Monday, November 26, 2012

That Shit Kinda Hurt

Raffy! Raffy! Raffy!
After three grueling days of fevered insults from a God unknown, I settled in to watch the Saints trounce the niners in a nationally televised game at my dad's house. Up 14-7 with little time left in the first half, my fever broke and I started getting sticky with sweat only to realize that Drew Brees' fuckfaced interception for 6 is what broke my fever. Yay! Booooo! Fuck.

So, with the fever gone, I convinced myself, selfishly I might add, that the pick 6 was for my benefit and since the fever was now gone, I could actually enjoy what was to occur in the second half. Well. Damn you, Drew Brees and your 14 foot high tipped pass to Marques Colston that not only nearly got him killed but also was intercepted and returned for a touchdown. I want the fever back, with a 6 in the 'W' column. Not happening. So be it.

Whatever. I'm still mad too. At all kinds of shit. The Randy Moss OPI that wasn't called that would have been an interception that didn't hurt too bad because they kicked a field goal anyway? Yeah, fuck that shit. The replay shows douche bag line judge just looking directly at Jenkins getting spun around, only to be all "nothing to see here...move along." The Joe Morgan OPI call where he pulled the defenders arm to save an interception after being pushed to the ground? Garbage. Stinky, smelly, Good Friday Crawfish Boil garbage.

Fuck it. Even with all the calls going against us, we still could have won if, Good Drew had shown up instead of Bad Drew.

"Don't kill me, guys. Won't happen again."
That's ok. This kinda shit happens to guys who throw balls into tight spaces with amazing accuracy on a regular basis. After the touchdown pass to Colston up the seam between what had to be three defenders I told my dad that I didn't think 80% of quarterbacks would have the balls to throw that pass. Having the balls to throw that pass is why we got the What the Fuck interceptions for touchdowns. Is it ok? It's ok, right? Tell me it's ok. Pretty please? Screw you. It is ok. I've learned to live with the really bad interceptions that will sometimes cost us games because of how damn good he is in 90% of his appearances.

There was more to take away from that game last night that very well might be lost in the emotion of the loss, but let's not disregard the fact that the defense allowed less points than our offense scored, which will win most games.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Falcons Owned By Saints: Business As Usual

falolcons fans
The Saints are to the Falcons what the 49ers used to be to the Saints in the old NFC. The Falcons deserve misery like no other. There are no two ways about it, and 11-2 record over the last 13 games officially qualifies the Falcons as the Saints whipping boys. They talk a big talk, but can't score from the one yard line.

Falcons receiver Rodney White seems to think that the Saints didn't go out there and actually, you know, win the game, but rather the Falcons "gave it to them". What a sad, sad, sideshow Rodney has become. He still puts up big numbers and makes plays week in and week out, but the trouble is: he just can't shut his mouth.

Following their first loss of the season and making such outrageous claims about the Falcons pedigree to go undefeated, you would think that White wouldn't be looking to give the Saints motivation for the next match up in just three weeks. But, alas, White is a clown and just doesn't get it.

Safety Thomas DeCoud knows the truth. He gets it.

"That's one team you don't want to have your first loss to," Atlanta safety Thomas DeCoud said.

A moment before, as reporters stood feet away, DeCoud was talking to a few other defensive backs.

"The bandwagon is over," said DeCoud, who then mumbled something about how the crowd at the Georgia Dome next Sunday probably will be filled with fans of the Arizona Cardinals.

READ MORE HERE

Monday, October 29, 2012

Man, Fuck That Game.

"Why bother?"
Man, fuck that game.

From top to bottom, start to finish, there was not a single thing about that game that could be considered a positive. Nothing.

"But did you see how great Morstead was punting the ball?"

Stop it. Just shut up. If the fact that Morstead's 50 yard average on eight punts is all there is to be said about the game, then we sucked balls. And we did. There is no denying it. Every single facet of the game. Drew Brees was off. Every receiver dropped important passes. We didn't even try to run the ball consistently. The defense looked even more craptacular than usual. What the fuck do you mean "we weren't going to call any audibles?" Against the audiblingest quarterback of all fucking audiblers? Seriously? Cutback run after cutback run to the strong side and dump off after dump off to the uncovered no name tight end. How could it get any worse than it was last night? Make a starting linebacker and the only run clogging defensive tackle on the team inactive to have 5, that's FIVE, running backs active. Stellar fucking plan!

Can it get any worse than it was last night? The logical part of me wants to say that it can't but we are not dealing with logic here. We're dealing with the la-la-land version of the New Orleans Saints. We went from shock and awe last year to shock and awful this year. For the remaining 9 games of this season we will continue to be force fed this garbage starting at the top. When the Saints were 0-3 someone on ESPN said, "The Saints are done. They're waiting on Joe Vitt to get back to save their season. When has anybody ever said they're waiting on Joe Vitt?" As much as I hated hearing it then, that asshole was right.

Take a look at this box score from last night and tell me what you see that is encouraging. I'll wait.

The fact of the matter is, no matter how you look at it or try to justify it, the is the worst defense in the history of the football. And they are getting worse! Three weeks in a row we held teams to 7 second half points with the scheme we were running and instead of sticking with it we bench two defensive starters on a defense that doesn't have many starters to begin with. This is Crazy Town!

We've all wanted to see more Akiem Hicks (the lone bright spot from the lackluster efforts of last night) and Martez Wilson and we were given half of that equation. Whoever they are, if they're the best players, they need to be on the field. End of story.

I don't have any answers. I'm a fan. I shouldn't. But neither does the Saints coaching staff and that is truly frustrating. I'm not in with the OMG FIRE SPAGZ!!! crowd, but only because it would solve nothing. If our defense consistently gets donkey punched next year, then, hey, go for it. Was anyone actually surprised by the output of the Broncos offense? I know I wasn't. I was expecting a  42-35 coin flip outcome.

I feel sick.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

12-4, BABY!!!

Did you see what happened Sunday? The Saints won. Not only did they win, but it was an awesome game. They looked good. Crisp. Ready. Amazingly enough, Saints fans were still complaining Monday morning. And you know what? That's fine. It's your life. I'm a glass half-full kinda guy.

Over the last two weeks, the Saints defense has allowed a total of 14 second half points and if you aren't happy about that going forward, you'll never be happy. They sacked Rivers 5 times, Roman Harper got himself a pick and they got off the field on third down, allowing only a 33% conversion rate. That's good stuff right there. The pressure being applied by Galette and Wilson...also good stuff. That's what they can do when we have a lead. Therefore, we need to play with a lead more often. There will be no complaints from me for two weeks about anything that the Saints have or haven't done.

Drew Brees got his record. It is no longer Johnny Unitas' touchdown record. That's Drew's shit. Who dat!

From the minute I got downtown I knew that the $25 I spent on that ticket was going to be money well spent. (Yes, I said $25. Through ticket exchange.) To say the dome was electric would be an understatement. Every single person in the place was ready for a win and did their part to get it done. The Kansas City game was just odd in comparison. There was so much worry in the air it was palpable. But not on this day. You couldn't have asked for a better environment to get the first win of the season in. From blow up dolls being passed around the terrace, to a Chargers fan getting all whooped up on by the NOPD a few sections over the place was (to quote Mike McKenzie), "Off the meat rack!" (Whatever the hell that means.)

Anyone who knows anything about football and pays the least bit of attention to the happenings of the NFL each week knows that we were the best 0-4 team ever heading in to this game. (Those guys in Vegas who have been known to be pretty good at what they do thought so too.) I was called a ridiculous homer every day since the loss to Kansas City because I said the defense was improving. "Take off your black and gold glasses and admit that we suck!!!!" Whatever. Fuck all of you. Like I said earlier, I'm, a glass half full guy, and I'd rather pay attention and form my opinion based on what happens week to week on the field rather than sit here and give arbitrary "grades" to the guys on the field. "Dude missed a tackle!!! F-!!!!" This game isn't played in a vacuum. There are two teams on the field trying to beat each other. And guess what. The Saints haven't had a good defense in years. "But they won 13 straight and got a gazillion turnovers in '09 and won a Superbowl!" Yeah, well, LSU ran the table in the regular season last year. That doesn't mean their offense is worth a shit. So, Mr. Random Internet Message Board Guy, give the stats and numbers a rest. Let's enjoy the win. The scoreboard really is the only stat that matters and we got that this week.

