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

What to look for in the AFC Conference championship game.

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Tomorrow: The NFC Conference championship game.

Jets @ Colts

Jets

The Jets are the only surprise in the playoffs. They were not even supposed to make the post season but here they are after upsets of the Bengals and Chargers. The O depends on the run WAY too much and that could be the downfall of the Jets. RB Thomas did not practice on Thursday but the absence was not injury related. They can not hope to win without a huge game from him.

The game plan of the Jets will be run the ball and hope to keep the Colts O off the field. The Colts are vulnerable to the run. But the Jets will face 46 guys in the box if they cannot pass for more than 100 yards against the Colts.

QB Sanchez has not been asked to do much passing the ball. In both games the Jets have been ahead. They will get behind against the Colts and it will be up to Sanchez to pass them to catch up. There is a great deal of doubt he can do that. The media has made a lot about rookie Sanchez winning his first 2 playoff games. He has not won them. Rather, he has not lost them for the Jets.

The Jets O line did a very solid job protecting the QB giving up just 1 sack in 2 games. More significant, C Mangold was able to handle the NT of the Chargers letting the Gs get to the second level to block for the run. He should be able to do the same against the 4-3 of the Colts.

The D of the Jets has been outstanding. It continued to stifle the opponents offense ability to pass and run. They have gotten 5 sacks in the two playoff games but have consistently put pressure on the opponent QBs. There is “but” coming however. The team has played 2 offenses that have been down in the last few games. The Bengals couldn’t score more than 24 points in any of their final 5 regular season games. Palmer looked old and was inaccurate and RB Benson was hurt and not nearly at 100%. The Chargers had only 1 good offensive effort against the wounded Titans in their last 5.

The key to the Jets D will be putting heat on QB Manning. They can disregard the run because the Colts are last in that category in the league. They also need to find a way to cover the receivers for an extended period of time. Otherwise Manning will pick the pass D apart.

Colts

For the Colts, its Manning, Manning and Manning. They have not been able to run the ball all year and will not be able to run against the Jets. The passing game should be helped by the return of WR Wayne. He had a full practice Thursday. They will need all their weapons in the passing game to compete. If they could find a way to run just a little, it could make a huge difference in the amount of pass rush the Jets can generate.

The D is hobbled by injury. They are looking for any help they can get particularly in the D backfield. They have signed S Darrick Brown (Saints) and have looked at FA CB Deltha O’Neal (Texans) due to injuries. S Sanders is on IR and S Bethea was limited in practice due to injuries. Reserve CB Powers will likely not play due to a foot injury. Bethea is critical because with the loss of Sanders, he is a key run defender.

The bottom line: I don’t think that Sanchez can take advantage of the injuries in the pas D of the Colts. The Colts can score a lot faster than the Jets. I will take the Colts to win but probably under the total points projected by Los Vegas.

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 .

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Around the NFL for 11/14/09

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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 .

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