Saints coach Sean Payton is one of the league's most-aggressive play callers.
But sometimes he can be too aggressive.
Take the end of the Jaguars-Saints game Sunday. His team was leading 23-10, but Payton kept throwing. Drew Brees was picked off once and the Saints had a tough time using up the clock. The Saints had three possessions starting from 11:43 left to 2:07 left. They ran 12 plays, not counting fourth down. Eight of those plays were passes. They didn't get any points, and had a 50-yard missed field goal by John Kasay. It just didn't make any sense. A
fter the game, Payton said they had some problems late and said it was "my fault." Drew Brees defended the style. "We wer executing our offense," Brees said. "Twenty-three to 10 is not anything. You have to distance yourself. Never play conservatively when the game is that close. We were still calling plays, pushing the ball down the field." I know that's who they are, but at some point they have to be able to milk clock. Isn't that why they drafted Mark Ingram in the first round?
I asked some defensive players about it, but they waved me off. Publicly. Privatley, you could tell they were not happy about it. I believe Payton is the best at calling plays in the NFL. But sometimes he gets a little too arrogant in how he's calling them. That appeared to be the case in Jacksonville Sunday.
---The Eagles are in big trouble. Not only are they 1-3, but they had some significant injures Sunday. They lost defensive tackle Antonio Dixon, one of their top run stuffers, for the season with a torn triceps. Pass rusher Trent Cole, who was playing as well as any defensive end in the league, is expected to miss three weeks or so with a calf injury and left tackle Jason Peters, their best lineman, will likely miss a couple of weeks with a hamstring. Three key players on the two lines going down will be tough to overcome. Dream Team? Not now.
---There wasn't much doubt the Bears would feed Matt Forte against the Panthers. Carolina has problems stopping the run and the Bears were taking heat for not running it enough. Forte responded with a 205-yard rushing performance. Want to bet Mike Martz goes back to throwing it against the Lions this week anyway?
---So Santonio Holmes wants the ball more? Wonder where that story came from? Hmm. His agent, maybe?
---Rookie receivers A.J. Green and Julio Jones are having good starts to their careers, both coming off 100-yard days. That should help the draft stock of Oklahoma State's Justin Blackman, South Carolina's Alshon Jeffery and Notre Dame's Michael Floyd, three good-size receivers who are expected to go in the first round. Count Jacksonville as a team that will take one of those receivers if it gets a chance.
--In four games, Seattle's Mike Williams has 79 yards receiving. So much for that great comeback continuing from last season. Williams looks heavier to me than a year ago. That was the problem when he was a first-round pick with the Lions.
---Why can't the Eagles play in the fourth quarter? They have been outscored 36-0 in the fourth quarter of their last three games. By they way, they've lost all three.
---Nice move by the Packers to re-sign receiver Jordy Nelson to a three-year deal. The way the Packers are playing it's hard to believe so many people in Green Bay once wanted general manager Ted Thompson fired.
---Looks like the Patriots have found a good, young back in rookie Stevan Ridley. He runs hard. He ran 10 times for 97 yards against the Raiders. The rookie from LSU was on my Better-Than Team this spring of guys I liked better than the scouts. Hey, I got one.
---I thought it was an insult for teammates to speculate that running back Peyton Hillis didn't play last week because he's not happy with his contract, rather that strep throat. Of all the players in this league, Hillis would be the last I would think would play that card.
---Whatever Charles Woodson takes to stay young, I want some of it. He's 35 and continues to make big plays. The guy is a star. He had another interception return for a touchdown Sunday against the Broncos.
--The interception Jason Campbell threw to Patrick Chung in the end zone Sunday might have been the worst I've ever seen. There wasn't an Oakland player in the area. The Raiders had a chance to go up 14-10 there. That can't happen.