Oct 4, 2010
I was traveling last week, and a typhoon of technical difficulties prevented my from posting last week’s show. I do have a recorded interview that I’ll post later today (hopefully!), and will resume our regularly scheduled shows this week. I’m sorry for not getting last week’s show together, hopefully it won’t happen again.
Until then, go Saints!
Sep 27, 2010
I’m traveling this week, so I wasn’t able to pay my usual attention to the game. So, this’ll be a relatively short post.
I used to think that NFL teams had to play well enough to beat the the other team as well as and 2 other opponents: (1) bad luck, and (2) bad officiating. If you don’t play well enough to overcome the other team, bad luck, and bad officiating, then you don’t deserve to win. Today, I’m officially adding a new item to the list: kickers.
Yesterday, the Saints didn’t play well enough to overcome bad kicking. You can lay most of the blame at the offense’s feet. Let’s look at our adjusted Yards Per Attempt measure, which is a good proxy for offensive efficiency:
Matt Ryan was 19⁄30 for 228 yards with 2 sacks for -13 yards. His total adjusted YPA was 6.72, which is solid, but unspectacular. This implies that the Saints’ defense did a good job containing the Falcons’ offense, especially given the fact that the Saints’ offense kept giving the ball away.
Brew Drees was 30⁄38 for 365 with 2 interceptions and 2 sacks for -10 yards. Those interceptions really killed the Saints offensive efficiency, and it shows in Brew’s adjusted YPA of 5.88.
Simply put, you can’t turn the ball over 3 times and expect to win. Turnovers saved the Saints last week, but the team wasn’t so lucky this time. While Hartley’s missed chip shot prevented the team from winning, it was really their offensive performance that cost them the game.
Sep 23, 2010
Podcast: Play in new window | Download
This week, Stuart previews the huge Saints-Falcons game with Adam Schultz of The Falcoholic blog and a Falcons podcast called Courage and Fight. You can also follow Adam on Twitter. Adam and Stuart also play a rousing version of Yes Or No, and both the Saints Trivia Question and the Random Saints Memory return with a bang. Enjoy.
If you know the answer to this week’s trivia question, you can leave it in the comment thread below this post.
As always, thanks for listening. If you enjoy the podcast, please take a minute to rate us on iTunes or like us on Facebook.
Sep 21, 2010
Last week, I wrote that the game was a blowout that just didn’t materialize. The Saints clearly outplayed the Vikings, but dropped enough passes at enough critical times to have been lucky to win the game.
The feeling’s a lot different this week. The Saints offense struggled again, averaging a mediocre 5.93 adjusted yards per passing attempt,* and came within a goofy early safety (and a blocked overtime field goal that was somehow still good) of losing this game.
*See last week’s review for an explanation of the YPA adjustments.
The run defense was poor, and pass defense wasn’t much better. The biggest bright spot on defense was their takeaways. The Saints intercepted Alex Smith twice and recovered two 49ers fumbles, which was the difference in the game. To wit: if you don’t adjust for the interceptions, the 49ers’ adjusted YPA was a very good 8.59.
The interceptions still count, though, and so the 49ers offense actual adjusted YPA was 4.84, which is pretty bad. While I think the Saints were lucky to recover the fumbles they did, and I still hold that the turnover luck won’t continue all year long, they were able to come away with the ball when they needed it. The Saints are very good at forcing the issue, getting tipped balls, etc.
These were tough game conditions: a windy game on the road against a fired-up opponent playing for their lives. So, I’m happy that the team is flying home with the win, no matter how ugly. Going forward, however, this was a discouraging game. The offense had a second sub-par week and the defense remains vulnerable to the run and dependent on turnovers. The D didn’t get a lot of pressure on Alex Smith (0 sacks), perhaps because they were worried about Frank Gore. While the Saints may continue to get timely turnovers, I wouldn’t count on it. As such, the offense needs to improve dramatically for this team to make a serious playoff run.
The main lesson I take from this game is the importance of home-field advantage for the Saints. Today’s Saints couldn’t go in to Green Bay in January and win a playoff game. We need to keep the pressure on the rest of the NFC.
Perhaps the biggest story, though, is poor Reginald. Looks like a blown out knee on a punt return, but we’ll see. UPDATE: Now they’re saying a broken leg, with a 6-8 week recovery. He’s had a tough pro career; certainly not like what anyone imagined.
Sep 20, 2010
Game Day Beer
No time to cook today, so the Game Day Recipe is being replaced with a Game Day Beer. From San Francisco, naturally, since that’s who the Saints are playing.
San Francisco is home to Anchor, one of America’s classic craft breweries. While Anchor is famous for Anchor Steam, but their best beer is Anchor Porter. Anchor Porter is one of the best widely-available porters, especially when you consider that it’s usually found for less than $10⁄6 pack. It’s got everything you want from a porter: malty, fruity, with a bit of chocolate and a reasonable hit of molasses. Surprisingly drinkable for a porter: one could have a few if one were so inclined. Highly recommended.
You can read all about Anchor Porter at Beer Advocate, or just admire the picture:
Sep 16, 2010
Podcast: Play in new window | Download
(running time: 63 minutes)
In this week’s show, Stuart discusses the upcoming game, the San Francisco 49ers, the role of injuries and luck in the NFL, and more with Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee and Josh Levin of Slate.com and the essential podcast Hang Up and Listen. Stuart also introduces two new segments: “3 Facts”, which contains exactly 3 facts that you need to know about this week’s game, and the Josh Levin Random Saints Memory, in which Stuart asks the guest for a random Saints memory.
