Mailbag: New Orleans Saints edition
Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas
First, a plea to Falcons fans: Send some questions. I know you're probably still celebrating the victory at Lambeau Field, but I need you to come through so we can have a full Falcons mailbag this afternoon. You're falling behind your NFC South counterparts.
Particularly, New Orleans fans, who have a lot on their mind after Monday's brutal loss to Minnesota. I'm running a lot of questions here because you had a lot of questions. In many cases, the questions were similar, so I chose one representative to present the question.
Kevin in Kansas City writes: Thank you Pat, thank you for being the first of a bunch of "experts" to aknowledge what has been the truth to this matter for the last 2-3 years. Drew Brees has been quietly putting up major stats and keeping the Saints in a bunch of games that had Aaron Brooks been at QB, we would have been condemned to lose. Regardless if the Saints win today, if Brees keeps it up, this article is going to make you look like one of those Ivy-league boys.
Pat Yasinskas: Thank you and I still think Brees is a phenomenal quarterback. But the Saints did lose to the Vikings, so I guess that means my decision to go with Saint Leo University, instead of Harvard, was a good one.
Kent in n'awlins writes: Hey Pat - Hope you enjoyed your visit to the Big Easy and enjoyed the game!? The Saints put Gramatica on IR today and signed Mehlhaff. Any chance of the Saints picking up Carney if they release him? What are you hearing? Thanks!! Keep up the good work!
Pat Yasinskas: New Orleans is always a great trip and the game definitely was entertaining. I still can see the Saints keeping an eye out for a veteran kicker. But they'll give Mehlhaff a shot because he did look pretty strong in camp. If he can make a few kicks, he'll have a full-time gig. If he misses a few, they could be looking again.
Todd in Whitehall, PA: I have two serious problems with the Saints. One, please tell me why Jason David still has a job. Whenever I see him on the field i liken it to watching a horror flick when the killer is about to chop the head off of the good looking girl, all the while you are at your house screaming to her to get out of the room because you know what is about to happen is going to be horrible to watch. When David is on the field I know the opposing team is going to go deep on him and then I watch him try and catch up with a receiver that has blown by him. I know Kaesviharn was called for the interference on Monday but if Berrian doesn't blow by David I don't think he makes that, albeit horrible, play. Two, is it too much to ask to get sacks from three players who signed for a combined $150 million? I mean really, all I'm looking for is one in a crucial situation from Smith, Grant, or McCray. And I'm not buying the six sacks against the 49ers as an example. Anyone that watched the game and knows football knows that O'Sullivan held on to the ball way too long on almost all of those occasions. I understand that Smith and Grant are good against the run and do get "hurries," but for $71 mil. and $63 mil. that each of them are making, big plays need to be made and they are not doing it. Please give me good news that these issues will be addressed somehow (namely David cut and that you have seen something that says Smith and Grant and McCray will start getting meaningful sacks in crucial situations).
Pat Yasinskas: You're not alone in your scouting report on Jason David. Had several similar letters and chose yours to represent the rest because you were so descriptive. I was somewhat surprised David made it out of camp still on the roster because he had problems last year. Not sure I can give you the news you want on him. I think you're stuck with him for the rest of this season because of the other injuries. As far as the defensive line, that's a head-scratcher. All three ends you mentioned are talented. Big thing is for them to come through when the Saints have a lead. Perfect time for the rush to step up was Monday after the Saints went up 27-20, but they let Gus Frerotte score 10 points on them.
Someone from Keller TX writes: What makes the "Hail Mary" different then any other play? Last night the final play of the game should have been called pass interference. Saints ball with 2 seconds left. There is nothing in the rule book that allows defensive players to manhandle a receiver while the ball is in the air. Watch the replay.
Pat Yasinskas: I saw it live in the Superdome and wouldn't even think about disputing what you said. I've noticed this for years. NFL officials aren't told to call this any differently, but it obviously happens anyway.
Neil in Richmond writes: As a Saints fan, I was really distressed to see the Vikings game. Of course, some of the problems we had that game rest entirely with us (such as the penalties and weakness in the kicking game), but everyone who watched that game understands that a face mask should have been called on Reggie's Bush fumble (even though Sean Payton is evidently not allowed to say it in public without being fined). Do you think the NFL should allow challenges when flags are not thrown for exactly that sort of situation? And do you think it will happen?
Pat Yasinskas: Well, I'll take one for Sean Payton since the NFL can't fine me. There's no doubt Chad Greenway grabbed Bush's facemask well before the fumble. There should have been a penalty. The way the rules are now, you can't change that. But I'm sure the Saints will remember that play and will bring it up to the Competition Committee in the offseason. It won't change the outcome, but it might do something for similar plays in the future.
SaintsFan - Cornelius, NC writes: Granted, Reggie Buh did some great things last night. But he also did some of the same things that he's done in the past that costs him and the Saints, fumbles. I know he went to USC, and I know he won the Heisman Trophy, but when he gets around defenders, he either need to put two hands on the ball, like Deuce McAllister, or carry the ball the way Tom Coughlin made Tiki Barber. Great running back don't fumble twice in one game. And if they do, they learn from their mistakes and change their habits. Reggie still hasn't done this.
Pat Yasinskas: No doubt. As I wrote the other night, Reggie Bush is not a feature back. I think he's a feature player with all the different things he can do. But, to be a true feature back, he's got to hold onto the ball and run between the tackles, instead of getting out of bounds faster than Franco Harris.
Mark in Homeres writes: Which Team Defense will have a better week 6? New Orleans vs. Oakland or Carolina vs. Tampa Bay? New Orleans or Carolina? NFC South Specialist!
Pat Yasinskas: Generally, I don't give advice on fantasy football. But I'll go out on
a limb here. I know it might not sound practical to ever go with the Saints' defense. But they are playing the Raiders.