With the bye week on the horizon, and the next home game being November 5 (my birthday party on Poydras) it feels like our next home game isn't ever going to come. But as sure as Roger Goodell is a piece of shit, the sun will keep rising and setting, and November will get here. If the Saints rip off 3 in a row, beating The Bucs and the Broncos leading up to the Monday night game, what do you think the dome will be like? How could you not be there if you love this team? Get a ticket.  Party with 70,000 of your closest friends and get your frustrations out by yelling ridiculously for 3 hours. The shit feels good.

We're playing with house money this year. With the disastrous start to the season, we've already been all but written off by the whole fucking planet, so what do we have to lose? I think this team may have realized how good it feels to win on Sunday. I know we as fans did.

The only regret I have from Sunday was forgetting to set my DVR.

P.S. Thanks for upholding the bounty suspensions on Vilma and Smith while reducing the for Fujita and Hargrove and in the process killing my pink cloud. Not only are you an asshole and eviscerator of all things football throughout the Gulf South, but you are now a pink cloud murderer. I hope Vilma exposes you for the panty wearing, power drunken, ass kissing, concussion lawsuit hiding bitch that you are. You'll get yours, Roger. You'll get yours. But we're going to get ours too. We'll see you in February in the Dome.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Let's Point Fingers

Finger #1 (it's the middle): Roger Goodell

Are you happy now? Have you accomplished what you were hoping to accomplish? Is the game safer? Do us all a favor and die. Thanks.

Finger #2: Coaches/Play-calling

I don't care who you are or what your team looks like. With an 18 point lead and an offensive line that is having some real problems pass blocking, you run the god damn ball. Milk the clock and play field position. You've got three running backs you don't use. Sean Payton must be ashamed of the job you are doing. I know I am. Zach Strief may want to take the blame for yesterday's loss, but fuck that shit, if you see a man getting beaten all day, you give him some help. All day if need be. Back-to-back timeouts? You guys are so disappointing it's laughable.

Finger #3: The Officials

I don't even think you're going to be able to get a job officiating a high school game after the display you've shown consistently on the national stage. A fundamental lack of understanding when it comes to the rules of the game isn't acceptable. At any level. If I was as bad at my job as you are at yours, I would be unemployed. As you should be. The discrepancy of talent level between Division I officials and these scab officials is night and day. At least 7 points and a win were taken off the board.

Finger #4: The Offense

"But the offense put up an 18 point lead in the third quarter!!!" Shut up. Putting up 288 yards of total offense against the defense that was tied for last in the league with our New Orleans Saints is downright unacceptable. But hey, see Finger #2. That was the ugliest 4th quarter I have ever seen from a unit that used to take pride in blowing people out.

Finger #5: The Defense

Thank you for the turnovers. You did your job for the majority of the game but giving up 233 rushing yards isn't cool and you deserve the criticism you get. No one expected you to set the world on fire but good god almighty, when you guys fuck something up you go all the way with it. Finger #3 didn't help you out with what I thought was a pretty blatant hold (from the fucking terrace!) on the 91 yard touchdown run, but one hold should not a 91 yard touchdown make. Honestly, of all the fingers being pointed, you deserve the thumb. Minus that one big run, you held the Chiefs to field goals all day. May have given up some yards, but yards don't equal points.

Finger #6: All you assholes saying that the fans aren't doing their job and that the crowd doesn't sound loud enough on tv.

What the fuck is wrong with you? Kansas City gave back the majority of their allotment and you still didn't buy tickets. Blow me.

Finger #7: Myself

For believing that this Saints team could make something out of this season. Drew Brees looks like he's playing in San Diego. We miss Sean Payton more than any of us could have actually realized. Sean Payton is looking like Coach of the Year material right now from the slovenly, drunken mess I'm sure he was in on his couch watching that uninspired 4th quarter for the offense. I'm not holding out any hope that this team will do a god damn thing this year. I don't think that we should tank. We're better than that.   Getting home from the game just in time to watch the falcons finish wiping the floor with the Chargers makes all of this even worse. I don't give a shit about playoffs or Superbowls anymore. I just want to see this team not suck. That's what they've given us so far this year. Suckage. The inability to put together a complete game is disgusting. I'm just not buying what they're selling in their press conferences anymore. My eyes are not deceiving me.

Friday, September 21, 2012

No Looking Back

"Not so fast, bud. I'm a head coach."
So, here we sit. 0-2. Deflated, embarrassed and hopefully a little pissed. I watched the Carolina game a few times and it's the same thing that happened against Washington. This defense is ugly. Hopefully this doesn't become a trend in week 3. Matt Cassel is a statue. There will be no read option, therefore no more excuses. I like what Romeo Crennel had to say about his team's 0-2 start putting it squarely on the players. How shitty is that? They are in the same situation as we are with Crennel wearing two hats as defensive coordinator and head coach, but they had the brilliant foresight to put themselves behind the 8 ball by doing it intentionally. This team is awful from top to bottom. I know they have what is statistically a top 5 offense, but that really doesn't concern me. I'd be fine with them putting up huge numbers in yards and getting beat by a few scores. Remember Vikings fans after the NFC Championship Game? "But we got more yards than you!!!" Kansas City is the only team that sucks as bad as we do on defense and we know that their offense is nothing compared to a fully clicking, locked and loaded Saints offense. So, that begs the question: will we see the Saints offense that has turned this team into the contender they've become over recent years? If there was ever an opportunity for Drew Brees and company to get things rolling, this is it. Devery Henderson being cleared for contact and getting back into action this weekend could be the spark we were missing last week. He hasn't been consistently referred to as "Ole Stone Hands" in years and if it means not throwing anything in the general direction of Joseph Morgan, I'm good with it. Also, I'm sure I'm not the only one who is getting tired of seeing Corey White getting beat or being 2 steps behind his receiver so Johnny Patrick being back is also a big plus. If you were to ask me, I would have to say that this is going to be the Saints week to shine. Roman Harper, Malcolm Jenkins, you were made captains of this defense for a reason you haven't shown us since the pre-season. Please pick a damn pass off on Sunday.

The Chiefs defense is not stout and should be picked on early and often. I know Drew Brees supposedly has trouble playing against a 3-4 defense, but I'm still clinging to hope that this is going to be the turnaround point for our offense. Feed the ball to any of our 3 active backs and control the clock. Wear the Chiefs down so that we can open up the play action passing game and get some one-on-one match ups when they have to honor the run. Everything the Saints haven't been doing this season is Football 101, and both you and I know it.

"I'll be back. With bigger balls than ever.
Bringin' some bitties with me too."
One thing we seem to sorely be missing is Sean Payton's in-game adjustments and play calling. Random guy whose head is still stuck up his ass will want to make his point. "But Carmichael called the plays after Payton went down last year!" Yeah, well, so what? It hasn't been pretty and we have shown up looking disgustingly flat in two consecutive weeks. The preparation with Payton during the week leading up to the game obviously had much to do with Carmichael's success calling plays come game time. And whatever happened to the Saints team that would be in a close game going into halftime only to come out in the second half to blow the god damn doors off and roll to a W? It went the same way as the play calling. It's sitting on the couch eating junk food and drinking beer. Screw you, Roger Goodell. I hate you and the shit you have pulled.

I'm not going to just throw up my hands and drop a tear in my beer because Payton is gone. Screw it. It happened. We've got to be able to rise above this putrid start. Honestly, heading into week 3, I can't help but feel that running with Vitt and Kromer as the interim and interim-interim head coaches was a rather large blunder. Seems like they (Benson, Loomis, whoever) did it this way so that there wouldn't be a huge disruption in coaching when Payton does come back, rather than in an effort to win football games this year. Seriously, how can you say that this coaching situation is anything other than a total clusterfuck? You can't. Look, I'm not piling on Kromer. He didn't ask for this. He is not Sean Payton. He's the offensive line coach and running game coordinator for a reason. Well, we're stuck with this situation and I don't think that Joe Vitt is magically going to fix things when he comes back after game 6. All I know is that, just like the defense, there's nowhere to go but up from here. Joe Vitt is a rah rah kinda guy and that's something that we can use during the game. I can't recall our coaches working the scab officials even once. How is that possible? What the fuck else is there to do when there are officials whose sole purpose, it seems, is to be worked over and taken advantage of? (Apparently, yelling at referees is now banned too in the NFL.)

