Saints reaching potential depends on improvement in blocking

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Cesar Ruiz, Derek Carr and Erik McCoy
(Photo: Parker Waters)

Maybe it will happen. Maybe all the chatter about the Saints offense being potentially “explosive” will come true.

Yet, as well as Derek Carr played in the season opener against Tennessee (305 yards passing, 1 TD, 1 interception), New Orleans still scored just one touchdown despite the defense intercepting three passes, and Zack Baun’s blocked punt.

If you are Dennis Allen, you have to be concerned about your offensive line.

Left tackle Trevor Penning is in the midst of playing through a giant learning curve. Even with Penning’s struggles, a line with three first round draft picks shouldn’t allow four sacks with eight quarterback hurries and then gain only 2.6 yards per rush.

Spare me all the chatter about how talented Tennessee’s defensive front might be. The Saints are supposed to have a talented offensive line as well.

New Orleans has skill players on offense with big upside.

Chris Olave had 112 receiving yards, the first time he’s reached the 100 yard mark since November 20 last season.

Juwan Johnson is certainly one of the better tight ends in the NFL.

Rashid Shaheed, in 13 NFL games, is averaging a sizzling 17.5 yards per reception.

After serving a 3 game suspension, running back Alvin Kamara is set to return October 1 against Tampa Bay.

So, the Saints definitely have the potential to elevate their offensive game.

Now, about that line.

New Orleans has a ton of cash and draft capital invested in their offensive line. Right guard Cesar Ruiz agreed to a four-year extension, reportedly making the former first round pick the sixth highest paid guard in the NFL.

Monday night, the Saints will be facing a very good Carolina defense that allowed Atlanta only 13 first downs and 221 net yards in a 24-10 loss to the Falcons last Sunday.

The Atlanta touchdown drives started on the Carolina 17, Atlanta 44 and Falcons 39 yard lines. Their field goal drive started on the Carolina 36.

Lineman Derrick Brown and linebacker Brian Burns (who is seeking a big contract extension) had a combined two and a half sacks, three tackles for loss and a pair of quarterback hurries.

If the Saints can protect Carr and get ahead of the Panthers, who are starting rookie quarterback Brice Young, they could be in business. If not, New Orleans might be doing something next offseason they have done three times since 2017 – draft an offensive lineman in the first round.

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Ed Daniels

WGNO Sports Director/106.1 FM

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Ed is a New Orleans native, born at Baptist Hospital. He graduated Rummel High School, class of 1975, and subsequently graduated from Loyola University. Ed started in TV in 1977 as first sports intern at WVUE Channel 8. He became Sports Director at KPLC TV Channel 7 in Lake Charles in 1980. In 1982 he was hired as sports reporter…

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