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 He is a regular contributor on Cleveland Sports Radio 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
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  • Published: Dec 19th, 2009
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on What to look for in week 15 of the NFL.

What to look for in week 15 of the NFL.

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Colts 35 Jags 31

The Colts played down again to the opposition. The first 3 quarters the O looked very average. But great teams find a way to win games in which they have not played their best. The Colts did that. They have clinched home field so it will be interesting to see how much they play their stars. In the past when they have rested their stars after clinching the top spot they have lost early in the plahyoffs. When they have been challenged to get to the post season, they have done well. Fantasy owners need to watch out for Colts on their team.

Cowboys @ Saints

The popping your hear is the coming from the oil on the frying pan in which Boys coach Phillips is being cooked. Most experts say the only way he gets out of the frying pan is to win out including at least one game in the playoffs. Forget it. Phillips is gone even if he wins the Super Bowl, which he will not. The Boys’ O is top 5 but that is very misleading. They have piled up big numbers against the lesser teams on their schedule. Romo and the Boys struggle against an aggressive D. The Saints are a very aggressive D.

The Saints seem to be going for a perfect season because they have never been 13-0 before. Coach Payton won’t take the foot off the gas except for players nursing injuries. The Saints were playing outstanding ball up to week 12 then had two close calls in a row. Payton will want to make a statement with a national game and will do his best to get the team playing at the top of their game against the Boys. Saints win easily.

49ers @ Eagles

With their win over the Cards last week, this becomes a critical game for the Niners. They need to keep wining and hope the Cards fall again. They are not in a position to get into the hunt for a wild card. The Eagles need the game badly as well. By kickoff, they will know if a win will give them a 2+ game lead on the Boys. QB McNair has been hot and the Eagle D will be blitzing coming down in the elevator. The Birds will be too much for the Niners. Eagles win.

Dolphins @ Titans

Both teams need this game as well. The Fish are chasing the Pats. At 7-6 they trail the Pats by 1. The Titans’ playoff hopes are on life support at 6-7. Young is questionable with a injury so Collins may start. The running game of the Titans has really come around in the last few weeks as the O line is now healthy. But the Dolphins have been getting outstanding play from QB Henne in place of Pennington. The difference will be the Dolphins’ D. The Fish win.

Bengals @ Chargers

The Bengals not only have to overcome a bad loss to the Vikes but the loss of WR Henry. It looked like Henry was starting to turn his life around. The O of the Bengals was just not crisp at all last week. While part of that was due to the Vike D, part was the team showing the pressure of the playoff run. They would be helped by getting the #2 spot to avoid the Wild Card round. A win over the current #2 Chargers would put the Bengals in their spot with 2 to go as the Bengals would own the tie breaker. The O line is going to have to play better particularly in pass protection.

The Chargers are up on Denver by 2 games. But they know that they can not stop because the Broncos will probably win 2 of the next 3 games. The Chargers looked very good last week in beating the Boys on the road. The Bengals will play hard but not win again and see their lead in the AFC North shrink.

Bears @ Ravens

The Bears do not travel well. The Ravens are working hard to catch up to the Bengals or to get to a wild card spot. But they have the Steelers right on their tail feathers. The Birds have had an up and down season but are holding onto the 6th playoff spot now. With 2 other teams also having a 7-6 record to keep that spot they have to keep winning. The Birds beat the Bears and creep a little closer to the playoffs.

Packers @ Steelers

The Steelers have fallen and can’t seem to be able to get up. The Pack is hot winning 4 in a row after losing 3 straight. The O has really come on and now is able to run the ball better. But the O still depends on the arm of QB Rodgers. In addition to his 102 passer rating he has run for 3 TDs.

The Steelers are really down after a loss to the 1-11 Browns. He got sacked 8 times by a team that couldn’t find a bag at a Kroger grocery store. The Pack is playing outstanding D and is very effective at the pass rush. This one will get ugly quickly. Even at home the Pack win in a walkaway.

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 He has also published several novels on and edits .

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Now that Payton is Payton again will the Colts win it all?