Heading into the season I said that as long as we went 3-3 before Joe Vitt came back we'd be okay. I still believe that. Really, I just wish it wouldn't have started like this. Wouldn't have been so damn painful and ugly. I still have hopes for a good season that finishes in the dome with Goodell having to hand over the Lombardi to Tom Benson, who in turn says, "Nice try, Roger.". I still believe that Drew Brees is going too be in the discussion for MVP (and subsequently get snubbed). I still have faith in Steve Spagnuolo and what he can do for our defense, with the players we've got. (How awesome of him was it to move his press conference from Friday to Monday to face the music from the press following a dismal showing in Carolina? That takes balls.) We don't have to be world beaters on defense considering the potential of our offense. A few turnovers and three and outs would be satisfactory. Something. Anything.

All in all, heading into week 3, we couldn't ask for a better opponent than the Chiefs.

Who dat, y'all. We got this.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

0-1, What in the Bejeezus Happened?

I told myself that I wasn't going to write anything about this game until mid-week to let the sting dissipate but it's not going anywhere. Let's not shit ourselves. The Saints looked awful. In every aspect of the game. For the majority of the game. Awful. (By modern day New Orleans Saints standards, that is.)

I honestly couldn't believe what I was seeing. I disagreed with everything the Saints did in the first half. Offensively, they did nothing to set the tempo by running the ball, had dropsies galore, couldn't block, and did not look like the Saints offense we have come to know and love. I'm not getting down on the team and its prospects for the season but it didn't look like they were prepared for the moment. Christ almighty it was a HOME OPENER! We should have and could have beaten that Redskins team if we had bothered to show up. I'm not one who believes that Drew Brees' contract situation had anything to do with the performance we were served on Sunday night. I'm not buying Kromer's post-game interview where he said that the defense was prepared for what the Washington offense did. Even Washington had to be surprised by that offensive showing. Props to them. They got one over on us. Won't happen again. I honestly do believe that.

Let's talk about it for a second and see where we stand, yeah?

OFFNESE


"I'm rich, beeatch!!!"
Drew Brees.

Tipped passes, inaccurate throws, sub-50% completion percentage, 2 picks and something that looked like a lack of understanding as to what was coming at him or what was going wrong for a lot of the game. (With so much going wrong, I can't really blame him.) Honestly though, Drew puts up a couple stinkers every year and looks like this might have been one of them. One of those interceptions came on the last play Hail Mary, so there's that, but there were two other picks to be had and they were totally on him. I have faith that he will be better this week. He better, or we lose.

Running Backs.

Hard to even judge considering that we didn't utilize them. I'm not buying the excuse that we were down too much for too long to run the ball. We went into that game with no plan for utilizing the running game and that was apparent. Mark Ingram, in my opinion, is a  back who needs the rhythm of 15+ carries to really get in the groove. I like him in the '09 Mike Bell role of bruiser on short yardage situations and mop up duty. The difference between Ingram and the role Bell was used in is that Ingram can catch the ball. The only problem with that is that Sproles and Thomas are better receivers than he is. We've got to figure out a way to successfully manage our running back to maximize their potential and the impact they have in the game. You'd think that given the fact that Aaron Kromer has been in control of the running game for the past few years that this wouldn't be a problem. Right? Well, apparently it is. Only time will tell if we take advantage of what could be considered the best and deepest backfields in football.

God dammit, give these guys the ball, especially when the passing game isn't clicking.

Get well, Devery.
Wide Receivers. 

Joe Morgan showed us the exact same thing that he showed us throughout the preseason. He's fast and can't catch. Awesome. Good job, good effort. If he doesn't start catching the ball he's practice squad bound. Highlights from 2 pre-seasons ago isn't going to keep him on the active roster.

Marques Colston. The drops and the fumble were so out of character for him that I wonder what his deal was. Being hampered in practice leading up to the game probably gave him some jitters that wouldn't be there normally, but that's no excuse for a guy who's been as consistent as he has been for years. Good lord, that fumble was a killer. I'm not going to bash the guy who will go down in Saints' history as their best wide out ever, but I really hope he steps it up and shakes this game off because we need him as our go-to guy. NEED.

Devery Henderson. I hope he's okay and that's it. He didn't look good walking off the field after his only catch in the game. He's always been our best blocking wide out and has become pretty reliable over the years. Let's not forget that those Morgan drops would have been passes to Henderson that I would like to think would have yielded better results.

Lance Moore. After not making a circus catch in the first quarter and being more or less silent throughout the first half, he was very visible in the second half and was pretty much the lone bright spot in our receiving corps. Moore averaged 20 yards/catch in this game and that's typically not his stat line. He stepped up when his number was called, unlike a lot of this team.

Jimmy Graham. Throwing him in with the receivers because I don't even want to talk about Dave Thomas. Graham got his ass kicked every time he touched the ball, but kept doing his thing. He took some vicious hits that would have taken lesser men out of the game. He's bigger this year and it shows in his blocking. He has all the skills now that had he played a full college football career would have made him a first round pick and there just isn't a damn thing you can do to stop him sometimes.

Offensive Line.

They sucked.

We need to see more of this!
DEFENSE

They didn't know what hit them, and I don't think it was their fault. There seemed to be a lack of preparation for what was thrown at them and then a lack of urgency to figure it out after it was in their face.

The D-Line

Cam Jordan. He was undoubtedly the star on the line against the Redskins and I hope to see more games like that from him. He hustles. He makes plays. He is a presence that has to be accounted for. 11 tackles mostly at or around the line of scrimmage. Not too shabby. I look forward to his progression that we started to see at the end of last season.

Will Smith. Would have been better off with him suspended on Sunday. Trent Williams owned him all day long. No double team necessary. Disappointing showing from someone who is definitely on the downside of his career. Not once Sunday did I see the classic "Will Smith being grabbed from behind by the neck and the offense not getting called for holding" and that's disappointing. We saw it in the preseason, so we know it's still there. Was it the lack of practice? Was it the low to high of the suspension being overturned? I don't know what it was, but it needs to be figured out if he is going to play Sunday against Carolina.

Sed Ellis. Looked decent, and that's probably selling him a little short. All in all he did his job and wound up with more tackles on the stat sheet (7) than I thought he had in live action, so that's a good thing. He was disruptive up front and was stout against the run. I want to see the Pee-Wee Herman dance from him because that means he's really doing his job. He's our "get after the quarterback" DT and I didn't see much of that. Then again, I didn't see it from anybody. RGIII stayed as clean Snday as he's going to stay all year.

Brodrick Bunkley. He moved the line at times and at others was rather invisible. Such is the nature of being a run stuffing DT. He is a force to be reckoned with out there and is an upgrade to Franklin from last year's defense. Will Smith's inability to draw a double team on the outside allowed the double team to slide inside and may have effectively washed out some of Bunkley's effectiveness and opened the holes in the Skins' running game. The cutback runs weren't huge but were good enough for decent gains.

Would have liked to have seen more of Junior Galette whose speed could have helped contain RGIII's ability to scramble and run that option. Tom Johnson and Turk McBride? Meh. Also, how about we get a chance to see what Martez Wilson can actually do?

Linebackers.

I thought they looked good. As a group, for the most part, they DID THEIR JOB. Shining star in this group? This guy: Scott Shanle.

Scott Shanle. The Shanle was playing the game of his life, which included a tackle deep in the backfield, always being in position to make a play instead of piling on after being three steps late and then went and got hurt. Shanle's been a rather healthy guy for us, much to some fans' chagrin. Liked what I saw from him in his limited action and hope to see more soon.

Curtis Lofton. Looked the part running sideline to sideline and got off his blocks. He showed up to play. 9 tackles is solid. I still think he's better than Vilma in the middle, but that's not even up for discussion until after week seven, at which time it will be revisited.

David Hawthorne. Damn you, Hawthorne! Even the Shanle was shining! Our secondary was paper thin behind you and you looked like crap. Out of position, slow, and took bad angles. The only starting linebacker to not consistently DO YOUR JOB! Highly disappointed. Hope it has something to do with the injury, because I can't handle another game like that.

Will Herring. Took over when the Shanle went down and didn't screw anything up. Forced a fumble on special teams and finished the game with 5 tackles. Tip of the hat to you, sir, for coming in off the bench and not sucking.


DB's 

Douche bags. That's what it means this week. Who didn't screw something up at one point or another? Jabari Greer's absence was felt from start to finish. Every year there's a sports hernia on this team and the joke isn't funny anymore. Get well soon, Jabari. Please.

