Sep 29, 2010

Saints Sign John Carney and Keep Garrett Hartley

After Garrett Hartley's chip-shot miss against Atlanta, the Saints have brought back veteran kicker John Carney. But Hartley isn't being shown the door. Instead the team cut WR Adrian Arrington.

On Arrington first, many fans are upset that he's the one who got chopped. We'll see if he clears waivers, and if he does, he'll likely go back on the Saints practice squad. If he doesn't get claimed, then it shows that fans have overvalue a player who, although he shined in this year's preseason, has been hurt and underachieved in his previous years.

Onto the bigger issue, now that the Saints have two kickers, who do they go with on Sunday? I still think Hartley will get the nod and feel that Carney was brought in more as a mentor/coach relationship, similar to last year. It's obvious that Carney doesn't have the leg strength anymore for deep field goals and there's no way they activate two kickers and a punter on game day, is there?

I think Hartley is in a funk, but the schedule is easier these next four games, so he should have a chance to kick a few field goals with out pressure. The question remains is how confident are the Saints in Hartley right now? Will we see Coach Payton going for more fourth downs instead of FGs? This will be interesting to watch play out.

Sep 24, 2010

Weekend Predictions

This weekend, the Saints and LSU have two big games.

#12 LSU will take on #21 West Virginia Saturday night in a tough out of conference game. LSU's passing game has yet to show up and many fans, including myself, are calling for Jarrett Lee to get some major playing time. Jordan Jefferson is the "safer" quarterback as he doesn't make as many mistakes as Lee (in Lee's defense he was a freshman starter at the time), but the safer Jefferson throws for under 100 yards per game. On the flipside, LSU's defense has been lights out and CB Patrick Peterson is a sure-fire top 10 NFL draft pick next year. They will have their hands full with West Virginia and I'm predicting a tight contest.

West Virginia 20

The Saints return home to face division rival Atlanta on a short week. The Saints have had two tough games to start the season, and they haven't shown the high power offense that Drew Brees and Sean Payton are accustomed to, but 2-0 is still 2-0. Losing Reggie Bush for a few weeks will hurt, but just look for the Saints to air it out even more. Atlanta comes in at 1-1, having blown out the Arizona Cardinals last week. The Cardinals look to be a mess though, so it's not clear yet how good the Falcons are this year. This is their chance to make a move at the NFC South crown.

Saints 27

Falcons 21

Sep 23, 2010

Hornets Make a Trade

The Hornets have made a trade today, acquiring PG Willie Green and C Jason Smith from the 76ers for F Craig Brackins and F Darius Songaila.

The Hornets needed a backup point guard, so they must like what Green brings. I don't know much about him, but more fans seem to be happy to acquire more size coming off the bench in Smith. Fans also seem upset to lose rookie, 1st rounder Brackins, but I'm glad they didn't give up their second 1st rounder, Quincy Pondexter. I'm excited to see him, and I'm not as sure about Brackins.

All in all, right now fans have to trust the new coach/GM regime and they are bringing in "their" players and filling the roster with "their" guys.

Sep 21, 2010

Saints Beat 49ers 25-22, Lose Reggie Bush to an Injury

The said it wouldn't be easy. They said the Saints would have a target on their backs and they'd get opponents best each and every week. They were right. The Saints took it on the chin last night against the 49ers and still managed to escape with a 25-22 victory to improve to 2-0.

There were some positives (ex. Garrett Hartley finding his kicking stride, Saints forcing turnovers) and some negatives (Saints run defense, Saints run game) to take away from the game, but it's still early in the season. This team is proving one thing though, they are not the 2009 Saints. This is a totally different football team than last year and one that will have to scratch and claw and do everything it takes to pull out victories.

No, it wasn't pretty, but 2-0 still feels like 2-0.

On a bad note, it looks like Reggie Bush has a broken leg and will miss about 6 weeks of the season. On the brightside, its just a bone break and not ligament damage, which would cause him to miss the season. The Saints run game was already struggling and the offense has yet to find its groove, so losing Bush is a blow.

Look for the Saints to bring in another running back while Bush heals. Right now, the team has Pierre Thomas (who should get a ton of touches now), DeShawn Wynn and Chris Ivory (who is nursing a knee injury). Ladell Betts was with the team and he may be brought back as a short-term fix.

Sep 20, 2010

MNF: Saints at 49ers

The Saints will end the second week of the season on the road at San Francisco. This could be a "trap" game for the Saints as the 49ers look to be in shambles after their week 1 blowout loss to Seattle, but this is a good team. They have a tough defense and they could cause problems for the Saints.

The 49er offense shouldn't be much of an issue for the Saints. Really, if they can stop Frank Gore, then the Saints will be fine. But it's always tough going on the road, especially playing all the way on the West Coast. Add to that the Monday Night Football atmosphere plus the 49ers retiring Jerry Rice's #80 jersey, and this could be a tough night for the Saints.

I'm not really seeing it though. The Saints are at the top of their game, and they'll be ready for this game. The big win against Minnesota last week becomes less meaningful if they lose to the 49ers.

Saints 27
49ers 13

Sep 10, 2010

Saints Beat Vikings, Drop Super Bowl Banner

Sure it wasn't the 34-31 shoot-out that most people envisioned, but a 14-9 victory is still impressive. The Saints left a lot of points on the field (Garrett Hartley, I'm talking to you) and could have made the game much more lopsided. But the end result is still the same. The Saints are 1-0.

