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New Orleans Saints v Jags but suspense builds in Vilma v Goodell

vilmaWhile the New Orleans Saints are getting ready for their exhibition game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, suspense builds.

The NFL sports world is still waiting to see what will happen in the Jonathan Vilma vs. NFL bounty courtroom match.  So far, Goodell won the first quarter is technically a tie although both sides can claim bragging rights.

On Friday, federal judge Ginger Berrigan said the punishment against New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma was excessive.  However, school is still out as to whether she will rule against the NFL.  The uncertainty is whether she has jurisdiction in the matter or if the players and coaches waived their rights in signing the collective bargaining agreement.

 

 

Should the judge rule for Vilma, the question becomes what happens to the rest of the suspended players?  Are their suspensions also excessive?

Speaking of Bounty, New Orleans Saints tight end David Thomas was with the Patriots in 2007 when New England had to pay penance for a videotaping scandal.

Thomas told his Saints teammates that the bountygate scandal will only be a distraction if they let it be a distraction. The Saints are showing no ill effects from the bounty drama,

The Patriots' drama never stopped them that season, assembling a perfect regular-season record with an us-against-the-world chip on their shoulder.

Saints safety Roman Harper told the Boston media last week that was the motto the Saints took to the locker room. "As long as we stick together in our locker room which is a great one -- and we don 't let outsiders get in and continue to be a distraction, it won't  distract us.

"We can continue to win games, continue to stockpile wins, and see where we're at the end of the year."

As much as it felt like things were going to work against them as players, the Saints believe they are a machine that won't stop running.

"Our program is set," Saints interim coach Joe Vitt has said. "I'm doing what Sean has established since '06. Our schedule is intact. The way we evaluate personnel is intact. The way we install it is intact. Our teaching is intact.

"Our players don't talk about it nearly as much as everybody here does to try and sell papers. We're trying to get better and we're trying to get prepared for the season."

Vitt has been a coach in the league for 34 years, and believes controversy surrounding a team sells newspapers and increases listeners for radio and television shows.

When the season begins, Vitt will begin serving his six-game suspension for his alleged part in the bounty drama.

Garrett Hartley and John Kasay are even in their battle for the Saints kicking job. Hartley will likely win because he has four years remaining on his contract...Despite his Canadian small-college background,Saints DT Akiem Hicks is showing signs he might be able to contribute immediately. The defensive line appears to be much better than last year...Thought: "I mustache you a question, but I'll shave it for later."...

Brandon Carter,a 6-foot-6, 319-pound guard who had a very brief career with the Saints in 2010, is training to become a WWE performer...Larry Brown, former New Orleans Buccaneers guard and NBA coach now at SMU on Gold Medal winner Anthony Davis: "When I was growing up, I saw Oscar (Robertson) get 56 in the Garden. I've watched Wilt (Chamberlain) forever. I saw Russell (Bill) in the Holiday Festival when I was a growing kid. Davis is in that class. He is gonna win 50 games for the Hornets."...

 

 

 

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Ed Staton

Ed Staton is a former sports writer for the Times Picayune and New Orleans States Item.  He also served as the New Orleans Saints Information Director.  He has won 43 media awards in writing, design and photography.  

 

Website: www.louisianasportstalk.com

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