Patrick Robinson. Lots of folks think he was utter garbage, trash that should be tossed to the curb after week one. He gambled, dropped an interception that he had two hands on (come on though, you can't argue with gravity), and loafed off the field on the 12 men on the field penalty. Was he great or even good? No. The 12 men penalty is enough to keep me pissed off at him for the rest of the season, but if I were to give him a grade for his actual play, I'd have to give him a C-. Is that what you want to see from the guy playing as your #1 corner? Hell no. If you've got a better idea as to who should play in his spot, call Airline Drive. I'm sure they want your opinion.

Johnny Patrick. Another guy who was playing consistently until he came up gimpy. His play was encouraging until he got injured and gives me some hope for our secondary (if they are ever all healthy at the same time.) Patrick had a nice pass breakup in the end zone and wasn't toasted once.

Corey White. Keep hating on the guy. He's a rookie who was forced to play a lot more than he should have because of the injuries to Greer and Patrick. He played hard, had 5 tackles, and looks to not have any quit in him. He trailed too much in coverage for my taste giving too much separation to receivers rather than making them earn it, but that is correctable.

Jerome Murphy. Saw more of him than I would have liked but for the same reason we saw a lot of White. We need to get healthy in our secondary if this defense is going to do what it is designed to do. No two ways about it.

Roman Harper and Malcolm Jenkins. Harper got screwed on that PI call and everyone knows it, yet people still call for his head. (I still think Harper was picked illegally on that ridiculous 88 yard TD pass.) He was all over the field and did what he has always done: clean up in run support and be okay in coverage. Malcolm Jenkins didn't really wow me in one way or another and there were a few missed tackles because he wasn't in good position. Considering the overall depth of our secondary for this game, I have to say that Harper and Jenkins (our 2012 defensive captains) did the best they could with the hand they were dealt.

How's about a lil' of this as a head coach?
COACHING

Seriously, WTF? Pardon me, Mr. Aaron Kromer, do you think it was a smart decision to shot a bag of heroin before your first game as head coach? Are you doing your best Jim Caldwell impression? There is NO excuse for a lack of vocal leadership on the sideline, even if he is the interim-interim head coach. Those refs were garbage and not a word was said. If that's the job he's going to do, we'd be better off with me on the god damn sidelines because at least I get pissed off when we get screwed. Kromer had a combination of "Aww...shcucks," and "Deer in headlights/roadkill" look on his face throughout the entirety of the game. That shit ain't going to cut it. Do something god damnit!!! Anything!

Curtis Johnson. Do we miss him and the rapport he had with our receivers? I have no clue. I know the guy who took his place, Henry Ellard, was lined up to take his job the second CJ went to Tulane and has been with the receivers all summer long. If Colston has bricks for hands all year then I may be ready to scream for the guy's head, but until then, let's see how this whole thing plays out.

ALL IN ALL

Wake up call. Hopefully. If not, it's going to be a long year. Roman Harper suggests that we don't jump off a bridge just yet, so I'll keep giving them a shot (like I'd ever stop rooting for the Saints no matter what). If the offense would have been clicking for four quarters instead of one and a half quarters, the game would have been the ass kicking we were expecting.We've seen much much worse than we saw Sunday, even from this particular Saints era, and we're all still breathing. I expect a better showing against Carolina this weekend since the element of surprise is not there. If we are the more physical team this weekend we will win. If not, well...Tampa beat the Carolina Newtons by pushing them around.

Who dat, y'all!

P.S. Thoughts that came to me before hitting publish:

It's true that we're spoiled and don't really know how to process ugly games from Drew. He's been so damn good and so damn accurate for so damn long that whenever he has a bad game and things don't go our way that we, as irrational fans, are shocked into thinking the sky is falling. At least we know the sky and can see when it's about to fall. When I was growing up, what I thought was the sky falling was really just a big illusion of a football team that just didn't have it in them to be real winners. Drew Brees came in here and changed that. I heard a national radio host making fun of us this morning, saying things like, "Drew Brees saved New Orleans from Katrina," and following it up by reading one of the uber-intelligent comments from nola dot com about Drew getting paid and not having an incentive to even be good anymore. What he was saying was obvious sarcasm unless you're an irrational moron (like me when I first heard what he was saying) but the truth of the matter is that Drew Brees and Katrina will forever be linked. Everyone who knows anything about New Orleans and knows anything about Saints fans knows that we are loyal to a fault and that winning football games was a great distraction to the disaster that our lives had become. What I'm getting at by rehashing all of this that we all already know is this: Drew Brees is the best thing that has ever happened to the New Orleans Saints and we don't know how to deal with it and therefore feel guilty when we criticize the performance he sometimes gives. At least I do. Well, I've come to this realization after listening to the Wednesday press conference. Drew said, "I'm my own biggest critic," and that takes all the guilt from all of us in criticizing his bad performances. So, Drew, from Saints fans everywhere, you looked like shit yesterday and anyone with eyes could see it. We love you and will always be grateful for the level you've made us accustomed to, but please don't do that shit again. We know you want to win probbably more than we want you to, so take away some of the pressure that had obviously gotten between your ears Sunday and be done with it. Play football. Make us happy. We don't like it when you suck. Please cut it out. Thanks. Who Dat.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

53 Man Roster Is Set: What's it mean to you?

THE 53 MAN ROSTER IS SET

I didn't watch the Titans game. Tried listening to it on a battery powered radio but was too busy being bitched at for trying to enjoy myself after taking care of other people's property since the Sunday preceding that punk Isaac. Note to self: If no one else gives a shit about their lives, possessions, homes, and needs; it isn't your responsibility to do it for them. Now that I've gotten that little tid bit of a rant out of my system, let's talk some Saints. WHO DAT?!

So, since I'm a little late to the game because of circumstances beyond my control I'm sure you've all seen the Saints 53 Man Roster and have discussed it amongst your friends, family, and the voices in your head and are probably pretty pumped for the upcoming season.

SURPRISES?

Biggest surprise? Got to be Matt Tennant. I was shocked to see him straight up released. Not shocked in the least to see him picked up by the Pats. We kept him around long enough for him to pick up and understand a complex offensive scheme and be a backup to the best interior line in the league. Belechick must think that his staff can get him to be bigger and stronger and more nimble. When Brian de la Puente beat him out last year, Tennant had to know his days were numbered.

Second shocker? It's got to be Arrington. Word is that he'll be ready to go for the opener next Sunday and that's great and all, but I'm just not impressed with the guy. But since the dust has settled, I think this was a smart move. Arrington knows the offense as well as he knows the trainer's table and that is a huge plus. I don't know what it is about him that just rubs me the wrong way. He just doesn't seem to have that same scrappiness that the rest of the team has, but he's been around longer than I care to remember for the amount of hype he's had each passing year. Looking at his college highlights makes me sad.

Joseph Morgan made this team because of said scrappiness. And because he's fast as hell. And because if he becomes the playmaker we all thought he would be after last year's pre-season he could be one hell of a steal for this team.

Andy Tanner made the practice squad which I think I great. The kid has really grown on me this year and I think that if and when he gets called up to the game day roster for whatever reason, he will catch the ball. That's what he's proven he can do: Catch the damn ball, wherever it is when it's thrown in his direction.

Camarillo didn't show us a damn thing reallly, but there's years of tape on the guy and he's a phone call away. Having him on the opening day roster would have cost us a little more than what we would want to pay the guy for what we need him to do, so, good move in my opinion.

So that's it. After all the talk about the camp battles at receiver it ends up being Arrington and Morgan (the two favorites for the position before camp opened.) Colston, Henderson, Moore, Arrington, Morgan, and Roby.

Our Reggie Bush jerseys aren't going to waste!

NO SURPRISES

Travaris Cadet. I said last week that he would be kept and he was. I know I'm not some genius but there was a lot of debate as to whether or not he would clear waivers and make it to the practice squad. Obviously the team felt the same as I did. The guy is just too versatile to not have on your team. What does surprise me about keeping Cadet is that they kept Korey Hall (a supposed special teams ace who we brought here to be our starting fullback but got beat out by Jedidiah Gabriel Collins.) I just assumed that with David Thomas back that we could use him as an H-Back and not have the need to carry two fullbacks. Hence, me being a blogger, not front office personnel.

