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 … Read more at FryingPanSports

What to look for in the NFC Championship game.

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Vikings @ Saints

Vikes

QB Farve has brought the passing game that has been missing from the team for years. Prior to this season, the team had the D, the O line, and the running game of an NFL Champion. The one thing they didn’t have was a championship quality passing game. Farve has not only provided the passing, he has helped the receivers develop. WR Rice has gone from “great potential” to one of the best receivers in the league in 1 year. In 08 Rice caught 15 balls. In 09 he caught 83 with a 15.8 yard average for 8 TDs. The rookie that the Vikes drafted Harvin who didn’t have an NFL position. Not only did he become a WR, he caught 80 balls for a 13.2 average and 6 TDs. That didn’t happen by accident. Farve didn’t help them develop out of a desire to be a good team leader. He did it to win a championship. The Vikes have a key injury on O. WR Harvin is questionable for the game. I think he will play.

The problem was that as the passing game developed, the running game withered. RB Peterson is one of the … Read more at FryingPanSports

What did we learn from the AFC Divisional Round of the playoffs?

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Note: I will discuss the NFC tomorrow.

Ravens 3 @ Colts 20

Ravens

The Raven O just couldn’t match the fire power of the Colts. RB Rice had only 13 carries because the Ravs fell 14 points behind in the 2nd quarter. Flacco played better than expected going 20-35 for 185 but had 2 very costly picks. Rice also lost a fumble.

The Ravens’ D was hoping that they would create turnovers. They picked off Manning once but the Ravs were unable to convert that to a touchdown because S Reed fumbled the ball returning it.

Reed is considering retirement and that would hurt the D badly. Reed and LB Lewis are the heart of the D. In 2010, the O is going to have to provide more points because the D will be older and not as versatile.

Colts

The Colts O was a little rusty but thanks to the D was able to win the game and move on to face the Jets. They were not able to run the ball effectively. They averaged only 1.7 yards per carry. That could cost them against the Jet D. The most important stat from the game is 6 runs resulted … Read more at FryingPanSports

What to look for in the Saturday Divisional round games.

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Cards @ Saints

Cards QB Warner had just another day at the office. Against one of the most improved Ds in the league he went 29-33 for 379 yards and 5 TDs without a pick. The Pack had no answer for Warner. They blitzed him and he picked man to man coverage apart. They rushed 3 and kept 8 in coverage and he found holes in the zones. The O line protected Warner for the most part and sub WRs did well to make up for the loss of WR Bolden.

On D, the Cards and the Pack allowed the score board to look like the something out of Pinball Wizard. Neither D could put consistent pressure on the others QB. The Pack was so focused on Warner that they allowed RB Wells 6.5 yards per attempt. They were lucky that their O was putting up so many points or Wells would have had more than his 14 carries. If the Cards are going to have any chance to stage the upset the D is going to have to play like they did last year in the playoff run to the Super Bowl. The passing game of the Saints is … Read more at FryingPanSports

What to look for Saturday in the Wild Card round.

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The Coaching Carousel

Seahawks—Mora is out and rumors are flying that USC Coach Carroll will be his replacement. I believe that will happen. However, in compliance with the NFL policy of requiring an interview of at least one minority candidate, the team has asked to interview others. The Hawks were 10-6 and in the playoffs in 07 but stumbled to 4-12 last year under then lame duck coach Holmgren. Mora had been named “HC in waiting” in the 08 pre season and took over to begin the 09 season. He went 5-11.

Raiders—The Cable will be cut. HC Tom Cable is hanging on by a thread. And worse yet, Owner Davis is standing above him with a pair of scissors. Cable doesn’t have much respect in the locker room or in the bosses office. He asked for a meeting with benched former 1st pick over all QB Russell but the later blew his coach off and left town. Cable will be gone soon.

Jets @ Bengals

The Jets beat Cincy 37-0 in week 17. That will not be the case in the Wild Card round. There is no chance that Bengal QB Palmer will cooperate like he … Read more at FryingPanSports

What to look for in the BcS Championship game.

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#1 Alabama

This is the year that Bama needs to win it all. They have 14 senior player that will be given serious consideration in the 2010 NFL draft 9 of whom should be drafted. They have as always some nice underclass talent but with that many guys leaving, a number of the key juniors will likely declare for the draft as well. They can not replace that many front line guys without taking a step back next season. This is their best chance to win the big prize.

Bama O

Bama can throw the ball but make no mistake about it—They need to run the ball to win. RB Ingram (So.) won the Heisman trophy and is outstanding. He has great vision and a very quick first step. He has decent speed and very seldom goes down at first contact. He is patent and uses blocks as well as any back in college. Those qualities are not developed. You either have them or you don’t. He is a good receiver and gets to the edge on screens often. He has 30 catches this year for an average of 10.2 yards which is a lot higher than most RBs.

QB … Read more at FryingPanSports