Nov 30, 2008
The weather was nasty, there were questionable calls and things just didn't work out for the Saints. So who's to blame for the loss? It's not who you would think.
Anyone who has watch the Saints since Sean Payton arrived in New Orleans knows that the offense wins games and losses can usually be pinned on the defense. Well, not today. This loss can be placed squarely on the shoulders of two people: Drew Brees and Coach Payton.
Now, I'm not going to bash Brees. Without him, the Saints are a 3-4 win team at best and he is the main reason that the Saints have been competitive at all the past couple of years. But today, he was off. Whether it was the wind and rain, the Bucs pressure or dropped passes from Saints receivers, Brees didn't have his A game today. He made bad decisions, forced some throws and threw into double coverage too many times.
Don't get me wrong, he still had the Saints on the verge of pulling out the win after erasing a 10 point deficit in the 4th quarter, but he let his team down late in the game with his final two drive killing interceptions. So why was Brees struggling? I think the main reason is that too much has been placed on his shoulders. He carries the offense and is forced to be nearly perfect for the team to succeed. This is where the rest of the blame goes to Coach Payton.
In recent years, Payton seems to abandon the running game too soon or simply ignores it completely. The weather in Tampa was rainy all day with winds up to 20 mph, yet the Payton still had Brees throwing the ball 47 times. Deuce McAllister sat idle on the sidelines until the second half, while Payton forcefed the ball to the returning Reggie Bush. This was the type of game that the bruising McAllister used to take over, but he gets only three carries for 13 yards. I don't get it.
Payton is a great offensive mind, but he seems to outthink or overthink things too often. With Bush out of the lineup, the Saints went 3-1, their best stretch of the season. With Bush in the lineup, Payton seems to force plays to him. The offense doesn't flow as well and gets too creative for its own good.
So where do the Saints go from here? They still have an outside shot at a Wild Card berth. It's unlikely, but the team still has something to play for. If they win out, they will finish 10-6. They'll have to hope for some help and Saints fans can root against the Falcons, Panthers/Bucs (whoever doesn't win the NFC South), Cowboys, Redskins and Bears. That's a bunch of teams above the Saints in the standings, but there's still a quarter of the season to go so its too early to give up on 2008.
With Brees' pursuit of Dan Marino's passing record, it would be a shame to see that effort be wasted on a .500 team. The next step is a home game and a chance to get revenge on the Atlanta Falcons next week.
Nov 29, 2008
After their dismantling of the Packers last Monday night, the Saints are back in the playoff picture. The Saints playoff chances are still slim and they pretty much have to win out to secure a berth, but crazier things have happened in the NFL.
New Orleans has their first two-game win streak of the season, and they have confidence having beat Tampa earlier this year. They also get Reggie Bush back this week, so the offense will be at full-strength for the first time in a long time.
Nov 28, 2008
LSU is also playing for a better postseason bowl against Arkansas. A win and LSU can go to the Cotton, Outback or Chick Fil A Bowls. A loss and LSU would fall to the Liberty Bowl or a first-time trip to the Music City Bowl. One year after winning the National Championship, LSU fans did not think their team would be playing in the Music City Bowl.
While quarterback play has been erractic to say the least, the biggest disappointment has been the LSU defense. What was once the team's strength, the defense has let them down more times than not this season. Against Arkansas would be a good time to start redeeming themselves. Arkansas isn't playing for a postseason berth, so the Battle for the Boot is their "big game."
As for the quarterback, freshman Jordan Jefferson is expected to see the most snaps and has a chance to go into the postseason practices as the team's QB of the future. He played better against Ole Miss than he did against Troy, so hopefully this week of practice helped him further grasp the playbook.
Nov 26, 2008
Many fans are left to wonder what the future holds for one of the all time great Saints players. With a 4-game suspension looming, Monday night could have been McAllister's last home game in New Orleans at least for this season, maybe for good. With McAllister's salary and diminished role on the team, there will be decisions to make in the offseason. Fans would hate to see Deuce play for someone else, but at this stage he isn't more valuable than a Pierre Thomas to the Saints. Its sad, but that's the business of the NFL.
