OK, Who Datvillians.
You’ve got questions about your 0-2 New Orleans Saints.
We’ve got answers.
How bad is Mark Ingram’s hand injury and how will it affect the team?
The report is four weeks. And since the Saints have their bye coming up Oct. 12, he might only miss three games.
Either way, it’s unfortunate, because Ingram has finally found his stride, so to speak. Instead of seemingly running into his blockers on most carries, Ingram was showing the best cutback ability among the team’s quartet of running backs along with a new-found knack for picking up extra yards (6.0 per carry this year vs. 4.1 for his first three seasons) after contact.
Ingram probably would have been cheered more this coming Sunday than at any time in his career.
Travaris Cadet, who has yet to get a carry this season, will get some action now. And don’t forget the threat Brandin Cooks poses on reverses.
How much of a difference does Adrian Peterson being available to play affect the game?
Obviously having the best running back in the game can make a big difference for a team that had only 217 yards and seven points in his absence in Sunday’s 30-7 loss to the Patriots.
However, we haven’t gotten to Sunday yet. And in this Twitterverse we’re living in, public opinion is overwhelming due process (see Rice, Ray). A video is worth a trillion words these days, and since only still photos of Peterson’s alleged misdeeds exist, he’s getting a pass — for now.
So why are the Saints 0-2 when they were supposed to be 2-0?
Sean Payton summed it up very well Monday: It’s situational. Too many times in the past two weeks, the Saints have either failed to execute or communicate at crucial moments, including twice now when the game was on the line. Taking a crucial sack because someone blows a blocking assignment, jumping offside on what turned out to be a missed field-goal attempt, and obviously, letting a receiver get so ridiculously open that he’s able to make a catch while falling down.
Most games in the NFL come down to a handful of plays, not because a team is that superior to the other, especially early in the season before injuries become a bigger factor. That’s why you see so few double-digit favorites.
So how does being 0-2 affect a team’s mentality?
Obviously it’s no fun, especially when you’ve been that close to winning both times and everyone is pounding home the statistics about how few teams that lose their first two games wind up in the playoffs.
“You just have to realize that you can’t win two games or 10 games until you’ve won one,” said linebacker Parys Haralson, who endured five straight nonwinning seasons at San Francisco at the start of his career. “So you don’t talk about ‘We’ve got to get back to .500’ or anything like that.
“You just focus on the next game. We’ve lost a couple of heartbreakers, but that’s part of it.”
And, Haralson warns, just because the Vikings may look in disarray, in the NFL, there are no guarantees.
“We can’t look at that,” Haralson said. “We’ve got to play like its playoff football, eliminate our mistakes and do what we have to do.”
Have Payton and Rob Ryan kissed and made up?
Presumably so. Too bad there’s no video of it though. Or maybe that’s a good thing.
Sideline arguments happen all the time. This one happened to be caught by the ubiquitous camera. Maybe Payton was telling Ryan he was in violation of the league’s sideline dress code.
The funny thing was, it came when Akiem Hicks stuffed Terrance West at his 4 at the onset of the Browns’ game-winning drive, a play that was negated by defensive offside. The Saints were in perfect alignment to stop the play, and it’s not Ryan’s fault someone messed up.
That being said, are Ryan defenses one-year wonders?
That was the case in his stops at Oakland, Cleveland and Dallas when his first seasons were his best.
Thus far, the Saints are allowing 446 yards and 30.5 points per game. Through two games last year, it was 320.0 and 15.5. At least after the Browns game, they’re trending downward.
Is Patrick Robinson finished?
As a starter? Quite possibly. Corey White at least makes tackles: 14 of them in two games. Rookie Stanley Jean-Baptiste and Brian Dixon are apparently too raw to be used on anything but special teams. General Manager Mickey Loomis on Monday didn’t discount the idea of bringing Champ Bailey back.
Robinson’s teammates, especially Keenan Lewis, were defending Robinson on Monday. But Robinson’s crucial mistakes seem to be inside his head.
Will home field cure the team’s woes?
Nobody this side of Seattle seems to play better at home than the Saints.
And yet it’s taken them all these years to finally get to .500 (148-148) in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome (They’re 169-252 everywhere else).
Certainly the Browns showed early Sunday what a fired-up crowd can do for any team. As sour a mood as folks are in, the Saints should get that lift this Sunday.
So are all of those Super Bowl predictions out the window?
Hey, we never said the Saints were going to win it all. We just said they would make to the NFC Championship game.
Sure, losing to two teams that were a combined 8-24 last season and are 0-2 in their non-Saints games this year looks bad and puts the Saints into a hole.
But there’s too much talent and too much muscle memory of past success on this team to write the season off yet.
How does 10-6 and NFC South champs sound?
Speaking from the current vantage point, probably very good.