A couple thoughts on the Saints: Their offense was really, really, really good last year too. They scored 1.5 points per game more than any team in the league. They still went 2-6 on the road and those wins were in Detroit and Kansas City. I know they destroyed Philly, but their offense only averaged 23.75 points per game on the road last year and that included a 42 point drubbing of Detroit (so they actually scored 21 points per game on the road against teams other than Detroit). Brees threw for 5,000 yards, so I'm not sure how much better that offense is really going to get.
Yes, Drew Brees is incredible, but let's not make him out to be this unbeatable player. Did I miss when ESPN decided that Brees is the best player in the league or something? I feel like people are more afraid of him than they were Tom Brady or would be if we were playing Peyton Manning on Sunday. Why is that? Brees had a handful of mediocre or worse performances last year, especially on the road. He had 33 passes for 216 yards and two picks in Washington, 39 attempts for 231 yards and threw a pick in Carolina, threw three INTs in Atlanta, 6.3 yards per pass attempt and three picks in Tampa and 232 yards on 43 attempts (only 5.4 per) and three picks in Chicago last year. Take him out of that dome and he was mediocre more often than great last year. The three road teams that Brees did play like the legend of Drew Brees against were Detroit, Denver and Kansas City. Even Trent ripped up two of those teams and actually did just as well as Brees did in those stadiums. If it's windy on Sunday, expect the weak armed Brees to throw a couple INTs.
Even this year, has their offense been that unstoppable? Sure, they came out and spanked Detroit with 4 first half TDs. They also punted twice, had a FG blocked and Brees threw a pick. Can I point out again that it was Detroit? Two of those TD drives started at the 50 yard line and the others started at their 35 and 40 yard line. They also started inside their own 20 four times and came away with zero points on those possesions. Against Philly, they had 17 first half points including a great TD drive to open the game. After that score, they went three and out, had a drive start at their own 47 which ended in a FG, and had another drive start at thier 20 and end in a Brees INT. The INT was followed by another 3 and out and they finished the half with a ridiculous two play drive where both plays netted 25+ yards and ended with a TD. They started the 2nd half by scoring a pair of TDs, but they did it with two drives that started inside the Philly 30 yard line and the game was pretty much over after that. It's a great offense, but any chance we are overestimating this team at all?
And I mentioned this in the article with the Canal Street Chronicles guys answering some of Brian's questions, but their defense actually played better against crappy, inexperienced QBs than they have in the first two weeks this season. They dominated JaMarcus Russell, Kyle Orton and Dan Orlovsky more than almost every other defense those guys faced. Kolb was an INT machine in his limited playing time before NO and
Drew Matt Stafford was playing his first game as a pro. I'm not going to consider that defense better than average until they play a real QB. I don't see why Trent can't have a game like he did against our first two opponents or why we can't run on New Orleans.
How about a random useless mock Bills draft? How about two?
Here's a mock for the Bills winning the SB and resigning almost all of their FAs, but not making any moves on unrestricted players from other teams:
1 - Derrick Morgan - DE - Georgia Tech - A pass rusher at LE? About time. Arthur Jones, Sean Weatherspoon, and any other LDE were other options.
2 - Jason Fox - OT - Miami - Decent chance that Bell can be upgraded, Butler doesn't come back the same or Butler wasn't that good of a RT to begin with too. Buffalo could certainly use better quality of depth along the OL too.
3 - Greg Jones - MLB - Michigan St. - the only reason that Jones might be available this late is his size and the depth of this draft class. Jones either passes Buggs and Digi on the depth chart as backup MLB/special teamer or competes with Ellison to start outside.
4 - Michael Hoomanawanui - TE - Illinois - Forgive me for a lack of faith in any of our TEs to become every down players. I think that even Nelson will need to be paired with a blocker (which could be Fine). A blocking force like Hoomanawanui could be a weapon for this team if used correctly.
5 - Brandon James - RB - Florida - nothing against Xavier Omon, but why not a homerun hitter and punt returner?
6 - Jim Cordle - OL - Ohio St. - very versatile player. An interior lineman in the middle rounds or FA seems like a lock. I probably shouldn't have waited this long.
7 - Shelley Smith - OG - Colorado St. - It worked with Lankster, might as well load up on interior offensive lineman and hope one works out. Plus if Steve Fairchild coached him, how can he not be good?
And here's a draft for Buffalo going 5-11, picking around 3rd-5th and a new coach trying to gut the roster, let the FAs walk and spend a year rebuilding some:
1 - Gerald McCoy - DT - Oklahoma - I might end up liking Suh better, but I think McCoy is a better fit in our rotation. not that Suh can't get after the QB, but I think McCoy could be a 6-8 sack per season guy and those are really tough to come by at DT. Also, I'm not in love with the idea of taking a DT, I just don't like any of the QBs enough, don't want to grab a safety or LT and think the top two DTs this year are total studs.
2 - Everson Griffin - DE - USC - the pass rush is a huge priority and a great place for a coach to start a rebuild, especially with Trent Edwards allowing the team to not find an immediate new starter at QB.
3 - Tony Pike - QB - Cincinatti - A new coach will grab a QB at some point. Pike in the early third might be a little optimistic. He seems to really be shooting up draft boards.
4 - Mardy Gilyard - WR - Cincinatti - another availability stretch, but I thought pairing Pike and Gilyard was a good idea, Mardy is a good returner and could fill Reed/Parrish's slot role and be a backup plan for Johnson and Hardy.
5 - Larry Asante - S - Nebraska - Scott and Wilson are both FAs. Asante is versatile, one of the few strong safeties in this draft and is likely a good special teamer.
6 - Ryan Reynolds - MLB - Oklahoma - has had serious injury issues, but is a solid player with some upside. I think Keith Ellison is an FA too.
7 - Dennis Landolt - OL - Penn St. - versatile player and Buffalo could use the depth.
The biggest thing that stood out to me while doing those mocks is how few needs this team could have with a good season and holding onto the coach and how many needs they will probably have with a new coaching staff.