Behind Enemy Lines, Part II

Our Scout.com experts, Michael John Schon of Broncos Update and Matthew Postins of BucsBlitz.com, go Behind Enemy Lines to take a closer look at Sunday's Week 3 matchup between the Saints and Broncos at Invesco Field. Let's continue this three-part series with five questions from Michael to Matthew.

Michael John Schon : Reggie Bush has gotten off to a pretty slow start through the first two games of the season — what's the inside story on his lack of production and what can the Saints do to try and get him back on track?

Matthew Postins: With Bush, you always have to look at the body of his work, and statistically speaking, it's not bad through two games. In 39 offensive touches Bush has gained 259 yards, an average of 6.6 yards per touch. He also has the 55-yard punt return for a touchdown against Washington. But with Bush, people always focus on the "RB," and, frankly, Bush is never going to be a 20-carry guy in the NFL. That's why the health of Deuce McAllister is so important. When Bush was in the same backfield with McAllister in 2006, there was little stopping the two. But with the Saints working McAllister back into the lineup slowly, there isn't that big, bruising back that can loosen up the defense for Bush to expose for big gains late in games. Until McAllister is back in the lineup fully, Bush probably won't have an impact as a running back. But that doesn't mean that Bush can't impact the game in other ways, as he did against the Redskins. It may, however, be time to temper our expectations of the No. 2 pick from 2006.

Michael John Schon : After watching game film of the Broncos win over San Diego, how bad is Drew Brees salivating over getting his shot at the Broncos weak secondary?

Matthew Postins: About as badly as your average football fan salivates over a plate of ribs. Even without Marques Colston, Brees was fairly effective last week against the Redskins and their talented secondary. The Saints' lack of a running game eventually caught up with them, but Brees appears to be foolproof at the moment. He has plenty of weapons, plenty of protection and plenty of trust in head coach Sean Payton's play calling. If he doesn't torch the Broncos for three touchdowns, I'll be stunned.

Michael John Schon : Give me your thoughts on linebacker Jonathan Vilma and his 16-tackle performance against the Redskins last Sunday. Right place, right time or does this guy really rock?

Matthew Postins: The Saints made out like a bandit getting this guy for a fourth-round pick from the New York Jets in March. I mean, it's almost a heist, frankly. Vilma was mismatched in Eric Mangini's 3-4 defense — which employs larger linebackers — and needed to get back to a 4-3. Enter New Orleans, which needed a consistent playmaker in the middle. Problem solves. The system fits Vilma like a glove and the Saints are allowing him to roam around and make plays, what he does best. Now, he won't make 16 tackles per game. But he has 25 in two games and 150 to 175 tackles by the end of the season is realistic, granted he stays healthy. The Broncos will have their eye on him all day on Sunday.

Michael John Schon : I know the Saints injury situation has definitely taken its toll — 10 different players on the injury report with little or no participation in Wednesday's practice. Whose loss has hurt the team the most, and what's the prognosis for RB Deuce McAllister?

Matthew Postins: Yeah, I think it took head coach Sean Payton 10 minutes to rattle off the injury report on Wednesday. The player that hurts the most right now is probably CB Mike McKenzie. The Redskins torched the Saints late in last week's game and the secondary is banged up. McKenzie has practiced fully the past two weeks, but has been inactive each game. He's still not 100 percent ready to go, and as long as he's not the Saints secondary will be shorthanded. When asked if McKenzie would play on Sunday, Payton said, "We'll see." That doesn't sound inspiring. As for McAllister, he finally saw the field in the second half against Washington and the plan is to ease him into full-time activity. How many carries that entails is anyone's guess, but he should see the field at some point on Sunday. And the Saints need him.

Michael John Schon : The Saints recently signed head coach Sean Payton to a contract extension through the 2012 season — good idea, bad idea or is the jury still out on this one?

Matthew Postins: Good idea. Payton is easily the best coach the Saints have ever had and one of the best offensive minds in football. Yes, the defense needs some TLC and it may come around eventually, but football minds like Payton's are hard to find. Throw in what the Saints' resurgence has meant to the city in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and he's worth the money. And a good team might eventually mean getting the new stadium that owner Tom Benson wants. The extension also keeps Payton from hitting the open market, where his price would automatically go up.


Matthew Postins is the editor and publisher of Saintsinsider.com

Michael John Schon is the editor and publisher of Broncosupdate.com


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