Browns Vs. Saints: Behind Enemy Lines


As we have done every week, and plan to do throughout the season (and hopefully the playoffs), we try to get inside information from those that cover the opposing team. For Week 2 the Browns Vs. Saints is a interesting match-up.

The Saints have a prolific offense and have added talent to their defense, along with Rob Ryan’s historical success as a defensive coordinator. Yet they are coming off a loss to their rival Falcons while the Browns are coming off that terribly uneven game against the Steelers. It makes for a very interesting game on Sunday.

We go Behind Enemy Lines for the game with John Hendrix (New Window) from Who Dat Dish (New Window) to get the inside scoop on the Saints, our answers to their questions can be found here (NW):

1. The Saints lost in overtime to a division foe in the Falcons, what happened? How surprised were you?

Personally, I believe the Saints went in with a bit too much chip on their shoulder for this matchup. They had historically owned Atlanta, and felt as though it might have been an easy victory with a team that was reeling from last season’s 4-12 record. The poor tackling was the top issue, and there was little to no coaching/playcalling adjustments on defense to stop Matt Ryan. The Saints did not generate the pressure needed to stop Ryan, and as a result, he was able to extend plays and find the open receiver. It was a hard loss, and although it’s just one week, I believe it was a huge wake up call for the Saints organization.

2. Colston is aging but had a big game last week, was that a fluke or does he look refreshed for his match-up with Joe Haden?

Listen, Joe Haden is as great a cornerback as they come. Marques Colston is completely healthy this season, and he’s going to be a huge part of the New Orleans Saints offense. Colston does not typically turn the ball over, and we know he will put it past him. I’ve never seen the amount of visible frustration that Colston expressed like he did after that game. However, what people need to realize is that it wasn’t his fault. The defense let the Saints down on Sunday, and they’ve stated that it won’t happen again. Haden will command a lot of respect from Drew Brees, and they’ll test him a couple of times if Drew sees something.

3. How can the Browns stop Jimmy Graham?

The Browns will need to be physical off of the line of scrimmage against Graham. Donte Whitner is not a stranger to the New Orleans Saints, and I’m sure those two will meet more than a few times on Sunday. I believe if the Browns could possibly use a combination of Haden/Whitner, then that could completely take Graham out of the equation. However, it seems silly for them to devote two of their best cover guys to Graham when there are many other weapons the Saints possess (Stills, Cooks, Thomas, Morgan).

4. I’ve seen some video and still of the Saints playing a very, very deep safety on a ton of plays and it didn’t seem to work. How has Rob Ryan’s defense looked throughout the pre-season and Week 1?

The preseason looked decent, nothing about it suggested that it was going to turn out the way it did in Week One. The Saints like to play a 3-3-5, but against Atlanta, they devoted more of a 4-man front to rush Matt Ryan, and it didn’t work. I believe the Saints defense respected the Falcons receivers, but playing off like that coupled with the fact that Matt Ryan had a quick release didn’t prove effective. They’ll simply have to make the necessary adjustments to contain the Browns receivers. I’m more interested in how they’ll solve for the Browns rushing attacked, who doused the Steelers for nearly 200 yards on the ground last week.

5. What is your prediction for Sundays game? And do you think the Saints are taking the Browns serious?

Everything from the media interviews suggest that the Saints are taking this game seriously, and believe me, Who Dat Nation is taking this game seriously. The Browns have improved tremendously, and from last week’s matchup from the Steelers, we know that this team is more than capable of coming back from a deficit. The Saints were up 20-7 at one point, and the Falcons scored 17 unanswered points on them. This is a very hostile environment, and the Saints were fortunate to have escaped with a 19-14 win the last time they visited the Browns in 2006.