Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Moving on Up!!!

To the east side. To that deluxe website on the net.

Alright BNG faithful, this should serve as the final post on this site for a while.

"Why?" you ask. Because we've moved to SB Nation.

My new site is now CanalStreetChronicles.com!

The lovely people at SB Nation have been keeping their eye on me for a bit and have decided to take a chance on me. I know, "What the hell are they thinking?"

In all seriousness though, if you have really liked what you have seen here, just click on over. You can bookmark it or add it to your feed. You'll have to sign up to comment or participate, but I am telling you, its worth it. SB Nations gets way more traffic and is well respected in the online sports community. It will be way more fun, and members get to write their own mini-blogs, called Diaries. The site will be updating its format this summer, so the site will have a completely different feel (check out one of the baseball sites to see the new look). So if you have liked what you have read thus far, come fly with me. Thank you for your interest in the site, and I hope you keep up with me on the other side.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Comment on Top Draft Picks

I found this article yesterday, but with so much other news I decided to skip it. I had already cited like 3 other Times-Pic articles anyway.

But every time I read it my blood boils. This blurb from the article is what REALLY sticks in my craw...

"The top five guys will probably be the top five paid guys at their positions before they even play," said Dallas Cowboys Coach Wade Phillips, a decidedly old-school thinker who'd prefer to see the big money go to the core veterans of a team, five-, six-, seven-year pros who routinely are the backbone of an NFL club.

Tell me any other job, career, assignment, WHATEVER, where a person starts off on the highest financial echelon BEFORE he even gets to the office, job site, store, WHATEVER!

Do you start off as manager of McDonald's and work your way to fries? Do you work your butt off for 20 years as CEO, putting your career before you marriage and kids, in hopes of getting that big promotion to the mail room?

NO!! What upside-down, Seinfeld-esque, bizarro world is the NFL operating in? Feldman!

Take our team for example. Reggie, the second overall pick in 2006 was so hyped and highly-touted after his amazing (and I will give that to him. He was sick. Seriously.) college career. And so, as is the culture in the NFL today, we "made it rain" on Reggie (do I owe Pacman royalties for using his phrase). And of course, being the god-awful 3-13 team we were in 2005, we didn't bat an eye. We were the luckiest team alive. "What the hell was Houston thinking!?" we asked ourselves, and anyone who would listen. Never seen him play a down in the NFL? F&%@ you, pay him! He's holding out and missed thee practices? F&%@ YOU, PAY HIM! Fans would have hanged Benson in Jackson Square if he let Reggie go, no matter the cost. We are all guilty, myself included. What else should we have thought?

On the other side of the coin we have Deuce. Going on 8 years now with the Saints. Team loves him. Players love him. Coaches love him. Fans love him. City loves him. The dude is Mother f%&#@ing Theresa if Mother Theresa ran a 4.5 4o and it takes four 350 lb. linemen to take her down. Now, Deuce's contract isn't exactly small potato's. Dude is gonna be fine. But Deuce proved himself. He had already won the approval of his teammates, coaches and fans. We knew he was worth it. Ahem. Three seasons in a row over 1,000 yards. Cough. On top of the fact that he was a nice guy about the whole renegotiation process; "As part of the new contract, Deuce lowered his 2005 base salary by $1.7 million, freeing up cap room for the team."

Such is the discrepancy in our favorite sport. It's the proverbial tail wagging the dog. Young, unproven, possibly talented athletes earning more than dependable, selfless, franchise veterans. To be fair, Reggie has contributed to this team. But because of the amount of money we spent on him without flinching, our expectations are higher. If we are going to pay Reggie more than Deuce, then Reggie should produce more than Deuce.

And what happens if a player like Reggie doesn't work out? Other than the fact that a team spends a lot of time and money figuring out that they shouldn't have spent all that time and money, said team is saddled with a huge contract for a useless player, and burdened by said contract for the following few years, thus limiting their payroll, minimizing their cap room and putting other players in the position of having to make sacrifices such as the one Deuce made for the team in 2005 and may have to make again this year. Does that seem fair? Noble, yes. Fair, I think not. But I guess that is why Deuce is Deuce, and Reggie is, well...not Deuce.

Have a great 2008 season Reggie. Please. We know you have big shoes to fill.

I'll leave you with Bill Polian's words...

"...it needs to change because the draft was designed to positively affect the game on the field and create competitive balance, and now we find it's doing just the opposite."

That felt good. It's nice to have a soapbox, er, I mean blog. I'll take a break from the ranting for a couple of posts.

Glenn, and Rivers and Bush. Oh My!

Alright! Actually some news to talk about today...

First up, Saints sign CB Aaron Glenn. Here is the Times-Pic article. In my opinion, this isn't really such a big deal or anything to get excited about. He's as old as the hills, and he has not been very productive as of late. He only played 5 games last year. Glenn is a journeyman (now his fifth team in 14 years), which means he's got some experience. I don't think he is going to be the panacea this team needs to stop those long pass plays that haunted us all last year, but his maturity and experience could help our younger DB's like Harper, Young and whoever we draft (we will probably get at least one DB in the draft). Check out his stats and form your own opinion.

In other news...The Times-Pic FINALLY got in on the mock draft action and released their first round list. I've got that riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight...........here. Their pick...(drum-roll)...USC LB Keith Rivers. They give their explanation in this article (man, they were busy down at the TP today, huh?).
After having seen DT Sedrick Ellis and Rivers at USC's pro day they think Ellis is too good to still be available and they think Rivers WILL be available and too good to pass up. What about DRC (CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, for those of you NOT in the know) you ask? He slips to the Cardinals at the 16th spot. Why? Because the writers at the Times-Pic know what I have been screamin' the last two weeks...

"...that's one thing we've always known about the Saints -- they love that best athlete available."

Rivers, I think everyone agrees, is the better player at his position and seems to be more of a sure thing than DRC.

The people at the Times-Pic also mentioned we could see a trade up to get DT's Ellis or Dorsey, or a trade down with possibly the Eagles for Lito Sheppard. Ahhhh...now THERE'S an idea (more on that in a bit).

But what light has all of this info from the Times-Pic shined on the draft situation?

Absolutely none. We still have no idea what the Saints are gonna do. There are still a lot of possibilities. And no one seems to know a damn thing (isn't this fun kids).

This bloggers opinion:

  • Ellis or Dorsey if either amazingly slipped down (not likely) or they trade up.
  • Then Rivers if he's still available. I know what your thinking..."But we just got Vilma and Morgan at LB, why get another one?" BEST PLAYER AVAILABLE! (why do you think we got Meachem the year after we had the best receiving corps in the league) We got help at CB too with Gay and now Glenn, so either way, the Saints would be doubling up on talent. And in a draft deep with DB talent, maybe we could take our chances in the second round.
  • If Rivers is gone, than I suggest THIS possibility...trade with the Eagles for Sheppard, and pick up, say, DT Kentwan Balmer with the 19th pick. That leaves us with an improved secondary, an improved LB corp and improvement on the inside of the line. We haven't made any improvements on the D-line this season, so this would give us all around improvement. Huh? What do you think?
You guys agree? Love to hear what you think!

