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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

v/s Saints, 10/7 and Jake Delhomme's career-ender

Carolina squeaked it out against New Orleans, playing mediocre football against a mediocre team to set up a game-winner from outside 50 yards for John Kasay. Extending his lore as the only significant kicker in team history, Kasay won it.

David Carr was, at best, average. Only one drive sustained, not much happening deep, but efficient and generally accurate. His play was marred by a back injury caused by spastic running outside the pocket, where Carr is often proficient and often deadly - to himself. If you're going to run, run forward. Relief QB Matt Moore chucked up the longest pass of the day, and then almost gave a TD to the Saints if Mark Simoneau doesn't drop it.

The rest of the team was, at best, average. A defense that made a couple of plays, an offense that made a couple of plays. That's it. You can point to a handful of plays that helped us tremendously, but on average spirited play that amounted to nothing.



The Upside
  • John Kasay still has it.

  • Beason, apparently a natural inside, is gaining experience and confidence. He looks like he can play inside well, sifting past blocks and getting to the ball, and making plays in space. With Dan Morgan and Adam Seward both slowly nursing back toward health, it should be interesting to see what happens.
  • Davis looks very good in coverage at this point at SLB. Playing the TE well the past few weeks, he made a big pass breakup on Reggie Bush to setup the Saints settling for the FG (eventually blocked). He also came from behind and made a stuff on Bush on a lead play; Davis has 5 stuffs and 2 passes defended this year.
  • Chris Harris' INT was heady, but his pass defense showed a great break on the ball and a good play made that will go overlooked. Harris' two plays, even though he's had some tackling issues and some agressiveness issues, were big parts of winning.
  • Deangelo Williams is looking better returning kicks. Had he not let a short ball roll to see if it would go out of bounds, his averages would be higher than Goings' or Robinson's.
  • Williams and Foster are averaging, together, 105.3 yards per game on the ground.
  • The team genuinely looked to be having fun in the second half, but that was only worthwhile because we did have one good drive to bring us back, a couple balls bouncing our way, and then the late FG.
Downside
  • The offense isn't where it should be. Very little interesting going on right now, and it looks a lot more like the Dan Henning offense with more I-formation. Where are the TE combo routes, the WR combo routes? Why aren't the screens working? Why can't we run the ball well enough to make the attempts worth it?
  • This team doesn't seem like it's turned around yet. This wasn't a convincing win, just a win, a win against a bad team that was good last year.
  • Jeff King is only in the game part of the time as a threat, the rest of the time not doing much at all. Keary Colbert showed some spark toward the end of the Saints game, but not much up to this point for he or Drew Carter.

It's up to Carr at this point, with Jake Delhomme on the shelf. Delhomme, the team's only meaningful quarterback since 2003, is gone for the year, having surgery on his elbow due to ligament separating from the bone. He's the first starting quarterback in the history of the league to have "Tommy John" surgery, which features supposedly stronger connections which may enhance Delhomme's arm, and give the rest needed rest (a forearm injury nagged him in 2006, noticeably better after his rest during the thumb injury). Rehab is about a year, putting him back during training camp 2008.
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