“Who’s Your Daddy?”

12

 
buddy

Given its heritage, after being coached by Gregg Williams and Rob Ryan, it should come as no shock that the Saints' defense is looking a wee bit like a certain famous wrecking crew.

 

There’s been a lot of nonsense written about the Saints this preseason: all about their prospects, their problems, their crises du jour. None of it by me, of course, but only because of a complete lack of trying. Some of you may have noticed: I’ve been incommunicado lately.

Well, all of that is about to end. And I mean, all of it. As I reassert myself as the premier Saints blogger on this entire site, I intend to go farther into absurdity than anyone has yet dared to go. Silly? Irresponsible? Not even Jeff Duncan can keep up with me. Gaze on my works, ye flighty, and despair.

And yet: perhaps not so absurd after all. If anyone had suggested to you that, even in the preseason, the Saints would trail only the 49ers in total defense after two weeks, would you have voted for involuntary commitment? How about if they were to suggest that the team’s “decimated” linebacker corps would help their “anemic” pass rush tie those same 49ers for the lead in sacks, with an average of almost six per game?

No?

How about if someone suggested: “These guys look like the ’85 Bears”?

Ahhhh…now I have your attention.

Right about now, you’re thinking I’ve gone off the deep end. All this time off, and the best I could come up with is this wild-assed comparison to the all-singing, all-dancing terror of the NFL? Maybe we should take a poll: Is Himself stupid, crazy, or just showing off? (Could be all three.) Unfortunately, this site has no poll widget. Sucks to be you; take it to the comments. But let me be a little proactive here and answer some of the most obvious criticisms.

1. “But it’s only preseason!”

Yeah. I get it. Preseason: that part of the NFL year when teams are trying as hard as they can to prepare for the coming campaign, and evaluating both personnel and scheme. If there were really nothing we could learn from the preseason, the same would hold true for the coaching staff, and then you’d find yourself having to agree with Roger Goodell that the preseason should be curtailed. Are you prepared to go that far?

The fact is: if we could learn nothing from preseason, Pierre Thomas would be pulling down $35k somewhere in the Chicago metro area. Lance Moore would be living with his mom. And Pat Yasinskas would never have written this:

I won’t reveal who I have picked to win the Super Bowl at the moment — that will come in early September. But I’m thinking about changing it to the Saints. I’m also thinking the Saints just might go undefeated.

Then again, part of me realizes this is just a preseason game. More importantly, the Saints are playing the Raiders, who are far worse than I imagined and I already thought they were pretty bad.

Still…

Actually, Pat wrote that in 2009. And give him credit: he, earlier than anyone but me, recognized the Saints were destined for greatness that year. He also wonders if he sees the same thing now. (Well, sorta. Close enough.)

So get over it. Yes, it’s preseason. That’s when you’re supposed to notice things.

2. “Yeah, but…the ’85 Bears!? Where have you been all this time…in electroshock?”

Ha. Very clever. (How’s that working out for you?) But I didn’t say they were the ’85 Bears; I didn’t even go so far as to say they were as good. But they sure have been looking like them, and why should that surprise anyone? It’s in their DNA. After three years under Buddy Ryan protege Gregg Williams, the defense now takes its marching orders from Ryan son Rob Ryan. Buddy is almost literally the father of this defense. Frankly, I’d be pretty upset if they didn’t bear a resemblance to those Bears, however tenuous.

But “Ah,” you say, “you didn’t say they bore a resemblance, you said—”

I said they “look like the ’85 Bears.” In other words, they “bear a resemblance.” You actually want to take this any farther?

3. “But did you see that opening drive against the starters in the Chief’s game? They picked us apart!”

Yeah, I saw it. Did you see Steve DeBerg and the 2-14 Bucs take the Bears to the wall in Week 1? Even the best have lapses. And to reiterate: I’m not claiming these Saints are as good as those Bears; my only point is that they’re doing a creditable impersonation so far.

4. “But it was only the Raiders!”

And the Raiders aren’t very good, right? Actually, the Raiders suck. They’re awful. But the Saints did exactly what you’re supposed to do when you meet with an awful team: you make them your bitch. The starters got a little scratched up, but bitches will do that. In the end, by the time the starters were being pulled, the Saints were ahead 23-0 and had held the Raiders to 48 total yards.

And something else about those starters: they included Ramon Humber, David Hawthorne, and Jay Richardson. That’s right: three out of four of the starting linebackers were out. We were playing with subs even in the first quarter! And we still decimated the Raiders. Because that’s what good teams do, when they play well within a good system. What will happen when Lofton and Galette are back…along with Martez Wilson as lagniappe? And once Cam Jordan, Akiem Hicks, and John Jenkins have gelled into our permanent, All-Pro starting line?

Of course, we should know better next week. We get to play a good team, Houston, and on their turf to boot. Everything about the Texans—everything—is dramatically superior to the Raiders. And of course, if the Saints look bad, I’ll be saying, “It’s only preseason. Proves nothing. By the way, the Bears were 1-3 in the 1985 preseason, did you know that?”

5. “That’s right! Because…it’s only preseason!”

Rinse. Repeat.

I’m sure you understand by now, as I do, that you can’t prove anything when nothing counts. Excellence in the preseason, no matter how remarkable, is not admissible as evidence. And I admit that two games—even regular season games—is too small a sample size. There’s also the fact that the two league leaders, the 49ers and the Saints, share a common opponent (the Chiefs), and that could help explain how their stat lines look so similar.