Hicks and Walker. Yeah, Hicks was our first pick in the draft this year, albeit a third rounder, but we dumped Al Woods the year before and many drafted players have been let go by this organization. Hicks is no Al Woods. Al Woods wears Akiem Hicks pajamas. Tyrunn Walker would have been considered a surprise had we not all seen what he could do out there. Many times we would see 75 and 76 wreaking havoc together and I hope we see it all season long. I understand that Bunkley and Ellis and even Tom Johnson would have to be considered for more snaps than both Hicks and Walker but it's still good to see depth like this at the DT position.

The IR List. Look at all those red shirts. Who Dat! Business as usual even without Payton at the helm. Sad to see Nick Toon missing his first year, but it may be for the best.

WILL WE BE SURPRISED?

By the defense?

I covered a lot of this in the above section so I am just going to touch on a few other things here.

Let's see how this is going to stack up, starting with the DB's.

Greer and Robinson: We know what they can do. Johnny Patrick: We think we know what he can do. Corey White: Still is yet to have picked off Drew Brees at practice, but I trust the decision to keep him. Jerome Murphy: If Spags trusts him and he is as good or better than Elbert Mack, let's roll with it. Mack was nothing special in Tampa and did nothing to make himself stand out in camp. I actually had forgotten he was here. These guys'll do just fine as long as we can bring some pressure to opposing quarterbacks.

Harper and Jenkins: I am in the minority that believes in both of these guys and thinks that they got stuck in a bad situation with Gregg Williams once his "I'm gonna blitz and blitz and blitz and then blitz again" game plan got figured out. I like the Harper quote from the beginning of training camp which I will paraphrase out of laziness, "Of course we'll have more interceptions, our backs won't always be to the QB." Jenkins was just made a defensive captain for a reason. Watch these two guys this year. They seem to be itching to prove all of their Saints fan doubters wrong. Their backups: Quddus and Bush (#25 brah!!!!). IQ looked good in limited playing time and I never trusted Amaya on anything but special teams so I am glad that his bags are packed. Sucks for the guy, but he is just a special teams player and a stop-gap, in case of injury kind of back up to Harper. As to Bush, Rafael: I dunno. Neither do you. Neither does anybody. Undrafted to Atlanta and then picked up by Denver. No real stats or starts to even look at so we'll see what we see when we see it. Maybe Spags just didn't like Amaya since it seems like Bush is going to be playing the same role. Or maybe they just wanted us to start wearing some Reggie Bush jerseys again. I don't know. Again, I'm a blogger, not a talent scout.

By the offense?

Only if they suck, which they won't.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

So Whadaya Think?

ABOUT THE SAINTS?

Is this offense is still what we all thought it would be? Indubitably. Yeah, Ivory fumbled and Morgan too. But when you've got a Drew Brees running things mistakes like that can be overcome, like we saw in San Francisco last year. These guys are clicking. Pierre is still Pierre and we should have no questions about what he means to this team and what his role is going to be. Liking what Ingram is showing in the limited amount we are being shown. Dude is cutting strong, which says a lot about his knee and bouncing off tacklers in the backfield and turning would be losses into short gains. I honestly believe what Sean Payton said about him last year, "The only thing keeping Mark Ingram from being rookie of the year is me." Despite his fumble, Ivory looks damn good. Running as hard as ever. I believe the amount of time he sees on the field this year will be contingent on his ability to thrive in the rest of the game. He can't be effective for this team if every time he's in the game we are going to give him the ball. He won't be able to stay healthy that way either. Travaris Cadet is getting his own section in this post because he deserves it.

Jimmy Graham. The man looks better than last year. If you're reading this blog, you already knew that would be the case, but seeing it happen in live action is still something to behold. One drop. Who cares? Stuff like that is going to happen. Saw him flatten someone on a block and then catch a ball for a 15 yard gain. That's what is going to be different about him this year. Looking forward to watching him ring peoples' bells and catch touchdowns...on the same play...all year long.

Colston, Henderson, and Moore look to be in mid-season form. What the hell are we going to do with Nick Toon? PUP? Camarillo looked good and has a history of being available to play on Sundays. Joe Morgan looks good at times and then looks lost at times. He may be practice squad material. (Especially considering the piece you're about to read on Cadet below.) Last year he looked promising in the role of return man and a fifth wide receiver option, so we stashed him on IR. Arrington either needs to be IR'd or straight up cut. This is getting old. He is not that good. He just isn't, and taking his injury history into consideration, we may just have to cut our losses. Of course, he'd probably go sign with the Bucs and end up being a pro bowl player, but he just isn't making it happen here. I'm done caring about him. Andy Tanner has caught everything thrown in his direction and seems to be a hard worker. Granted, most of the work we've seen from him has been with Chase Daniel throwing him the ball, but he couldn't look worse with Drew throwing him the ball, could he? When it comes down to it, I have as little idea as to the makeup of the wide receiver depth chart as Mr. Okra so we're just going to have to see where the chips fall. And the chips will fall soon.

The defense looked a little shaky to start the game, which was to be expected considering that Jonathan Casillas was our starting Mike, but cleaned things up fast and played well throughout the whole game. Considering the health of our defensive unit last night and the desired health for September 9, they lit things up. The line is looking strong. Jenkins and Harper are actually playing safety this year (opposed to whatever the hell Gregg Williams had them playing), and our cornerbacks aren't as much of a worry as I thought they were going to be heading into the year. God bless the Spags. I'm diggin his scheme.

"Oh, I'm making this team. Buhlee dat!"
ABOUT THE TRAVARIS?

All the talk about Cadet vs. Ivory needs to stop. Besides the dreads, they are nothing alike. I am not of the belief that he will clear waivers and I don't think we will even try. He is too versatile. He's got a little of the skill set of each and every one of our running backs and plays special teams. Finding a roster spot for him shouldn't be as hard as many believe. My solution: get rid of Korey Hall. We only use him on special teams anyway. Collins was the best fullback in the league last year and has shown no drop off. He's shifty. He's quick. He's strong. He catches the ball. He returns kicks. He plays on punt coverage. He makes something out of nothing at times. I'm typically not one of the CAMP BEAST kind of guys, but this guy is a camp beast and I wouldn't risk losing him. He makes Joique Bell from last year look like some bum off the street. Would I be surprised if he isn't valued by the coaching staff and front office as much as I and a lot of Saints fans value him? Absolutely not. Sure seems like they give him the ball a lot though and I don't think they would be wasting touches on someone they weren't taking a seriously hard look at putting on this roster. Might be inactive on game day, but having him on this team with his versatility is better than having him on someone else's team if/when one of our backs gets banged up and has to sit for a few weeks. He does need some work in the blitz pickup, but what rookie running back doesn't? Chase got blindsided by Mercilus last night because Cadet was looking everywhere except in Mercilus' direction. That is what coaching is for, and he wouldn't be playing all 4 quarters of the preseason games if they weren't coaching him up.

Interim-interim Head Coach Aaron Kromer
ABOUT THE COACHING SITUATION?

If the organization in its entirety isn't worried about it, neither am I. Aaron Kromer was a head coaching candidate last year for a reason. He has produced one of the best offensive lines in the game year after year and has coordinated a great running game on a dominant passing team. It's all good and will be even better in February. And y'all know why.

"We got jobs!"
ABOUT THE GOD-AWFUL OFFICIALS?

Do they know what pass interference is? It's not like the "real" officials were great, but they weren't this bad. As long as the game is officiated crappily in all phases for both teams, then I guess it isn't much of a problem. I can say this right now because these games don't matter. Once blown or missed calls start costing teams games that count, there may be riots. I mean, it's ugly. They are bad. They look lost and confused half the time but at least they've gotten the coin toss right for all the games this week, right? Would you want to be a Rams fan wearing a Kurt Warner jersey leaving Candlestick Park after the Niners lost a game because of a blown call because the officials don't even know the rules?

All in all, things look good. Our cup runneth over.

Who dat, y'all!  

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Integrity vs. Headlines

I really am just fucking sick of it. Take a look around at all the major network coverage that the Saints team, players, coaches, and organization in general have received. ESPN's Outside the Lines supposedly used to be the gold standard in reporting controversial issues related to sports. Now they just make shit up and roll with it.

Today's culprit is HBO's "Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel." According to Steve Gleason, the subject in one of the segments that airs tonight, HBO has deliberately gone out of their way to take his words out of context to fit their agenda.

