From the Coach's box. How did the Saints win the Super Bowl?

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The Saint D

The early success that the Colts had throwing to TE Clark was the Saints failure to cover the TE. They were trying to cover Clark with a LB and S Harper over the top. When QB Manning looked Harper off, the S couldn’t get back to help out on Clark fast enough. That success passing to the TE

By the 2nd quarter, the Saint D Coordinator Williams made a change. He gave Clark man to man to Harper and let the linebacker give a little help underneath. The looks of Manning had no effect on Harper and the Saints shut Clark down the rest of the game.

The Saints D played tight coverage and changed up their D calls frequently. The combination of varied Ds and bad field position the Colts had in the second quarter kept Manning to just 6 snaps until the last series of the half.

The Saint D also made the big play of the game with the interception that resulted in a TD and took the Saint lead to 14. There were 2 keys to the play. First, CB Porter read the play and knew the ball was coming to his guy–WR Wayne. Porter played the ball perfectly. But there was another factor in the play as well. Wayne was not able to get out of his break fast enough to make the play or at least prevent the pick. As the game wore on, Wayne has lost speed I believe in part due to his injury. On the critical play his timing was off. He was only partially turned out of his break when the ball arrived.

The Saint Special teams and coaching calls.

Another major cause of the win was the aggressive calls of the coaching staff. They were taking risks to win the game. The call for the 4th down run at the goal line was gutsy. I would have tried another pass on one of the 3 attempts but Coach Payton gave the a chance to win by scoring. The onside kick showed guts as well. The bottom line was that the Saints made calls to win while the Colts tried not to lose.

The Colts

When the Colts got up by 10 points early, they changed to a zone D. The Saints QB Brees picked the zone apart like a Thanksgiving leftovers. The Colts D could not get off the field. The Saints kept Manning and Co. off the field. They never made the adjustments to tighten up the coverage or pick up the pace of the D. The entire Colt team played without urgency. That is the best way to lose there is. The team never got the fire in their belly that it takes to win the big game. They played well but just not well enough to win.

Your fantasy football doesn’t have to be over. Run a pro football franchise all year long for free at . Tell them Coach Smith sent you.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He is a regular contributor on Cleveland Sports Radio http://www.sportstalkcleveland.com/ Monday morning at 11. He has also published several novels on

and edits .

Technorati Tags: Super Bowl,Saints,Colts,Super Bowl 44,How the Saints won,How the Colts lost,Manning,Brees

The Super Bowl preview from the Coach's box. The Colts need to hide their defense.

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Overall:

The Colts have had to outscore their opponents all year long. When the opponent is one dimensional, the Colt D has been able to slow them down. The Jets and the Ravens were both primarily a running team and the Colts slowed the run. Against the Jets the Colts D was hit hard by the passing of Sanchez. The Colts D made him look like anything but a rookie.

Offense:

The O is the strength of the team. The line is the smartest in the league. Manning is the best QB in the game now and one of the top 5 in the history of the league. Despite having lost 2 key receivers, the team can score in a handful of seconds from anywhere on the field. They rank 2nd in passing. But, the team can’t run a lick. They were dead last in rushing.

The Colts top 2 RBs Addai and Brown averaged 3.8 and 3.6 yards per carry respectively. In the playoffs it has been even worse. Addai is still averaging 3.8 but Brown has fallen to 2.3 per attempt. The Saints are one of the best red zone Ds in the league. Because the Colts can’t run the ball well, it makes the red zone even more dangerous. Because both teams have outstanding Os, there is a lot of pressure on both to score TDs rather than FGs when they get into the scoring zone. The Saints can run a little but the Colts will have to throw the ball to score.

