Ralph Marlborough / Contributing Writer

In the first half the Texans neither punted nor looked like the mediocre team they've been the last five years. Maybe Gary Kubiak isn't the Texas version of Jim Haslett after all.

The Saints checked every box on the 'Make Ralph Panic' Form:

  • 1. Get mauled on both lines of scrimmage while starters are playing. Done. Brees was under pressure and Houston gained 323 yards in the first half.
  • 2. Show no improvement in area of concern from previous week. Offensive line still looks like left over Chinese food because it might be ok to eat or it might send you to the bathroom. Could go either way.
  • 3. Serious depth issue at key position. Saints have what appears to be a card board cut out as a backup to free safety Malcolm Jenkins. The Saints looked exactly like they did in Seattle on defense without Jenkins.
  • 4. Lose a key player to injury. Aubrayo Franklin injuring his knee was the cherry on top of the poop sundae.

All the media keep telling me not to panic and everything will be fine. Two years ago they told me not get to excited when the Saints were rampaging through the preseason like Godzilla. I ignored them and told you to do the same because it was different. The Saints had never crushed teams in preseason games like that before. The 2009 preseason was the ultimate precursor for games that counted.

I'm telling you the same thing now. This time I hope I'm wrong.

I haven't been this nervous about an upcoming season since 2006 when Drew Brees looked awful after a 30-7 beat down by the Dallas Cowboys.

My reason for concern is simple; if the offense line is a mess than Drew Brees' health is in play more than ever before. Brees misses significant time and the Patriots will have a Top 10 pick in 2012.

Over reaction to a bad half of football? Maybe. Over reaction is half the fun of being a fan. You can read columns on not panicking anywhere on the web. Besides jokes over reaction is what I do best.

During the Texans game GM Mickey Loomis said there was, 'No bad choice between Zach Strief or Charles Brown at right tackle.'

But Mickey does that make either of them any good?

I asked the question last week what happens if both right and left tackles struggle? I'm still waiting on a good answer that reduces my panic.

The late Buddy D always took preseason very seriously, but he also believed coaches could make problems look better in the preseason by game planning because most coaches didn't. He had a saying if one part of the Saints looked bad in back to back games and seemed unfixable, 'If a team can't fix a problem in preseason then you might as well light a novena candle for them because only the Lord can help them.'

If the Saints offensive line gets pushed around again in passing situations against the Oakland Raiders it might be time to ask the higher power of your choice for some assistance.

Ralph Malbrough is a Saints fan living in Houston. Email him at, find him on facebook, follow him on twitter at!/MilneMalbrough or download his podcast at Itunes.

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