With Deuce's multiple knee surgeries, he isn't the same back that he once was. He does love to play the game, but retirement may also be an option for him. He is a smart businessman and has set himself up for life after football. He may be eager to get started on that life sooner rather than later.
No one knows how this season or the future will play out for Deuce, but one thing is certain, he should be the last player to wear the #26 for the Black and Gold.
Nov 24, 2008
The most obvious scapegoat for the defensive debacle will be the co-defensive coordinator position. Many fans disliked the move at the time, and the coaches have shown nothing this season to prove that the move was a wise one. Coach Les Miles should out loyalty aside and hire a sole defensive coordinator in the offseason, one with collge coordinator experience.
With the loss to Ole Miss, LSU's top bowl chance looks to be the Chick-fil-A in Atlanta. Most Web sites project the Tigers to play there agianst the ACC #2 choice, which could be a variety of teams. One site still thinks the Cotton covets LSU, but it would be tough for them to choose the unranked Tigers over a ranked Ole Miss team. SI.com throws another curve ball and has the Tigers playing in the Outback. If LSU loses this week to Arkansas, they may fall even further to the Music City Bowl in Nashville.
The question becomes, will LSU fans travel to one of these "lesser" bowls? The bowls are around to make money and LSU has gained a reputation of traveling well, at least to big games like the Sugar, Capital One and Cotton Bowl in the past few years. How will a four-loss season affect fans travel plans to Atlanta or Nashville? It will be interesting to see.
Here's where LSU is projected to go bowling:
ESPN's Mark Schlabach:
Chick-fil-A:: LSU vs. Boston College
ESPN's Bruce Feldman:
Chick-fil-A: LSU vs. Boston College
Chick-fil-A:: LSU vs. Georgia Tech
Chick-fil-A: LSU vs. Boston College
Chick-fil-A: LSU vs. Virginia Tech
AT&T Cotton Bowl: LSU vs. Texas Tech
Stewart Mandel (SI.com):
Outback: LSU vs. Michigan State
This game has a chance to be special in many ways. First, the Saints are going for their first back-to-back victories of the season. This year it has been one step forward, two steps back for the black and gold. Back at .500, the Saints are looking to get over the hump and position themselves for a Wild Card run to finish the season.
The game could also be special for one of the all time great Saints players, Deuce McAllister. Last week, McAllister tied Dalton Hilliard for the franchise record with 53 career TDs as a Saint. If Deuce scores tonight, he'll get that record to go with being the franchise's all time leading rusher. There's still the cloud of suspensions hanging over McAllister, Will Smith and Charles Grant, so this could be the last time fans see Deuce on the field for a while.
Nov 22, 2008
A week after staging the largest comeback in program history (after being down 31-3 to Troy), LSU takes on rival Ole Miss in the first annual Magnolia Bowl. The student governments of the two schools got together to name this rivalry game, and Magnolia Bowl won.
There is a ton of history between LSU and Ole Miss and this year's game shouldn't disappoint. The word is that the winner of this matchup will be selected to go to the Cotton Bowl in Dallas on Jan. 2. That adds some stakes for the two schools who are already bowl eligible. LSU will be honoring its senior class and recognizing the 1958 National Championship team during the game.
