Panic Button: Saints need to find playmakers

September, 24, 2008
9/24/08
1:38
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas

As part of our Panic Button package, Scouts Inc. is breaking down the struggles in the Saints secondary. We've been assigned to address other Panic Button issues. Don't want to seem like I'm piling on the Saints, but the other three teams in the division are 2-1 and have no need to hit the panic button. That leaves the injury-riddled Saints, who have several reasons to panic.

Problem: Top receiver Marques Colston and tight end Jeremy Shockey are out with injuries for the foreseeable future and Deuce McAllister, arguably the best running back the franchise has ever had, hasn't had a role in the offense. Running back Reggie Bush leads the NFL with 26 receptions, but the running game has been inconsistent and there are no other true weapons on offense.

Time to hit the panic button? Yes

Solution: New Orleans has injuries and issues on defense, so the Saints are going to have to score a lot of points to win games. The current receiver tandem of Devery Henderson and David Patten isn't going to scare anyone and tight end Mark Campbell is much more of a blocker than a receiver. With a three-game homestand approaching, the Saints have to get creative on offense. They still have a very good quarterback in Drew Brees, but they need to help him out and there aren't a lot of alternatives.

Maybe this is a chance for Bush to step up and be the player people thought he would be coming out of college. Maybe Bush and Pierre Thomas can get the running game going. Or maybe it's time to see if McAllister has anything left in his knees. And maybe it's time for second-year receiver Robert Meachem to show he can play in the NFL. If all or any of those things happen, the Saints will be fine. If not, they're going to be in trouble and it might be too late to recover by the time Shockey and Colston return.

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