I had the opportunity to ask Saints blogger Keith Null from FANSIDED.COM five questions about the Saints. Here are his answers:
1. How has the addition of Darren Sproles and Mark Ingram impacted your offense this year?
When Reggie Bush was traded to the Miami Dolphins the immediate question was how would the Saints replace his versatility in the offense? The answer came just hours later — Darren Sproles — and the common consensus is that he is a better inside runner than Bush, a better return man, and in general a better fit for the New Orleans potent offense. He has become an outlet for quarterback Drew Brees on third down and their chemistry has helped not just Sproles, who leads the league in yards after catch, but Brees who is so far having one of his best statiscal passing seasons of his career. Rookie Mark Ingram hasn’t been a let down, but at the same time he hasn’t had the breakout game we all expected. He is however a tough, physical inside runner who displays a knack at getting those tough yards that the Saints have struggled with in seasons past.
2. Why is it that your team and in particular your QB plays so well at home?
Historically the Saints have been among one of the NFL’s winningest teams at home in the Sean Payton era. Reasons are numerous — faster artificial turf, raucous Superdome crowd — but in the simplest terms, the New Orleans players love to play for their Who Dat Nation, and equally Who Dat Nation loves cheering for Brees and company. Put it all together, and it seems that the players perform just a little better, while opposing teams play just a little worse.
3. The Giants have developed a good passing offense. Victor Cruz in particular seems to have a knack for beating the best CB’s in the league. How do the Saints plan on stopping the Giants aerial assault?
It’s a pertinent question, and Cruz has been enjoying great success as of late, but it seems as if he is benefiting from the attention Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham usually command. Anyone that watches the Saints knows that defensive coordinator Gregg Williams likes to blitz. He is not afraid to lock up his corners in one-on-one coverage with opposing receivers so that he can bring the house. Philosophy dictates that the Saints will use the blitz to slow Manning, to slow Cruz, and the other Giants receivers. It wouldn’t surprise me either if Williams matches Jabari Greer, the Saints best cover, exclusively on Cruz. Greer is a top cover corner in the league, top five in fact, and he just doesn’t get beat for big gains down the field.
4. If Jonathan Vilma does not play Monday night, how does that impact your defensive game plan and pressure on Eli?
Vilma is a huge asset to the Saints defense without question. But, in New Orleans they deploy a “next man up” mentatlity, meaning of course that regardless if your a backup or not you leave it all on the field. Linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar has taken this to heart as Vilma’s backup. He has played very well, in fact some would say he has played as well as Vilma himself. so the defense shouldn’t miss a beat.
5. Does the modern Saints fan still have the respect and love for Archie and the Manning family?
That’s a trick question really as you would likely get a different answer from most Saints fans you asked. Archie helped the Saints achieve moderate success after so many terrible seasons. However, he was never able to deliver what fans really wanted — a Superbowl championship. While fans thank him for his accomplishments, current quarterback Drew Brees has erased most, if not all, of Manning’s legacy as a Saint — including all of his franchise records too.