Daily Special, August 15, 2012
8 Posted on August 15th, 2012 by Himself
We’re creeping ever closer to the day when something truly significant happens on the road to February. And it’s a race between two contenders, one on the field and one off.
On the field, the Saints’ roster is starting to shape up. Mike Triplett wrote an article the other day that I actually agree with entirely. Honestly, I can’t find anything wrong with either his assumptions or his argument. I know that surprises; but apart from his misbegotten loyalty to Jeff Duncan, Triplett has consistently been the best of Nola.com’s Saints beat reporters (of course, that’s a low bar).
Most of the rest of the coverage has entered that silly season when reporters pay the mortgage by writing puff profiles. Courtney Roby is having a great camp. Zach Strief likes to cook. Marques Colston is the Quiet Beatle. That sort of stuff. It’s mostly meaningless, and it doesn’t give us any new information, but at least it keeps them away from another Bounty story (and, because Duncan has been shifted to another beat, it means there’s even less role for him, which is a Good Thing).
But even here, the reporters are falling down on the job. Badly. This is, as I’ve pointed out before, an historic season for the NFL: no matter if the Saints go 0-16 or undefeated, no team has ever been forced to take the field so hobbled by the league itself. If you think that doesn’t affect a bunch of prideful, competitive professional athletes, you’re an idiot. So why is there nary a peep regarding these players’ feelings at this stage? Memo to the Saints beat: when Joe Vitt said they’d be “business as usual,” he was referring to the team, not you guys. Step it up.
Nola.com has recently done profiles on Malcolm Jenkins, Sedrick Ellis, and Courtney Roby. WWL has articles on Jonathan Casillas, Travaris Cadet, and, again, Roby. None of them even so much as skirts around the single greatest issue facing the Saints this offseason—they simply don’t go there. Larry Holder does have an article on Strief’s opinion re Joe Vitt’s replacement (and more on this later), but the focus is on whether or not Aaron Kromer’s temporary elevation might harm the offensive line. Nothing like, “Zach, do you ever just want to put your fist through Roger Goodell’s smug face?” “Yeah, but I’m saving that for the podium after the Super Bowl. Me and the guys have something planned.” It’s as though Hurricane Goodell never blew through New Orleans at all. Can you imagine interviewing players in 2006 and never mentioning Katrina? (And that wasn’t even football-related!)
I find it hard to believe that the team has put out the word to the press not to go there, and the press is meekly cooperating. Maybe there’s some sort of quid pro quo going on, but if the quid is nothing but puff pieces, there ain’t nothing in it for us out here.
Now, the second contender: Tom Benson has had himself a little chat with Roger Goodell. The Saints confirmed the meeting; the NFL refused to talk about it. NFL spokesman Gríma Aiello “said the league generally does not discuss meetings with owners, adding that the commissioner meets with owners all the time to discuss wide-ranging matters.” Nothing to see here, move along.
But of course, speculation is rife. Rampant. Rotatory. Pick an “r” word. Did Benson ream Goodell? Does he have information from Louis Freeh to back him up? Was he turning up the heat on Goodell…or simply making his pilgrimage to kiss the ring? Since I can’t see Benson groveling before the jumped-up accountant who stole half a million of his dollars, I select the first option. And if that’s the case, we may be nearing the climax of this whole sordid episode. Benson is mocked and scorned by a still-significant portion of WhoDatNation; but frankly, I wouldn’t want to face the man in his righteous wrath. I bet he knows how to throw a world-class conniption. (Not that Goodell would be able to understand a word of it.)
Goodell’s presponse (like that word? Thank you, I’m copyrighting it) came during the Hall of Fame weekend, when he said “When you reward players for injuring other opponents, that’s a bounty.” Thing is, Roger: that’s not what you originally accused the Saints of. You said they were deliberately targeting specific players, not handing out token checks for great plays that incidentally resulted in temporary owies. Roger’s playing the age-old game of bait-and-switch, shifting definitions in the hope that nobody notices. Wonder where he learned that?
Lastly, a personal note. Y’all can skip over this, it’s between me and Larry Holder.
Larry: what the fuck? This is what you call a lead?
The New Orleans Saints will likely hang onto who will become the interim to the interim once interim coach Joe Vitt serves his six-game suspension as close to the start of the regular season as possible.
That sentence isn’t just wearing concrete shoes—it’s wearing them on the wrong feet. Was there some sort of office pool for the worst lead you could slip past the editors? Oh, there aren’t any of those anymore. Well, here then…I’ll help:
Who will replace interim head coach Joe Vitt while he serves a six-game suspension at the start of the regular season? That’s a decision the Saints are likely to hold close to the vest until the last possible moment.
You’re welcome. Boy, a supposed professional is one thing if he can’t handle even the tasks that are the most simple that I can’t stand.
On the Jukebox
Roger, this is for you. You guys might notice that I’m a Beatles/ex-Beatles fan. What, you want an apology? Incidentally, YouTube has both the instrumental track, without vocals, and the vocal track (although the instruments do leak through in places, it still lets you hear the vocals much clearer…if you care).
And happy birthday, Evan.