On the opening Sunday of the 2013 NFL season, the New Orleans Saints defeated the Atlanta Falcons 23-17. While there were a few shaky moments at times, especially early on, the Saints still showed a lot of firepower in their offense and a revamped defense under new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan.
With a trip to play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this upcoming weekend, the Saints have got to look at all of the things they did right against the Falcons. They've got to take those things, do them again, and then improve upon them to get even better.
One thing that is evident is that the presence of head Coach Sean Payton on the sidelines is something that was truly missed last year. His leadership and overall decision-making is necessary for the Saints and the difference could already be seen in the opening game.
~ Drew Brees and the passing game
Once a little rust was shaken off, it is evident that the Saints just have a passing attack to rival any other team in the league and probably a step above them. Brees threw for 357 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception.
Marques Colston is showing why he is still the number one receiver on the team. Darren Sproles is great in the flat and can make so much happen on even just a 2-yard dump-off pass. Jimmy Graham is the center of the field at all times. Now, there is no reason to miss Devery Henderson because the new deep-threat in Kenny Stills is going to be someone that defenses have fits over.
~ Holding onto the ball
The Saints only had one turnover in their win over the Falcons, and it was a well-timed and hard-fought pick by the defender. Brees made great decisions with the ball all day and never put his receivers in danger. Making matters better is that all offensive players secured the ball tightly to avoid any fumbles.
~ Defense - Defense - Defense
Rob Ryan is certainly making a defense with the Saints already, and it showed. His new style and way of organizing the defense made for a different looking New Orleans Saints. They attacked the mall more ferociously and always seemed to be in the right place at the right time.
There were some holes and injuries that faulted the defense at times, but it looked better overall. That especially can be said for Roman Harper (one interception, one fumble recovery) who looked to be in great shape and playing better than he has in years.
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