The Saints aren't hopeless because before this season they had a very good offensive line, one the team's strengths last season, and many observers thought the Saints' offensive line might have been the best in the NFL. But it isn't anywhere close to that. Brees is getting too much pressure and there hasn't been much consistency in the running game.
Rookie running back Chris Ivory got 158 yards against the Bucs one Sunday and 49 yards against the Browns the next Sunday, which means the Browns have a better defense than the Bucs? And maybe we were too quick to anoint an undrafted rookie as he savior of the running game.
He's listed at 220 pounds, be he looks closer to 205. Eventually he could be a very good running back, but he's not there yet.
The Saints' skills are getting rusty. They need to polish them or as Payton says, clean up the rust.
What's wrong with Brees, who threw four interceptions against the Browns? Injuries and poor play around him. My last count has 20 dropped passes this season. Still, Brees continues to throw to Devery Henderson so he doesn't lose his confidence.
Brees is talented enough that things can click back to the Super Bowl MVP level at any time, but, to this point of the season, something just hasn't been right.
In a pregame report by Fox before the Browns visit, it was said that the Saints were unhappy with Pierre Thomas' approach to recovery from the ankle injury that's had him on the sideline. There's no reason to doubt this report because if you know anything about the behind-the-scenes logistics on this, you know the word had to come from Payton or GM Mickey Loomis. They're the guys who call the shots and their unhappiness with Thomas doesn't bode well for his long-term future.
Remember, Thomas wanted a raise and didn't get it. He may want to go elsewhere and make more money like Scott Fujita did.
The good news is that Reggie Bush has a 50-50 chance of playing against the Steelers. He adds more to the Saints than any other player other than Brees,
The Saints are a one-point favorite over the Steelers on Halloween night in the Superdome.
I hope they're ready for this one and can solve the prevent defenses they are seeing this season.
by Ed Staton