Rafael Bush will have all eyes on him as he fills in at safety in the wake of Jairus Byrd’s season ending injury.
The hits just keep coming. I briefly discussed it yesterday, but as you all know by now, Jairus Byrd is out for the year. The high-priced free safety tore his lateral meniscus on Thursday and was put on injured reserve on Friday, ending his season. You’ve heard the term “adding insult to injury” before, well, this is sort of the other way around. Injury to insult. The New Orleans Saints were already coming off of a 38-17 throttling at the hands of the Dallas Cowboys on national television last Sunday night, then Byrd goes down. I know, I’ve started this preview with some negativity. The reason? Because I’d like to get it out of the way, so we can then move forward and try to stop looking at the past. With that being said, it’s been a rough start, but three quarters of the season still remain and the Saints are only a game out of first place in the division. Not to mention, both Atlanta and Carolina are dealing with a slew of injuries on their side, as well. Keep faith, Who Dat Nation, this is far from over.
New Orleans comes in to Week 5 with the 29th ranked defense in the NFL, allowing 396 yards per game. They are tied for 27th in scoring defense, giving up 27.5 points per contest. The performance from this unit has been a far cry from what we saw last season. There has been little to no pressure on the quarterback, poor tackling, and blown assignments in coverage. It’s tough to blame Rob Ryan or any single player as the reason for the decline, as everyone is collectively to blame. Can they turn it around? Sure. I don’t see them getting back inside the top-5, or even top-10 for that matter, but there’s no reason to believe that a home game against a struggling offense followed by a bye week doesn’t present at least some opportunity to get better for the rest of the season. Honestly, they don’t have any other option then to pull it together. Starting 1-3 and now losing one of the best three players on the defense has the Saints with their back against the wall, so to make anything of this season, things must change and they must change fast.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had a nightmare first three games of the season on offense, but finally got things going last week in their win at Pittsburgh. Free agent signing Josh McCown was struggling to do much of anything, then injured his hand in the team’s Week 3 blowout loss at the hands of the Atlanta Falcons. Mike Glennon has since taken his place and started for the Buccaneers last week, invigorating their passing attack and leading them to a come from behind victory. Despite the good performance, Tampa Bay enters Week 5 with the 30th ranked offense, gaining just 290.8 yards per game. They’re 29th in scoring, putting up 18.0 points per contest. It wouldn’t be fair to expect a drastic climb in the ranks with Glennon under center, but this offense is almost definitely better than what those numbers suggest with him in the game. Continue reading