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.
RIP Van Buren
RIP: Steve Van Buren, the Hall of Fame RB who led the Eagles to NFL titles in 1948 and 1949, has died. He was 91. The former Warren Easton and LSU star led the NFL in rushing four times. He was born in Honduras. When his parents died when he was 10, he moved to New Orleans to live with his grandparents. He is survived by three daughters.
You know it is a strange pre-season when the names you hear associated with New Orleans Saints news are not Drew Brees, Sean Payton but Joe Vitt, Aaron Kromer and Jonathan Vilma.
But, that is the way of the bounty.
Offensive line/running game coach Aaron Kromer will serve as the Saints interim while interim head coach/assistant head coach Joe Vitt serves a six-game suspension for his role in the bounty drama.
Kromer will serve as the head coach for the Saints' final two preseason games. Kromer will officially take over for Vitt starting on Sept. 3 leading up to the Saints' opening regular-season game against Washington on Sept. 9 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
It is now obvious that Roger Goodell will not have a good welcoming come Super Bowl Sunday 2013.
Goodell could not have picked a worse time to punish a team than he has done with the New Orleans Saints and in particular Jonathan Vilma.
Goodell is not welcome in Vilma’s eatery. The city of New Orleans hosts the Super Bowl and presumably, should the Saints not make it to the land of NFL glory this year, the NFL and Goodell could be blamed for their fate.
As the fourth game of the pre-season approaches, it is obvious that the New Orleans Saints are short in man-power. The two soft areas right now are linebacker and head coach.
Some of the plans to replace Jonathan Vilma with a strong set of replacements now need to be replaced.
Also, as the two losses in exhibition season has verified, the Saints can use all of the help it can get. The abstract notion that the Saints will be without its head coach and its backup coach in Joe Vitt is now becoming more concrete. The New Orleans Saints did not win all of its games and certainly did not win the really crucial games and that is when they were at full throttle. Now, imagine the top two heads out of operation for the first part of the season due to suspensions and then the main cog being out for the entire year, Sean Payton, and what you have is a lack of not just hard bodies but gray matter up top.
While it might be easy to bring in a free-agent or trade for a new player to back up a wounded warrior, the idea of installing a new coach for a sizeable part of the season to replace Vitt is almost nonsensical.
The Saints on Sunday signed wide receiver Greg Camarillo to a one-year contract to provide depth to an injury-depleted wide receiver corps.
The Saints also placed linebacker Chris Chamberlain (knee) and offensive lineman Fenuki Tupou (triceps) on injured reserve.
Camarillo, 30, caught nine passes for 121 yards for the Vikings last season. He was with the Dolphins the previous three seasons.
Observations: DE Junior Galette continued a strong presaason and could start for Will Smith during Smith's four-game suspension. After that, he could fit into the regular rotation because of his pass rush skills...CB Elbert Mack could win a roster spot as a backup CB and special teams player...Former LSU QB Ryan Perrilloux was 2-for-2 including a 14-yard TD pass for the Giants in their win over the Jets...If there's any justice, Bernie Madoff and Jerry Sandusky should be forced to be cellmates...I saw someone in a tavern who wasn't holding a cell phone and was shocked...
ESPN's latest Outside the Line summarizes that suspended Saints coach Sean Payton can be a jerk. This program ran on Sunday morning. It was put together by John Barr, who is the same ESPN guy who took a swing and a miss regarding the report GM Mickey Loomis had the ability to eavesdrop on opposing coaches.
Writes FFT.com's Mike Florio: "We've heard the stories over the years. Payton can be arrogant and vindictive and mean spirited when dealing with the media. And, yes, he has done some things that are over the top -- as he is one-year suspension confirms."
Florio quotes former Saints defensive end Charles Grant as saying of Payton: "He wanted every player on the team to have swag. "Even if you were in the front office, he wanted you to have swag."
A rough off-season could have gotten a lot worse if the Saints had lost Drew Brees in falling to the Jacksonville Jaguars 27-24 on Thursday night in a preseason game at Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Brees took a big hit after tight end Jimmy Graham missed a block on Jaguars defensive end Jeremy Mincey, who got a direct shot on Brees, hitting him on his throwing hand and shoulder, forcing a fumble. Mincey said the Saints' offense gave him direct a shot for the play.
The New Orleans Saints will play Jacksonville Jaguars in its third exhibition game tonight at the Mercedes Benz Superdome but some believe the real showdown could be the evidence the Vilma presents to the court in its case.
The question is--did NFL commissioner Roger Goodell prejudge New Orleans Saints Jonathan Vilma’s “bounty” activity when it punished Vilma and other Saints?
It is possible that based upon the evidence and the law, the judge might dismiss Vilma’s cases therefore bar him from having his real day in court to show he was unfairly and wrongfully treated.
On Friday, the New Orleans Saints play the Jacksonville Jaguars at the Mercedes Benz Superdome. On the same day, the lawyers for Jonathan Vilma and the NFL must respond to a court-ordered deadline for “clarification” regarding in court that day whether the NFLPA, the players' union, asked the NFL to delay imposing its discipline on players connected by the league to the Saints 'bounty program' that was in place from 2009 to 2011, according to a league investigation.”
Saints owner Tom Benson and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell had a civil and passionate meeting in Tuesday in New York, according to a source.
Benson aired all of his concerns about the Saints bounty drama. Benson wanted to discuss the Saints' embattled offseason and the manner in which his team has been treated for its role in the alleged bounty program.
You wouldn't expect Goodell to get into a heated argument with Benson. The commish must stand firm with his Saints discipline while also dealing with Benson who is ostensibly his boss.