Schein 9: More than Brees, Saints build winning D

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Adam Schein

Adam Schein hosts the "Sirius Blitz" on Sirius NFL Radio from 11-3 ET. He also co-hosts "Loudmouths" on Sports Net New York every weeknight at 6 ET. He is a weekly columnist, files weekly video reports and makes NFL picks "video style" for

A horrible day for the refs in New England. The Saints, Giants, Colts, Broncos and Vikings remain perfect. While the Titans still can't win and the Redskins still can't win right. We analyze another wild week in the NFL with our weekly SCHEINERS while going big picture.

1. Foaming at the mouth

I received the e-mails. I got your Twitter messages. Our readers questioned my sanity after I penned a piece on the Saints defense being legit in August here on You thought I was nuts. Two words for you, cowboy: Gregg Williams. When Sean Payton fired his defensive coordinator, he was in search of, well, himself on defense. He wanted someone who would match his intensity and aggressiveness in play selection. Payton found his match in Williams, who lives for putting pressure on the quarterback. Under Williams, the Saints defense has built an identity. It comes after you with constant pressure. It creates turnovers. The New Orleans Saints stop the run. A Gregg Williams defense makes plays in big spots. Sunday's win against the previously undefeated Jets was a great example of all of the above. Veteran safety Darren Sharper, one of general manager Mickey Loomis' brilliant offseason moves, picked off Mark Sanchez at the 1 and took it 99 yards for a touchdown when it was 3-0 New Orleans. The Jets were marching down the field. That play brought the frenzied Super Dome crowd to another pitch. It's that kind of veteran leadership and savvy play that attracted Loomis, Payton and Williams to Sharper. Another newcomer, Jabari Greer, had a huge pass breakup on a key third-and-one. Second-year corner Tracy Porter played well. The common theme is a Loomis signing off the scrap heap and the Saints' second-round pick a year ago maximized by Williams. Glory days are here. The gory days of Jason David getting beat like a drum are over. Pressure up front goes hand in hand with the secondary getting picks and making plays. Charles Grant and Will Smith are living up to their paystubs this season after slumping under the old regime last year. These guys should be an elite end combination. Smith changed the game Sunday, sacking Sanchez in the end zone after bursting through the offensive line. Smith knocked the ball loose, and it was recovered by Remi Ayodele for a touchdown. Grant led the team effort of overpowering the Jets' talented and cohesive offensive line; he was seemingly in the Jets backfield all day. Linebacker Jon Vilma is having a Pro Bowl season, and his leadership is making a difference. Scott Fujita played great against New York. And this is why you must take the Saints seriously and why I told you the Saints were a Super Bowl contender the minute they hired Williams, who might turn out to be the single biggest pickup of any team last offseason. Drew Brees didn't throw a touchdown pass against the Jets. His numbers were ordinary. The Jets defense played great. Marques Colston, Devery Henderson, Jeremy Shockey and Lance Moore were total non-factors. And yet the Saints won by double digits. It's amazing what happens when you have a defense, and the right man to lead them. Start buying in. And if you don't believe me, ask Gregg Williams.

2. Rise and Schein

I couldn't be happier for Josh McDaniels, Mike Nolan and the 4-0 Denver Broncos. I know I picked them to win three games. What can I say? I was beyond dead wrong. How about the effort of future Hall of Famer Champ Bailey to break up two passes from Tony Romo at the end of the game to seal the win? That's toughness. That's skill. And that's from a player who told us during preseason he wasn't totally sure what the identity of the Denver defense was. Nolan's defense has allowed 26 total points in the first four games this season! Do you remember what a train wreck this defense was last year, especially down the stretch? This is sensational stuff. McDaniels saw the forest through the trees on Brandon Marshall, realizing he needs the talented receiver to win. He can be a total knucklehead, but there's no denying Marshall's talent. Marshall made a sensational grab and then yards after the catch, beating five Cowboys en route to the end zone to put the Broncos ahead late in the fourth. Kyle Orton went 20-for-29 and threw two touchdowns. He's looked the part in McDaniels' offense thus far. Ryan Clady and Ryan Harris might just be the best tackle combination in the league. I felt badly for the diehard Broncos fans in the preseason when seemingly everything was going wrong. And don't worry — I'll pick against Denver for the fifth straight week when Tom Brady and the Patriots come to town. But even the biggest McDaniels critic from the offseason has to be impressed by this start.

3. Hide the women, children and Matt Millen

Or even better, let's hide the women, children and Ed Hochuli. Ray Lewis was right. The officiating in the Baltimore-New England game was horrible. There were two questionable roughing-the-passer calls against Baltimore that kept touchdown drives alive for the Patriots. The one that was called against Terrell Suggs was flat-out wrong and embarrassing. Suggs barely touched Tom Brady. I don't want to hear about new rules. This is professional football, not flag football. There was nothing wrong with that hit. I'd even hesitate to call it a "hit." Plus, remember a few years ago when the Giants' Mathias Kiwanuka gave up on a Vince Young run, fearful he was going to be flagged for roughing the passer? I am afraid we are heading down an awful slippery slope. And it was obvious the official who threw the flag got talked into the call by Brady's Oscar-worthy acting job and by Brady's asking for the penalty. My guy Brady did a better job acting to get the flag than he did in his cameo on Entourage. (By the way, how good was the season finale Sunday night!) But I don't blame Brady. The ref can't get sucked in! Credit New England for the win. But enough is enough with these overreactions when the precious quarterback gets grazed.