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In discussing the attempt to return to the game of Mike Vick, Payton Manning described the problems he had just by missing training camp last year due to an infection in his knee. He said it took him until the middle of the season to really get the timing and feel of the pocket back. The statistics prove it. Prior to game 9 Payton threw 9 ints and 10 TDs. From game 9 to the end of the season he threw 17 TDs and only 3 picks.

The Colts are just beginning to see their window to the Super Bowl start to close. Payton is 33. He is the key to the Colts offense. Two of his critical protectors are on the wrong side of 30 as well. All pro C Jeff Saturday is 34 and RT Ryan Diem is 33. WR Marvin Harrison is gone. The Colts will only go as far as their O takes them.

Payton is poised to have his typical MVP quality season. He will miss WR Harrison but has Reggie Wayne to run deep patterns and former 3rd WR Anthony Gonzalez and always reliable TE Dallas Clark to run underneath routes. The battle for 3rd WR will be something to watch.

The running game has not missed a beat with Joseph Addai replacing long time starter Edgerrin James in 06. But injuries have slowed Addai in 07 and 08. Addai has to return to the explosive style he had in his rookie year or he might get replaced by 1st round pick rookie Donald Brown. Brown has great football smarts and catches the ball out of the backfield well. Mike Hart tries to return from an injury that ended what had been an impressive rookie campaign in 08.

The line is solid but there are question marks. C Saturday is healthy and well paid with an extension. LT Tony Ugoh stepped in and played very well. He and RT Diem are well above average. The questions are at G. G Ryan Lilja is coming off surgery. His return would go a long way to answer the issues at G. Both projected starters Charlie Johnson and Mike Pollak had injuries cut into their 08 seasons. If the Gs are healthy, the line will be fine. If not, Payton will have to depend on his pocket awareness more than usual.

The Colts D line had a ton of problems last couple of seasons. Their super pass rusher Dwight Freeney was out for half of 07 with injuries. He was used a little more sparingly in 08 and started 14 games. DT Ed Johnson, the undrafted rookie that played so well in 07 was cut in 08 for extreme stupidity. He was arrested for speeding and police found marijuana in the car. He is back on double secret probation by the team.

DE Raheem Brock and DTs Eric Foster and Keyunta Dawson will likely join Freeney on the D line. The Colts have added depth with Johnson, Adrian Grady, Marcus Howard, Antonio Johnson, Curtis Johnson, Robert Mathis and Fili Moala just to name a few. There is enough talent there to provide a good rotation on the D line.

The linebacking group will provide the most interesting training camp contests. None of the three positions is a lock. MLB Gary Brackett has the best chance of holding his spot but the outside backer positions are up for grabs. Clint Session started at SLB last year but could be moved to the other side. Tyjuan Hagler and Freddy Keiaho were allowed to test free agency but were resigned on the cheap. Either of them might start. Philip Wheeler looked good in OTAs and will get a chance at starting.

The star among the DBs is SS Bob Sanders. He hits so hard he often hurts himself as well as the player on the business end of his tackles. He is the key to the Colts stopping the run. FS Antoine Bethea had a below average season last year and had better return to form. If not he will lose his spot to any one of the outstanding safeties in waiting including Melvin Bullitt, Brannon Condren, Matt Giordano and Jamie Silva. All 4 can play either safety position. The Colts hoped that both FA Kelvin Hayden and injured Marlin Jackson would return. Hayden was resigned and Jackson looks fine. That pair is as good as any in the AFC. If he has recovered from surgery Michael Coe should be the nickel. If not, Brandon Anderson or Brandon Foster will play it.

OVERALL: There is no doubt that the Colts will return to championship form. 5 key games will determine if the Colts have home field or have to play on the road in the playoffs. Wk 2 @ Miami, Wk 3 @ Arizona, Wk 5 @ Tennessee, and Wk 13 vs Tennesee are key. But the Wk 10 vs New England is the game that should decide home field between these two major super bowl threats in the AFC.

I think the Colts will be better but not good enough to beat NE and will not make the Super Bowl.


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 He has also published several novels on and edits .

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