But here’s where I part company with all the stat geeks and mavens and whatnots who spend their time “proving” things by crunching numbers instead of watching the games. I have no idea how to quantify the Saints’ relationship to the best defense of all time, but in large part because I have no interest in it. I watch the games. I pay attention. I also have all 19 games played by the ’85 Bears on tape, and I’ve watched those many times since they happened, back oh before you were born. And these Saints, so far, and fully bearing in mind that’s it’s only preseason, are playing just like them.

Perhaps not as well. Perhaps never as well. Perhaps they’re more like a high school marching band playing Mozart. But when they play, you recognize the tune. And once you get used to the funny hats and the glockenspiel, you have to admit:

They’re pretty damned good.

Posted by Himself in Sheer Awesomeness, Silly Shit | 12 comments

12 Comments

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  • Doc BoudinAugust 18, 2013 at 12:45 am

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    The 85 Bears? I’d settle for the 2009 Saints. And by the by, welcome back.

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    • AcadieAugust 18, 2013 at 9:19 am

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      I’m not seeing 2009 opportunistic defense here. I’m seeing some fierce pass rushing, run stuffing, ball swarming action. A thing of beauty and a wonder to behold.

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  • cc58August 18, 2013 at 4:16 pm

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    Bam, and I saw the “Who’s your daddy?” first…no I did.
    Sent Himself an email…Damn Dude, yesterday…
    Himself replied…
    I’m working on a post right now.

    In fact, you get to see the illustration first:
    How was that for timing, Huh!

    I’d give up winning every preseason, game to make sure we have the right roster. Fuck Da ’85 Bears, give me Da Dome Patrol. Who Dat.

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  • Breesus Christ SuperstarAugust 18, 2013 at 6:15 pm

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    Damn, I never got the chance to read “Tim Tebow–Saints Edition” ;) oh well, moving on…

    All I know about the 2013 Raiders preseason game is that it sure as hell reminded me of the 2009 Raiders preseason game.
    Back in ’09, I was at a family funeral in the middle of nowhere Marion, SC, and the only place I could catch the game was in the bar of an Olive Garden restaurant of all places. Somewhere in the second quarter I turned to some distant cousin of my wife’s whom I had never met and told him “The Saints are going to the Superbowl. If they can’t do it with this team they never will.” And I truly believed it. Months later, that relative called me before the Super Bowl (only the second time we’ve spoken) and said “I thought you were crazy that night, but damn you were right.”
    So, that tangent was just to say that I get where you are coming from, himself. It may sound crazy, or homerish, and we are always hopeful, but sometimes its something more. Some teams just have that feeling of being special. ’09 had it and I’m starting to get that sense about this years team.

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    • GSO Saints FanAugust 18, 2013 at 6:40 pm

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      Interestingly, the week before your story, I was out drinking with a couple of buddies in Blacksburg, VA, tangentially paying attention to the Saints-Texans game. In a fit of bravado I looked at them after the end of the game and said “the Saints will win the Super Bowl this season.”

      They (an Eagles fan & a Redskins fan) made me write that statement on a napkin and sign it, then they signed as wwitnesses. It was then used to harass and deride my homerific silliness within our little universe of musicians/football fans, and resided on the bulletin board of the Redskins fan’s retail establishment, as well as a photo being posted on message board we all frequent.

      At the begining of the season, I took a lot of harassment. Then in week 2 we trucked the Eagles, and my Philly-based buddy got a bit silent. When when they destroyed the Giants…EVERYONE stopped harassing me for the statement.

      That napkin is in a picture frame in my office/practice studio now. :-)

      No one in that crowd harasses me now, either. :-D

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      • Breesus Christ SuperstarAugust 18, 2013 at 8:25 pm

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        Great story and trophy, GSO. I love it.
        It turned out that the relative I spoke of is quite the sports memorabilia collector (he actually owns some sort of memorabilia brokering business). After the Super Bowl win, he mailed me a Drew Brees rookie card and 2006 card when he joined the saints. I don’t collect cards etc myself, but every Sunday those two cards sit next to the TV for good luck.

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        • HimselfAugust 18, 2013 at 8:55 pm

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          I don’t have anything like that. Last time Drew was over I asked him if he could scrounge up one of his rookie cards for me, he said “No sweat, dude.” Since then, nada.

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          • Breesus Christ SuperstarAugust 18, 2013 at 9:07 pm

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            Let me talk to him. I’ll see what I can do.

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      • Breesus Christ SuperstarAugust 18, 2013 at 9:15 pm

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        My wife had the nerve to go into labor during the Giants game that year. I made her wait until after the game was over before I took her to the hospital. Ha! Still hearing about that one.

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  • sacalaitAugust 25, 2013 at 7:10 am

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    Hope springs eternal in the minds and hearts of Saint’s fans in the preseason. Payton is back, we still have Brees, and if the defense can get from dead last into the middle of the pack, statistically, we will be in the play offs. The first game against the dreaded and hated Falcoons will tell a lot about the team and it’s new defense.

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    • HimselfAugust 25, 2013 at 9:25 am

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      Hell, the game today will tell a lot. I just hope there are no black pants.

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  • metrymanAugust 28, 2013 at 12:00 am

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    Sweet photoshop of Buddy Ryan, had to double think my password it’s been a while, been tumbleweeds around here, hope all is well, welcome back.
    Injuries on D, aside, we can’t be as worse as last season, no way. Naaah

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