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Suffering from Saints-itis

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Suffering from Saints-itis My name is Adam. I suffer from Saints-itis. Without fail, I get it every August when I become infatuated with the Saints' talent. Understand this — I hate horror films. I don't slow down when I see ...

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Old 08-17-2005, 11:24 PM   #1
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Suffering from Saints-itis

Suffering from Saints-itis

My name is Adam.

I suffer from Saints-itis.
Without fail, I get it every August when I become infatuated with the Saints' talent.

Understand this — I hate horror films. I don't slow down when I see a car accident. I am not a masochist. And I do really believe in the forward pass to the wide receiver, as opposed to the senseless chuck Aaron Brooks fired backwards at offensive lineman Wayne Gandy in a game last year.

After studying the roster, I break out in a rash. I get hives. I can't breathe.

Do I focus on the players with unlimited potential? Or pay more attention to the penalties (Gandy just jumped off-sides again), the QB, the coach, the mental faux pas, the anemic first quarters?

There was a stretch between games 3-9 where the Saints were outscored 54-0 in the first quarter. Honestly. It was make you cringe ugly.

Do I pay attention to the team that stumbled out of the gate last with a comedy of errors at 2-4, or the NFL's hottest team in the final four weeks, rolling off four straight hard-earned wins?

It's the most maddening team in sports. The Saints keep you up at night.

Look — the Saints are loaded.

The defensive line is filled with first round picks. The ends make a living sacking the opposition's quarterback. Will Smith, Darren Howard, and Charles Grant combined to take down the QB 29 times last year. They are quick, smart, and physical.

And then there's Johnathan Sullivan. In a word — bust. This is Saints underachievement personified; so skilled, yet so frustrating. Former Saint Ashley Ambrose told me this summer that Sullivan doesn't focus and practice hard. That's got to make you feel proud to be a Saints fan.

It gets worse.

When I broached this subject to coach Jim Haslett, he actually agreed, saying the light must go on, and soon, for this draft disappointment. Hey, coach — how about kicking his behind?

For the record, defensive back Mike McKenzie told me that Sullivan looks good this summer. And you wonder why I am suffering from "Saints-itis" again.

I'm feeling faint.

A full year as a Saint should be enormous for McKenzie, saying he is so much more familiar with the system. McKenzie loves New Orleans and is back to thinking about being a shut-down corner, not concerned with his contract like he was in Green Bay.

I thought he was trying to injure me when he mentioned that the 2005 Saints have as much or more talent than those division winning Packers teams he was on. I'm sending McKenzie my doctor's bill.

Dwight Smith is a huge upgrade for New Orleans at safety. Saints GM Mickey Loomis helped the back seven by drafting Josh Bullocks from Nebraska and UConn stud linebacker Alfred Fincher on day one of the draft.

The offense should, in theory, be one of the best in the NFL.

Deuce McAllister is one of the best running backs in the league. McAllister just got the mental and financial security of a brand new, long term contract. He's a Mississippi native and loves playing for the Saints. Deuce is 100 percent physically after suffering from a high ankle sprain last year. His home run speed is back.

Even when he was healthy at the beginning of the year last season, McAllister wasn't vintage Deuce, greatly missing the lead blocking of underrated fullback Terrelle Smith. Former offensive coordinator Mike McCarthy insisted early on using the two-tight-end set to compensate. While that did get playing time for my boy Boo Williams, McAllister hated it. When it was finally scrapped, the Saints and McAllister went on a roll. With second-year battering ram Mike Karney now leading the way, McAllister is primed for a great season.

Loomis had a really productive "off-season" (we know there is no off-season) as the Saints GM. He also smartly rewarded the underrated Joe Horn with a brand new deal after he made the pro bowl for the forth time in five years. Horn's a physical wide receiver, one who also uses his smarts to grab pass after pass.

Horn anchors what should be a really good and versatile receiving corps. Donte' Stallworth showed more consistency last year and caught 58 passes. Devery Henderson makes the coaching staff salivate with his ability for YAC (yards after the catch). Free agent pickup Az-Zahir Hakim adds experience and depth.