One other article to throw at ya'. This one. And it comes aaaaaallllllll the way from Helena, Montana. Why the hell they are talking about Reggie Bush I have NO idea, but god bless them. They've obviously got good taste up there! Anyway, to sum it up, it basically says Reggie needs to be more like Brian Westbrook. Okay. Sounds good to me. We all know about his selfless kneel down on the goal line last season. I love that stuff!

Our "Other" First Round Pick

A brilliant, over the shoulder catch along the endzone sideline for a touchdown against Buffalo. That's really the only glimpse of WR Robert Meachem, the only 2007 first round draft pick to not play a single down, we saw last season. Saints fans have but a few pre-season performances to gauge his talent and skill. And even then its not truly accurate, as the level of play during those games are NOT on par with their regular season counterparts.

Last summer he dealt with a knee injury that kept him limited through mini-camp and training camp. He never had a chance to get to full NFL speed, impress coaches, and show off what he could do. By the time he was healthy enough, it was too late for the Saints to take a chance on playing him. This season he is expected to battle for the third WR position. The Times-Pic had an article about a week ago updating us on Meachem.

Since this season will be the first time we see what he can do (and we will see. oh yes...we will see. we payed him first rounder money), this is informally his rookie year. The Saints "other" rookie for 2008. Yet he remains an enigma. Maybe there are more great catches in his repertoire. Maybe he will team up with Marques Colston and become the Twin Towers of Terror (I can dream, can't I? they do have similar body types). Or maybe the naysayers are correct and he will go the way of Johnathan Sullivan in 2003...a big bust and a big drain on our payroll.

Whichever way you lean on this thriller, you definitely have an opinion, so let's here it! What should we expect from Mr. Meachem this season?

Here are his college stats and scouting report from last year. No point in posting his NFL stats.

And here is a quick video of Meachem seeing his rookie card for the first time.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Saints Draft Picks by Round Since 2002

Yet another Draft related post...

I put together these tables to show you what the Saints have done in the draft by round for the last 6 years. My conclusion...the sixth round has not been kind to us. My favorite part...Good ol' Mr. Colston aaaaalllllll the way down there at the bottom. Our little diamond in the rough. Feel free to make your own assumptions and speculations and comment on them. I would love to hear what you think. Enjoy!

First Round
2007 Robert Meachem
2006 Reggie Bush
2005 Jammal Brown
2004 Will Smith
2003 Johnathan Sulllivan
2002 Donte Stallworth
2002 Charles Grant

Second Round
2007 None
2006 Roman Harper
2005 Josh Bullocks
2004 Devery Henderson
2004 Courtney Watson
2003 Jonathan Stinchcomb
2002 LeCharles Bentley

Third Round
2007 Usama Young
2007 Andy Alleman
2006 None
2005 Alfred Fincher
2004 None
2003 Cie Grant
2002 James Allen

Fourth Round
2007 Antonio Pittman
2007 Jermon Bushrod
2006 Jahri Evans
2005 Chase Lyman
2004 None
2003 Montrae Holland
2002 Keyuo Craver

Fifth Round
2007 David Jones
2006 Rob Ninkovich
2005 Adrian McPherson
2004 Rodney Leisle
2004 Mike Karney
2003 Melvin Williams
2002 Mel Mitchell

Sixth Round2007 None
2006 Mike Hass
2006 Josh Lay
2005 Jason Jefferson
2004 None
2003 Kareem Kelly
2002 J.T. O'Sullivan
2002 John Gilmore

Seventh Round
2007 Marvin Mitchell
2006 Zach Strief
2006 Marques Colston
2005 Jimmy Verdon
2004 Colby Bockwoldt
2003 Talman Gardner
2002 Derrius Monroe

Saturday, April 5, 2008

SaberCats @ Voodoo Recap

The Voodoo continue to win, and in convincing fashion. This one was another blowout, Voodoo 72 Sabercats 43. The Graveyard crowd has yet to see their team lose. We were not expected to be this good this season, but we now own the third best record in the league. I've said it once and I'll say it again, these guys are good and the whole Voodoo experience is a blast.

Game Notes:
  • Another dominating performance. I thought this one would be closer, but it was over in the second quarter.
  • I said the secondary would be key in this game, and they were. 3 interceptions, 2 for touchdowns. Not to mention a couple more that just barely slipped out of the Voodoo hands. Could have easily been five. Calvin Spears and Norman LeJeune each brought one back for a score. Umar Muhammad had the third. Great job all around. Seriously, is Jason David watching game tape on this?
  • Saintil had 3 TD's but all were under 10 yds. He only had 74 total yds.
  • Jason Geathers picked up Cleannord Saintil's slack and had a good game with 188 yds and 2 TD's. Pretty much the only bright spot for San Jose tonight.
  • Play of the game: AFL defensive player of the month in March Calvin Spears' first quarter pick six. It put the Voodoo in the lead and they never looked back. The Graveyard erupted after the play. I have never heard it so loud in there.
  • The Voodoo defensive line applied great pressure, forcing bad passes and throw aways and helping the DB's make those interceptions.
  • No Voodoo receivers broke 100 yds, but James Jordan had a great game with 3 TD's. He has been on fire as of late and Winprine's go to guy. Runner up for play of the game was his REMARKABLE 4th down catch in the 2nd quarter with Omarr Smith ALL OVER him. I watched it again on TV and it really doesn't do it justice. Seriously, sick catch! I think he retired early, in the fourth quarter.
  • Wimprine spread the ball around, played a great game and had 5 TD's. He was announced as the player of the game. He also threw a 47 yard bomb to Javarus Dudley, the longest scoring pass in franchise history. Toward the end of the 4th quarter he called it a night and Steve Bellisari came in, not to be outdone, and threw a 45 yard TD pass himself.
  • Steve Bellisari, a QB mind you, also delivered a huge hit on a special teams kick return. That is the second time we have seen him rock someone and end their dream of reaching the end zone.
  • By the fourth quarter everyone was in high spirits and the cameramen were getting some funny stuff from the fans to put up on the big screen. You gotta love the unreserved innocence of kids dancing and attempting "the sprinkler."
  • Tom Benson and his wife were in attendance in their corner luxury box. He owns the team and doesn't have a mid-field seat?
  • As part of the AFL's "it's all about the fans" policy, it seems every stoppage in play there are Voodoo personnel walking onto the field to throw t-shirts, beads, Frisbee's etc. into the crowd.
  • Something you may not know if you haven't been to a game: those cameramen are out there ON THE FIELD during play to get close angles. Literally getting into the huddle and kneeling 10 yards behind the line of scrimmage DURING the play. If there is a quick turnover and change in direction, those camera guys better book it.
  • My favorite moment: One of the refs needed a ball to spot on the current yard line before the snap and got thrown 2 different balls at the same time. One flew over his head, which he kinda went to grab, while the other hit him right in the crotch. Classic!
The Voodoo are now 5-1, on a five game winning streak. They face a tough competitor next week in the undefeated Dallas Desperados. This will be their first real test and I'm a little worried about this one. But hey, is New Orleans a hot city for sports right now or what!?

