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Buddy D on Saints.

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; By BUDDY DILIBERTO Waiting for the Saints to win a Super Bowl is like leaving the porch light on for Jimmy Hoffa. Am I being cynical? Probably. But after 36 seasons of charting and covering the New Orleans Saints, it's ...

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Old 07-31-2003, 11:54 AM   #1
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Buddy D on Saints.

By BUDDY DILIBERTO

Waiting for the Saints to win a Super Bowl is like leaving the porch light on for Jimmy Hoffa.

Am I being cynical? Probably. But after 36 seasons of charting and covering the New Orleans Saints, it's hard to be any other way and still be honest about the dawn of the 37th season of professional football in New Orleans.

Coach Jim Haslett's teams have won 26 regular season games and lost 22 in his three years at the helm. That's the second-best start ever for a Saints head coach. Jim Mora won 29 games in his first three seasons (1986-88).

Is there anything on the horizon for 2003 that might give realistic hope of a Super Bowl victory?

Haslett finally has his "own team" - literally. Jerry Fontenot is the only starter (offense or defense) remaining from the Mike Ditka years.

The makeover has been dramatic. And while a majority of the changes have to be classified as "upgrades" there have been some serious losses - offensive tackles Willie Roaf and Kyle Turley and running back Ricky Williams, who cost the Saints a draft and a half.

There were various reasons for the changes, but there's no denying that they lost some very, very good football players. The irony is that offense is the Saints' strong suit. And those three aforementioned players were all from the offensive side of the ball.

If there is going to be a major turnaround this season the impetus will have to come on defense. The Saints' offense stacks up favorably with any in the league.

During the three Haslett years nine players who figure to be starters or key backups on defense have been acquired through the draft. Defensive ends Darren Howard (2000 No. 2), Charles Grant (2002 No. 1) and defensive tackle Jonathan Sullivan (2003 No. 1) were the prime picks during the Haslett years. Other defensive draftees are linebackers Sedrick Hodge (2001 No. 3) and James Allen (2002 No. 3).

Defensive backs Mel Mitchell (2002 No. 5), Keyuo Craver (2002 No. 4) and Michael Hawthorne (2000 No. 6) all figure in the 2003 plans. And there's defensive tackle Kenny Smith (2001 No. 3).

Among the new additions outside of the draft are Tebucky Jones (safety), Ashley Ambrose (cornerback) and Orlando Ruff (linebacker). All three might be starters. Two of the three are almost certain to be starters.

That's quite a makeover in three seasons.

The professionals (Las Vegas) tab the Saints as an 8-8 team in 2003. Some of that factors in the division (NFC South) which the Saints play in. Tampa Bay is tabbed as winning 10 1/2 games and Atlanta 9 1/2. Carolina is tabbed for 7 1/2 wins. That's a prediction of 35 1/2 wins for NFC South teams. Only one division in the league is projected to have more victories - the AFC West, with 36 1/2 -- Oakland (9 1/2), Denver (9 1/2), Kansas City (9) and San Diego (8 1/2).

Defensively the Saints have to prove themselves to the rest of the league. USA Today Sports Weekly, with the help of league coaches and personnel people, graded the best 25 players in the league at each position. Among inside and outside linebackers, the Saints had zero. Same thing among the corners. At the safety position newly acquired Tebucky Jones is rated as the 19th best safety.

Perhaps the best thing the Saints have going for them (in their search for a Super Bowl trophy) is that there are no dominant teams in the NFL anymore. None of the 32 teams is projected to win even 11 games. Tampa Bay and Philadelphia are projected at 10 1/2 wins.

Rick Mueller, director of player personnel, says he's not surprised that most of the Saints defensive starters aren't rated in the Top 25 in the league at their positions.

But Mueller adds, "That's because most haven't had a chance to make an impact at their position. That will change."

Bottom line - I go into the 2003 season still thinking that waiting for the Saints to win the Super Bowl is akin to keeping the porch light on for Jimmy Hoffa.
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Old 07-31-2003, 12:43 PM   #2
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Buddy D on Saints.

While Buddy is entertaining, his football accumen leaves a lot to be desired. If he was on \"Football Jeopardy\", my little sister would smoke his asss.

I know there are at least 10 to 12 members here that know more about football than he does.

He\'s the perfect example of the typical long suffering Saints fan...
\"We\'re the Saints, we will always suck\"
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Old 07-31-2003, 12:44 PM   #3
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Buddy D on Saints.

Tweeky when I posted that article, I knew you were going to go off.........


The past is the past and that\'s where it should be left.
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Old 07-31-2003, 12:51 PM   #4
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Buddy D on Saints.

I\'m that predictable?
Oh well, at least I\'m cocsistent.

BTW: He couldn\'t have read 1/2 that article on his radio show without 2 commercial breaks.

Buddy D, 15 minutes of football talk, 45 minutes commercials, every hour.
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