Sometimes I think I have psychic abilities. I used to have dreams about things and eventually they would happen. Maybe it was the power of suggestion, I don’t know. Anyway, a few days before the New Orleans Saints loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, I was discussing with my mom some of the topics for my blog. I talked to her about how I wanted to highlight some of the players that don’t always get their name mentioned. I told her I wanted to do one on “Why Special Teams are Special?”. Didn’t think the time would come so quickly. So here we go….
I could go with all the obvious reasons the Saints fell to 0-3. Like a defense that gave up almost 300 rushing yards, an offense that couldn’t move the ball in the second half, questionable officiating, suspect play calling, a non-existent running game, an even more non-existent pass rush, no clear on or off field leadership…Most of which I outlined in my previous blog.
I wanted to take a slightly different angle. Let me say first, you win as a team and lose as a team. I am not insinuating that the special teams’ play is responsible for this loss; I just want to explore their integral part of the game. With the small amount of time, they spend on the field, their contribution whether good or bad can be game changing.
In the second half, the game was about field position. After the slightly improved defense won the war of the turnovers, with the fumble recovery and touchdown by Jonathon Casillas and interception by Jabari Greer (so glad to see him back in the lineup), the Saints’ offense helped to dig the their own grave. With Kansas City being able to place four out five punts within the Saints 20 yard line coupled with a sluggish Saints’ offense, Kansas City had prime field position. Reminds me of staking out your spot for Mardi Gras. Positioning is key. Even Thomas Morstead’s cannon of a leg and nearly 56yards/punt (long of 70yards)couldn’t kick the New Orleans Saints out of trouble. So the defense did well (it’s all relative) not to give up more points playing on a short field.
Special teams aren’tjust about the punting game. Darren Sproles only managed 2 yards in punt return yardage. After missing last season, Garrett Hartley, whose foot sent the Saints to the Super Bowl, made a 40-yard field goal. Obviously his missed 38-yard attempt will be the one that is remembered because it was points that didn’t make it on the scoreboard. But the straw that broke the camel’s back was the play by Kansas City’s Brandon Siler who downed the ball at the New Orleans Saints 3 yard line in overtime. By this time, the Saints spirit was bruised, battered and broken.
My psychic abilities didn’t see the Saints starting their season this way but when things go wrong, it’s always easy to start pointing fingers. Right now the Saints may be singing “No, It Ain’t My Fault”, but sooner or later you have to look at the “Man in the Mirror…and make a change”.
Remember two things Saints’ fans, as we celebrate Steve Gleason’s blocked punt in the 2007 season, “No WHITE FLAGS”.
“WIN, LOSE or TIE, WE’LL BE WHODATs til WE DIE!!!