Monday, September 22, 2008

Armchair QB: The sequel

First off, I'd like to thank coach Sean Payton for not making me create a new graphic this week and allowing me to be lazy and ask the same question in a different way. How many times do we have to be stuffed on key short yardage plays before we give the ball to Deuce McAllister?

It's no secret that I'm a fan of Pierre Thomas. I thought it was the right choice to keep him over a draft pick last year, and I love the upside. But the bottom line is that he's not getting it done on these plays. Reggie Bush, as good as he's looked this year, is not the smashmouth between the tackles runner. That's No. 26, who has been on the sideline every time we've needed him the past two weeks.

I can't figure it out. We gave him the ball twice last week and he busted off five yards on each carry. Then he disappeared. Why? If he's still hurt, why is he dressed out, stretching, staying warm and looking like he's itching to get into the game on the sideline? If he's hurt, why could he carry a couple of times last week but not on a third or fourth and one? Why are we dressing him out if we're not going to use him? Does Payton have some sort of problem with Deuce? I had hoped with Payton we were past these hard-headed, frustrating coaching decisions, but apparently not.

I can't understand having a weapon over there, a weapon that's perfect for the key situations that we've been in and not using it. Obviously, I can't sit here and say that I'm 100 percent sure that Deuce would have gotten the yardage, but no one else is making those plays, so I don't see the downside to giving him the shot. Quite frankly, I'd feel much more confident lining up with him in the backfield in those situations, and he definitely couldn't do any worse than the other guys.

Are we in for another long season? I'm not sure yet. Despite the moves we made in the offseason, our defense still stinks. It was nice to see Mike McKenzie back in there making a few plays. But when it comes down to it, when it counted, the defense gave us a chance to win. The offense couldn't convert ... that's turning into the story of the season.

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