I went to see the Saints play the Texans at the Dome tonight and even though it's phony preseason phootball, I'm alarmed by the lack of solid defensive play by the black & gold. A few thoughts:
Jason David has a lot to prove this preseason and all he's proven so far is that we can expect nothing to change on his side of the field. The Texans torched him for three big gains and a touchdown early in the first half. Not only did he not make a single play, he was never close enough to the receivers or in the right position to even attempt a play. The Dome showed how little goodwill David has with Saints fans with some scattered boos after he gave up his second big gain and all out jeering when he surrendered the easy touchdown.
After all the talk about his great strides in practice and training camp, I saw absolutely nothing to indicate that he has any ability whatsoever at his position. Assuming he plays in the season opener, he should be benched the first time his ineptitude results in points for the opposition. How did this guy have so many people believing he'd be an upgrade to the Saints tissue paper secondary? It must have been very different playing defense for the Colts when opposing teams had to play one-dimensional offense after they were down by double-digits in the first half.
That said, David wasn't the only cause for concern. The Saints' defense looked weak and lackadaisical. If the line had put any pressure at all on Houston's quarterbacks, maybe the secondary would have had an easier time of things. Kaesviharn, Vilma, Harper and Fujita had their moments, but as a whole, the defense looked flat and very porous. Not surprisingly, the Saints' lack of defensive energy resulted in no turnovers for the Texans and allowed Houston to go 10 for 14 on third down conversions (9 of 11 when the game was still up for grabs). The Saints have yet to show that they're moving in the right direction on defense. If things don't change by opening day, the spotlight will be on defensive coordinator Gary Gibbs. If the defense makes the same mistakes no matter which personnel are on the field, there must be something wrong with the system, not just the players.
Offense started very slowly, but picked up and was clicking by halftime. Jeremy Shockey can't get out there fast enough for me after watching Mark Campbell short-arm a couple of balls in the red zone. Reggie looked... like Reggie, and that could be good... or not so good. You'll see the highlight of him hurdling a tackler to get into the end zone for a touchdown a few dozen times, but from my seat it looked like he would have scored without the showboating. Marques Colston, on the other hand, looked rock solid and made one of the most amazing one-handed end zone grabs I've ever seen: snagging the ball with his right hand, right arm fully extended behind his head, legs extended in the opposite direction to keep his feet in bounds, left hand breaking his fall; spectacular. Too bad it was in a meaningless game. The offensive lineour own O-J'sJammal, Jahri, Jon, Jonathan & Jamar gave Brees plenty of time but looked like they could have provided some bigger openings for the runners. Brees looked sharp, methodical and decisive. Deuce is back and looked healthy and strong. Lance Moore, David Patten, Stecker, Brunell, Henderson and Thomas all played hard and contributed. Special teams also played a strong game, particularly in punt and kickoff return coverage.