Greetings From Belize

15

 

 

Dey mek some good rum hyeh. Life be gwan pretty well, all tings consideh’d.

Tek las naht [*clears throat*] Uh, take last night. After being missing for a solid month, The Thumb of God makes a token reappearance in the Superdome, quashing several blatant instances of interference on the part of the New Orleans secondary, and allowing the Saints to escape with a narrow victory that they should have had anyway, 31-24.

Plus that whole record thing. Excuse me, two records. First, the one that guarantees Drew Brees a spot in the Hall of Fame once he hangs up his cleats; and second, the one that guarantees that Marques Colston will be forever remembered by Saints fans, not that he wouldn’t be anyway. Joe Horn was good; but Joe Horn was self-centered asshole. Colston isn’t, and probably isn’t in any danger of becoming one, either. He’s just the most underrated receiver in the league, playing with the man who is still the most underrated quarterback. And all they do is win…one out of five times.

But the most remarkable thing was the sudden development of the defense. After looking like utter dogshit for four weeks, they rose up when needed and became utter catshit. We’re still ranked #32, but we got five sacks, and an interception by Roman Fucking Can You Believe It Stonehands Harper, plus a strip-sack-recovery by Martez Wilson to drive a stake in San Diego’s heart. When was the last time this defense actually saved a game for us?

And why are they nine months late?

Well. Lots of chatter this morning. Everyone in New Orleans is probably smiling. That was always the most charming aspect of Saints fans: how a single win could make them forget a dismal year. And far be it from me to ruin things today…I’m with you. My head is filled with improbable scenarios involving twelve straight wins, knocking Atlanta out of a division championship, and making a royal progress to the podium at Super Bowl XLVQZ%, where Roger Goodell is hogtied and the entire stadium crowd (or the male half, anyway) passes in review, the resulting golden shower resembling Roger’s own personal Katrina.

Could it happen? Depends on The Thumb. I’d say it’s doable. (But I’ve had quite a lot of rum lately.) So I’m just going to bask in the reflected glory of this win, and not mention anything at all about the historically atrocious run defense, the secondary that resembles a class of petulant kindergartners, the poor forgotten waifs of the offensive line (“C’mon, Mister Kromer, coach us up, pleeeeeze?” “No time, kids, sorry, too much to do…”), or Mark Ingram.

No. I’m just going to have another rum, and thank The Thumb that we’re getting a bye at the right time, because I’m staying down here for at least another two weeks.

Posted by Himself in Game Day | 15 comments

15 Comments

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  • cc58October 8, 2012 at 11:43 am

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    So hows the scenery…

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  • PhilistineOctober 8, 2012 at 1:46 pm

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    Dey mek some good rum hyeh. Life be gwan pretty well, all tings consideh’d.

    Tek las naht [*clears throat*]

    I think you’re into something other than rum, down there in Belize. At least you have Internet access.

    Hey, what’s the combination to the safe? I have to pay the “exotic dancers” and the man delivering the Glenlivet.

    Since I listened to the game rather than watched (easier to avoid the resulting depression that tends to occur four-fiths of the time this season so far), I can’t judge the quality of the refereeing, but I will say that I’m glad that we’re off the schneid (anybody have any idea where that expression came from?), and expect more competitive football when the Saints come off the their bye week.

    Glad you checked in. I still worry that this evolution to the tropics is permanent. The place really goes to hell when you’re away.

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    • HimselfOctober 8, 2012 at 5:31 pm

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      It’s kind of you to say so…but I’m only in virtual Belize. Just like the guy you mention is only delivering virtual Glenlivet. I’m not sure about the “exotic dancers,” though the scare quotes have me scared.

      But you know what? I’m feeling better already. Maybe I’ll come home. I did watch the game, and as pathetic as the stat sheet looked for the defense, they behaved as though they were seething inside. Every time Malcolm Jenkins swatted at the ball in frustration after a touchdown, you could almost hear him screaming “ENOUGH of this SHIT!” So maybe with two weeks to work on it (and Kromer had better not give these guys a week off), they’ll be a different unit coming off the bye. I’m still buying into the light coming on. Either that, or show me where to donate to the bounty.

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  • PhilistineOctober 8, 2012 at 7:22 pm

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    I always felt that it might take a little time for the defense to come together. I admit I didn’t realize how long that time might be, or how painful to watch (FLASHBACK!). It might still get worse before it gets better, especially if the team truly doesn’t have the personnel to pull it off, as many of us have suggested. I refuse to go down into the bunker, though; it’s too dark, and who knows what’s been living down there. And the MREs are left over from Katrina. And the Spam’s left over from WWII. Life’s too short.

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    • cc58October 9, 2012 at 11:18 am

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      Stock up on Twinkies…They last forever.

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    • HimselfOctober 9, 2012 at 1:15 pm

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      Do we have the personnel to pull it off? Interesting question. Perhaps the time has come to make Akiem Hicks, Junior Galette, and Martez Wilson starters. Shift Cam Jordan over to tackle and see how the youngsters can work. Could they be worse than the starters?