Injuries have taken a toll on the passing game. The latest problem is lone vet WR Wayne has strained a knee in practice. Wayne had 100 catches and is the only vet not on IR. The next 2 WRs on the depth chart are 4th round pick in the 09 draft Collie and second year WR Garcon who had a total of 4 catches in his rookie year. With both being in their first SB, there are bound to be glitters. The TE is now the strength of the passing game. TE Clark also had 100 catches and is a match-up nightmare for any team. He is too fast and mobile for a LB and too big and strong for a S. Covering him will be easier if Wayne is not 100 percent. The Saints will probably single both Collie and Garcon and double Clark if Wayne is not on the field. I think that Wayne will be at least 80% and give the Saint D problems. Clark is the key to the passing game and the O of the Colts for the Super Bowl.

Defense

All the media coverage of the D has been on DE Freeney’s ankle. The latest news is that he will try to go but is not expected to be able to contribute much. I doubt he will be able to go. DE Brock will be an adequate replacement for Freeney. He can rush the QB but is not nearly as fast as Freeney.

The key to the Colt D is speed. They are on the whole undersized. Despite this, they were able to contain if not control the running games of both the Ravens and the Jets. The key is for the D line to keep the O line off the LBs. That allows the backers to get to the ball and keep the run to under 4 yards. That is the key to the Colts stopping the run and making the Saints one dimensional.

The other key is the Colts D backfield. Rookie DB Powers has started 12 games and has played well. The question is can he overcome rookie butterflies and perform like it is any regular season game? The Colts’ DBs will struggle with the Saints WRs. WRs Colston and Henderson are both wily vets that eat things tougher than rookie CBs for breakfast. Whichever receiver Powers is on will be Brees’ favorite target. TE Shockey has not been as much of a factor as the team had hoped for but could be in this game. OB Wheeler will be the one most likely to cover Shockey. OB Session will be needed to blitz Brees unless the front 4 can generate enough pressure. Look for 3rd WR Meachem to have a big game as well. He is hard for a starting CB to cover let alone a nickel back.

The Bottom Line:

The game plan for the Colts will be to control the clock with short and medium passes so that Brees and Co. are off the field. The one factor that gives the Colts the edge is Manning. I look for a close game to be won at the end by a drive by Manning for the winning score.

Your fantasy football doesn’t have to be over. Run a pro football franchise all year long for free at . Tell them Coach Smith sent you.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He is a regular contributor on Cleveland Sports Radio http://www.sportstalkcleveland.com/ Monday morning at 11. He has also published several novels on

and edits .

Technorati Tags: NFL Football,Super Bowl game plan,Super Bowl,Saints,Colts,Manning,Brees,Super Bowl game prediction
  • Author:
  • Published: Dec 31st, 2009
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on What to look for in New Years Day bowl games.

What to look for in New Years Day bowl games.

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football

OUTBACK BOWL Northwestern 8-4 Auburn 7-5

This game pits the Big 10 vs. SEC. NW wins over two ranked teams (Iowa and Wisconsin) in the last two games gave them hope they can break a 6 bowl losing streak. This is the first New Year’s day bowl since 97. QB Kafka has thrown for 2898 yards but only 12 TDs and 7 picks. He has to produce the majority of the O because the running game has struggled. RB Fields has averaged just 3.0 per attempt this year. The NW D is solid and is led by DE Wootton who should be a top 15 pick in the NFL Draft. The NW D will have to find a way to contain the Auburn running game or it will be a long day.

Auburn had its usual fast start 5-0 only to lose 5 of their final 7 games. QB Todd had a nice season with 2377 yards 21 TDs and just 6 picks. He was able to take advantage of opponent defenses focused on stopping the 13th best running game in Division 1. RB Tate is the key. He ran for 1254 yards at a 5.8 per attempt and scored 8 TDs. He should be a 3rd round pick in the draft.

The Tiger D is led by LB Coleman and DT Ricks both of whom are good draft prospects.

Auburn is the better team that played a better schedule and will win.