4. Backseat coaching

You had to love Carson Palmer talking Marvin Lewis into going for it in Cleveland territory in the final minute of overtime. Palmer wouldn't let Cincy punt. And then the quarterback scrambled for a first down on the fourth-and-10. Call it a pretty amazing play by a slow-footed quarterback who isn't 100 percent. The Bengals would kick the game-winner soon after to improve to an impressive 3-1. But why did Lewis need his quarterback to talk him into it? You couldn't afford a tie in Cleveland. Palmer was right, but it was a no-brainer!

5. Schein's anatomy

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Eli Manning gave the Giants and their fans a huge scare when he went down Sunday afternoon with a heel injury on a play fake. An MRI Monday revealed inflamed tissue in his right foot. The Giants are calling him day-to-day with plantar fasciitis. Manning has been unreal this season, dominant yet again against the Chiefs. He has thrown for eight touchdowns against just two picks and already has 1,039 yards while truly maximizing an average group of receivers. Manning is the Giants' most indispensible player and a true winner. The Giants are always smart when it comes to injuries. But I would sit Manning this week against the Oakland Raiders to get him healthy for the Saints in Week 6, which could have major implications for home-field advantage in the NFC playoffs. David Carr can beat the Raiders by handing the ball to Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw.

6. Weekly hot seat

Titans All-Pro linebacker Keith Bulluck told us before the Jaguars game that the club misses Jim Schwartz more than Albert Haynesworth. It's a loaded comment that says a ton about a lot of things in Tennessee. And that was before the meltdown against Jacksonville.
While Bulluck said good things about new defensive coordinator Chuck Cecil, I won't. He's not remotely as aggressive as Schwartz was. This defense has failed on every level. And Jeff Fisher, whom I have called one of the best coaches in the NFL, needs to take responsibility. The Titans lost in Week 1 on offense. Week 2, the defense didn't show up against Houston at home. Special teams were the main reason they lost to the Jets. Week 4 was a total team meltdown. That's why I cringe when I hear folks say the Titans are the best 0-and-whatever team. This is the breakdown of a losing club, getting beat in every way. Fisher is sticking with the struggling Kerry Collins. It's not Vince Young time quite yet. Fisher, Cecil and Collins get undefeated Indy at home this Sunday night. It's a game you expected Tennessee to win during preseason. And the Titans should be able to run the ball Sunday night. And sure, someone with a microphone will say: "I just cannot see the Titans falling to 0-5." But based on the old eyeball test, and with the way Tennessee is giving games away, why would I believe it would turn around against Peyton Manning?

7. My Guys

Peyton Manning
Colts coach Jim Caldwell told me on Sirius NFL Radio: "Peyton is exactly the same every day. He treats every day, every practice, every meeting like it's the most important, like it's the Super Bowl." That's beautiful. Manning was sensational against Seattle, going 31-for-41 for 353 yards, marking his fourth straight game throwing for 300-plus yards. He's the MVP through four games. Patrick Willis He's the heart and soul of the 49ers defense. Willis had a 23-yard pick, returned for a touchdown. And Willis once again flew around the field and recorded 2½ sacks. He is one of the three best linebackers in football. Rashard Mendenhall From Mike Tomlin's doghouse for not practicing well to the penthouse on Sunday night. Mendenhall pounded the Chargers for 165 rushing yards and two TDs on 29 carries. That's why they drafted him! David Garrard No radio show, no problem. Garrard told us last week he was very confident for the game against Tennessee. Garrard had his best performance of the year, throwing for 323 yards and three touchdowns. Tony Sparano I loved Sparano's mentality all week. The Dolphins loved Chad Henne during the draft process. And they let him throw the ball deep early. Even when he missed, it gave Henne confidence. Henne didn't turn it over, Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown were outstanding, Miami was great in the wildcat and the Dolphins embarrassed the Buffalo Bills.

8. My Goats

Mark Clayton I respect the Ravens receiver taking the blame while talking to the media. But you have to catch the ball when your quarterback, Joe Flacco, puts it into your hands on fourth down and the game in the red zone! Chargers defense San Diego was inexplicably manhandled on Sunday night in Pittsburgh against a running back who hadn't done anything in the NFL and an offensive line under major scrutiny. Rams They can't complete or stop the forward pass. Otherwise, they look good. Jason Campbell I don't care that the Skins won. Campbell played his worst game of the season. Dick Jauron Is it hot in here or is that just the seat Jauron sits in? I am the president, founder and seemingly the sole member of the Dick Jauron Fan Club. But even I cannot defend the complete letdown by the Bills.

9. Three and out

Brett Favre was sensational against the Packers on Monday night. The performance against his old club couldn't have been any better. But be sure to also credit Antoine Winfield and Jared Allen for their dominant play. Plus, linebackers Chad Greenway and Ben Leber made key stops on the goal-line stand that proved to seal it for the Vikes early in the fourth up two scores. SHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!! Lost in the Josh McDaniels madness and Favre playing the Packers is the fact that Jay Cutler and the Bears are quietly 3-1 and Cutler has three straight excellent games with his quarterback rating over 100 in all three. Anyone see the Seattle running attack? Don't hurt yourself looking. You won't find it. The Seahawks needs new backs and linemen. You can watch Schein and Chris Carlin on Loud Mouths, weeknights at 6 EST on SNY (DIRECT-TV 639). You can listen to Schein and Rich Gannon on the Sirius Blitz, weekdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. EST on Sirius NFL Radio 124. Join Schein on NFL Sundays for the Sirius NFL Tailgate show from 9 a.m. to noon EST on Sirius NFL Radio and immediately after the Jets games on SNY for Jets Postgame Live. Adam Schein has joined the Twitter craze. Follow his work on, SNY and Sirius NFL Radio at E-mail Schein at
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