Ralph Malbrough / Contributing Writer
NEW ORLEANS -- I wonder what Steve Spagnuolo thinks during Saints games as he watches one of the worst defenses since the NFL merger in 1970? It’s probably something along the lines of, “I hope the defense I just called is a lucky guess and works out.” At this point that’s pretty much all Spagnuolo is doing.
The Saints defense doesn’t do anything well or even average, so five weeks into the season Spagnuolo has two options: play the personnel group, which has a decent chance of stopping the run, or the personnel group, which might sack the quarterback.
Did I mention the personnel group that is OK against the run has no shot to touch the quarterback on a pass play unless the secondary can cover for what will seem like eternity? And that the personnel group is very likely to give a 90 yard touchdown run at anytime? It’s like playing blackjack and having to decide whether to stay or hit on 17 while the dealer is showing a face card. You’ll lose more than you win and the experience will be miserable.
Against the Chargers Spagnuolo went with the personnel group that can put pressure on the quarterback. The upside was Martez Wilson and Junior Galette did create a lot of pressure and Wilson even sealed the game with sack and fumble recovery. The downside was the Chargers averaged nearly seven yards every running play and the only thing stopping them was Norv Turner was too stupid to run the ball more. This will be your 2012 Saints defense. One of my twitter followers said we should call them the ‘marsh fire’ because they are soft, pliable, and always getting burned. I think the 2012 Saints defense is the ‘Blackjack or Bust’ defense. If Spags guesses right then it’s blackjack resulting in a sack, fumble, interception, or a run of less then four yards or he guesses wrong and it’s bust and a play resulting in a 60yard touchdown.
When I play blackjack I’m really aggressive and always hit on 17 so if Spags wants to play the personnel group with pass rush skills and dare teams to run the ball down the Saints throat I’m fine with it. Turnovers happen more on pass plays and really at this point that’s the best we can hope for with this defense.
Good luck guessing when a team will run or pass Spags, you’ll need it.
Sean Payton sabbatical spot of the week: Mount Rushmore
Sean could head to South Dakota and gaze up at some great leaders of America. Did you know about 90 percent of the carving at the mountain was done by dynamite. Those blasts removed about 450,000 tons of fine-grained granite from the mountain. You won’t see destruction like that until the Falcons season goes boom in January.
Last Week: 2-3
Miami (-3.5) vs. St. Louis: If the Dolphins get to 3-3 my wife will probably start saying, “Since the Dolphins are .500 we should watch them on TV and you can watch the Saints on your Ipad.” Guh. The scary part is I’ve watched all Miami’s games and they really should be 4-1. I’m not even kidding.
Tampa (-4) vs. Kansas City: The Bucs are pretty awful. They can’t pass the ball or stop the pass. Of course the Chiefs are a ridiculous –15 in turnover margin. Even if the Saints go 3-13 the fact they lost to a Romeo Crennel coached team will bother me forever.
Dallas (+3.5) at Baltimore: The Ravens defense is finally old as Jamaal Charles ran for like 1000 yards on them in the first half last week. Jason Garrett or Tony Romo could screw this pick up but I doubt it.
Atlanta (-9) vs. Oakland: Do you want some silver lining to the Falcons 5-0 start? They are using up all their lucky breaks early in the year. In 2009 the Saints saved their miracles for late in the year and the playoffs. Atlanta won’t need any miracles this week though.
LSU PICK ALERT
South Carolina (+2.5) at LSU: The Tigers offensive line is beat up, their receivers can’t catch, and the quarterback has the pocket awareness best described as a blind man trying to cross the highway. It’s horrible, tragic, scary, and yet you can’t take your eyes off it. It usually ends with someone saying, “That poor man had no idea he was going to get run over by a mack truck.” Saturday Jadeveon Clowney will play the role of the truck. Besides that everything’s fine in Baton Rouge. South Carolina has a dominant defensive line and a running game to wear down the Tigers.
I fully expect Les Miles to go full on Les Miles which means we are probably in for him calling 9 timeouts, faking a kickoff, going for fourth and 23 from his own 7 yard line and any other insane scenario you can dream up. The problem is will LSU even score? Yes but it won’t be enough. This will be the worst 13-3 game we ever see.
South Carolina 13-3
Ralph Malbrough is a Saints fan living in Houston. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, find him on facebook, follow him on twitter at http://twitter.com/#!/MilneMalbrough or download his podcast at Itunes.