Here's the complete transcript of Frankel's interview with Gleason for the HBO story, via the Times Picayune:

Frankel: "Was there any discussion afterwards when the meeting was over and those players saw you? Did anybody say, 'Wow, that was kind of tough, Steve, I'm sorry you had to hear that?'"

Gleason: "No, the group I was with, no one seemed shocked."

Frankel: "No one seemed shocked to hear that come out of the coach's mouth?"

Gleason: "No, there was no discussion of, 'Wow, did we just hear that?'"

Frankel: "There was no discussion about that speech?"

Gleason: "No."

Frankel: "You're a bright guy. Do you think you had somehow been desensitized to the violence of the game?"

Gleason: "Wait. I'm not sure what you mean."

Frankel: "That because you played the game at the highest level, that maybe even you, given your condition, had become sort of numb to the idea that coaches were advocating to kill the head?"

Gleason: "No. What I'm saying is that I was with people that never played in the NFL and those people never said anything to me about them being shocked. That is all I am saying.(emphasis added.)

So, HBO portrays Gleason's comments as an indictment on the Saints and the way they do things. Is anyone willing to just tell the story as it is rather than tailor it to fit their version?

Look at the OTL piece on Sean Payton. Why even bother doing a portrait of a suspended coach? Ya wanna know why? Because the Saints fucking rule. And because Sean Payton (and by extension Saints fans everywhere) DO NOT CARE ABOUT YOUR FEELINGS! Sean Payton clearly doesn't give a fuck and has not been shy about letting people know it. (Read his book if you think otherwise.) So what if Kaare Johnson got his panties in a was about the way he has been treated by the Saints since Payton rolled into town and turned what used to be the Saints' way into Payton's way? Fans don't care about how the coach treats the media. Why should we? We care about the manner in which he treats his players, staff, and us. And ya know what? He's been good to all of the above.

I was not the least bit offended by what Kaare Johnson had to say about Payton. That's the way he feels and he has every right to feel that way. Be mad at ESPN for even making that stupid segment. Be mad at ESPN for using the fuckwad that is John Barr to produce anything Saints related. That is one man that doesn't have the right to breathe the word "Saints" ever again. May he rot in hell.

The stories are getting old and tired and it's going to have to stop sooner or later.





Friday, August 17, 2012

Football is Back, Injunctions, and Anticipation of Great Things to Come (AKA: The Freeh Report)


FOOTBALL IS BACK *Well maybe just kinda. But it's better then pretending to care about regular season baseball.

Truth be told, I am late in posting this because I left for vacation on Tuesday and the scheduled post didn't happen. Not the end of the world as there is always more that can be said. I scanned around the interwebs to see if anything of real substance has happened since I had originally written this and there wasn't much to be found. So the additions to this post will be mundane thoughts stemming from practice this week.


I'm not going to go into individual player analysis but I will mention a few names who've stood out to me and likely have stood out to you as well. First we'll look at a unit. One that has been underwhelming for a few years now. The defensive line. Sack/fumble for Will Smith. Akiem Hicks is a god damned monster. Tyrunn Walker. This guy was undrafted? Big Sed broke some ribs. Cam Jordan is getting up the field and looks pretty stout. Junior Galette is downright scary coming off the line and he can probably find a week's worth of snacks in that killer beard. McBride, Johnson, Miller? Meh. But it's necessary to have a little meh so you can have some HOLY SHIT DID YOU SEE THAT on the rest of the line.


These linebackers we have now are not the Dome Patrol Part Deux but they don't have to be. And don't kid yourself...there will never be another Dome Patrol. Chamberlain stood out as a guy who made a few plays against the Pats and maybe we'll bench the Shanle and roll with the other white guy. I'm not a Shanle hater but it is kind of funny that he has held down a starting job for as long as he has being as lackluster as he typically has been. Either way, I'm okay with it. Lofton has looked other-worldly. Something we just haven't seen since Vilma in 2009. Honestly, Lofton would be starting even if Vilma was healthy and not wearing a suit every day. We've all heard lots of talk about Vilma coming back and playing alongside Lofton on the weak side, but that's all it is: talk. Any of y'all ever seen Vilma play on the outside? Didn't think so. Me neither. Not saying he can't do it but let's stop pretending like it's a foregone conclusion that he would just seamlessly be plugged in on the outside. I wish Hawthorne wouldn't have gotten a boo boo on his hip because I wanted to see if he would've cleaned up the performance he had in Canton. He missed a few too many tackles for me but considering it was the first real tackling they'd done I suppose he gets a pass.

*As this is posting late, looks like Hawthorne will be back to show us what he can do tonight against Jacksonville

I like our DB's. All of them. I look forward to the Pro Bowl this year. Wanna know why? Roman Harper and Malcolm Jenkins will be there. Queue the "He sucks in pass coverage!!! He can't catch!!! He doesn't just look like an old man, he plays like one!1!" crowd. Chill out, people. It's okay. I promise. You don't have to hate our safeties to be a Saints fan. Marquis Johnson and Johnny Patrick have been holding it down pretty well in the absence of Robinson and Greer. Color me not concerned. Does Corey White play special teams? Has he picked off Drew in practice yet? He's going to have to start doing both if he wants to make this team.

I feel sorry for Chase Daniel. I really do. He has to play behind that patchwork offensive line with Courtney Roby as his #1 wide receiver and Michael Higgins as his starting tight end. And there are rumblings of cutting him loose? Come on. Let's be reasonable. People actually think that it's a good idea to trade a future pick to the Browns for Colt McCoy? That really is kind of embarrassing and I hope Chase never has to hear that shit. He might be a little chubby and hold on to the ball a little too long but both you and I would be the same way if we've been getting paid a couple mill a year to hold a clipboard and slap Drew Brees on the ass as he comes off the field after an impressive touchdown drive. Cut Chunky a break. He's doing the best he can with what he's got to work with on the field. I doubt that even Drew Brees would look like Drew Brees playing with the second team. You'll only be seeing these guys on the field when we're kicking the ball. Which reminds me...

Morstead's still a pimp. The job is still Hartley's.


THE INJUNCTION HEARING

If you're the kind of person who's reading this blog in the first place, you are also the kind of person who was following the latest court hearing in Jonathan Vilma v. the Evil Empire. When I was following it in real time via twitter, my hopes were hanging on every tweet that was coming out. In my own personal tally of scoring the tweets the numbers came out to be Jonathan Vilma: 1,326. NFL: 4 Yes. That was my initial assessment. Looking at the aftermath of the hearing through articles read and lawyers questioned, I still think things stack up favorable in the corner of JV51. What I came away from the hearing with is that if the August 30 arbitration panel finds that this will be sent back to Goodell, then the judge is going to insert her authority and grant the injunction and move forward to the Discovery phase of the defamation suit.

The question that was being asked most leading up to the injunction hearing regarding the alleged offer of reduced suspensions was whether or not Vilma was in this to get back on the field this year or to clear his name. When the settlement talks were first leaked I thought he'd be smart to just settle as long as any settlement didn't require an admission of guilt. But it was made abundantly clear that Vilma had no intention of kissing the ring of Goodell and going away quietly when Ginsberg filed a grievance about the leak of settlement talks. All indications thus far prove that Roger Goodell picked the wrong guy to smear with this bountysham allegation.

BERRIGAN'S REQUESTS

Jude Berrigan has requested that papers be filed by this afternnon (and they already have) proving when the decision was made as to the player suspensions. It appears that she considers the bounty comments made to the press about Vilma and $10,000 to be within the Commissioners authority if the decision on the players' suspensions had already been made. Here's a PFT link about it.

"It all centers on what did -- or didn't -- happen before March 21, the day that the NFL announced its punishments of the Saints, coach Sean Payton, G.M. Mickey Loomis, assistant head coach/linebackers coach Joe Vitt, and former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.

Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma claims that public comments made by Commissioner Roger Goodell regarding his alleged offer of $10,000 to whoever knocked Bret Favre out of the 2009 NFC title game on March 21 fall beyond the formal discipline process, and are thus subject to a defamation lawsuit, because Goodell hadn't fully investigated and resolved the question of Vilma's responsibility at the time the statements were made. The league claims within the confines of the bounty lawsuits that it was ready to discipline the players at the same time the non-players were disciplined on, March 21, but that the NFLPA specifically asked Goodell to delay the announcement.

