The Seattle Seahawks (2-4) are in desperate need of a win and have a tough matchup ahead on Monday Night Football against the New Orleans Saints (3-2). Two years ago, the Saints came into Seattle and won far more comfortably than the 33-27 scoreline suggested. Teddy Bridgewater was the quarterback in place of the injured Drew Brees, who busted his thumb off of Aaron Donald’s helmet. Now the Seahawks are the ones with the backup QB, as Geno Smith fills in for Russell Wilson after Wilson’s encounter with Donald wrecked his middle finger.
New Orleans is coming off a bye week and preceding that was a win in Washington, with Jameis Winston throwing for four touchdowns and Alvin Kamara doing Alvin Kamara things. To get to know the Saints a little more, here’s our 5 Qs and 5 As with Canal Street Chronicles’ Chris Conner.
1.) How would you assess the Saints offense under Jameis Winston over his first five games as a starter? All of this keeping in mind that he hasn’t had Michael Thomas.
The offense has been inconsistent honestly, that’s the best description to provide if we’re being real. But some of that has to do with play calling, player and coach availability as you mentioned, and personal development in some areas. But in regards to Jameis? It’s hard to complain about the ways he’s played. Every week it feels like he’s against some type of challenge and is finding a way through it, even if the final score isn’t indicative of that. Jameis has opened up a part of the passing game that hasn’t been available in a few years when it comes to depth and range. He’s taken care of the football outside of a few unfortunate plays, and has delivered positive drives with limited resources.
What else can you ask for?
2.) Former Seahawks DC Kris Richard now coaches your defensive backs, and certainly Marshon Lattimore is highly regarded as one of the top corners in the NFL. How has the Saints secondary performed thus far?
This unit is another area that has had it’s injury concerns but you’d have to grade it well. Marshon Lattimore is playing the best football of his career and rookie Paulson Adebo has surprised many with his immediate emergence. The Saints also traded for Bradley Roby who is getting into the swing of things. The safety position has continued to be a strong part as well, with the continued positive play out of veteran Malcolm Jenkins and a underrated star in Marcus Williams. New Orleans will only get better as time goes on in that area, along with reinforcements like Ken Crawley on the way back.
3.) What are some weaknesses on either side of the ball that the Seahawks could potentially exploit?
Offensively I’d say Tyler Lockett whether he’s in the slot against Chauncey Gardner Johnson or against the aforementioned rookie Adebo. The New York Giants picked the Saints apart this year with quickness off the line versus cornerbacks not named Marshon Lattimore. Lockett is the player I’d look to the most.
Defensively it’s hard to put a finger on. The Saints will have important offensive line players coming back in Erik McCoy and Terron Armstead, so the O-Line will be it’s healthiest since the preseason. It’ll probably be at the receiver position. The Saints will still be missing Micheal Thomas along with speedster Deonte Harris it appears. As they welcome back Tre’quan Smith, the WR spot is still an unhealthy weakness. If Seattle can take advantage, they could slow the game down tremendously. The entire emphasis defensively should be to control Alvin Kamara, so if you’re able to do that while making life hard for Saints receivers, Seattle could be in good shape.
4.) Can you name some under-the-radar quality Saints players whom Seahawks fans (and the general NFL viewing public) may not know about?
Make yourself familiar with the name Pete Werner. It’s unknown how his role will change as the Saints are expected to welcome back Kwon Alexander, but Werner has stood out the past few weeks at the linebacker position. He’s been decisive, fast and a tackling machine since he’s returned from injury and into the starting lineup. Werner is a second round pick from Ohio State that not enough people have paid attention to. Seahawks fans shouldn’t make that mistake.
5.) Much like Pete Carroll is the best coach the Seahawks have ever had, Sean Payton is undoubtedly the best coach in Saints franchise history. I think Seahawks fans are really reaching that point where they’d rather see the Carroll era end as soon as this season is over. What has the mood been towards Payton’s recent years as HC, and is there any feeling that it might be time to move on?
We know that fans can be fickle, but Payton has been in NOLA since 2006 and helped bring the franchise a Super Bowl that no one who knows the history of this franchise could ever imagine. I’d argue that people are more so watching the evolution of him as a head coach post Drew Brees than anything. He’s not short of criticism from the fans as Saints fans will talk about anybody! But at the end of the day Payton is a staple in the city, and it would take quite the collapse over multiple years to ever want him out and on the way to another franchise.
Thanks to Chris for answering my questions! Go over to CSC when their post is up and you’ll see my answers.