Ralph Malbrough / Contributing Writer
I wish everything in life could be replaced with something as good as Darren Sproles.Sproles is the greatest upgrade since some random guy 2000 years ago told everybody to stop drinking water and start drinking this wine he invented. Whenever you change something in life you should hope it goes as well as the Reggie Bush to Darren Sproles swap.
Lots of us thought Sproles would be an upgrade over Reggie Bush. It's not so much Darren Sproles is an upgrade to the Saints offense as he has transformed it. All the fantastic plays Sean Payton dreamed would happen with Reggie Bush have actually occurred with Sproles.
Remember all the talk about how teams feared Reggie Bush and they had to prepare for him and he was the greatest decoy since Dwight Eisenhower convinced Hitler he was going to invade some other beach besides Normandy? I'm no coach so I can't prove how much teams did or didn't fear Bush but I know they fear Sproles. Why? Because teams have decided almost exclusively to punt the ball away from him.
Darren has 716 total yards in four games.Bush never had any four game stretches as good in New Orleans.Sproles is on pace to catch 100 passes and rush for more yards than Bush did in any season as a Saint.If Reggie had a first month as a Saint like Sproles has had I think the internet would have crashed and needed Al Gore to put it back together.
Does Sproles awesome first month reflect badly on Bush? Yes.I'm not going to rehash the whole was Bush a good draft pick debate. All I'm saying is Sproles is so clearly better if you deny it you are lying or maybe you just don't want to admit Reggie's NFL career is mostly about waiting for greatness that won't be seen on a consistent basis.
The real question about Sproles is will the Saints continue to give him this work load every week? He's never rushed more than 93 times in a season or caught more than 59 passes.He's on pace for his second most carries ever and shatter his most catches in a season.
It took less than a month for Sproles to become the most exciting guy on the Saints offense. Every time he gets the ball I bet you lean a little closer to the TV or gasp because Sproles might be taking it to the house. It's how I feel anyway.
Sproles is so good I almost don't care the Saints other big off season move of adding Shaun Rogers and Aubrayo Franklin to the defensive line has so far been underwhelming. Who cares because Sproles just busted another 45 yard run.
New Orleans (-6.5) at Carolina: Cam Newton is Warren Moon 2.0. He throws a beautiful long ball just like Moon except he's bigger and runs more. All the experts seem stunned that Newton is so good so soon. They said Auburn's offense was too simple and maybe Newton wasn't smart enough to understand NFL defenses.
You know why experts said that? It's because they want fans to believe playing quarterback in the NFL is a combination of being president, Superman, a rocket scientist, and butcher.
I'm not saying anyone can play quarterback in the NFL, just ask Heath Shuler. I am saying if a player is reasonably smart and willing he can learn to read NFL defenses. 15 year olds do it on Xbox playing Madden every day.
Newton also had the JaMarcus Russell stink on him before the draft. Sure, every player's different but if you were thinking of hiring someone to redesign your house and your next door neighbor hired the same company and the guy they sent to do the work burned his house to the ground you'd be skeptical.
Russell was such a complete failure and was from the SEC just like Newton I think people lumped them together even if it was unintentional. So give the Panthers credit for pulling the trigger.
This is the second best offense the Saints have faced so far.Carolina has a red hot Steve Smith, nice tight ends in Greg Olsen and Jeremy Shockey, and solid running back tandem in DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart.
Watching their games it looks to me like the Panthers run a lot of plays from the college spread option offense. I think I even saw Newton running some zone option plays out of the shotgun. That's where if the outside linebacker comes hard off the edge he hands off, if not he either throws or runs to the edge himself.They did run some regular option plays as well.It's really fun to watch and a shame Newton will be in the NFC South for the next decade and we'll learn to hate him.
While I fully expect the Saints defense to struggle I also think it's about time Cam Newton has a truckload of turnovers so all the doubters can crawl out their hole and say, 'I told you! Newton is terrible!'
The Saints should be able to do whatever they like on offense because the Carolina defense got torched by Aaron Rogers and run over by Matt Forte.The Saints are about due for a, 'Hey NFC, quit talking about Detroit, Tony Romo, Tampa, and Washington and pay attention to us' butt kicking.
Green Bay (-5.5) at Atlanta: A faithful reader emailed explaining I need to root for the Falcons this weekend because it will help the Saints get the #1 seed in the NFC.Here's thing, I hate Atlanta so much my body only allows me to root for them if winning directly benefits the Saints. This doesn't apply in Week 5 of the season. Secondly, did you see Tavaris Jackson look like a vey competent quarterback against their defense? He was running the hurry up offense like Dan Marino.I think Aaron Rogers might score a 100 fantasy points this week.
Tennessee (+3) at Pittsburgh: Are we sure the Steelers are any good? I think the Titans are better and as long as Matt Hasselbeck is under center they are a playoff team.
Buffalo (+1) vs. Philadelphia: My fantasy tip of the week is if you have any Eagles or Bills start them because neither of these teams play defense. Why did no one in the off season ask, 'Was Andy Reid hiring his offensive line coach to run the defense smart?' Can you name anytime in recent history someone did this and it worked? I like Gregg Williams a lot but if Sean Payton said, 'This year Gregg Williams will be calling plays for Drew Brees.' I think I'd pass out.
New England (-9) vs. New York Jets: If losing your center causes an offense the fall apart like the Jets claim why did the Saints drop 500 yards on Jacksonville with Brian De La Puente snapping to Drew Brees? Maybe the Jets problems are deeper? I know for sure Bill Belichick won't care and will pound on the Jets until the clock is 00:00.
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.