamed for everything but the recent solar eclipse. Carmichael, at some point, may be the fall guy in all of this. But, the biggest problem Carmichael has is an offensive line that is compensated very well, and plays very poorly. And, in the redzone, the Saints achilles heel, is excacerbated.
Examples. Center Eric McCoy and guard Cesar Ruiz were both mishandled by the Houston defensive line. It is there on tape, watch it. Left guard Max Garcia, on the running play where Alvin Kamara nearly got his head taken off, blocked down on a double team with the center, leave the defensive tackle a clear path to Kamara.
And, then there’s Trevor Penning. He may have physical ability, but he lacks confidence. And, when pass rushers see that, they see red meat.
So, the Saints aren’t going where they want to go until their offensive line is fixed. And, I don’t think that can be done during the season.
The Saints, who have played an easy schedule, still have two 1-5 teams, and an 0-6 team on their schedule. And, the combined record of all remaining opponents, is 25 wins, 34 losses. So, they will win some games.
But, in the offseason, even if the Saints win 9 and win a putrid division, Mrs. Benson should call for a serious evaluation of this group, from top to bottom.
Being 3-3 against this schedule is the definition of mediocre.
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