NFL Submits Sworn Statement from Goodell on March 21 Issue


Though the judge didn't explain the reason for her most recent order, it appears that the judge wants to confirm that such a request was actually made, since that would tend to bolster the representation from NFL counsel Gregg Levy at the August 10 hearing in the bounty cases that any statements made on March 21, the date on which the descipline of non-players was announced, about Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma reflected conclusions reached by Goodell as part of the official disciplinary process contemplated by the Collective Bargaining Agreement. If the truth is that Goodell hadn't started the process of determining player penalties when publicly accusing Vilma and/or other players on March 21 of bounty-related wrongdoing, then Vilma's argument that those comments can provide the foundation for a separate defamation lawsuit becomes stronger.

Well, that's all fine and dandy. So the decisions on the suspensions was made back in March but Mr. Goodell was still claiming that no decisions had been reached over a month later in an interview with Rich Eisen? Why? You can't have it both ways, can you? I guess we'll soon find out.

Here's a transcript of an April 24 interview with Rich Eisen

First Eisen question:

Something else that is first and foremost to the New Orleans Saints in many people's minds about the punishment that you levied down based on the bounty case as well. When do you think the issue with suspending players who were involved with this is going to come to a head or a conclusion?

RG: "II hope to reach these decisions very soon. We have been continuing our work. We have continued to talk to players and other people that can give us a perspective. Once we have got all the information and we feel that we are in a position to be able to issue the fairest and most thorough types of decisions, we will do that but I expect to do that soon because this is a big element to me. This is player on player and what we want to do is make sure that people understand that there needs to be respect for players that play the game and that needs to start with players against players. We made it clear what we expect from the coaches and executives and clubs that these types of activities should not be occurring and that they need to do their part with each other and that starts with respecting each other.

 So let me see if I've got this straight. The NFL is telling the court that the decisions had been made on the player suspensions back in March at the same time as the coaches and executives but was telling Rich Eisen over a month later that they had not reached a conclusion as to how to handle the player suspensions? Is that it? What they are saying is, "Yeah, we knew we were going to suspend them right when we started leaking stuff to the media but we didn't decide what they had done wrong at that point and how much of a suspension was deserved." Talk about a screw job.


BENSON MEETS WITH THE COMMISSIONER

Anyone wanna venture a guess what that meeting was like? No? OK, I will.

Benson: Good morning, Roger. How's the family? 

Goodell: They're good, Tom. Let's get this thing started and do away with the pleasantries. I fucked up. I overreacted. But I am the Commissioner and that is what y'all pay me to do. You and the rest of the owners know that we are going to be raped in the upcoming concussion lawsuits and I had to make a statement to the world that we care about the safety of our players, our league in general and that we go above and beyond the duties required to look like we have cleaned up the game. It's about integrity. People will continue supporting us if we look benevolent.

Benson: Bullshit, Roger. There're no camera around. I've almost got the Freeh report all wrapped up and I don't think you are going to be pleased with what was found. This is the same guy that cannibalized Joe Paterno's corpse when looking into that Penn State mess about your buddy Jerry Sandusky. Freeh's investigators interviewed all the witnesses whose testimony you based all of the suspensions on and he has discerned that those who haven't already retracted their statements were not telling the truth in the first place. How can you not back down from your stance on the suspensions of my coaches and players when it is coming to light that you were bamboozled? Nobody will hold it against you. You've already said that the severity of the suspensions you have doled out was due in part to the players and coaches being untruthful with you. They were "untruthful" because you were asking them to prove a negative which isn't really possible. What are you planning to do to those who lied to you in order to get this train rolling in the first place?

Goodell: Well, Tom. Nothing. I am the end all, be all. I am omnipresent. I have already swayed public perception nationwide to the point that your club will never be trusted by fans of the game and when it comes down to it, that equates to higher ratings. Your team being vehemently hated by the rest of the country will inevitably force them to tune in when the Saints are playing, if for no other reason than to hate them while they are playing.

Benson: You know what, Roger. Money does not equate to integrity and these suspensions you have levied to uphold the integrity of the game have destroyed the integrity of your office. We'll see what the public thinks of the Freeh report.

ARE WE EVER GOING TO SEE THE FREEH REPORT?

Your guess is as good as mine.




Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Musings on the Life and Times of Sean Payton


Who is Sean Payton? The man? The father? The husband? The coach? The friend? The human being?


These are questions that very few may have the answers to. The man who eloquently describes his players' injuries as a "hand" or "a knee" has given the public the same descriptions of his life. Can't blame him.


The story as it has been told to us:

  • College QB
  • Scab NFL QB
  • NFL Assistant
  • Parcells disciple and OC
  • Head Coach of the league's most beleaguered franchise
  • NFC Championship appearance in year one
  • Superbowl winner
  • Steals Jerrah Jones' wine
  • Vicodin scandal
  • The family moves back to Dallas
  • Bountygate
  • Banned from the league and football in general
  • Files for divorce from his wife of 20 years


So that's the narrative. Leaves lots of questions to be asked in the stories we read between the lines.


Read Payton's book? Heard the story about his post-Superbowl presser? Sleeping with the Lombardi? Peanut butter and sand for 3G before the game? Bats in the playoffs? See that fleur de fucking lis up there? White ball!? White ball!?

We all have nothing but the fondest memories of our saints fandom because of Sean Payton. The man, coach, leader, icon.

Has it been a fall from grace? Or is it something that has been in the works for a while? In this fan's opinion it has been neither. Coach was a victim of circumstance. Could or should he have been more vigilant in either stopping or covering up what has caused him to lose his job and reputation? Probably. But then he wouldn't be Sean "We Make the Damn Rules" Payton."

Does this mean the end of our coach and all that has made him the man he has been to all Saints players and fans alike? If you think so, go root for the (lowercase f) falcons. If Drew Brees (hey, Drew? Sign the damn contract already!) and the rest of his players and coaches have anything to say about it, they're going to win the whole God damned thing for Payton. If there was ever a man in a position to absorb a blow like this, it is Sean Payton. Just look at the way he has handled his players from the little that we have seen. He made Reggie Bush a team player for God's sake. He made Scott Fujita worthy of being recruited after the Superbowl by the Cleveland Browns for much more than he was worth because he enabled Scott to be a leader in a way that the Cowboys stymied. When many coaches would have been done with Robert Meachem and his first round draft position after the first few years, Payton coddled him and motivated him and plugged him into the system to get the most out of his strengths and limited his weaknesses. Post-Superbowl Vicodin scandal...not a peep. Suspended without pay for the entire 2012 season, he goes and plays with Jimmy Buffet and Grace Potter an the Nocturnals.

Even in his absence legitimate defensive stars have come to play for the New Orleans Saints -- Sean Payton's New Orleans Saints. You know what? You get what you paid for. Sean Payton is what we paid for. All of it. The rocking out with Kenny Chesney, driving local sports reporters to become drug addicts who lose their jobs, making people like Jeffrey Duncan hate him and the city's team so much that he is eating up this bountygate crap and asking for seconds, making Belichick pull his starters out of embarrassment, being the overall arrogant prick that alienates everyone in the league all the way to the top and a guy who hangs out with guys like Mike Ornstein. He gets the job done and he has had no qualms about doing things his way. From the janitor (get your kicks on that one) to the ticket reps to the secretaries and on and on and on. He has made Tom Benson more money off of this team than Benson ever could have imagined and will continue to do so until he decides he'd rather spend his time touring with Jimmy Buffet, smoking doobies, playing the bongos and singing about pirates at forty.

For the six years that Payton has been the head coach of the Saints he has made something out of nothing. Look at the pre-Payton Saints if you need a refresher on what it means to be nothing. He recruited high character guys -- players and coaches -- to create what has been a consistent force to be reckoned with in a division, conference, and league that is always getting better. Listen to what Vitt has had to say about the man he has been forced to take over for. Listen to Drew talk about the bond between himself and his head coach. Listen to any player or coach who has worked with and grown to love Payton (with the exception of Mike Cerullo [by the way, Mike, how do you disappear the night before the Superbowl?] and others who couldn't hack it in a Sean Payton run universe) and you'll hear nothing but a resounding applause for the man who has lifted them all to a level of excellence that not many men can accomplish.