Game Day Open Thread: Sabercats @ Voodoo

Sunday April 5, 2008
Location: The Graveyard New Orleans, LA
Game Coverage: TV: Cox Sports TV Radio: 95.7 FM
Kickoff: 6pm
AFL standings

New Orleans Voodoo
Record: 4-1
Roster.Stats.Depth Chart

San Jose Sabercats
Record: 3-2

Week 6 is upon us in the AFL and the Southern Division leading New Orleans Voodoo are taking on the Western Division leading and reigning AFL champion San Jose Sabercats tonight at The Graveyard. (cue thunder and lightning effects) The Voodoo are returning home after a brief trip to Colorado last week. San Jose is coming off a win in Kansas City. The Voodoo defeated the Sabercats in their only meeting last season, 67-54.

San Jose is led by veteran QB Mark Grieb and his favorite target and their most dangerous threat, WR Cleannord Saintil (pronounce that however you think) who is fourth in the league in receiving yards with 569. DB Omarr Smith, Defensive MVP of last years Arena Bowl, leads all Sabercat defensemen with 32.5 tackles, but trails Voodoo defensemen Lin-J Shell and Calvin Spears with 34 and 33 tackles respectively. San Jose has the best kicker in the league in A.J. Haglund who has a league leading 64 points.

I'm liking the Voodoo in this one. San Jose is last years champion but haven't been playing at that same caliber as of yet, and New Orleans is the hottest team in the league, coming off 4 straight wins. Shutting down WR Cleannord Saintil is the key to tonights game. He has put up big numbers this season and he is a great athlete with the ability to make big plays. Fortunately, the Voodoo secondary is more talented and I think they have the advantage here. Whoever wins this match-up will probably win the game as well, so keep your eye's on that. This has been a surprising season thus far, and we are outplaying our expectations, but great play has now become more of a standard and less of a surprise. See you at the game!

Voodoo Doll of the week: Sara

Before I leave, I just wanted to hook you up with this link to this SNL skit. The name of San Jose's team, the Sabercats, and their cheerleaders, the Saberkittens (it keeps getting cuter) reminded me of this skit and I thought you all might get a laugh out of it as well.

This is an open thread, so I welcome all comments! Even if it's just to tell me how badly you want a cat with a laser on it.

Friday, April 4, 2008

SB Nation's Mock Draft

Well its mock draft season. For those of you who don't know what a mock draft is-though I think its pretty self explanatory-it's basically a simulation of what the draft will look like as far as which teams will take which players. It's sometimes done by one person, sometimes by multiple people, all of whose expertise range from NFL insiders to thirty-something losers in their mother's basements. SB Nation has their own version which I think is pretty good. It's different because the individual bloggers for each team make the selections for their team. This means instead of one or a handful of people pretending to know who every team is going to pick, the picks are made by individual team experts who only focus on THEIR team. That's GOTTA be better, right?

So who did the Saints pick in the first round of SB Nation's mock draft?

CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie from Tennessee State.

I'm okay with the pick. Especially since LB Keith Rivers, DT's Glenn Dorsey and Sedrick Ellis and CB Leodis McKelvin were already off the board.

You can check out an interview with DRC (that's what all the cool kids are calling him) here at NFL Draft Countdown.

And again, I urge you check out SB Nation's mock draft and keep up with it. Cool stuff!

Some possibly exciting news for those Deuce lovers out there. Rotoworld reported a story from NFL network saying Larry Holder believes Deuce will still be a Saint in 2008, though he may have to take a pay cut. I believe that Deuce would take a pay cut, but I have no idea how substantial these rumors are. It sounds like pure speculation to me and just one persons opinion, so keep that in mind.

And finally, the Saints announced that they are ready to start selling tickets to season ticket holders (that's me!!) for the game in London on October 26th. I noticed we had a few votes by people who are planning to attend. I think that's great. I am highly jealous. Here is all the necessary information from the official Saints website. Looks like they have put together a few different packages that include hotel, transportation, parties etc. which I think is pretty ingenious.

Anyone in the Saints organization who may be reading this, I would be glad to go to do some Saints and New Orleans PR if you wanted to send me.

Green Wave to Green Bay

So...NFL Draft Countdown has Matt Forte, RB from my alma mater Tulane, going to Green Bay with the 56th pick. I have no idea where he will end up but there is the possibility he could wear the Black and Gold. We don't REALLY need him, but don't be surprised if we take him as part of our "best player available" strategy. Regardless, it's nice to see the Green Wave being represented in this years draft by a great athlete.

For those of you who don't know, he finished second in the NCAA last season in total yards at 2127 (thats more than McFadden). I know, I know...he may not have had to play against good teams week in and week out but I really like the way he runs. Someone to keep your eyes on. I hope he gains even more success in the NFL.

Former Tulane grads Shaun King, Patrick Ramsey, Mewelde Moore and Roydell Williams have all had a modicum of success, but Green Wave fans are still waiting for someone to take it to that next level.

If Green Bay goes with Forte he will be the second Tulane player to also play for Green Bay.
The other? Max Mcgee, hero of the first Superbowl. The man got wasted the night before the big game yet tallied 138 yards and 2 TD's. 'Nuff said. McGee died last October.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Pre-Season Schedule Announced

The Saints announced their pre-season opponents today. Info can be found on the official Saints website. Of important note, we get a nationally televised game on ESPN against the Cardinals in Week 1, so THATS exciting. Dates and times for the remaining games have not been announced.

Week 1: Saints @ Arizona Cardinals
August 7, 2008 7pm ESPN

Week 2: Saints vs. Houston Texans

Week 3: Saints @ Cincinnati Bengals

Week 4: Saints vs. Miami Dolphins

In league news, the Bengals finally said "enough" and released Chris Henry after his fifth run in with the law in 3 years. NFL.com article. Good riddance. Players like this bring down the image of the league. I hope no one picks him up. I won't dignify this story with any more comments. Shouldn't even have mentioned it in the first place.

NFL Owners Meeting Update 2.0

I promised an update on any news and notes from the owners meetings, so here is a quick summation. Plus the latest from the Saints.

  • The facemask rule. No more 5-yard facemask penalties, only 15-yarders. A player accidentally grabbing a mask and quickly letting go with not be called.
  • The forceout rule. A receiver HAS to get two feet or a body part inbounds.
  • The field goal rule. Certain field goals can now be reviewed. Made famous by Browns K Phil Dawson's kick.

  • The fumble rule. "A legal forward handoff that is dropped is now a fumble, as is a direct snap from center that hits the ground before it is touched by the quarterback. In the past, the forward handoff would have been an incomplete pass and the botched snap would have been a false start."
  • Coin Toss. Winners of the coin toss may now defer.
  • The re-seeding of the playoffs failed.
On a worrisome note, the Times-Pic states at the end of this article:

Payton said he had concerns about the health of running back Deuce McAllister's knees, though he added McAllister's rehabilitation from surgery on his left anterior cruciate ligament and microfracture surgery on his right knee were progressing well.

"I think you have to have some concern with what he does and the position he plays," Payton said. "As best we can, we're trying to gather all the information and seeing how he responds to the treatment and rehab."

