Saints at Panthers: 5 Questions With a Saints Fan

This week I had the pleasure of talking with Gene Higginbotham, the Editor/Lead Writer for “Who Dat Dish” – the New Orleans Saints’ version of catcrave here on Fansided. Since we play twice a year and will have another chance to chat later in the season with more of a track record to look at, I thought I’d see what I could about the Saints’ issues on Bountygate and their opener as well.

1) RG3 looked like a seasoned veteran out there last week and exposed the Saints’ secondary. In the off/preseason I’ve heard rumblings of moving players from corner to safety and back. Who is going to be covering Steve Smith, and is he up to the task?

It would be Jabari Greer if he’s healthy and able to play. He has practiced fully but his status is listed as questionable. If Greer can’t go then it will likely be Patrick Robinson. The only thing that concerns me about Robinson is that he was a bit shaky last week with missed tackles and the penalty for twelve men on the field. Robinson has the speed but needs to regroup mentally.

2) The suspensions from “Bountygate” were lifted just days before the Redskins game, I think. Did that turn out to be more of a distraction than a help?

Yes the suspensions were lifted the Friday before the game and it likely did provide some sort of distraction. Drew Brees made mention that the emotion was swelling and probably added to a lack of focus. I’ve mentioned a few times that the Saints need to stop trying to make this season special and just let it be special like they did for the 2009-2010 season.

3) What effect does not having your Football Brainiac Head Coach Sean Payton on the sidelines during the game have? What about him does the team miss the most?

I think as far as calling plays, there is something missing just a little bit. But the problem to me appears to be interim head coach Aaron Kromer’s way too calm demeanor. He says that you don’t need to yell at a player, just simply give them a look. However both Payton and Joe Vitt have the look and the vocal saltiness to motivate players. I think that is the one thing that is really missing.

4) Haven’t heard much out of RB Mark Ingram on the NFL level yet due to last year’s injuries and he’s listed as third on the depth chart. How is his health right now and what role do you see him taking in a backfield with other guys with talent like Darren Sproles and Chris Ivory?

It’s one reason you don’t draft running backs high in my opinion. I really thought he would breakout and have a rookie year. But the old “Reggie Bush feeling” is coming back for some fans and that includes me. His injuries in college were a red flag but the Saints pulled the trigger on him. He looked like he was slowly catching a rhythm before the Lisfranc fracture in his foot and required surgery. He isn’t doing too much to dazzle his sophomore year right now but if he could learn to catch out of the backfield on screen plays like Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles, then he could be a threat.

5) How did the revoked draft picks in April affect the Saints? Who do you think they WOULD have drafted, given the now-known results of the 2012 draft vs. the picks the forfeited?

To be honest, I’ve tried to quit guessing who the Saints will draft from now on because it’s a lost cause! I go back to 2010 when they took Patrick Robinson with their first round pick. I had never really heard of him up until that point. This draft was no different with Akiem Hicks out of Canada in the third round and other unheard of players like cornerback Corey White in the fifth round. I would have liked if they had grabbed cornerback Ron Brooks from L.S.U. He was selected just a few picks after the Saints had chosen wide receiver Nick Toon who is now on injured reserve. But hey, who am I to question…Jimmy Graham anyone? I will say that this next draft they should focus on defense, especially on the line and secondary