GATOR BOWL Florida St. 6-6 #16 West Virginia 9-3

This is the last game on the sideline for legendary coach Bowden. He is second in all time Div. 1 wins. Bowden’s problems in the last few years have been on D. He has not gotten the super athletes on D to be competitive at the highest level. This year’s D has 3 draftable players. CB Robinson is a 1st round prospect. OB Watson is a 3rd round prospect. I really like SS Rolle and he would be a steal in the 5th round. QB Ponder is hurt but had a good year. His replacement Manuel has thrown more picks (6) than TDs (2). The running game is capable with RB Thomas averaging 5.2 per attempt.

WV has won 4 straight bowl games. They took advantage of a below average Big East to get to 9-3. QB Brown is supposed to be 4th round prospect but don’t expect that. He has struggled this year an the team has averaged 211 per game passing which ranks a dismal 84th. On O also watch OT Capers who may be a 2nd round pick.

On D the team has been good but has no senior super stars. The FSU team will play their hearts out for Bowden and despite being the underdog, I expect a close game and maybe an FSU win.

CAPITAL ONE BOWL #12 LSU 9-3 #13 Penn St. 10-2

LSU should have at least on player taken in each of the 7 rounds of the draft. Potential 1st round pick WR LaFell is 6-3 and is the prime target in the endzone for LSU. Look for OT Black and RB Scott to be picked in 2nd and 4th round respectively. Scott is a slasher who averaged 4.7 per attempt but injuries held him to just 116 carries. He is questionable for the game. The Tiger O ranks 108th which is not good looking at a solid Penn State D. The LSU D is led by SS Coleman (3rd or 4th round) and DE Alem (4th or 5th). While the D started out well, it has struggled to get off the field in the last 4 games giving up over 380 yards a game.

PS QB Clark was the leading passer in the Big 10 but tended to throw picks at the worst times against the toughest competition. His 2009 performance has dropped him from a possible 4th round pick to undrafted Free Agent status. Junior RB Royster has yet to decide if he will enter the draft. He averaged 5.9 per attempt and would be a 2nd round pick most likely.

The strength of PS is the D which is led by DT Odrick (1st round), ILBs Lee (2nd) and Hull (5th) .

The line is PS by 3 and that looks about right. If Scott doesn’t play it could be a lot worst than that.

ROSE BOWL #7 Oregon 10-2 #8 Ohio State 10-2

OSU Coach Tressel has suspended 3 players for the game including WR Small. That won’t help an O that has struggled this year. They have only 1 draftable Senior on O—C Cordle. The O line has been bad and QB Pryor has run for his life rather than running for first downs. The Bucks have the 106th ranked passing O. Pryor has not improved in his 2nd year as starter. In fact, he has become less accurate with worse mechanics than last year. The running game ranks 19th with a gagle of backs contributing including Pryor.

The OSU D ranks 5th in rushing D. That D will be tested often by the Ducks who rank 6th in rushing. S Coleman and DT Worthington are both prospects in the last half of the 2010 Draft.

Oregon’s RB James hides in the back pocket of the Duck O line then bursts out to rip off big gains. USC never could find him let alone tackling him close to the line. James replaced RB Blount who was suspended for hitting a player after the Boise State game. QB Masoli has a passer rating of 130 and has a great target in TE Dickson (2nd or 3rd round). The Ducks are 7th in scoring and will give the Buckeye D all they want.

Big 10 teams usually lose the Rose Bowl but that has been against USC most often. But the line is Oregon by 5. It shouldn’t be that close. However the best bet here is the under at 51.

SUGAR BOWL #3 Cincinnati 12-0 #5 Florida 12-1

The big question in this game is which Bearcat team will show up? Their coach is on his way to South Bend. This is big game not only for Cincy but for the Big East. This is their chance to show the football world that they are just as good as the big boys. Cincy is ranked 6th in total O and scoring but that was not against the kind of D speed that Florida has. They will depend on QB Pike (2nd or 3rd) to WR Gilyard (top 20). The Cincy O ranked 7th in passing despite the loss of Pike for a good deal of the season. RB Pead has average 6.6 per attempt. They won’t have that success against the Gators.