Finally, it seems Will Smith knows what he is doing, and may have picked the right moment to ask for contract negotiations:

Saints owner Tom Benson, whose luxury yacht the Lady Gayle Marie is docked nearby, had members of the staff together for a Tuesday night dinner cruise.
Payton said Benson had New Orleans seafood flown in for the occasion.
"Everyone felt at home eating crawfish; it was real nice," said Payton, who added the meal was not messy."These were nicely peeled neatly on a tray, with shrimp and clams, all the appetizers and hot dishes. . . . There was plenty to eat. I ate too much. Tom and his wife were great host
s. They've got a real nice boat."

Coach Payton thanks Tom Benson and family for his hospitality. He also asked for a doggy bag and was caught shoving packets of Sweet & Low in his pockets before leaving the Lady Gayle Marie.

You are dismissed.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Dear Mr. Smith,

I am not happy with your current situation with the Saints organization. I think you are a great player, probably better than Charles Grant. Ya know, the guy that gets paid a lot of money for doing the same thing that you do. Actually, I think he makes more than you. Anyway. You seem like a pretty intelligent and nice guy. I agree that you deserve more money and that what you currently make in relation to what other players of your caliber at your position are making in the league is little. I believe you have the right to think "if everyone else is getting paid, than so should I." That is the culture of this league, and if everyone else gets paid these large contracts, than so should you. I will spare you from the "I can't believe how much athletes get paid when there is so much need in Post-Katrina New Orleans" diatribe.

But my problem is this, Will. You are still under contract! You should still be participating in team activities. Even if they are voluntary, it doesn't send a good message to your teammates or your fans. I was a little worried when Reggie Bush was splitting time between New Orleans and L.A. and missing OTA's last year. I don't want to start doubting you. Quit acting like a baby, Will! Get your ass into work. We ALL want and think we deserve more money. Except most of us most likely won't get it. At least not in the next year. But you will. Someone will pay you. Get some perspective.

You know your good (otherwise you wouldn't pull this stunt). So lets see it! This is gonna be a great year. Grant will be healthy. New faces McCray, Vilma, Morgan and Gay are all here to help. And by the looks of it, we may get some help on the inside at the draft. You HAVE to show the Saints and everyone else in the league what you can do. If you don't play well, nobody in the league is gonna want you. Whoever does won't offer you that big contract. And thats how we got into this whole situation to begin with, isn't it?

I'm fairly confident if you play well, Mickey and Mr. Benson will take care of you. Well Mickey anyway. This city loves you, and you say you love us. We all want the same thing. So just cool it, get back to work with your team, play hard, try to get us a championship, and have patience and faith that you will get what you deserve.

Coach Payton

Open Thread: Who Will the Saints Pick in the Second Round?

With so much attention going to the first round of the draft, I think we should talk about who the Saints will choose with the 40th overall pick in the second round. Pretty good players can just as easily come out of the second round. Hell, REALLY good players can come out of the seventh round (see: Marques Colston).

  • It would stand to reason that whoever the Saints pick in the first round will affect what they will do in the second.
  • If they go LB in the first round, than they will go either DT or CB in the second round.
  • If they go DT first, than they will go...well, you get the idea.
  • Some of the names that have been getting thrown around are DT Kentwan Balmer, DT Dre Moore, DT Trevor Laws, CB Patrick Lee and LB Curtis Lofton
  • Finally, always remember Payton is a strong believer in the "best available" school of thought, so don't be surprised if he goes with a punter in the second round. Kidding...kinda.
Who do you think it will be? I'm opening this one up to the floor.

Smith Unhappy

The Times-Pic said in an article this morning that Saints DE Will Smith is unhappy with his contract and not participating in team activities.

Every year we have to go through this. I like Will Smith and I think he is a great player, but why do these guys get so greedy? It's now turned into a pissing contest between Charles Grant and Smith. Of course I would rather see the Saints pay him and keep him than risk losing him. I know we picked up Bobby McCray, but he is no where near as good as Big Willy Style.

Will Smith has NOT been getting jiggy with the Saints this offseason.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

NFL Owners Meeting Update

Day 1 of the NFL owners meeting wrapped up today in Palm Beach, FL. (what an awful place for a bunch of rich guys to have a meeting). There were a few key issues that were discussed at the meetings. John Clayton has a recap in this article, and that article.

The salary cap issue:
By far the most important and long-lasting issue being discussed. Basically, there is the possibility that the NFL may become a no salary cap league. What does this mean? It means NFL owners would be able to pay as much OR as little for players as they want. It could cause disparity in the league if some teams try to "buy" a championship by paying lots of money for lots of good players.

Commissioner Roger Goodell fears this possibility, and warns,
"I think owners in pro sports start to understand that you can't buy championships. You have to be very cautious. It's something that's very difficult to do. You build a team, particularly in the NFL, it's so important to build through the draft, to have the team concept, 22 players plus special teams contributors. I'm concerned, but it's not something I think is realistic in football."

If this happens, their could also be a backlash from the players. Getting rid of the cap means you get rid of a league minimum salary as well. Which means owners could pay their players as LITTLE as they want and lead to a lousier "on-field product." The players would NOT be happy about that.

"Players have threatened a possible work stoppage in 2011 should owners opt out of the current deal."

Owners have until November to opt out and choose to lose the salary cap.
For all the details, check out the Times-Pic article.

The million dollar question remains, What does this mean for the Saints?
It could hurt us because we do NOT have as much money to throw around as some of the other teams. Furthering the gap would be the fact that Tom Benson is a cheap ass.

The hair issue:
I already discussed this in a previous post, but no decision will be made until May.

The microphone issue:
The lobbying effort by coaches to be able to communicate directly with their defensive captains the same way a quarterback can receive play calls has finally paid off.

"Defensive coaches now will have the ability to put radio speakers in two helmets, but only one of those helmets will be allowed on the field on a given play."

The playoff seeding issue:
"Goodell and the competition committee are pushing a new re-seeding formula for the playoffs in which wild-card teams can get home games over division winners with worse records."
Doesn't look like this is gonna happen though. I heard Scott Fujita on the radio today saying he didn't want to see this happen.

I will keep everyone updated as important decisions are made.

Since this post is about the owners meeting, what better way to leave off than with pictures of New Orleans fans showing their love for their favorite NFL owner.

Falcons Blog Interview. Blogerview? Interblog?

In an effort to make this blog all that it can be, I decided to reach out to other bloggers from other teams and see what they would have to say about their respective teams. Dave, over at TheFalcoholic.com, part of SBnation.com (great site), took the time to answer some of my questions about the upcoming season.
I know, I know. You're probably yelling at me...The FALCONS!?!? But like it or not, we play them twice every season and I am all about the tradition of rivalries.

Here is what we discussed:

Where do you think your team will go in the first round of this years draft?
The Falcons will likely go offensive or defensive line in the first round. Our most critical need is probably offensive tackle, so I would expect to see the team look long and hard at Jake Long if he's there. If he gets selected, the Falcons will be shooting for Glenn Dorsey or Sedrick Ellis next to fill a major need at defensive tackle. Despite the opinions of every expert this side of the Rockies, I can't say I see new GM Thomas Dimitroff staking his tenure on Matt Ryan.

