Sunday, March 23, 2008

Welcome and Offseason Review Thus Far

Though I have always thought it was somewhat pretentious to think people would want to listen to what I had to say, the purpose of this blog is for everyone to be able to share their honest thoughts about the greatest football team in the NFL. I will attempt to make insightful, knowledgeable and perhaps witty posts about the team on a regular basis, creating a sounding board for everyone else to do the same. During the season I will write pre-game and post-game posts, as well as news and updates. In the off season, I will post on all the moves leading up to what will hopefully be our first championship season.

We all know what it means to love the Black and Gold. We have been through every emotion because of those noble gridiron warriors. From heartache and disappointment, to pure joy, back to heartache and disappointment. And more heartache and disappointment. Than still more heartache and disappointment. Well, you get the idea.

We cheer. We Drink. We cry. We curse. WE DRINK. We cry. We Drink. Curse. Cry some more. Again, you get the idea. But we still love. And we unite every Sunday afternoon in the fall/winter, hoping that the Saints will live up to their divine name, and pull out some miracle. For the most part it has eluded us. Yet still we keep the faith.

And on to the team...

Well, I guess I will just jump right into all of this...After the disappointment of last season on the defensive side of the ball, I think it was pretty obvious what the team needed to address this off season. Surprisingly, the team was pretty aggressive in getting help. They acquired LB Jonathan Vilma from the Jets, CB Randall Gay from the Patriots, DE Bobby McCray from the Jaguars, LB Dan Morgan from the Panthers QB Mark Brunell from the Redskins, and most recently OL Matt Lehr from the Bucs.

In my opinion, Jonathan Vilma and Randall Gay were the two biggest additions.

Vilma is a great player, and the only reason the Jets let him go was because he didn't really fit in
with their new style of defense last year. His knee injury from last season will be in question however.

Vilma: “The next few months are laid out in front of me as far as what I have to do to get back to 100%. I haven’t had any setbacks and my progress has been excellent to this point and moving right along. I haven’t had any setbacks and am doing everything that I should be
doing at this point in time. I am really progressing and have people that are working closely with me. I feel good." Interview Career Stats.

Returning back home is former LSU standout Randall (Don't Call Me) Gay. He has the possibility to be a good pick up too. But I think after seeing the disappointment that was Jason David last season, most of us Who Dats are a little skeptical. Note to Jim: I know you want to buy his jersey so you will finally be able to proclaim both your love of the Saints AND your sexual preference at the same time, but I would hold off until he proves himself on the field. Career Stats.

Bobby McCray gives us some more depth on the ends. Last year Charles Grant had some issues with injuries and Josh Cooper got to see significant playing time. McCray would be an even better backup should Grant or Big Willy Smith be out. Career Stats.

Dan Morgan would add a great one-two punch with Vilma at LB if he can stay healthy, but injury is a huge problem with him, and the 15 year vet is not getting any younger. Injury List. Morgan and Vilma both played at Miami together, Morgan a senior when Vilma was a freshman so maybe there will be some extra chemistry there. Career Stats.

I feel much safer with Brunell backing up Drew than Jamie Martin. If Brees should ever get injured (knock on wood, EVERYONE!!) we would be screwed. End of season. Just a fact. But Brunell's experience makes me feel like MAYBE there would be a chance he could lead the team. Like those heart-warming Cinderella stories they show on Inside the NFL and Real Sports with Bryant Gumble about the old veteran who finds his swagger one more time, ala "The Rookie." I never got that feeling from Martin. Apparently, Brunell is also a tech savvy man, who uses the Internet to reach his adoring fans. Check out the YouTube clip below. Career Stats.

Rounding out the defensive signings is the return of DT Brian Young and LB Mark Simoneau. I'm okay with that, though the Saints may try and upgrade at DT in the draft. A little more on that later.

As for the rest of the signings, we have kept our receiving corp together. Devery Henderson, Terrance Copper and David Patten all got new contracts. Colston is still under contract, and because of this late round draft status (it doesn't get much later), he earned just the league minimum his first two years. What a steal!! Maybe Robert Meachem will get to play this year too!! Last season he was the only first rounder to not play a game. At TE, the Saints kept both Eric Johnson AND Billy Miller. Miller had maybe his best season last year, and came up with some big plays at some big times. I seem to remember him barreling over someone head first on a 50+ yard run down the sideline one game. Johnson had his bright spots, but I will never forget the game at Houston last year when two passes went right off his hands and directly into the hands of Texan defenders. In my opinion, those two plays single handedly may have lost that game for us. Fortunately, hes an ivy leaguer (Yale) so he should be smart enough to correct those mistakes.

Finally, the team decided to stick with K Martin Gramatica. Thank God!! This was a no brainer to me. Mare sucked. Gramatica was 5 for 5 in this brief stint, including a last second, hurry up attempt before the half against Philly. I feel bad for Olindo Mare, but I am glad to see him go. He is lucky he doesn't play in New York or they would have hanged him. Missing those pertinent field goals against Carolina in Week 5 was just unbearable. I'm gagging just reminiscing.

I will continue with more posts on the draft, and also just adding my notes on my hopes and dreams for the team this year. The floor is now open...

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