Cross-Talk: Brian Answers Questions From The Saints Nation Blog
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Andrew Juge, over at The Saints Nation offered to do some Q & A about our respective teams before the playoff game this Saturday. Andrew fired off his questions first. Here are his questions and my answers.
TSN: Will Percy Harvin play? If so, do you think this could actually work against the Seahawks? They’ve used him so little this year the offense would have to work in a guy they don’t really have reps with, and he’d be rusty. Am I stupid to actually hope he plays?
HB: It sure looks like Harvin will play, which is remarkable. All indications were that he was going to be
placed on injured reserve, and now this. Could it work against the Seahawks? Sure it could. Adding a player into the rotation this late in the year is far from ideal. His snaps mean less for other players that have been a big part of how the team got to this point. At the same time, the chances it will work against Seattle are far less than it working against the Saints. Harvin played in Darrell Bevell’s offense in Minnesota. His adjustment will be about getting back to game speed more than needing to learn the plays or reads. I do not envy Rob Ryan needing to plan his coverages with a depleted secondary knowing a guy of Harvin’s talent is being added in and almost no film to prepare with. Think about the impact Michael Crabtree has had in returning late in the year for San Francisco. Harvin is a better player, and far harder to anticipate how he will be used.
TSN: 7 points scored last time won’t cut it. How do the Saints get points on this Seahawks defense? What can be done to break the 20 point barrier? Anything?
HB: The only way to score with any consistency against Seattle is to run the ball well. Even then, things get much tougher in the red zone. Any team with Drew Brees can find a way to score. Seattle’s defense just forces him to be patient, taking short passes down the field instead of the chunk plays he prefers. Most quarterbacks eventually get impatient and test the team deep. That has rarely worked out. The play of the Saints offensive line will be paramount. They have to win the battle with the Seahawks defensive line in the run game and in pass protection if the Saints want to put up meaningful points.
TSN: The Saints held Lynch to 45 yards on 16 carries, and gave up 34 points. 7 of that was a defensive touchdown, but still. Do the Saints play the same way, stop Lynch, and hope Wilson doesn’t catch fire this time or is it time to ditch that plan and try something else?
HB: Stopping Lynch is priority #1, #2 and #3. If he gets going, and is grinding up 3-5 yards on first down carries, this Seahawks offense can put up a lot of points. New Orleans did great in that regard in the first game, and still saw the scoreboard light up. If I am Rob Ryan, I do everything I can to stop Lynch, and take my chances that Wilson cannot replicate that Monday Night performance.
TSN: What’s the pulse on Seahawks fans? I’m assuming there is zero fear of the Saints whatsoever after what happened last time.
HB: You would be surprised. This city has seen disappointment after disappointment. Many fans, including myself, are almost more comfortable as an underdog. Fans that study the numbers and watch closely know just how good this team is. There is a reason they are the favorites to win the Super Bowl. That makes each game that much more nerve-wracking. These chances do not come very often. Brees and Sean Payton are very well-respected up here, and most people I interact with are more worried about the game than excited for it.
TSN: Any other thoughts on the matchup?
HB: The weather could end up being a factor. Throwing in the cold is one thing. Throwing in the wind and rain is another. Seattle is far better suited for a wet and windy football game than New Orleans. Still, I’m expecting Brees to play a great game and take this thing all the way into the fourth quarter. It will be a battle, and the winner will have another tough game next week.