The last place team of the NFC South has gone on to win the division the following year for about 5 years now. Should we be scared of you?
I'd be lying if I told you to fear us. We're like a box full of kittens, or a nest full of baby birds, or the Dolphins: completely and totally helpless. A good draft will go a long way toward making us respectable, but it won't be next year. The Falcons will be lucky to finish with 6 wins in what should be a tougher division next year. I'd be pretty encouraged by six, actually.

Who will be your starting QB this year?
The Falcons will begin the year with Chris Redman as the starter, barring an injury. He was en fuego once he came in to start last year, and the Falcons have nothing to lose by tossing him into the fire. If he falters, the Falcons will turn to Joey Harrington, D.J. Shockley and whatever second or third round rookie QB they turn up in the draft. I see no reason why Redman shouldn't start the year with the Falcons.

Do you feel Falcon fans are over the whole Vick thing? Are you worried about it being a distraction again when he gets released?
The feelings with Vick are still very raw. At the risk of quoting both Godfather and Bill Simmons, Vick is basically dead to me now. As a Falcons fan, I have a lot more pressing things to worry about than someone who isn't really a member of the team anymore. When he gets released some fans will scramble for him again, but I say to hell with that noise. Vick had a chance with this franchise and proved to be an incredible athlete and someone who was involved in a reprehensible enterprise. The Falcons can move along without him.

Thanks again to Dave for being so friendly and professional. I hate the Falcons just a little less now. Hopefully we will be checking in with him from time to time in the future.

Monday, March 31, 2008

NFL Kickoff Weekend and Compensatory Draft Picks

The NFL announced today its plans for NFL kickoff weekend. Article.


"The 2008 regular season officially opens on Thursday, Sept. 4 when the New York Giants host the Washington Redskins at 7 p.m. ET on NBC."

"The Week 1 Sunday night primetime contest will feature a rematch of of Super Bowl XLI, with the Chicago Bears
at the Indianapolis Colts at 8:15 p.m. ET." "The first Monday night of the 2008 season will feature a doubleheader for the third consecutive season. In two matchups of division rivals on Sept. 8, the Green Bay Packers will host the Minnesota Vikings at 7 p.m. ET, followed by the Denver Broncos at the Oakland Raiders at 10:15 p.m. ET. Both games will be televised on ESPN."

Also making news in the NFL today was its announcement of the compensatory draft picks this year. I actually didn't know anything about this, so I learned a little something.

"Under terms of the NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement, a team losing more or better compensatory free agents than it acquires in a year is eligible to receive compensatory draft picks. The number of picks a team receives equals the net loss of compensatory free agents up to a maximum of four."

Basically, what it means is: If your team lost more players than it got in free agency, or the players you lost were better than the ones you got, the difference between players lost and players gained is how many extra picks your team gets.
Get it?
For more info and a more complete explanation, read the article.

In unrelated Hornets news, coach Byron Scott has contacted Josh Todd, lead singer for Buckcherry. Should Chris "Birdman" Anderson fall off the wagon again, Todd will be called in to be his replacement in team photos and appearances.

Who Will the Saints Draft?

Well, the draft is rapidly approaching, and it seems to be the only thing anyone can talk about.

Here is some linkage to a bunch of Mock Drafts:
Pat Kirwan...Vin Carucci...Football's Future
NFL Draft Blitz...NFL Draft Dog...NFL Draft Countdown
Draft King

  • DT Sedrick Ellis seems to be the most popular opinion, and I agree. I don't know if he will still be available. There is speculation of a trade up with New England in order for us to acquire him. I would be absolutely shocked if Dorsey was still available.
  • I agree with Draft Countdown: "Most will have a cornerback here but after recently investing big free agent dollars on Jason David and Randall Gay, not to mention a 3rd round pick on Usama Young last year, it's pretty hard to envision them using a Top 10 pick on the position." However, the team also spent money in free agency at the linebacker position with Jonathan Vilma and Dan Morgan. More reason to go with a DT.
  • Payton has consistently said they will go with the "best player available" policy (thats how we wound up with Meachem) and not draft for need (usually a mistake). If both of the top rated DT's are taken and/or they don't trade up, than the pick will be whoever the Saints think is the best value at the tenth spot, which is anyone's guess.
Of course its a crapshoot. I'm sure nobody thought Reggie would be a Saint.

This is a hot topic, talk this one up.

On the lighter side, here is a picture of Drew Brees with Alfonso Ribeiro, better known as Carlton from Fresh Prince. I smell sitcom!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Colorado Crushed!!

The Voodoo came away with it's fourth straight win on Sunday against the Colorado Crush by a score of 54-51. Lin-J Shell made an end zone interception with time expired, making the Voodoo's 3 point lead enough for the victory.

Game Notes:
  • Scoring went back and forth the entire game. It became clear the last possession would determine the outcome of the game. Not a blowout like previous games. This one could have gone either way. Fortunately, it went ours.
  • Javarus Dudley and James Jordan both had 9 catches for 106 yards. However, Jordan had 4 touchdowns.
  • The Voodoo defense of yore did not show up today. We had no sacks and the turnover ratio was even. Not the same level we WERE playing at.
  • Play of the game: This one's easy. Lin-J Shell's interception. Duh.
  • If you wanted to watch the game live, you would have had to either go to a bar unless you are fortunate enough to have satellite TV. Otherwise, listening to it on the radio would have had to suffice.
  • Another exciting, nail-biting, last second heroics game for the Voodoo this season. I can't tell you enough how much fun the Voodoo are to watch. I don't know why any NFL fan wouldn't be able to enjoy the AFL. If you haven't gone to a game yet, seriously, check it out! It's easy to support a winner.
They now hold a two game lead in their division. Next on the schedule for the Voodoo are the San Jose Sabercats, in New Orleans, Saturday, April 5th.

So this is how I will do Saints games, except more info. I don't know as much about the Voodoo as I do about the Saints, admittedly. It's also hard when you can't see the game. Can't wait for the season.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Voodoo vs. Crush

Alright, since the Saints news is slow going in the off-season, and since I am also a Voodoo fan and season ticket holder, I will post a bit about the Voodoo. This game preview and subsequent post game info will be similar to what I do for the Saints games.

If you haven't seen or attended a Voodoo game yet, I highly recommend it. For some reason I decided to buy season tickets for this season having never even attended a game. The first one I went to the guy next to me caught a football that a player had thrown into the stands after a TD (you get to keep them) and the Voodoo won at the last second breaking up a pass on a 2-point conversion. Exciting stuff. They get a pretty good crowd at "The Graveyard" though the upper bowl has a lot of empty seats. Apparently the Voodoo lead the AFL in attendance however, a testament to New Orleans' never ending thirst for all things football.

Anyone who has been to Voodoo games, speak up so those who haven't had the good fortune to go will know how much fun it is to cheer on the AFL's best team!

Sunday March 30, 2008
Location: Pepsi Center Denver, CO
Game Coverage: 95.7 FM
Kickoff: 3pm

New Orleans Voodoo
Record: 3-1
Roster.Stats.Depth Chart

Colorado Crush
Record: 1-2

Going into the second quarter of the season, the Voodoo have been playing well as of late. They are coming off a dominating performace last week and the team has won their last 3 games, all at home, thanks to the great play of their QB and River Ridge native Danny Wimprine (he played for John T. Curtis). They happen to be his first 3 starts.

