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pakowitz 05-07-2003 03:52 PM

We’ll see who gets last laugh


It seems like every year around this time, all of the Saints fans jump on the bandwagon with intentions of riding it to the Super Bowl.

Usually by Week 12 or 13 of the NFL season, things change and the bandwagon full of happy fans turns into a Superdome full people wearing paper bags over their heads.

The fans who choose to wear the bags do so because they can’t get rid of their season tickets and don’t want to waste their money. But at the same time, they’re too ashamed to be seen in the Superdome for a game.

Right now, all of the wagon-riders are more than happy to uphold the name of the Saints, but during Week 11 or 12 will it still be that way?

Like I said in a column two weeks ago, Saints fans always have visions of the Super Bowl dancing in their heads before the start of the season. But every year, they learn the same lesson: History repeats itself.

Everybody is making a big fuss about Johnathan Sullivan and how impressive he looked in last weekend’s minicamp. But that’s minicamp and a lot of things can change when the real bullets start flying.

If Sullivan does well and anchors the Saints’ defensive line this season I will definitely give him his props. But if he doesn’t, you will hear from me.

Last year, the Saints’ defense, which used to be one of the best in the NFL, gave up at least 20 points in all but one game.

To help bolster a suspect secondary, the Saints signed veteran cornerback Ashley Ambrose and traded for free safety Tebucky Jones.

They will join cornerbacks Dale Carter and Fred Thomas. But the Saints will not re-sign Pro Bowl strong safety Sammy Knight and have yet to bring in a replacement.

Ambrose, who has been in the league for 12 seasons and Carter, an 11-year veteran, aren’t young bucks anymore.

And if Ambrose was so good anyway, why did the Saints send him to Atlanta three years ago?

Honestly, the secondary isn’t getting any younger, so why not upgrade instead of just trying to get by.

As far as the linebackers are concerned, Orlando Ruff rode the pine all last season for the San Diego Chargers. Yet the Saints picked him up and turned him into their starting middle linebacker?

For all of that nonsense, they could have picked up E.J. Henderson, who won the Butkus Award (given to the best collegiate linebacker in the country) twice at Maryland.

Scouts put so much stock into semi-important stuff such as 40-yard dash times and the amount of times a guy can bench press 225 pounds, that they sometimes fail to answer the obvious question: Can the guy play football?

Show me what a guy can do on the field and I’ll make my decision from there.

If the Saints make make it to the playoffs, I’ll be the first person to give them their props.

But, if this is another disappointing season, remember one thing: Everyone who disagreed with me, you will hear from me in a couple of months.

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