Is there any reason to think that his staff will not be able to carry the torch in his absence? Lots of fans have their doubts, but not this Who Dat. The only staff changes that have been made this offseason are on the defensive side of the ball, where we all knew they had to be made. One more send the house blitz while protecting the lead (you know what this video is of, no need to torture yourself by watching it...) in the opponents own territory and none of us would have televisions left to watch.

So, if Payton's year hadn't been crappy enough already, his marriage has also withered into the abyss of broken dreams. But you know what? That's none of my business. Shit happens. And it happens to the best of us. Does it make him less of a man or a father? In the opinion of the product of divorced parents, here's a resounding go fly a kite" if you think so. If there is one thing I have learned from Sean Payton and the way he runs his team, it is that perseverance in the face of adversity is what makes you the man that you are. Whether or not doing the Bernie with random girls on the dance floor in the Bahamas is "perseverance" is not for me to say. Should he be sitting all alone in time out wondering why all this is happening to him? He can do that between jaunts in the Caribbean telling vidographers they're "#1" and planning revenge on The Shield. Go get 'em coach!

Anyone else ready for the Hall of Fame Game like they're ready for the Presidential election to get here so we can just know what we've got and work with it?

You know you are.

Who Dat!



Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Saints Start Summer Vacation

FOOTBALL

Greg Romeus is out

Chase Daniel has a thumb.

The Saints are still awesome whenever Drew signs.

And that's it...for actual football related Saints news. Awesome, right?

EVERYTHING ELSE

Moving on to bounties, suspensions, scandals, lawyers, commissioners, unions and all kinds of shit that can't be avoided when it comes to the New Orleans Saints and the state of the team this offseason.

First things first. Personally, I don't care about the coaches' or the payers' suspensions anymore. I'm over it. I have accepted them as definite and did so quite some time ago. The Saints are still a dangerous team. Possibly more dangerous than they were last year. According to media reports from mini camp, they are definitely more focused than ever.

So, remember when the player suspensions were handed out? And the statement from the NFL outlining each player's offenses? Let's take a look at it:

Under Article 46 of the collective bargaining agreement and the standard NFL player contract, a player is subject to discipline by the commissioner for conduct detrimental to the integrity of and public confidence in the NFL. The discipline imposed today for such detrimental conduct is as follows:


-Scott Fujita (now of the Cleveland Browns) is suspended for the first three games of the 2012 regular season. The record established that Fujita, a linebacker, pledged a significant amount of money to the prohibited pay-for-performance/bounty pool during the 2009 NFL playoffs when he played for the Saints. The pool to which he pledged paid large cash rewards for "cart-offs" and :knockouts," plays during which an opposing player was injured.


-Defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove (now with the Green Bay Packers) is suspended without pay for the first eight games of the 2012 regular season. Hargrove actively participated in the program while a member of the Saints. Hargrove submitted a signed declaration to the league that established not only the existence of the program at the Saints, but also that he knew about it and participated in it. The evidence showed that Hargrove told at least one player on another team that Vikings quarterback Brett Favre was a target of a large bounty during the NFC Championship Game in January of 2010. Hargrove also actively obstructed the league's investigation into the program by being untruthful to investigators.


-Will Smith of the Saints is suspended without pay for the first four games of the 2012 regular season. Smith, a defensive end, assisted Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams in establishing and funding the program during a period in which he was a captain and leader of the defensive unit. Multiple independent sources also confirmed that Smith pledged significant sums to the program pool for "cart-offs" and "knockouts" of opposing players.


-Linebacker Jonathan Vilma of the Saints is suspended without pay for the 2012 NFL season, effective immediately per league policy for season-long suspensions. The investigation concluded that while a captain of the defensive unit, Vilma assisted Coach Williams in establishing and funding the program. Multiple independent sources also confirned that Vilma offered a specific bounty -- $10,000 in cash -- to any player who knocked Arizona quarterback Kurt Warner out of the 2009 Divisional Playoff Game and later pledged the same amount to anyone who knocked Minnesota quarterback Brett Favre out of the 2009 NFC Championship Game the following week (played on January 24, 2010). Vilma is eligible to be reinstated after the Super Bowl in 2013.


The evidence conclusively demonstrated that from 2009-2011 Saints players of their own accord pledged significant amounts of their own money towards bounties, that players accepted payments for "cart-offs" and "knockouts" of injured opposing players, and that the payout amounts doubled and tripled in playoff games.


So, let's look at the record of what was presented yesterday. If you haven't seen the evidence presented or the annotated explanation by the union, you can look at it here. It will hurt your neck. You've been warned.

In the above statement I underlined certain points that seem to have been the basis for suspensions that were not shown in the evidence presented to the players yesterday. Go back and look at the games, the records presented (which havven't been authenticated and were "transcribed." I mean, does no one at the NFL offices know how to use a scanner?) and ask yourself if these reasons stated as to why the players were suspended were shown in the supporting evidence of their suspensions. I saw lots of stuff that had nothing whatsoever to do with any payments for anything and about 5 pages that could be considered relevant to the suspensions (if the transcriptions are accurate and the documents transcribed authenticated). It is obvious to me why the suspended players wanted coaches, teammates, and team personnel available at the appeal to testify as to the authenticity of some evidence, give context to some, and provide exculpatory evidence as well. The majority of the NFL's statement was not supported by the evidence presented. Roger Goodell was quoted as saying that the evidence presented yesterday was all they had on the four suspended players. Moron.

One thing is clear: The NFL thinks they can do no wrong and that they have these players by the balls. In a sense they are right. These suspensions are going to be upheld, but that isn't going to change the perception that people have of the commissioner and this investigation in its entirety.

In the transcription of the pledges of the Vikings game (where's the ledger for the Arizona game?) it shows Vitt contributing $5,000. How was Vitt not accused of doing this and not suspended longer than 6 games if this is true? Vitt's lawyer says that he was never charged with contributing to this pool and doesn't understand why it would come out now that he did. If the NFL had proof that Joe Vitt had indeed contributed any amount of money towards putting Brett Favre on a stretcher, don't you think they would have done something a little more about it?

This too is AWESOME
AWESOME

Read PFT's transcript of the morning session from yesterday's appeals? Do it. It will make you feel better. Two great and relevant quotes from the article:

“We have, in fact, engaged in a thorough investigation.  It has been [stymied] in part, sir, because you haven’t issued gag orders to people with evidence, former coaches, people with [the] New Orleans Saints, you had made threats to keep them from talking, you have refused to have them even participate in today’s proceedings, but nonetheless, Commissioner Goodell, we have talked to dozens of people, literally dozens of people regarding your allegations.  We have spend months gathering information and we have compared that information to your descriptions, your public descriptions. . . .  But in preparing with what you have accused Mr. Vilma with the information that we have gathered, we have found the following, Commissioner Goodell.”


“You have taken words that Gregg Williams used, colorful words like cart-offs and wax and [kill the head] and have chosen publicly to distort the meaning of those words notwithstanding the fact that Mr. Williams and others ha told you that those terms in no way relate to illegal hits or any bounty program that you have decided, sir, to misrepresent what those words, in fact, mean,” Ginsberg said.
Ginsberg also cites “substantial evidence” that Williams and former Saints assistant (and suspected whistleblower) Mike Cerullo “retracted directly and affirmatively and without equivocation any claims they have previously made about a bounty program,” explaining that the league has not disclosed those retractions.


Holy shit! Right? If these accusations are true, Roger Goodell better hope that none of this ever gets in front of an actual judge because, in my honest opinion, putting him into a situation where someone has authority OVER HIM could prove to be catastrophic for him as the commissioner of the NFL. Sure, the CBA grants him unlimited power and authority in investigations and gives him the right to punish as he sees fit, but it doesn't give him the right to misconstrue the facts of his investigations to publicly damage the reputations of all involved so that no one will even question his investigations and their merits in the first place.


Adam Schefter was on Mike and Mike this morning saying that it's obvious that there was a pay-for-performance program, but not necessarily a pay-to-injure program. And he's right. Something doesn't add up. This thing has stunk since the get go and with every day that passes and more "evidence" gets released, it stinks even more.


LETTING GO


As I stated earlier, I have accepted the punishments handed out for the Saints. I really don't think it will be all that big of a deal. I have let go of the anger I felt when Sean Payton was suspended for they year and have embraced the role we have been given. It is obvious to me that the 2012 New Orleans Saints are going to have to fight tooth and nail for every single yard they gain both on the field and in the press and that the hard work and determined effort they put in will pay off in the Dome come February.

Who Dat, bitches!