On D, Cincy has been solid led by DE Daniels and SS Webster both late round prospects. The team has been good against the run but a little soft vs the pass.

Florida has coaching questions of its own. Coach Meyer announced he was leaving the sideline but a day later that it was only a leave of absence. QB Tebow has been the bell cow of the team and is the spiritual leader. No other player in the draft has as many different views of his pro potential than Tebow. Experts rank his anywhere from top 3 to the middle of the 4th round. I will have a detailed scouting report later. He has 2413 yards passing with 18 TDs and 5 picks. He added another 859 yards rushing with 13 TDs. WR Cooper (3rd or 4th) is solid. The O line has been a little shaky but has blocked enough to allow RB Demps to average 7.7 per carry.

The Florida D is led by LB Spikes (1st) DE Cunningham (3rd) and OB Stamper and Doe. Look for them to keep the pressure on Pike all day.

Florida is a 13 point favorite and it shouldn’t be that close. But Cincy has fooled teams before.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

Technorati Tags: New Year’s Day Bowls,NFL,NFL Draft,Outback,Northwestern,Auburn,Gator Bowl,Florida State,West Virginia,Capitol One Bowl,LSU,Penn State,Rose Bowl,Ohio State,Oregon,Sugar Bowl,Cincinnatim Florida

Around the NFL for 11/14/09

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nfl

SF 10 CH 6

People around Chicago are wondering what is wrong with QB Cutler. The answer is two fold. First, the protection is bad to terrible. Second, he does not have anything close to the receivers he did in Denver. WR Hester is a KR trying to become a WR and he is the Bears top guy. The next best WR is Bennett but he is averaging less than 4 catches a game. Too many of the passes are going to RBs both because Cutler doesn’t have anyone getting open down field and he doesn’t have enough time to wait for them to uncover. TE Olsen is the best option that Culter has to go down field. The D is doing its job but they won’t win many games scoring 6 points.

The 49ers are no offensive juggernaut either but Coach Singletary has them playing hard every snap. He has just enough talent to be dangerous to team’s playoff hopes. QB Smith is showing a few hints of getting it but only time will tell if he ever becomes worth the 1st overall pick.

GAME OF THE WEEK—NE @ IN

The Pats and the Colts have had the best non-division rivalry in the league over the last few years. They meet again in Indy. Given the Colts’ injury problems in the defensive backfield, QB Brady will probably be throwing a lot. The Pats’ running game has been below average. RB Taylor is hurt and Maroney is not producing the long runs he has in the past. But Brady is hot and nearly back to his pre-injury production. The Pats’ D has struggled more than usual but at 6-2 they have a 2 game lead in the AFC East.

The Colts are depending on QB Manning because their running O has not developed. He doesn’t have his #2 WR Gonzalez who is on IR. No problem. TE Clark and WR Wayne have 60 and 59 catches receptively. WR Collie has 32 catches and Garcon has 23. The Pats DBs will struggle to keep all those targets covered.

I think the Colts will win in a very close game.

CN @ PT

The Bengals squeaked out a win at home. They will not win this one. The key will be if Cincy can protect QB Palmer. The running of Benson will keep this close because Pit can’t run much. Cincy has lost a couple of key defenders and Pit has S Polamalu who was out for the first game. Pittsburgh wins in a close game and takes control of the division.

DA @ GB

The Boys are coming off a big win last week at Philly. The Pack got embarrassed at Tampa last week. So of course the Pack will win. The Pack needs this win badly to stay in the NFC North race. The Boys can’t seem to stand prosperity. They seem to take a step forward to make room for a couple of steps back. The Pack O line is a problem but the Boys will struggle to slow down the passing game. Everything here points to a Boy win and that is why they won’t.

PH @ SD

Both teams need this game badly. Both are 5-3 but trail in their divisions. The Eagles looked really good up to last week and their loss to Dallas. They should get RB Westbrook back and the O is not the same without him. He has provided the spark that ignites the Eagle O with his running and pass receiving. The Eagle D may be missing CB Brown and NT Bunkley both of whom have missed practice time this week. They will need both.

