Drew Brees had another good day throwing the football, completing 30 of 48 attempts for 355 yards, a touchdown and an interception, on a tipped ball.
The big concern, that one touchdown. That brings up another concern...the Saints receiving corps.
Can they get the job done? The jury is still out. Brandin Cooks is an outstanding receiver, no question there. Veteran Marques Colston...well he dropped too many balls and is no where the receiver he was a few years ago. 6-foot-6 Brandon Coleman is inconsistent and Willie Snead shows promise.
The inability to crack the end zone and having to settle for field goals by Zach Hocker, was the difference in the game.
Payton said, "This team is an entirely different roster from a year ago, but it's more the now. And the key is making these corrections and the urgency to improve is today, right now and taking that to Wednesday's practice."
During Monday's press conference coach Payton discussed the decision to punt with 1:58 left in the game?
“We talked about it," stated Payton. "We had time so it was close enough to where it was discussed and yet we felt like it was the right thing to do. I think again, you get back to really that mark with two timeouts. Had it been a little bit closer yardage-wise we probably would have considered going for it there if it was fourth and two or three. I think that’s really what played out."
Payton also commented on the Saints inability to crack the end zone once Brees led the team into the red zone.
He said, “It’s week one and typically we’ve been a pretty good red zone team. It starts with the efficiency on first and second down and the emphasis (on that). There’s no magic wand. You have to work on it and improve it.”
Having so many new faces on the roster, did that have something to do with the red zone problems?
“I think when you play young players like we are they’re going to get acclimated to those areas of the field, "said Payton. "I was real encouraged by (Brandon) Coleman’s play. Generally that confidence comes from having it happen in a game and I think a play like that for him is a big thing to come out of a tackle and end up getting in the end zone. We just have to continue to work on it after the first week and really pay attention to first and second down chances once we get in there. That is the same for me, really looking at sequences. I second guess myself all the time about first down calls, second down calls, those types of things.”
So did the absence of tight end Jimmy Graham contribute to the inability to score touchdowns?
“Well, when you lose someone like him it is not one player that replaces the touches, usually it is a handful of players,, "stated Payton. "Yeah, when that takes place we have to find it and still looking to have success though. That is something we will do.”
The Saints defense gave up too many big plays, but key players have been out with injuries. Young players like Stephone Anthony, Damion Swann and Hau'oli Kikaha have a big upside.
The Saints entertain the woeful Tampa Bay Bucs in the Mercedez Benz Superdome Sunday at high noon.
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