The Crap Chronicles, Volume Eight
5 Posted on November 6th, 2012 by Himself
What do we know, and when did we know it?
Well, when it comes to this year’s version of the Saints, I don’t think we know anything for certain. And especially when it comes to this game. The Eagles seem to be caught up in an epic cycle of suck that rivals the Saints—it’s fitting that they now have identical records. But while the Saints’ season might be trending upward, the Eagles, I think, are about to crash and burn. I would not be at all surprised if they end the season at 3-13. That’s how bad this team is. As a team—they still have an enormously talented roster (except, of course, for the offensive line), but they also have a coach who has made a career out of turning great teams into good ones. He’s now in the process of turning a good one into a bad one.
Andy Reid could be the poster child for the segment of NFL fans (which seemingly contains all of the media) that pays more attention to stats than to the game itself. He boasts one of the league’s highest rankings when it comes to wins, both regular season and playoff, and has won more division championships than any coach but Belichick. And he’s awful. You can pretty much depend on Reid to lose three games a year all by himself through his clueless, boneheaded decisions. It’s no surprise that Minnesota self-destructed against New Orleans in the 2009 NFCCG, considering that Brad Childress was a miniature (in every sense of the word) version of Reid.
It was Reid who made the decision—and stands by it—to hand the reins on the field to a man whose IQ is roughly equal to his 40 time. It was Reid who, for years, profited from the presence of Jim Johnson, one of the best defensive coaches to ever draw up a game plan—and ultimately replaced him with Juan Castillo, an offensive line coach. It’s Reid who stands there glaring like a cuckolded walrus, week after week, as his joke of a team disintegrates. He is a man without a clue, completely out of his depth as a head coach. If Sean Payton were running the Eagles, Michael Vick would long ago have been traded away to some sucker team for a seventh rounder, and Nick Foles would have the Eagles at 6-2 despite the offensive line problems. If Payton, or Bill Belichick, had enjoyed the services of the players and the coaches who have served under Reid through his tenure, either of them would by now have too many rings to fit his hand.
But Reid gets a pass from the media, and from a huge segment of the fans, because they pay attention to stats more than to the game itself. Anyone who actually watches what happens on the field knows that Reid’s teams are typically hypertalented and dysfunctional. I know this, because I watch the games. I’ve seen this happen over and over with the Eagles: they come into games unprepared, with goofy game plans that don’t work and aren’t adjusted when they fail, and yet win a high percentage of their games on talent alone. Every once in awhile they put together a complete game, and the country stands in trepidation at the thought of a serious Eagles run. But it never happens, because Philadelphia isn’t a serious team, because they have Andy Reid as a coach.
The problem in Philadelphia is Andy Reid. And anyone who really pays attention to football knows that.
So. What do we know about the Saints?
Well, first of all, we know that the Falcons are going to kill us. This miniature rally, in which the Saints have won three out of four games, is coming to an end next week. Matt Ryan ain’t Michael Vick, and Mike Smith ain’t Andy Reid, and the Falcons are pissed at the Saints. After the way Brees carved them up last December on the way to setting the NFL record for passing yards in a season, they would like nothing better than to humiliate us in our own home.
And if we play the way we’ve played for the past eight games, that’s exactly what they’ll do.
A lot of people would have you believe that some sort of miniature light came on last night for Spagnuolo’s defense. After all, we had seven sacks. We forced two turnovers—one of them was actually an interception, and the no-catching motherfucker who actually caught it actually turned it into a score! (Darren Sharper did not look impressed.) We stopped the Eagles cold in the red zone, allowing only six points on five trips. And even though we gave up more than 400 yards for the eighth straight game, a lot of that was in garbage time, when the game was already decided. It’s points that matter, right?
Don’t fall for that stat shit: watch the damn game. Watch how the Eagles gashed us for almost eight yards a carry. Watch how Saints defenders, time and again, missed tackles, got caught out of position, took bad angles, and were manhandled on running plays by an offensive line that may be as historically bad as the Saints’ defense. At times, it seemed our “defenders” were simply escorting a Philadelphia ball carrier down the field. I swear that once I saw Patrick Robinson turn tail and run away. The ever-canny Jeff Duncan called this “their most complete performance of the season,” but he didn’t specify. Complete what? The defense fell into a cesspool…but they didn’t drown, so it was a good day?
The Saints won because Philadephia lost, and Philadelphia lost because they were epically pathetic…because they played like an Andy Reid-coached mob instead of a team. And the Saints won only because, for once, their own defensive suckitude was more than matched by the opposing offense. That isn’t a trend: it’s an outlier. And the problem isn’t that Spagnuolo’s scheme is too complicated for the poor waifs of New Orleans, ego-bruised as they are from being buggered by Roger Goodell. No, I was wrong about that, and so was Wang. No scheme will either help or hurt this defense, because their problem is simply that they’re playing like a bunch of pansies. Their problem is either that they’re not very good at contact, or that they’re downright afraid of it. And until Spags corrects their reluctance to smack the shit out of the other guys, the other guys are going to continue to smack the shit out of us.
In looking at the remaining schedule, I can see us having a reasonable chance of beating the Raiders, the Bucs, the Cowboys, and the Panthers. That puts us at 7-9. So at least we have a new rallying cry: “7-9, bitches! We got this!”
And then in the offseason, we burn this defense to the ground.