While the offensive line made a lot of pre-snap gaffes last year, there is no question it is much improved from one year ago. LeCharles Bentley now has a year under his belt at center and is en route to the Pro Bowl. And Loomis made a couple of really savvy pickups. First, he gave his line a major jolt of professionalism, skill, and versatility by signing Jermane Mayberry away from the Eagles. Then, he drafted the most ready player in the 2005 draft, Oklahoma right tackle Jammal Brown, who allowed only one sack in 3 years as Jason White's body guard. Loomis told me after the draft this is the one guy he wanted, and it was the perfect fit for the Saints.

And then there's Aaron Brooks. Sometimes you just want to put your hands on his shoulders, shake him back and forth, and scream, ‘You have the talent!' at the top of your lungs. He has the body. He has the arm. Brooks oozes athletic ability. But he makes too many mistakes; the fumbles, the interceptions in the big spot, the throws in double coverage, and yes, that backwards pass to Gandy.

I talked to Jim Haslett about Brooks recently. He thinks the problem is simple. The offense wasn't simple enough. New offensive coordinator Mike Sheppard will have a skinnier playbook. They will only ask Brooks to make the possible, possible. There won't be a lot of pre-snap movement. This should help Brooks and his men up front, including Mr. Gandy. According to Haslett, simplicity will finally equal consistency for Brooks.

But can Brooks and Haslet lead? Teammates complain of Brooks being lackadaisical, aloof, and carefree. They wonder where the fire is. Others say that his leadership skills are overrated, and it simply is an issue of making big plays.

This could be the last straw for the coach. But, Haslett is unflappable. He laughs at his critics while having more lives than a cat, but you wonder if he has the pulse of this team.

Sometimes you wonder if Haslett is coming or going. He spent the "off-season" talking about steroid use when he played. And he told me that it doesn't really matter if the wonderful and diehard Saints fans aren't happy with Tom Benson raising ticket prices and with the possibility of the Saints moving the team to Los Angeles because, hey, it's not as if New Orleans plays well at home anyway.
I have four teams locked in for the playoffs in the NFC: Philadelphia, Minnesota, Carolina, and Atlanta. I'm leaning on the Rams over Arizona.

And this is part of the problem.

The NFC is the junior varsity.

Every other team in the NFC has holes and/or questions.

It's why I have to consider New Orleans.

How good is Eli Manning?

Is Drew Bledsoe done?

Where will the points come from in DC?

Can Joey Harrington do the job?

Do the Packers have any defense?

Do the Buccaneers have an offensive line?

And I just can't take two playoff teams from the NFC West.

I can take two Advil, drink liquids, and listen to my grandmother and enjoy the Jewish penicillin, Matzah Ball soup.

If not now, when?

Hide the woman and children.

The Saints might just go to the playoffs.

If you can stand to watch.

saintz08 is offline  
Old 08-18-2005, 03:44 AM   #2
Mmm That Smell!
Join Date: Oct 1998
Location: Metairie Terrace
Posts: 2,888
RE: Suffering from Saints-itis

I too have the "Itis".
If I am again wrong this season then I will form a 12-step "Break the Saints Addiction" support group for all of us poor dumb bastards.
The definition of insanity is: Continuing to repeat behavior when you know it will end the same way (paraphrase).
Sounds like being a Saints fan to me.
This is it boys.
Faith or............
BTW. I am going on record right now predicting an 11-5 season with a trip to the NFC Championship game.

Drinking the Kool Aid!
RockyMountainSaint is offline  
Old 08-18-2005, 03:47 AM   #3
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Scott, LA
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RE: Suffering from Saints-itis

I don't know. 11-5 is a bit for fetched for me. We'll do no better than 10 wins and barely make the playoffs.
BoudinSandwich is offline  
Old 08-18-2005, 04:44 AM   #4
Mmm That Smell!
Join Date: Oct 1998
Location: Metairie Terrace
Posts: 2,888
RE: Suffering from Saints-itis

I don't know. 11-5 is a bit for fetched for me. We'll do no better than 10 wins and barely make the playoffs.
Billy is gone so someone has to be the unrealistic optimist.

DJ, Drink the Kool-Aid Kiddo!
RockyMountainSaint is offline  
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