Saints vs Bucs, Brees vs Brady. and the 2020 Week 1 is officially in the books. The first game between Drew Brees and Tom Brady was nevertheless memorable as the Saints took care of the Bucs 34-23. In this new weekly series I’ll be looking to highlight 3 players or positions groups that shined or maybe didn’t shine.
3 Saints vs Bucs Pros
1 . Deonte Harris
Last years All-Pro returner didn’t miss a beat. Deonte Harris looked like he was in mid season form. He returned 4 punts and averaged nearly 15 yards a return. His returns were big for the New Orleans Saints who looked rusty offensively. Harris put the Saints in great field position throughout the game. Additionally, Harris was utilized in the offense. Harris caught a screen pass for 17 yards. He also had 1 carry for 9 yards. As the season continues, I expect Harris to have a bigger role as the season moves along.
2. Trey Hendrickson
Boy, I really don’t even know where to start. Trey had a phenomenal game and had his way with Tampa’s Donavan Smith all game. Also, Trey applied constant pressure on Tom Brady. Trey recorded 3 tackles and 1 sack, but those stats don’t point out how well he played week 1.
3. Janoris Jenkins
Fans should be writing thank you letters to the New York Giants organization for releasing Janoris Jenkins late last year. Thus, they let him fall into the Saints defensive lap. I can confidently say the Saints have a legitimate number two corner. A damn a good one at that. Jenkins natural ball hawk ability was displayed as he jumped his route for an interception against Tom Brady and he returned it for a touchdown.
3 Saints vs Bucs Cons
1. Play Calling
What we saw in week 1 Saints vs Bucs is not what we expected from Sean Payton. Payton admitted he did not have his best game as a play caller. Payton said “Offensively that was probably as bad of a game as I have called as a play caller, just trying to find a rhythm and a tempo. It was awful”. I will say given the really weird off-season we’ve had I can see why Payton came out with a more predictable and conservative game plan. As the season moves on I expect this won’t even be on this list again.
2. Interior Offensive Line
One real disappointing part of the week one game was the the interior offensive line play. Granted, the offensive line was missing Cesar Ruiz. Other than a hilarious fall from Andurs Peat. Nick Easton and Erick McCoy got worked by a very good Buccaneers front seven. This may be why Sean Payton call plays differently this game. For example, Easton’s PFF grades include a 38 pass blocking, 58 run blocking and a overall grade of 55 out of 100. Easton allowed 1 sack. Erick McCoy’s PFF grades were 48 pass blocking, 56 run blocking and 55 overall.
3. Micheal Thomas: Saints vs Bucs Injury
Micheal Thomas was not used much all game. This wasn’t terrible news since other players and special teams stepped up to get the win. However, going forward we will need them to continue to step up. According to Tom Pelisssero, Micheal Thomas is expected to miss a few weeks due to a high ankle sprain.
With Thomas out we should see the rest off the offense distribute the ball more. Either Drew Brees will need to trust and target Tre’Quan Smith, Deonte Harris, or Marquez Callaway more or we will see expanded roles for Kamara, Sanders and Jared Cook.