The show opens with Matt, followed by 3 facts and Josh at about 21 minutes in.
You can also follow Matt on Twitter via @mattbarrows and Josh via @josh_levin.
The Who Dat Report is looking for advertisers. If you’re interested in getting your message out to Saints fans across the globe, send an email to stuart (at) whodatreport (dot) com.
About the theme song: No Barbecue Bob this week. Instead, I did a quick recording of “When the Saints” and then wrote the theme song for 3 Facts. Hope you enjoyed.
Here’s a link to the football discussion on Slate from last week. Highly recommended.
You can find Josh’s article on the corruption of flag football here.
Finally, a link to the famous Slate headline, Der Sisterbanger.
Sep 13, 2010
I’ve got a couple of great interviews lined up this week, and I’ll be recording them tomorrow and the next day. The next episode of the Who Dat Report should be released on Thursday, which will be the usual release day.
Sep 10, 2010
Each week, I’ll post a few notes on the game. I won’t do a complete review, because that’s available elsewhere.
Yesterday’s game illustrated the thin line between a blowout and a close game. The Saints clearly outplayed the Vikings for most of the game, but a bit of bad luck (and poor execution) kept the game close. If Hartley makes those field goals, if we had a couple fewer dropped passes, and if the Vikings defense was a little less robust on 3rd down, then the Saints would’ve won handily. They were clearly the better team last night, and the Vikings looked old and injured, primarily because that’s exactly what they are.
To win a football game, you have to play well enough to beat your opponent and overcome potential bad luck and potential bad officiating. The Saints actually had good luck with the officiating last night (the Vikings incompletion that couldn’t be overturned by replay, but looked like it was probably a complete pass) and played well enough to overcome the bad luck of missed field goals, a couple of dropped passes, and a missed interception or two.
Overall, the offense was good with a couple of exceptions. Drew Brees was his typical stellar self, spreading the ball to 9 different receivers on his way to finishing 27⁄36 for 237 yards of passing. One of the best and easiest ways to measure an offense’s efficiency is to look at Yards Per Attempt (YPA). YPA is a much better metric than passer rating, overall yards, completion percentage, etc., because it has a direct correlation to winning. When calculating YPA, though, you need to make 2 adjustments:
- Count QB sacks as both passing attempts and negative passing yardage, since they happen on passing plays.
- Subtract 60 yards for each interception.
The first adjustment makes sense on it’s face. The second one is harder to explain, but it basically goes like this: each interception hurts the team’s chance of winning about as much as having 60 fewer YPA. So, subtract 60 YPA for each interception.
Well, Brew had 36 attempts for 237 yards, didn’t throw an interception, and was sacked 1 time for an 8-yard loss. Add all that up, divide, carry the one, factor out the obfuscation exponent (just kidding), and use the calculator to get a YPA of 6.19. That’s okay, but not great. As I alluded earlier, if there had been a couple fewer dropped passes (6 of Brew Drees’ incompletions hit the receivers in the hands!), the figure would’ve been a lot higher, as would the Saints’ score.
I thought the game plan was solid, even though the Saints were probably a little too pass-heavy in the first half. The Vikings have a great defensive line, and passing the ball was a great way to stay away from those fat guys up front. If we’d caught a few more balls, had a couple of fewer penalties, etc., then no one would be complaining.
So, overall, I’m encouraged by the offense, and by the team’s performance in general. It’ll be interesting to see if the receivers can pick it up in San Francisco next week. I’m also concerned about our run defense vs. Frank Gore. But, more on that in next week’s show, which should be released on Thursday.
Sep 9, 2010
Game Day Recipe
This website won’t be a Saints blog. You can find that elsewhere, and I don’t have the time or inclination to improve on what the rest of the folks are doing. However, I will periodically post things that are interesting to me, which will probably be something slightly alternative to your standard fare.
However, since this is a Saints-related (and therefore New Orleans-related) site, I’d be remiss if I didn’t have a game day recipe. As a dedicated pescatarian, I’ll try to include recipes that I might be able to, you know, eat. But if something looks good enough, I’ll go ahead and post it, even if I can’t eat it.
Today’s recipe is relatively easy, but it does have to chill for 4 hours, so you’d probably better leave work early to get this made. However, it makes a perfect hors d’oeuvre for cocktail hour, and every Saints game should start with several cocktail hours. It also travels well if you’re headed to the Dome.
- 1 large eggplant
- 1⁄2 cup olive oil
- 1 1⁄4 cups chopped yellow onions
- 1 cup chopped bell peppers
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 2 large fresh ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, chopped
- Salt and cayenne to taste
- 2 tablespoons dry white wine or vermouth
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Put the whole eggplant on a baking sheet and bake until soft, about 1 hour. Remove from oven. When cool enough to handle, peel and chop the eggplant.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions, bell peppers and garlic. Cook, stirring, until soft and lightly golden, about 6 minutes. Add eggplant and tomatoes, and season with salt and cayenne. Add wine and mix well. Reduce heat to medium low and cook, stirring often, until mixture thickens, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and cool. Refrigerate at least 4 hours. Serve cold or at room temperature with party crackers or thin slices of rye bread.
What are you making today?
Sep 9, 2010
As a public service, in-game updates are available via my Twitter feed, @whodat9000. No guarantees that the tweets are family-friendly, though, so be warned.