Here's LSU's 2008 Senior Class
No. Name Pos. Hometown
2 Demetrius Byrd WR Miami, Fla.
5 Chad Moody DB Baton Rouge, La.
6 Colt David PK Grapevine, Texas
17 Josh Graham PK Covington, La.
27 Curtis Taylor S Franklinton, La.
38 Brady Dalfrey P Carencro, La.
40 Caleb Angelle TE Breaux Bridge, La.
45 Quinn Johnson FB Edgard, La.
47 Tremaine Johnson DE Galena Park, Texas
48 Darry Beckwith LB Baton Rouge, La.
49 Kirston Pittman DE Garyville, La.
50 Phillip Pigott FB Pearl River, La.
63 Ryan Miller C Lake Charles, La.
74 Brett Helms C Stuttgart, Ark.
79 Herman Johnson OG Olla, La.
91 Charles Alexander DT Breaux Bridge, La.
93 Tyson Jackson DE Edgard, La.
94 Donald Hains DL Diamondhead, Miss.
99 Marlon Favorite DT Harvey, La.
Ole Miss 20
Nov 21, 2008
Nov 20, 2008
Bell had a good rookie year with Denver, but then he fell off the football map. He went to Houston, but never panned out there. Barnes is more of a full-back and will fill in until Mike Karney is healthy.
The team also added WR Chris Francies and RB Lavarus Giles. Making practice squad moves late in the season aren't uncommon. Many players who show up in training camp the following year were late practice squad additions. With a little luck, one of these players could become the next Lance Moore or Pierre Thomas. And with the way the Saints season has gone this year, they could use any break they can get.
Nov 19, 2008
Here's a good wrap up with some Lost tidbits to get you ready for next season.
Nov 16, 2008
Nov 15, 2008
After a heartbreaking loss to #1 Alabama, LSU looks to get back on track with a win against the Troy Trojans this weekend.
I'm not going to rant or bash LSU QB Jarrett Lee. There's been enough of that going on this year and especially this week in Baton Rouge. Sure, he played badly against Alabama and was a big factor in LSU coming up short against the Tide. But he's still a 19 year old and the best option LSU has at QB right now. Everyone knew LSU would have QB issues this year and save the inteceptions return for TDs, I think Lee has exceeded my expectations.
Troy is no slouch and LSU cannot overlook them. This is the game that was rescheduled because of Hurricane Gustav, so originally, this was a bye week for the Tigers. LSU cannot afford to drop another game this year, and if they do run the table against Troy, Ole Miss and Arkansas, they will likely be playing in the Cotton Bowl on Jan. 2.
Nov 14, 2008
There were 17 new chefs battling it out this year, but at the end of the episode, 15 remained. One chef was eliminated after the quickfire and another was gone after the elimination challenge. The early season challenges are always fun because the contestants are feeling each other out and trying to see who will be their stiffest competition.
Stefan looks to be an early favorite as he won both the Quick Fire and Elimination Challenges. His attitude isn't going to make him a fan favorite, but remember that both Marcel and Hung weren't the most loved contestants, and they both made it to the finals with Hung winning Season 3.
With this year's show being in New York, Top Chef promises to be bigger and better than ever. Seasons 3 & 4 were both the best of the series for me, so this year's competition has a lot to live up to, but they're off to a good start.
Nov 11, 2008
Offensive Rookie of the Year:
Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta - It's been a great year for rookies with five legitimate ROY contenders: Ryan, Joe Flacco, Eddie Royal, Chris Johnson and Matt Forte. While the others are all worthy of consideration, Ryan stands a cut above. Peyton Manning's name gets thrown around quite a bit when talking about Ryan. That's about all you need to know about his game.
Defensive Rookie of the Year:
Jerod Mayo, LB, New England - Mayo currently leads the Pats in tackles and has transitioned well from the SEC to the NFL. Bill Belichick trusts him to play inside in his complicated defense and he has taken his role and run with it.
Coach of the Year:
Jeff Fisher, Tennessee - The Titans are the last remaining undefeated team in the league and Fisher is the man responsible. He has handled adversity this season with Vince Young's situation and reserrected Kerry Collins' career.
Comeback Player of the Year:
Kerry Collins, QB, Tennessee - Collins took over for injured Vince Young and never looked back. He's been managing games for the Titans, but this past week he threw the ball 41 times for 289 yards and 2 TDs. A nice day for the 14 year Pro.
Offensive Player of the Year:
Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans - While the team's record is a disappointment, Brees continues to excell in Sean Payton's offense. He's on pace to break Dan Marino's passing yardage record and after nine games, he's thrown for 2,985 yards and 17 TDs, while completing 66.6 percent of his passes.