The Chargers have not been able to run the ball at all. Since the Eagles will start blitzing coming down in the hotel elevators, the Charger O line had better be playing its best. The Eagle D will harass QB Rivers all day and the Birds should win.

MUST WIN—Denver at Washington

The Broncos were 6-0 at their bye. But they have lost both games since and scored only 17 points total. They have to win at the Redskins because there is a no win policy in the nation’s capitol. If the Broncos lose they will have wasted their great start. The D has played well even in the losses. It has been the total disintegration of the O that has caused the problem. Denver wins and gets 2 games up on SD.

Stinker of the week (decade?)–Chiefs @ Raiders 

Anyone that bets on this game deserves to lose money no matter who they picked to win.  Pres. Obama will need bail out any company that has to advertise on this game because no one in their right mind will watch it.

 

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

Technorati Tags: NFL Football,Playoffs,49ers,Bears,Patroits,Colts,Manning,Brady,Bengals,Steelers,Polamalu,Palmer,Cowboys,Packers,Eagles,Buccaneers,Westbrook,Brown,Broncos,Redskins,Chiefs,Raiders
  • Author:
  • Published: Nov 9th, 2009
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on What did we learn from the College football this weekend?

What did we learn from the College football this weekend?

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football

Ohio State is B A C K.

The Bucks finally played up to the hype from the beginning of the season. They put heat on Penn State QB Clark and stopped RB Royster cold. The Buckeye O actually looked decent with QB Pryor hitting some nice passes down field against the PS zone. The passing game also opened up the running game.

Now they get Iowa coming off a loss not only on the scoreboard but of their QB. The BIG question is now that the pressure is back on the Bucks, will they wilt again or will they step up and win the next big game to take another step toward the Rose Bowl.

Iowa has been on the bubble all year long and it finally burst.

Iowa was 4th in the BcS standings which is the highest they have ever been. Unlike the Oklahoma Boise game, the loss of QB Stanzi did cost them the game against Northwestern. The result knocked them out of the race for the BcS big game. The latest word is that Stanzi will be out for at least 2 weeks which would put him back in time for a bowl game. If the game after the injury is any indication, Iowa won’t be able to beat OSU. To win, OSU will have to beat itself. As any Buckeye fan that watched the game against Purdue can attest, the Buckeyes are perfectly capable of doing exactly that.

Alabama looks very strong in a win over LSU.

The Tide rolled slowly but was able to win a key game over #9 LSU. The 24-15 win was impressive and as predicted here last week was enough to push Bama back into 2nd in the BcS.

#1 Florida and then #2 Texas win against over matched competition.

Neither game was impressive but they each did enough to win and keep themselves in the race.

Headaches at BcSville.

What is the worst case for the BcS? 6 undefeated teams this far into the season. This is the largest number of teams with perfect records ever after 9 weeks of the college season. Even with the game between Alabama and Florida taking one team out, there is a very good likelihood that we will end up with at least 3 and probably 4 or 5 perfect teams. Even so, don’t even think that will lead to any change. The ONLY way we are going to get a change is to have major donors to universities tell the pinhead presidents “no playoff no money.”

Who among the “others” is the most deserving for a BcS bowl?

From least to most deserving:

Boise State is the least deserving because they have just one quality win against Oregon in week 1. That win lost a lot of luster with Oregon getting blown out last weekend. If you want to be considered a major power, you have to schedule major powers. The complaint is “they won’t come to our house and play. Too bad. Go play them in their house and prove your worth by beating them. BS will finish undefeated but will go to a good but less than BcS bowl.

Cincinnati is more worthy than BS. They have nice wins at Oregon St., and then #21 South Florida (after SF lost their senior QB Grothe) and solid wins at home against both Louisville and Fresno St. But in a home game last week against Connecticut, they showed nerves and were just able to win the game 47-45. Cincy has a tough game on the 13th against #25 West Virginia. Even if Cincy wins they shouldn’t push past our most deserving undefeated outsider.