Their defense is among the best in the league (hence my mock article in a previous post), and last week they held their opponents to no scores for 2 quarters. Pretty hard to do in the fast paced, high-scoring AFL. DB Calvin Spears is coming off a week in which he was named AFL's defensive player of the year. The team also leads the league in turnovers at +9 and tied for the lead in sacks at 8.

Colorado, at least partially owned by John Elway, has not had the same success. They are second in their division with a 1-2 record, which speaks to the weakness of their division. It's comparable to being second in the NFC south...it doesn't say much.

As long as the Voodoo continue to play the solid football they have been, I don't think this game should be a problem for us. With a strong offense and even stronger defense, we should be poised to get our first road victory of the season and keep us in first place.
The Voodoo have played the Crush only once before and lost.

I leave you with a picture of Kara, our weekly Voodoo Doll. Enjoy.

P.S. Yesterday we had over 100 visitors! Good to see! Now if I can only get you to speak up!

Whose your favorite Saint?

You may or may not have seen this. If you have, I think its worth watching again. And again. And yet again. If you haven't...prepare to be amazed.

The behind the back catch doesn't amaze me (someone yells "ball", alerting him that its coming)so much as the last one, in which he stares the ball down and spins his arm around completely before actually catching it. ONE HANDED!!

Displays of skill like this amaze me. I really almost don't believe it. Are there special effects at work in this video?

Colston is my favorite player. For different reasons:

First of all, he played for Hofstra in Hempstead, NY my hometown.

Also, so far in his career, he has been consistent. I know its only been 2 years, but he has been Drew's favorite target.

On top of that, I love his personality. Quiet Storm they call him. Very religious. He is no where near a Terrell Owens or a Chad Johnson type. Rarely do you see him celebrate. When he makes a catch, he always just gives the ball a little flip. (actually, he always flips it very quickly after the catch. I am always worried one day he will flip the ball too early and the ball will still be in play!)

He is a Cinderella story. Second to last pick in the entire NFL draft and he is one of the most talented receivers in the league. Payton and staff did a great job finding this diamond in the rough. And we were only paying him league minimum. What a deal!

Hopefully when it comes time for him to get paid, he wont start doggin' it. He doesn't seem like the type though.

I think this kid is for real. Proud to wear his jersey.

So now I want to know...Who is your favorite player and why?

Friday, March 28, 2008

Who will be the next Saints running back?

April 15th.


That is the deadline the Saints organization has on deciding what they will do with Deuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuce McAllister. Pay him his $1 million bonus or say goodbye. We all know Deuce is recovering from his second torn ACL. The decision was actually supposed to be made March 15th, but both Deuce and the Saints agreed to postpone it. (Seems to benefit both parties.) It's all laid out in this article from a few days ago, but it raises an important question (see title of post).

And the nominees are...

The reigning champion. If Deuce winds up convincing the Saints he's worth his $1 million dollar bonus, he has the chance to reclaim his spot as the #1 guy. Other players have come back from two separate torn ACL's, including 49ers RB Frank Gore. If he does play, will he ever be the same? I think most of us hope so.

Reggie. He had his chance last year to be the main guy and didn't deliver. I think its pretty much agreed he's not a between the tackles kinda back. Could he prove me wrong? He has pledged to attend all the OTA's and mini-camp's, as opposed to splitting time between NOLA and LA last year, so maybe he's gotten his head focused.

I had to put this picture on here. I don't think I would be able to find a
picture like this of Deuce. Form your own opinions.

Aaron Stecker. He really came through for the team late last season, showing everyone what kind of offense we SHOULD have been running immediately after Deuce went down. Unfortunately, it was too late. Steck is pretty old though. Not much left in the tank.

Pierre Thomas. Did you see him in the final game of the season against Chicago!? Seriously, did you see him!? He's young. He's got a lot to prove. He has only delivered. Never dissapointed. Watch out for this one!

And the winner is...

Pierre Thomas.

I like him. A LOT. And I know I am not the only one. He played great in pre-season and probably would have gotten more attention for it, but Lance Moore had a great pre-season also. I thought he should have gotten his shot earlier than he did, but I guess the team was worried about his experience, and Aaron Stecker was doing a great job. He is like a bowling ball out there and he loves contact (he said so himself). He has his whole career in front of him, and personality wise, he seems down to earth. Regardless of whether Deuce comes back, Pierre should see some time.

As far as the others, Stecker is getting too old. Maybe we could get another year out of him, but I don't think he has what it takes to be a premiere back.

As I said earlier, Reggie just doesn't have the running style every NFL team needs. Line him out wide and give him pitches, screens and quick outs. Or try and turn him into a full blown receiver. But he will never be Deuce.

So what do you guys think, hope, wish, pray!?

  • Will Deuce come back?
  • Is Pierre good enough?
  • How should the team use Reggie?
  • Does Stecker factor in at all?
  • Do you like my Reggie Bush picture?

Also, K Olindo Mare signed a two year deal with the Seahawks today.

  • Was he given a fair chance?
  • Do you care?

Talk amongst yourselves.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

London Calling

You could be here!

There was a blurb in today's Times-Picayune updating Saint's fans about their October 26th game in London's Wembley Stadium.

"Saints season ticket-holders will be provided with an exclusive advance opportunity to purchase general admission tickets for their own use for the 2008 NFL International Challenge in London on Oct. 26." Season ticket holders keep your ears open, the announcement will be coming soon. If you don't plan on going to the game (like me, sadly), but you know someone who maybe would go, check and see if they would be interested in buying them from you. Don't know how many season ticket holders will take advantage of this opportunity. We need to get as many Who Dats as possible across the pond to represent NOLA.

It also stated that team officials think there should be a "more than sufficient supply." Good news for any Saints die-hards who were hoping to attend.

But before your entrepreneurial spirit kicks in and you start thinking about buying tickets so you can re-sell them on Ebay or StubHub to make a profit (I certainly did), be warned, "those tickets will be for the season-ticket holders 'own use,' meaning they can't be transferred or sold."

In league news, NFL owners are meeting this week in Florida. Among the discussions......long hair! More specifically, whether players, like Troy Polamalu, will be required to tuck it under their helmets. The only Saints player I would think that may be affected would be Mike McKenzie. Regardless, I don't understand why you would want your hair to be out of your helmet during a game. Troy should know better...

Josh Radnor, Dats Who!

What the!? Is that!?
So I was watching CBS's Monday night comedy line up this week (actually pretty good), and was SHOCKED when I saw what Josh Radnor's character was wearing! Right in front of my eyes was a vintage Saints t-shirt! (My fiance was not nearly as impressed) We are not as recognizable as the Cowboys, Steelers or Packers, so I love it when the Saints pop up in weird, random situations like this and always wonder what the thinking behind it is. iMDB say's Josh is from Ohio, so maybe the excellent wardrobe choice had something to do with non other than Kentwood, LA native Britney Spears, who made a guest appearance on this particular episode. Regardless, How I Met Your Mother is OBVIOUSLY the clear Emmy front-runner for Best Wardrobe for a comedy series.

If your interested in purchasing the shirt, I found some on Ebay here.