There were lots of bright spots, especially on defense. It looks like Gregg Williams will have his guys playing even better in his system this year and they seemed to surprise the Vikings by showing them different looks (3-4, dropping more in coverage, not focusing on the blitz), proving that the Saints can beat you in multiple ways with multiple looks. That's scary, especially if the offense can get out of their mini-funk and put up the close to 30 points per game that Drew Brees and Sean Payton average.

Ah yes, times are good for Saints fans. Enjoy it Who Dat Nation and doesn't it feel great to have football back?


Sep 9, 2010

Saints vs. Vikings

It's game day! Saints fans have been celebrating since February, but it's time to put 2009 to bed and get ready for 2010. So let's see what the 2010 version of the Saints can do against the team they beat to get to the Super Bowl.

Get ready to hear all about Brett Favre, Brett Favre and Brett Favre tonight. While the Saints are favored heading into the game (all the ESPN analysis picked New Orleans to win), there are some questions surrounding them. Can the defense produce the turnovers they did last year, especially with Darren Sharper out? Can they stop the run? How will Malcolm Jenkins fair at safety? Who is going to fill in at linebacker? As you can see all the "questions" are about the Saints defense. As long as Drew Brees is throwing it and Sean Payton is calling the plays, the offense will be fine.

So what will happen tonight? I think this game will remind Saints fans of the Monday Night home opener against the Falcons, the first game in NOLA since Katrina. There was no way the Falcons were winning that night and the Saints dominated them. The crowd was nuts and they were the 12th man for the Saints. I see more of the same tonight. From the moment the banner drops to when Drew Brees leads the dome in a Who Dat chant, the crowd will be fired up. The team will respond and we'll see Favre on the ground.

Vikings 20
Saints 34

Sep 8, 2010

NFL Preview 2010

It's football season! Fake football is over and the real stuff gets underway in the NFL this week. The Saints and Vikings will kickoff the season on Thursday so what will this year in the NFL look like? Here's my worst guesses:

NFL Playoffs
AFC North: Baltimore Ravens
AFC South: Indianapolis Colts
AFC East: New England Patriots
AFC West: San Diego Chargers
Wild Cards: Miami Dolphins, Houston Texans

NFC North: Green Bay Packers
NFC South: New Orleans Saints
NFC East: Dallas Cowboys
NFC West: San Francisco 49ers
Wild Cards: New York Giants, Atlanta Falcons

AFC Championship: Patriots over Colts
NFC Championship: Saints over Cowboys

Super Bowl: Saints over Patriots

#1 Pick in 2011 Draft: Buffalo Bills

League Awards:
MVP: Drew Brees, QB, Saints (Drew should have won the MVP award before; finally he gets it)
Offensive Player of the Year: Chris Johnson, RB, Titans (Johnson is not easy to root for, but he does put up amazing stats)
Defensive Player of the Year: DeMarcus Ware, LB, Cowboys (Michael Strahan, your sack record is in jeopardy)
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Ryan Matthews, RB, San Diego (Filling L.T.'s shoes will be tough, but Matthews will show that he's the real deal)
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Brandon Graham, DE, Philadelphia (Graham can rush the passer and that will get him noticed
Comeback Player of the Year: Jake Delhomme, QB, Cleveland (Delhomme is coming off a couple of tough years in Carolina. After a strong preseason, he returns the the Jake of old)
Coach of the Year: Mike Singletary, San Francisco (A bad division will help them reach the playoffs, but Singletary will get recognized for leading the 49ers back into the relevancy)

Here are the Sports Illustrated experts' opinions on the upcoming season.

Sep 7, 2010

LSU to Open Next Season vs. Oregon in Dallas

LSU announced today that they will open next season versus Oregon in "Jerry's World" in Dallas. The game is dubbed the "Cowboy Classic." The only question is who will be LSU's coach?

Here's the 2011 schedule:

2011 LSU Football Schedule
Sept. 3 vs. Oregon, Arlington, Texas
Sept. 10 Northwestern State, Baton Rouge
Sept. 17 at Mississippi State, Starkville, Miss.
Sept. 24 at West Virginia, Morgantown, W. Va.
Oct. 1 Kentucky, Baton Rouge
Oct. 8 Florida, Baton Rouge
Oct. 15 at Tennessee, Knoxville, Tenn.
Oct. 22 Auburn, Baton Rouge
Oct. 29 Open
Nov. 5 at Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Nov. 12 Western Kentucky, Baton Rouge
Nov. 19 at Ole Miss, Oxford, Miss.
Nov. 26 Arkansas, Baton Rouge

Sep 3, 2010

Saints Wrap Up Preseason

The Saints finished the preseason with a 27-24 loss to the Titans. The fourth preseason game is typically the most meaningless and this year, the Saints took it a step further and rested most of the starters, since they open the season in one week on a Thursday night.

Now fans and players can look toward real football and the Minnesota Vikings. But there's still some housekeeping to do. The Saints have to get down to their 53 man roster by tomorrow. Names are already coming out as cuts, including DE Bobby McCray and RB Ladell Betts.

I'm not surprised that McCray was let go, again. He is a solid speed rusher, but he hasn't produced this preseason. Jeff Charleston and Junior Galette have outplayed him and both of those players contribute on special teams. Galette even blocked a punt against Tennessee, further helping his cause. Betts is coming off of a knee injury and the team may have placed more value on special teams, as DeShawn Wynn is younger, healthier and can provide more on special teams. RB Chris Ivory looks to have won the 3rd RB spot, as long as his injury from last night's game isn't too serious.

Look for other cuts to trickle in throughout the day.

Update: The Saints have announced all of their cuts. The most surprising and toughest news is that LB Jonathan Casillas has been placed in IR, ending his season. He was projected to start and was having a good preseason.