In preparing for Monday’s matchup against the New Orleans Saints, Canal St. Chronicles’ Tina Howell and I sat down for a small Q&A for one another’s publications.
1. The Saints are coming off an impressive defensive performance, shutting out the Las Vegas Raiders and winning 24-0. What were some of the reasons for such a successful game and what maybe changed, seeing as this defense, prior to Week 8, averaged 28.5 points allowed per game?
Maybe some good old-fashioned R & R? The defense did seem to get some of their fire and swagger back that they lost. I think having a “mini bye” with 10 days off, gave them a chance reevaluate this season and reset. Our division is really playing poorly as a whole and the Saints have a chance to turn things around and take control of it. Maybe they just had step back for a moment and realize that.
2. Taysom Hill has been quite an intriguing player this season. He’s playing quarterback, running back, tight end and has logged special teams snaps in each game this season. What does he bring to this team and how are they finding ways to utilize him best?
It is crazy how talented the guy is, he just makes things happen and keeps defenses on their toes. Because Taysom is so versatile, he gives us options on offense that other teams don’t have and they can’t plan for.
3. The Ravens will be facing a familiar opponent as quarterback Andy Dalton has been deemed the starter. Is this the right decision with Jameis Winston healthy? How is this decision being viewed.
I don’t think Jameis is 100% healthy, so I am ok with Andy starting for now. But when Jamies is 100% ready, I think he should be the starter. He earned the right and his numbers last year, prove that. Unfortunately, due his rehab and recovery he did not get as much practice in with the starters in the offseason and then he got injured again, which put him at a real disadvantage. He really struggled in the few games that he did play in because he was dealing with 3 different injures and I think that was what the decision was based on. Most fans are unhappy with the decision because they feel like Jamies did not get a fair chance.
4. Going by DVOA, the Saints’ special teams unit is ranked No. 30 in the NFL. What have been the struggles with the units?
Good question. Injuries? Losing Deonte Harty. Although we got Wil Lutz back this season, he has struggled, currently 12 of 17 on field goals. Even Blake Gillikin has had some off days. The story of this season... we have struggled to play complete football. Hopefully, last week the tide turned.
5. DraftKings Sportsbook has the Ravens favored in this game -2.5. Do you agree with the line or where would you place it?
I think that is a fair assessment. I think it will be a close game and may come down to a field goal late in the fourth quarter.