We fired off some questions regarding the state of New Orleans’ team for Canal Street Chronicles to see if they can shed some light on what’s going on with the Saints heading into Week 2.
Bucs Nation: The Saints had a great comeback in Atlanta. After struggling in the first half they really rallied in the second half to beat the Falcons, especially in the fourth quarter. What adjustments were made — offensively, defensively, or both — to earn the win?
Canal Street Chronicles’ Tina Howell: I think the team was rusty, and it just took some time for them to find their rhythm. They were really getting beat on the line of scrimmage. Once the [offensive line] gave Jameis some better protection, that allowed him more time in the pocket to get the ball out with ease. As the game went on, you could tell that he felt more comfortable with his receivers, particularly Mike Thomas.
BN: Jameis Winston continues to show his grit on the field despite the constant criticism. What did he do in the fourth quarter in Atlanta to carry the team after being down 16 points?
TH: Gained confidence. Although [Saints] were down the majority of the game, he never appeared panicked. He stayed calm and in control. That is what you want to see in your quarterback. He could have started to sling the ball to try to make some plays, but he didn’t. You have to have trust and faith in your receivers. Without playing together much in preseason, that is something that takes time to develop. As the game went on, they just started clicking.
BN: This Buccaneers have many question marks along the offensive line heading into this game. What will the Saints defensive front do to continue their success against a struggling Bucs offensive front?
TH: Pressure Brady. That is the key. They have got to constantly get pressure on him and make him uncomfortable in the pocket. The Saints have had his number and I think they will continue with what they know works.
BN: On the flip side, how does New Orleans’ offensive scheme this year look to prevent Tampa Bay’s rejuvenated defense and their revised speed rushing ability?
TH: Jameis has a plethora of offensive weapons now so you will see them spread the ball around a lot. Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram are a talented duo. They feed off of one another. Saints just brought back Latavius Murray and of course, Taysom Hill is a jack of all trades, so you never know what he is going to do. I think [head coach] Dennis [Allen] and [offensive coordinator] Pete [Carmichael] will keep defenses on their toes with their game plan.
BN: Tampa Bay has a new look rushing attack in a schematic way, if you will. Following up with the previous Saints defensive front question, how will their defensive unit scheme against Leonard Fournette and the Bucs rushing attack?
TH: The defense gave up over 100 rushing yards last week way too easily, something that was really unexpected given how their run defense has been their strength the past few seasons. I do not expect that same lethargic performance from them this week. The Saints have had past success in shutting down Brady, but [New Orleans] cannot allow Fournette to run all over [the Saints defense]. New Orleans needs to stop him by tightening up and dominating the line of scrimmage. It is important to not let this game get away from them early.
According to DraftKings, Tampa Bay is currently favored by 2.5 points.