Mike Stagg LIVE: Louisiana Coastal Plan

Wednesday, 08 December 2010 09:05
New Orleans Saints: St. Louis Rams, Atlanta Falcons, Drew Brees, Bags To Riches
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The Saints will have to sweep the last four games to have a good shot at winning the NFC South. Beating the Bucs sure helped the Falcons ice home-field...The Saints take on the emerging Rams on Sunday at the Superdome in the 3:05 p.m. game. Rookie Sam Bradford has led the Rams to a tie atop the NFC West at 6-6 with four games to play.

He has completed 65 per cent of his passes with  just  two interceptions in the past five games...Drew Brees is fifth onSI.com's MVP watch "Hard to imagine a man with 16 interceptions being in play for the MVP. But Brees, if he stays healthy, should end up with something like 4,500 yards and 35 touchdown passes. Last year, in his Super Bowl season he was 4,388 and 34"...

 

While the Edward Jones Dome often looks rather empty this season, folks in St. Louis are starting to catch Rams fever again. The Rams-Cardinals game on Sunday pulled  a 29.7 share in St. Louis, the highest for any game since the season  finale in 2003 (Kurt Warner was the quarterback then and was in the broadcast booth for the game on Sunday). The average rating for Rams games is the highest they have been since 2004. While ticket sales may take a year to catch up, this is another sign of the impressive revitalization of the franchise under coach Steve Spagnuolo. No matter happens the rest of the season, Sam Bradford was worth his entire signing bonus...Rams beat writer Bryan Bunell of the St, Louis Post-Dispatch, on what the Rams must do to beat the Saints: "The Rams were able to stay competitive with the Saints last year by winning time of possession. Barring some genius defensive game plan that will cover up the injuries in the secondary, keeping Drew Brees off the field is the key,."...

 

Bags To Riches

 

A newly published book dealing with the Saints' run up to the Super Bowl paints an inspiring picture of how the football team and the people of New Orleans helped one another rise from above the shock and despair that followed Hurricane Katrina.

The book also reveals in considerable detail how close owner Tom Benson came to uprooting the Saints from New Orleans and permanently moving them to San Antonio following the hurricane.

Published by Acadian House Publishing of Lafayette, the book it titled From Bags To Riches: How the New Orleans Saints and the people of their hometown rose from the depths together.

The author is Jeff Duncan, a sports columnist for The Times-Picayune who has covered the the Saints since 2000. The introduction was written by Deuce McAllister, the prolific running back who played for the Saints from 2002 to 2009.

"After the storm, this team and their city mirrored each other like never before...As the city rebuilt, we rebuilt as we injected a new nucleus of talent via free agency and the draft. The city's resilience mirrored our team's resilience...We reached the mountaintop, together. We saw the Promised Land, together. And, man, was it beautiful," wrote McAllister.

One of the chapters, "An unlikely convergence of talent," deals with the Saints' good fortune in 2006 when they were joined by Coach Sean Payton, quarterback Drew Brees, running back Reggie Bush and other top-notch players such as offensive lineman Jahri Evans and wider receiver Marques Colston.

Another chapter, "Extreme makeover of the defense," reveals the inside story of how Payton -- knowing he needed a strong defense to go with his league-leading offense to get to the Super Bowl -- gave up a part of his own salary in order to secure the services of highly respected defensive coordinator, Gregg Williams.

The 336-page hardcover book has two photo sections: One featuring the flooding of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina and the expeditious rebuilding of the heavily damaged Superdome; the other depicting football action and excited fans.

From Bags to Riches is available through bookstores nationwide. It can be obtained via the internet (www.acadianhouse.com) or by mail order from Acadia House, P.O. Box 52247, Lafayette, La. 70505, (800) 850-8851. It retails for $24.95 plus $4 for shipping.

In the concluding chapter, Saints general manager Mickey Loomis sums up the magical 2009-10 season.

"I don't know if any city, any team, experienced such a string of emotional highs. The 13-0 start. The overtime field goal to beat the Vikings. The onside kick. The Tracy Porter pick. The incredible Brees....The parade in front of hundreds of thousands. On and on it went....a team lifting a city. A city lifting a team...It was a dream. But it happened," he said.

Ax Job


HERE are the NFL coaches most likely to get the ax, joining Wade Phillips, Brad Childress and Josh McDaniels on the chopping block, listed in order for proximity to the firing line: John Fox, Carolina; Marvin Lewis, Cincinnati; Mike Singletary, San Francisco; Gary Kubiak, Houston; and maybe Eric Mangini, Cleveland...Latest MVP odds: Philip Rivers 3-2, Michael Vick 7-2, Tom Brady 9-2, Peyton Mainning  11-2 and Aaron Rodgers 15-2...The Ravens' Ed Reed (St, Rose) joined an exclusive club with his 50th career interception. Players with at least 50 picks and 20-plus return average: Reed (26.8), DeionSanders (25.1), Darren Sharper (22.4) and Rod Woodson (20.9)...Who copyrighted the copyright system?




SOME hither, others yon: I'm giving credit to Chad Ochocinco with making one of the prettiest boundary catches I've seen in a long time, barely tapping with both feet on the final blade of fake grass before his momentum pushed his body over the sideline  on Sunday...One reason Bengals coach Marvin Lewis will be job-hunting after the season: The Bengals score  a touchdown with 13:42 left in the game and he went for one. Terrible decision, particularly with a kicker who'd already missed one PAT...How high will Cam Newton be drafted if he decides to come out? In the first 10...The Saints rank No. 8 in the week's SI.com's ratings."The Saints have gotten back in the race while feasting on the pudgy middle part of the schedule. Now comes the tough last four weeks, and the very difficult task of making up ground on the hottest team in the NFC, Atlanta. Saints close with this playoff-contender slate: St. Louis, at Baltimore, at Atlanta, Tampa Bay.": ...

by Ed Staton

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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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