Daily Special, June 6, 2012
52 Posted on June 6th, 2012 by Himself
Lots of stuff today. The offseason is heating up, as we supposed it would. And Drew Brees is still on the front burner.
According to Mike Florio—who is in real danger of becoming some sort of go-to guy when it comes to Saints news, and that is really baking my noodle—the Saints and Brees are closer than is being reported by…well, anyone else. Florio suggests that it’s the team that is putting forward inflated figures of Brees’ salary demands, so that when they finally give in to his real demands it’ll seem as though it was Brees who blinked. I don’t care…just get it done.
His teammates and coach continue to be optimistic that something will get done soon. But in the meantime, the spectre of a season with Luke McCown at the helm haunts the team. I wonder how Jimmy Graham feels right now, facing not simply the possibility of catching passes from Chase Daniel instead of his man-boo, but the even more dreadful possibility of teaming up with someone who couldn’t cut it on the Jaguars.
I’m sure we’re all praying for Jimmy’s continued happiness. Pat Y apparently doesn’t see him forgetting his first love any time soon, though. While he praises both Daniel and backup-backup Sean Canfield (what does that make McCown?), he also says “it’s pretty obvious these guys aren’t quite on Drew Brees’ level.” Overall, Pat has some good observations to make about the Saints’ camp. It sounds as though things are going pretty well so far, all things considered. I mean: if this offseason from hell had happened to, say, the Jets, do you think they’d be responding as well as this? The Saints’ greatest strength may just be the closeness of the locker room.
Scott Shanle defended that locker room when he spoke to Mike Triplett of the Times-Picayune on the reality of the Saints’ “bounty program.” What he had to say was pretty much exactly what many of us assumed from the beginning: that the Saints did have a performance incentive pool (like a lot of teams), but that it was penny ante and focused on both good and bad play, not on deliberate injuries. No opposing players were targeted by name, and Saints defenders were as likely to lose money as win—because they were assessed penalties for bad plays. With no real bounty system in place, it becomes apparent that the Saints—and in particular, Gregg Williams—are being punished for speech.
SaintsWin comes to that conclusion in a rambling, incoherent screed that’s just way too long. No, actually, it’s well-reasoned and only as long as it needs to be to make its point, but for the Ritalin junkies out there (you know who you are), here’s the money quote:
“Language is the crux of the issue over these several fronts, and it controls the sequence of events. Had the Saints used the term “game-changing plays” instead of “knock-outs and cart-offs,” where might we be today with the absence of corroborating on-field evidence? Would the NFL have been in the position to undertake such drastic action as it did?
“Replace the widely-publicized term “bounty program” (the NFL’s characterization) with “performance program” (the Saints’ internal description) and how does the dispensing of punishments change? How would the change in that terminology alter public perception? ”
In fact, this may be the best distillation of the entire “Bountygate” episode that has yet emerged. It should be prominently posted on every NFL fan site. I can only find one point to disagree with: where SaintsWin writes that “this was petty theft punished as grand larceny.” No: this was petty theft punished as attempted murder.
And where, I have to ask, was the Times-Picayune in all this? Lecturing its readers to let go of their delusory homerism and accept the villainy of the Saints. So it strikes me as a little strange that Chef WhoDat gives a damn about the T-P’s impending public act of self-mutilation in hacking off more than half of its publishing schedule. Considering what the T-P has given Saints fans, why should they care?
Chef WhoDat links to a video of a concert (protest? benefit? excuse for a party?) at which various and sundry complain about the loss of 4/7ths of the local paper. Well: if New Orleans is in such dire need of a daily paper, start one. Here’s a real chance to make your mark in the world, people. Give the city the kind of paper it deserves: locally-owned, locally-managed, supportive of the community. Oh, you didn’t mean going through all that work. You just want your newsprint fix.
Frankly, this reminds me of Wang’s blistering rant against the people demanding that Drew Brees accept whatever offer the Saints make, because he owes them. The parent company of the Times-Picayune (and therein probably reside all the problems) made the economic decision to cut back on the print schedule. Too bad, so sad. You may think of the T-P as an institution, but in reality it’s a business. It has owners, and it’s their money at risk, not yours. What New Orleans—and indeed, the entire country—is in need of is not a daily paper, but an attitude adjustment: the world doesn’t owe you.
As far as I’m concerned, if the death of the Times-Picayune could bring closer by just a single day the death of news conglomerates as a feature of American life, I would joyfully wield the knife my own damn self.
On the Jukebox
Almost forgot. Okay, I did forget…so here’s something unforgettable to make up for it. The Beatles, doing “The Saints,” with a backup quarterback. This one goes out to Luke McCown.