Dorsey Proves Himself

For those of you LSU fans who were hoping to see DT Glenn Dorsey trade his purple and gold for black and gold, you can kiss that chance goodbye. Dorsey exhibited his skills at LSU pro day in Baton Rouge on Wednesday. NFL.com article.

The DT's draft position was in question amid rumours that he had lingering injuries, specifically a fractured tibia and sprained MCL. But with his performance today he put those rumours to bed.

His numbers:

225-lb bench press: 27 reps
Combine Avg: 27 reps

40-yd dash: 5.14 sec (avg.)
Combine Avg: 5.15 sec

Vertical leap: 25.5 in.
Combine Avg: 30 in.

Short shuttle: 4.95 sec
Combine Avg: 4.60 sec

3-cone drill: 7.63 sec
Combine Avg: 7.75 sec
source for combine avg.

With the injury speculation now put aside and his abilities proven he has now become a heavy favorite to be picked top 3 in the first round of this years draft. That means no way will the Saints take him unless they make some huge move and give up a lot. If the Saints decide to go in the direction of DT with their first pick, it will most certainly be USC's Sedrick Ellis.

I leave you Tiger fans with a 1 minute highlight clip. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Saints and Voodoo Trade Defense

Following this article in the Times-Pic on March 24, and the incredible success of the New Orleans Voodoo, it has been announced that the New Orleans Saints and the New Orleans Voodoo, both owned by Tom Benson, may be switching part of their defenses.
"We are waiting on confirmation from Commissioner Goodell," Voodoo head coach Mike Neu said, understandably upset in a phone interview.
Having been spotted at the local Voodoo games with his son in Mr. Benson's private box, Saints head coach Sean Payton decided to do a little research. What he discovered could be the Saints saving grace for the 2008 season.
"The NFL lawyers, high ranking officials and I have gone through the formal NFL rules and by-laws and we may be able to make this work." NFL commisioner Roger Goodell stated earlier.
In what seems to be an unnoticed loophole, the governing rules of the National Football League say nothing about players from two different teams in two different leagues under the same ownership playing for each other.
"It forbids players to simply switch within the NFL and between teams with different owners," Goodell added "but not between two teams, one each in the NFL and AFL and with the same owner. It seems they [NFL regulations] were never updated to include the new AFL entity."

Saints coach Sean Payton was very excited at the possibility of receiving much needed defensive help. "It's about time! We are pretty happy with where our defensive line and linebacking corp is right now, so we are only going to take DB's."

Coach Payton and his staff get their first look at his new defensive players at Voodoo practice.

When asked why he was going through with the change, Tom Benson went on record quoting, "It works out for everyone. The Saints are improved by getting a better secondary and players like Jason David have the chance to play at a level more their speed. Slower."
Adding, "The Saints bring more publicity to the city of New Orleans than the Voodoo. The better they do, the more recognition we can get for our city. Recognition brings money. I loooooove money. So lets do this."
Calvin Spears, one of the reasons for the Voodoo's defensive success as of late and the AFL's player of the week was naturally ecstatic, "I have always tried to play at the highest level I could play at. The NFL is the highest level. This is the American dream!"
In reference to whether he would miss his former Voodoo teammates, Spears said, "It's just unfortunate that the Saints secondary happens to be god awful. If it was the offense or special teams, maybe I wouldn't be getting this opportunity, so I feel blessed. It could have been someone else and not me. I will miss them, but I'm not looking back. God was definitely looking out for me on this one."
DB's Keon Raymond and Lin-J Shell will be the other fortunate Voodoo players to get this once in a lifetime chance. Shell had this to say, "London baby! I'm excited about that overseas game in October. London is a foreign country, so they should understand my first name."
If the deal goes through, the Voodoo players involved will have to cut their AFL season short to attend NFL meetings, orientations and Saints mini-camp. Because Benson owns both teams and the same parent company owns them both, all players involved will remain under their same contracts until the end of the season, at which time new ones can or cannot be offered.
"Of course I'm pissed!" Neu exclaimed. "They're sticking me with Jason David and the rest of those bums. What the hell am I gonna do with him? I looked over the Saints game tape from last season. David wasn't even in frame on most of their opponents long scoring passes. As far as I'm concerned, we just went from first to worst. Kiss the f****** 2008 Voodoo season goodbye. [inaudible mumbling]"
David was unavailable for comment, though his agent said he's been on the phone non-stop trying to come up with some appeal since his camp found out the news. "We have our entire staff looking into this. There is no way this can be feasible. Honestly, I'm am completely appalled. I mean, why would Jason [David] want to appeal this? He knows he sucks."
In a rush, he ended the conversation, "Jason [David] and Fred [Thomas] should just take it easy, hit up some strip clubs and 'make it rain'. I gave them 'Pacman's' digits."

Voodoo head coach Mike Neu will have little to
celebrate the rest of this season.

"With a better secondary now, we can focus on filling different needs in this years draft. This is definitely a positive. I feel bad for Mike [Neu] and his team, but this is what Mr. Benson wants, and who am I to complain." said Payton.
The official announcement is scheduled to come from NFL headquarters in New York City later in the week.

Pacman Returns?

So, ESPN's John Clayton say's that Adam "Pacman" Jones may get reinstated into the league before this years draft in April. This comes from Rotoworld. As most of you know, Jones was suspended from the league for his many run ins with the law, most notably a shooting at a strip club that seriously injured a bouncer.

The question now becomes what happens to him. He is still technically a Titan, and the Titans have said they will look at all their possible options. Article in The Tennessean. But Pacman says, "The best business decision is for me to start somewhere new," and the Cowboys seem to be the only suitor at this point.

What does this have to do with the Saints? New Orleans and New England are reported to be the other two teams interested in Jones.

Personally, as I said in a previous post about Jeremy Shockey, I would not want to see Pacman or any Pacman type person on our team. They are distractions, regardless of their athletic ability. I mean, could you see a a guy like Pacman, who rolls around town with thugs who carry guns (In his defense, Pacman was NOT the shooter) in the same locker room with the likes of stand-up guys Drew Brees and Deuce McAllister. After all, we are the Saints, not the Sinners and Bourbon St. strip clubs are already seedy enough. And again, he doesn't seem to fit in the character mold of the players that Coach Payton seems to want.

So to answer Bobby Hebert and Kenny Wilkerson's question on their radio show tonight, NO, I don't think the Saints should pursue Jones, even if he happens to play the same position we need the most help with and would certainly be an upgrade. Even if they put in a clause that voids his contract if he gets into any trouble. I will take my chances with Randall Gay and the draft. Someone in this league will "make it rain" on Pacman and give him his second chance, but I don't think it will be us.

If that doesn't pursuade you, and it doesn't HAVE to, maybe Tommy Urbanski's story will, from Rick Reilly's Life of Reilly.

I would like to know what ya'll think!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Draft Preview

With the draft quickly approaching (April 26-27) everyone is buzzing (unintended Hornets reference) about who will pick who. Pat Kirwan at NFL.com released his mock draft yesterday. Interesting point to note is that Kirwan seems to think the Saints will trade up with the Patriots to the No. 7 pick, thus allowing us to get DT Sedrick Ellis.