      But that doesn’t address the problem entirely, because the linebackers have been bad, too, and the secondary has been horrendous. We do need a pass rush that can get to the quarterback, true; but we also need defensive backs who can cover for more than .031 seconds. Who don’t routinely get beat at the line of scrimmage. Who are not constantly out of place. Who can tackle. And if the scheme has everyone so confused that most of the field is an interconnected series of massive holes, maybe we need a new scheme…because it’s too late this season to get new players.

      That will come next year.

      As far as Spagnuolo is concerned, I’m not at all worried that the man has suddenly hit his level of incompetence. But perhaps he’s in the same position Gen. Patton would have been in in 1944, if instead of the Third Army he’d tried to reach the Rhine with the League of Women Voters.

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  • PhilistineOctober 9, 2012 at 1:55 pm

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    Patton would have made his way to Prague faster; those ladies’ handbags are lethal weapons.

    The secondary arguably has the farthest distance to travel from GW’s schemes (pardon the pun). Greer’s groin injury doesn’t help, either, since it limits our best db. Besides, our run defense has been abysmal. To me, that’s the biggest disappointment so far.

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    • HimselfOctober 9, 2012 at 2:52 pm

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      The biggest disappointment, and the most inexplicable development. I can’t explain it, anyway…I know, big surprise.

      About the only thing I can come up with is that Spagnuolo’s scheme is playing pass first on every down, but I don’t think that’s it. I shudder to think what opposing running backs are racking up in yards after contact. They’re not just running through empty space where there should be a lineman or a linebacker or a safety–they’re running over and through the defense like–to continue the WWII analogies–panzers through lancers. Our guys have been miserable at simply tackling runners.

      I think if I were coach, I’d have the defense split up into two teams and play tackle football in the parking lot after practice. As coach, of course, I cannot condone full contact drills when the league has explicitly limited them…but if the guys want to toughen themselves up by playing on asphalt after hours…hey, what can I do? Besides, they were in shorts and shoes, no pads at all. And the fact that the winning team gets to start on Sunday? Coincidence, totally.

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      • PhilistineOctober 9, 2012 at 4:19 pm

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        but if the guys want to toughen themselves up by playing on asphalt after hours…

        Heh. The Saints’ uniforms would be bloody before the game started. That might be a little intimidating.

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        • PhilistineOctober 9, 2012 at 4:19 pm

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          The game on Sunday, that is.

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  • metrymanOctober 9, 2012 at 7:19 pm

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    What we’re seeing with the new Spagnuolo scheme, is hesitation, and he who hesitates is lost. They’ve blitzed their eyeballs out for the last 3 yrs., now they’ve been told to read/re-act, be in this area/zone etc. and make a play. I was encouraged by what I saw with Wilson/Galette’s pressure late in the game, they’re kinda light and can’t play every snap, but 3rd and long, I say turn the young guys loose.

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    • HimselfOctober 10, 2012 at 7:59 am

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      This has been pointed out again and again: Michael Strahan, Osi Umenyiora, and Justin Tuck averaged 6-4 and 259 pounds. Martez Wilson is 6-4 and 252. Junior Galette is 6-2 and 258. Neither of them is too light to play in a scheme which made a star out of Tuck, and sustained Strahan’s career in its final season.

      Whether or not they have the talent to duplicate what those ends did in New York is an open question…but on paper, they’re virtually perfect replacements. With Smith’s suspension kicking in again, Spagnuolo will be forced to give them more playing time, and that may turn out to be a blessing in disguise. Wouldn’t it be something if the spark that ignited the Saints’ season was Roger’s arrogance kicking in again?

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  • PhilistineOctober 20, 2012 at 2:21 pm

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    Good article by Alan Grant on National Football Post. Starting with the fact that Reggie White’s “Smash for Cash” program was condoned by the NFL in 1996, Grant, like me and others, believes that Bountygate was all about marketing. Growing the brand when you’re already #1 is difficult.

    This is all about labels. Trying to grow the National Football League requires the proper packaging—the lifeblood of any marketing concept. But professional football is already the most popular sport in the country.

    When that’s the case, marketing plans get dicey. In the effort to make a successful product even more “consumer-friendly,” there’s the inherent risk of turning the operation into a parody of what it truly is.

    That, my friends, is the essence of Bounty Gate. On the topic of cash-based incentives, the purists know the score. This sort of thing has always been there. The newcomers need to be reassured, not the true fans. They can handle he thorny truth.

    I thought Grant put that rather well.

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    • HimselfOctober 20, 2012 at 4:14 pm

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      This interminable bounty investigation is nothing more than an effort to sell professional football, to present it in the best possible light. Roger Goodell may as well be selling Christianity.

      What?

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      • PhilistineOctober 20, 2012 at 6:57 pm

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        That was a little strange. Alan Grant’s writing can be a little thorny, but I think I see his point. He meant that trying to expand the reach of the NFL is akin to doing the same with the majority religion (in America). Doing so is difficult, since you would have to remake it to appeal to non-Christians, which would alienate existing Christians. The NFL has been broadening its appeal to women, for example, who might be less happy to witness the brutality that men might take for granted.

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