Brace yourselves, boys and girls, because Sunday’s 31-19 loss at Arizona just might be a snapshot of what could be a long Saints’ season. You can’t pin this one on one player or unit. It was a true team effort pushed along by mistakes and lack of execution from a combination of veterans, of whom we expect much, and young players who have been pushed out of the foxhole before they have experienced live fire.
Summer is over when Saints and colleges tee it up
I hope you enjoyed your summer, because this is the week it ends. I know it’s a bit hard to realize as you soak in a cauldron of humid 90-degree days, but summer as you have known it and enjoyed it is over! Since this space is meant to inform as much as entertain, let us remind you that Labor Day on September 7 is the symbolic end to summer, although the scientific end does not come until the autumnal equinox when the sun crosses the plane of the earth’s equator around September 22.
by Jim W. Miller
To my thinking, there is one player in Saints camp who is in the best position to make a major difference in the team’s fortunes this season. The player is rookie first round pick Stephone Anthony of Clemson. Don’t misunderstand what I am saying. I didn’t say the position was the most important on the team. That obviously is the quarterback position, which was adequately filled last season and, presumably, will again this year by perennial Pro Bowler Drew Brees. I am saying that the inside linebacker position is the position that has the biggest need for an upgrade, and Anthony just might be the man to do it.
by Jim W. Miller
You can look at the Saints’ excommunication of Junior Galette from different points of view and all come to the same conclusion. Good riddance! Opinions are like a left elbow - everybody has one – but how each of the affected constituencies greeted the team’s sudden termination of the team's sacks leader tells a lot about Galette’s impact on last year’s 7-9 record and this year’s prospects as well. The pertinent points of view in the Galette case boil down to these three: The fans, the locker room and the organization.
As an amateur yet enthusiastic historian armed with the luxury of hindsight, I can conclude that John Paul Jones would have made one helluva NFL commissioner. Jones was the United States’ first well-known naval fighter in the American Revolutionary War and is called by some as the father of the U.S. Navy. However, his eligibility to lead the most popular sporting enterprise in the modern nation has less to do with leadership than with the proper use of tactics. John Paul Jones knew that when facing an enemy intent on blowing you out of the water, it is wise to employ a fundamental naval defensive tactic: Do not expose your broadside.
by Jim W. Miller
I don’t know many people who laugh at funerals, but pardon me while I chuckle at the reaction from Who Dat Nation over the Saints’ trade of TE Jimmy Graham to Seattle on Tuesday. No, change that “TE” identification to “Icon” with a capital “I” because if you polled Saints’ fans before about 3 p.m. Tuesday, Graham would have been listed at No. 2 current “Saint of Saints” behind QB and Icon Drew Brees.
Our modest attempt at literature is not only intended to inform but to educate our readers. Today’s lesson is about certain Sporting Absolutes that periodically arise with the persistence and joy of Type A flu. These are things that are bad but people in and around the games persist in doing them anyway. For example, a Sporting Absolute with local impact is: Never wear the opponent’s colors into LSU’s Tiger Stadium. You will be abused, threatened and possibly assaulted. That one comes from personal experience.
Despite being the mild, low-key guy that I am, I do not often refuse the opportunity to appear on one of the local sports programs. The local TV guys like Doug Mouton (WWL), Rob Masson (WVUE), Fletcher Mackel (WDSU), and their colleagues always give me an opportunity to push whatever book project I am working on in exchange for my thoughts on the issue of the moment. So it was uncharacteristic of me on Wednesday night and Thursday morning to turn down three offers to come in and comment on Tom Benson’s surprising announcement that when he passes on he is leaving the city’s two beloved sports franchises to his wife Gayle.
Okay, so you still are walking around mumbling about what happened to the Saints’ once-promising season. You recall a formerly trustworthy pundit who happens to inhabit this space predicting a possible Super Bowl appearance. Even after slogging to a 2-4 record, loyal Who Dats rationalized by saying three of those losses came by a total of six points and just as easily could have gone the other way.
In a desperate attempt to figure out this whacky NFL season from the local perspective, I went right to America’s most popular source for answers to puzzling questions. I went to Google and punched in “teaser.” In only .35 seconds, I received 23,400,000 possible answers, and I began sorting through them to find the right one. My discerning eye immediately was drawn to website addresses for several Teasers Men’s Clubs, with locations in Twin Forks, Montana; Flint, Michigan; Key West, Durham, North Carolina, and elsewhere. The Teasers of Phoenix even awards its customers a pint of draft beer for $3 to go along with, well, you know, its other treats.