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Mouton: Defense lifts Saints to first 2-0 start in a decade, offense does just enough

WWL-TV sports director Doug Mouton shares his thoughts on the Saints 20-17 win in Carolina.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A few quick observations after the Saints go to 2-0 with the 22-17 win in Carolina.

The defense is obviously ridiculous, and a few guys stand out.

Look, Carl Granderson had a terrific training camp. We've seen him get physically larger without losing any quickness. He was great in this ballgame. Bryan Bresee, the rookie first round pick, we've seen flashes in training camp of how good he can be. We're seeing that in the regular season already and he is two games into his NFL career.

Cam Jordan still doing it at a high level and the play of the two linebackers, Demario Davis and Pete Werner are incredibly athletic, incredibly active all over the field.

One guy we didn't hear from almost all night was Marshon Lattimore. And that is a great thing for a cornerback. It means he's locking his guy up and nobody has been able to do anything against him.

All in all, a spectacular effort from a Saints defense that looks like it should absolutely be one of the top five defenses in the NFL. Now y do want to take a tiny bit of pause. I think the Tennessee Titans are an okay team. I think the Carolina Panthers are not a good team at this point. You haven't played an elite offense, so you don't want to make a flash judgment based on what you've seen so far.

But so far it has been 100 percent positive what the Saints have done on defense in two games. Now the offense, and I think people have to understand about Derek Carr, he is not Drew Brees and that is what this city is conditioned to see. Derek Carr has never finished a season in a top seven by passer rating in the NFL.

He has never been an elite quarterback in the NFL. He's going to make mistakes. He's done it for nine NFL seasons. He did it in the first half of the game in Carolina. He threw the interception of Vonn Bell. He takes a pretty fair amount of sacks. We saw that again. He got sacked four times in a game against the Panthers.

But he also throws a beautiful deep ball. He doesn't get rattled and he's good in 2- and 4-minute situations. The deep balls to Chris Olave and Rashid Shaheed were enough. We saw Taysom Hill take over in the running game the way the Saints know he can and the offense did just enough – just a sprinkling of what the offense can do.

Now again, the offensive line has to be much better. The Saints defense did give up the drive in the final 4 minutes that got Carolina close – they got the onside kick to end it. There are some things to clean up, but I think Derek Carr said it best after the game. He said it is great to have plenty of things to work on in a win and the Saints are 2-0 for the first time in a decade.

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