Defensive Player of the Year:
John Abraham, DE, Atlanta - Abraham leads the league with 11 sacks for the surprising Falcons. He is playing a more limited role for the team, but is being utilized better than he has his entire career. He moves around a bit from right and left DE and will drop back in coverage when needed. He gave Saints LT Jamaal Brown all he could handle this past week.
Most Valuable Player:
Kurt Warner, QB, Arizona - A few weeks ago, this looked to be Drew Brees' award to lose. Well, it looks like he lost it. While Brees is still putting up big numbers, Warner is leading his team to a division title. Warner has thrown for 2,760 yards and 19 TDs with a passer raiting of 106.4. More than that, he isn't turning the ball over as of late. He had a 3 interception day against the Jets earlier this year, but since then, he's only thrown two picks in five games. Warner's Cardinals are currently 6-3 and cruising to the NFC West Division title.
Nov 10, 2008
Nov 8, 2008
The Saints still have a cloud hanging over their heads with the possible pending suspensions of Deuce McAllister, Will Smith and Charles Grant. The team also got some bad news this week when Grant was placed on IR, continuing a trend of key players going down with injuries.
Against the Falcons, the Saints will be without Reggie Bush once again, but most of Drew Brees' other weapons are finally getting healthy after the much-needed bye week. The injured on the defensive side also got a chance to heal up and lick their wounds. On special teams, the Saints will go with a new kicker and punter. Needless to say, this weekend's game will be interesting to watch, especially with the Falcons being the Saints biggest rival.
Nov 7, 2008
Alabama brings its #1 ranking to Tiger Stadium, the first time a team comes into Baton Rouge ranked #1 since the Florida Gators were knocked off their throne in 1997. LSU has a ton to play for -- defensive respect after giving up 50+ points twice in losses, an outside shot at the SEC Championship Game, a New Year's Day Bowl, the chance to knock off the #1 team in the country and stick it to our former coach at the same time. This game will be huge.
College Game Day will broadcast live from LSU's campus and the college football world will tune in just to see what LSU fans do when Nick arrives on campus. There I go again, as much as LSU fans, players and coaches will say this game is about the 22 guys on the field, it's not. It's so much more for LSU. Everything that LSU fans have read and heard from the Crimson Tide faithful the past two seasons will boil over Saturday.
I personally still like Nick Saban. I know, you aren't supposed to say that around here, but I still have a picture of him on my desk when he was nice enough to pose with me and my future wife on our graduation day. I have a lot of respect for the man, even though he's been labled as a lier, money hungry, power hungry and the Nick-tator. But you have to hand it to the guy. He is great at what he does. While he may not stick around for long in one place, he can turn around a college program in no time flat. He can coach a defense and, while not everyone loves his style of coaching, he can get the best out of his players.
These are all the real reasons why LSU fans have been dissing and hating on Nick for the past couple of years. LSU fans know how good he is, and fear that the balance of power in the SEC West could be shifting. LSU has been the top team in the West for years now, playing in the SEC Championship game four times with two BCS champships under Saban and Les Miles. While fans have grown to love Les, no one wants a rival program to reach #1 status.
LSU and Les got the Crimson Tide last year at Alabama, but this weekend's game is much bigger. The entire LSU fan base has been anticipating this matchup and would love nothing more than to knock off the #1 Tide. With the way LSU has played this year, a win against Alabama would make the Tigers season (as long as they don't lose to Ole Miss or Arkansas later this year). Emotions will be high, Tiger Stadium will be rocking and and all eyes will be on the Alabama sidelines.
Oh, and if you haven't heard, LSU fans don't really like Nick Saban anymore.
Nov 1, 2008
It will be interesting to see the turnout for the Tulane game. LSU fans have been upset with the interceptions on offense, the two defensive coordinators, the lack of pressure from the front four and the overall play of the defense. The Tigers should win back a few fans with a dominating performance against the Green Wave.