TCU has impressive road wins against Clemson and then #16 BYU and has this week’s game against #16 Utah. TCU has an oppressive D to go with an outstanding O to challenge any BcS team. Even if they win out, they will not get an invitation to the BcS big game but will get a BcS bowl. Any team that plays TCU had better be ready or it will get blown out.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

Technorati Tags: NCAA Football,BCS,BCS Rankings,Penn State,Purdue,Ohio State,Alabama,LSU,Florida,Texas,Boise St.,Cincinnati,TCU,Oregon,Oregon State,South Florida,Louisviiie,Fresno State,West Virginia,Clemson,BYU,Utah
  • Author:
  • Published: Nov 6th, 2009
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on What to look for this week in College football

What to look for this week in College football

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football

#9 LSU @ #3 Alabama – 7.5

Alabama dropped a spot in the BcS last week on a bye. They get it back this week against a good but over matched LSU team. Bama QB McElroy has to be effective throwing the ball because the LSU run D is outstanding. In the last 4 games he has failed to throw for 150 yards. He must do better than that against LSU to keep the Tigers from loading up the D line. This will be another real test of the Bama O line.

LSU QB Jefferson, also a 1st year starter, has struggled to get the ball down the field. He is completing almost 64% of his passing but only for 7.36 per attempt. RB Scott is not producing as much as they had hoped at just 4.5 per attempt and has scored only 4 TDs. The LSU O will struggle to keep the ball and let their D rest.

Look for a very low scoring game with Bama winning but struggling to cover the spread.

#17 Ohio State @ #11 Penn St – 3.5

People around Ohio are thinking Rose Bowl—not so fast my friend. That would require that the Bucks win at PS and then beat #4 Iowa next week plus a win at Michigan to end the regular season. That dream ends Saturday. The Bucks have no offense and are not sure where it went. QB Pryor has regressed and now is struggling with mechanics and reading defenses. The result is he may hit a couple of big plays.

PS has gotten solid production out of QB Clark and RB Royster. Clark has a rating of 149 and 18TDs to 7 Ints. Royster is averaging nearly 6 per carry. The D is solid but not special.

The Bucks will be trying FGs with a backup kicker while PS is scoring TDs. PS wins and covers the spread.

#7 Oregon @ Stanford – 7

This is a classic LET DOWN game for the Ducks. They looked unbeatable last week against USC at home. Now they face an up and down Stanford team that can be dangerous at home. They have not lost there. Oregon’s O is the most improved unit in all of college football. The running game is much better with RB James than it was against Boise St. He has the speed and change of direction to make the stretch play work to its maximum. The running game has made QB Masoli extremely effective with play action.

The only hope that Stanford has is that the Duck head are so big they can’t get their helmets on. Oregon should win and cover but stay away from this one due to the chance of a let down.

#24 Oklahoma @ Nebraska + 5.5

How far has this once great rivalry fallen? To the point that no one really outside of those two states cares who wins. Sooner QB Jones has done better than anyone could have hoped taking over from the injured Bradford. He has a passer rating of 142 with 17 TDs and just 6 picks. Their problem is the lack of a running game. RB Brown is averaging just 4.3 per attempt and the team struggles moving the chains. They are just trying to get into a decent bowl after losing 3 games this year.

The Huskers was quietly having a nice season at 4-1 until they lost in each of the last two games including a bad loss against Iowa St last week 9-7. The D has played better than it did last year and the O has good numbers but the latter is misleading. The O has let them down in their 3 losses scoring just 32 points in those games.

The Sooners are the better team and should win and cover but who cares?

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

Technorati Tags: NCAA Football,BCS Rankings,BCS,Alabama,LSU,Ohio State,Penn State,Iowa,Michigan,Oregon,Stanford,Oklahoma,USC,Nebraska,Rose Bowl,Bowl game,NFL Draft

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