Everyone seems to be in agreement that the Saints will go with someone on the defensive side of the ball, but Coach Payton also agreed they will go with the best player available, regardless of position. Ellis would be a better pick than any of the available corners, but picking up a corner would still be an improvement. Should Darren McFadden or another offensive star slip and still be available when the Saints pick, don't be surprised if they go with him.

The following info is from Scott Wright at NFLdraftCountdown.com. It's a compiled list of the most likely candidates for the Saints first round choice. Check 'em out! One of these guys will probably be wearing black and gold next year.

Sedrick Ellis
Defensive Tackle Senior USC
Height: 6-01/2 Weight: 309 40-Time: 5.23

Official Bio

Strengths:Very quick with a great first step...Very strong and powerful...A terrific pass rusher with the burst to close...Athletic with good speed...Instinctive...Sheds blocks well and is able to beat the double team...Is technically sound when it comes to using his hands and understanding leverage...Has a non-stop motor...Tough and a very hard worker with top-notch intangibles...Has experience at both tackle positions. Weaknesses:Doesn't have the ideal height or bulk that you look for...Has some minor durability issues...Might have some trouble holding his ground at the point against massive blockers...Limited schematically and probably won't be a perfect fit for every team. Notes:Could be a prototypical three-technique at the pro level...Redshirted in 2003 after breaking his left ankle and missed some time in '06 with a knee injury..Productive, disruptive force in the middle..A better prospect than Mike Patterson was in 2005.

Leodis McKelvin
Cornerback Senior Troy
Height: 5-101/4 Weight: 190 40-Time: 4.38

Official Bio

Strengths:Very athletic...Has good size...Excellent timed speed with a burst to close...A solid tackler...Outstanding footwork...Great hands...Has fluid hips and is smooth in his transition...Natural man coverage skills...True playmaker who is a threat to take it the distance every time he gets his hands on the ball...Also a dynamic return man. Weaknesses:Relatively marginal instincts and anticipation...He doesn't have a lot of experience bumping at the line...Could do a better job in zone coverage...Too aggressive and plays a little out of control at times...Did not always play against elite competition. Notes:Hails from the same college program that produced Osi Umenyiora and DeMarcus Ware...For his career he averaged 13.1 yards per punt return with 7 touchdowns and 23.7 yard per kick return with one touchdown...Named to several All-American teams after averaging 17.4 yards and with 3 TD's as a punt returner in '07...Draft stock soared as a senior and quietly emerged as one of the best prospects at his position..Has starting potential as a corner and should be a top-notch return man.

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie
Cornerback Senior Tennessee St.
Height: 6-11/2 Weight: 184 40-Time: 4.33

Official Bio

Strengths:Naturally athletic and very smooth...Great height with long arms and some growth potential...Very good timed speed with a burst to close...Instinctive and breaks on the ball quickly...Terrific agility...Playmaker with exceptional ball skills...Aggressive and confident...Was pretty productive at his level...Also an excellent kick returner. Weaknesses:Needs to add weight and bulk up...Not very physical and has to get stronger...Did not play against top competition...Still raw and will need to work on his technique and footwork...Struggles to shed blocks...Doesn't really offer much in run support. Notes:Attended four different high schools and didn't play football until his senior year..A Division II All-American...Also participated in track for the Tigers, winning the Ohio Valley Conference championships in the 60 yard dash, the long jump and the high jump...Needs to put some time in at the training table and in the weight room but has the talent to make the NFL leap...One of the top sleepers prospects available.

Mike Jenkins
Cornerback Senior South Florida
Height: 5-101/4 Weight: 197 40-Time: 4.40

Official Bio

Strengths:Has very good size and bulk with long arms...A great athlete...Good timed speed and acceleration with a burst to close...Physical...Natural cover skills...Is versatile with experience at both corner and safety..Smooth with fluid hips and nice change of direction...Breaks on the ball quickly...Also offers some special teams potential. Weaknesses:Is not great in run support...Not overly instinctive...Pretty inconsistent...Has some character questions...Footwork and technique are shaky...Lacks superb ball skills and awareness...Toughness may be an issue...Might be a bit of a CB / S 'tweener. Notes:Was born in Germany...Combined with teammate Trae Williams to form one of the best corner duos in the nation...Also played safety early in his career...Suspended after being arrested and charged with misdemeanor counts of disorderly conduct and obstructing or opposing an officer without violence in March of '07...Has a ton of starting experience and everything you look for physically in a pro corner...Very good prospect who has the talent to be a starter...Could get slightly overdrafted.

Aqib Talib
Cornerback Junior Kansas

Height: 6-03/4 Weight: 202 40-Time: 4.45

Official Bio

Strengths:A smooth natural athlete...Has very good size and bulk with long arms...Excellent instincts and anticipates well...Nice leaping ability...Terrific hands and ball skills...A playmaker and ballhawk who is always a threat to take it the distance...Adequate timed speed...Offers some positional versatility...Can excel in man or zone...Good intangibles...Extremely confident with a short memory..Has some return potential. Weaknesses:Will take too many risks...Does not play as fast as he times and lacks a burst...Is not real physical...Just average in run support...Struggles to recover...Inconsistent and is not very disciplined..Has too much confidence in his abilities...Footwork and technique need refining..Gets beat more often than he should...Has off-the-field / character issues that need to be investigated and evaluated...A high bust factor? Notes:Name is pronounced "Uh-keeb Tuh-leeb"...Recruited as a safety and redshirted in 2004..Was a freshman All-American and then led the nation in pass breakups as a sophomore...Also saw extensive action as a wide receiver with the Jayhawks and for his career he had 9 catches for 224 yards (24.9 avg.) and 5 touchdowns...Has all the physical tools you look for but his tendency to give up big plays to inferior competition (Jordy Nelson & Maurice Purify) is a concern...Extremely outgoing and is sure to be a quote machine...He'll likely either be a big star or a complete bust.

Harper for Shockey!?

So the hot topic on all the message boards is the rumours about a trade with the NY Giants, giving them S Roman Harper and a second round draft pick (No. 40) for TE Jeremy Shockey.

If you read the Article, you will see these are just faint rumblings. I don't think this trade would ever happen. Crazier things have happened, but it just doesn't seem likely. The author of the article isn't even sure they are referring to a 2nd round draft pick in THIS years draft! Sounds like weak info. Payton knows Shockey from his days with the NY Giants, but Shockey doesn't seem to fit the character mold Payton has been trying to build with this team. No loud mouth ocho-cinco types please!

Feel free to sound off on this one!

On the other hand, check out Shockey's tat!

New Look Superdome

I read in New Orleans City Business today that the Superdome is receiving another upgrade. Being added are four big windows into the side of the building, and four escalators on the Club level. While the escalators will really only effect those fortunate to have the better seats in the stadium, the windows seem like a cool idea. Apparently the view from the inside will be cool, but the windows won't really be noticeable from the outside unless you look carefully. Maybe these continuous renovations will mean New Orleans will get to host a well-needed Superbowl in the near future, thus receiving the positive economic impact that comes with it. Check out the Article.

In other news, The Rocky Mountain News of Denver reported that the Broncos were "finalizing a visit this week with Olindo Mare." As far as this Who Dat is concerned, they can have him. He can be their problem now!

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...