Friday, September 2, 2011
NFL ACLB PREVIEWS - #8: NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
PERTINENT DATA: 11-5, earning an NFC wild card berth, lost at shitty Seahawks in wild card round of the playoffs; 16 to 1 odds to win Super Bowl XLVI.
BEST CASE SCENARIO (Raven): What's not to like about the New Orleans Saints? I mean, seriously. Drew Brees is just a dude who was run out of San Diego by petulant management because of a busted shoulder, and he goes to New Orleans and brings them a Super Bowl. This is a team that was notoriously inept in the past, barely able to make the playoffs in their highest moments, and going 1-15 in one extra dreary year back in the '80s. Actually, being I know a lot of you are Lions fans who regularly come to this blog, the Saints are really a tale of hope for yourself, because the Saints were the exact same thing as the Lions for the longest time, and they rose up from the flood waters of Katrina and turned the mangled Superdome into a wonderful football arena again instead of the mausoleum for lost souls that tragedy had reshaped it as. New Orleans is a strange town, full of oddball characters and the most loveable but sketchy people you could ever meet. Anyone can enjoy themselves in New Orleans, from a convention-attending interventional radiologist nerd types to a heroin junkie looking for a chill place to try and make the methadone work this time. New Orleans just has that vibe of acceptance, regardless of what or how you are. This team carries that personality. There is a seemingly endless list of quality skill position players on offense, and just as soon as they rid themselves of their one overhyped failure in Reggie Bush, they bring in a hungry young dude in Mark Ingram who seems will be the opposite, even with the exact same Heisman shine. The offense is unquestionable, and will be as long as Sean Payton assembles his Billy Beane-esque hodgepodge of WRs, RBs, and TEs, and has Drew Brees to distribute the ball between them. But on defense, crazy old Gregg Williams has given this team some fangs to their bite, that they're really rarely had over the years of their existence whenever Rickey Jackson wasn't on the roster. It's a fun team to watch and no one really gets my oft-ruffled feathers ruffled. Shit man, basically the Saints are like that stupid "Greatest Show on Turf" Rams team, except they have nicer uniforms, are in a much better city, have a chill ass QB instead of some dumbass born again egotist, and are coached up by coaches who deflect praise to their players, not doing the a double thumbs point at themselves as an offensive genius. If there were four more teams as fucking good and likeable as the Saints, the NFL's wouldn't have to worry about this player image problem Sheriff Goodell seems to obsess over.
WORST CASE SCENARIO (Neil): True story: I am descended from Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne, the dude who is known as the Father of New Orleans. This means that, as far as I can tell, the city of New Orleans belongs to me. It is mine by hereditary rights. You could argue this point with me, but you’d just look like an unlearned asshole, and this world is already far, far too full of unlearned assholes. So, just do the right thing and accept this. Now, naturally, this means that I have always had a bit of a soft spot for New Orleans. It is one of my many ancestral homes and my blood flows through its debauched veins. How could I not feel at least a tiny connection to the city? Think about me and think about New Orleans and tell me that in retrospect this connection isn’t obvious. I mean, come on, we are both debauched, we both are a bit of a disaster and we both don’t mind dressing up in drag and parading down the streets while people toss beads at us and strangers drunkenly flash their tits from countless balconies. Part of New Orleans will probably always be with me because that’s just the way genetics work, goddammit. Don’t argue with me, I’m a man of science. So . . . I mean, what’s the point here? What does this have to do with the Saints? I don’t know. If you came here expecting a point, well . . . I’m guessing you haven’t been following Armchair Linebacker for too long. Still, I suppose I should say something since, technically this is about the Saints and not about me leading up to the claim that I am the reincarnated soul of Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne and that snippets of his life – well, my life but this stuff can get confusing – have been revealed to me through the miracle of hypnosis and through copious amounts of both Ayahuasca and Peyote. Perhaps it would be more interesting for me to reveal that during my life as Le Moyne I spent almost a full decade fighting beside The Great Willie Young against Creole pirates who had snakes for hair and who attacked us with the bones of our own dead and sent zombies after us in the dead of night. Terrible, terrible memories . . . but you’re right, this is supposed to be about the New Orleans Saints and not me. I apologize for being so self-centered. Anyway, the worst case scenario for the Saints isn’t all that bad considering they are among the most solid teams in the league. I guess their biggest concern is Drew Brees getting hurt, which is also a concern for me because in Raven’s fantasy football league I ended up with Brees as my quarterback, but there I go again making this all about me. I apologize. Anyway, if Brees gets hurt – and that shit better not happen or I’m coming for revenge with my tamed army or Creole zombies and The Great Willie Young by my side – the Saints could be looking at a shitty season, but even then they could probably squeak out an 8-8 season. Fuck it, I don’t know. I’m having flashbacks and I think one of my servants was just eaten by the Vampire Lestat. Oh, New Orleans . . . I just can’t escape you.
PLAYER TO PULL FOR (Raven): Honestly, there are too many wacky characters that go to New Orleans for the camaraderie to even pick just one out. Overweight quote machine who stops up the middle Shaun Rogers? He's here. Crazy viking warrior spirit center of doom Olin Kreutz? Yeah, he's here. Little San Diego speed midget Darren Sproles is here. Not to mention awesomely international sounding offensive role players like Marques Colston and Pierre Thomas. But most of all, this was the home to Deuce McAllister, who is such a great and wonderful dude, that even though he doesn't play for the Saints anymore, you should still pull for him, because he's cool. I know he's cool because I met him in prison.
PLAYER TO HATE MOST (Neil): Well, I kinda want to say the Vampire Lestat for eating one of my servants but I don’t think he made the cut after he fumbled in the Saints last preseason game, so . . . who’s it going to be? I could say Shaun Rogers since he is basically a fat, lazy degenerate much despised by many Lions fans but I always had a soft spot for Big Baby. So the dude got handsy with a stripper or two? It happens. Besides, Rod Marinelli hated Shaun Rogers and I can’t in good conscience ally myself with that war criminal. What I’m saying, I guess, is that you should hate Rod Marinelli. Now, I know he has nothing to do with the New Orleans Saints but his miserable stench cannot be contained by one city or one team and honestly, is it ever really wrong to find hatred in your heart for the villain who engineered 0-16? If that’s wrong than fuck you, I don’t want to be right.
BEST NAME ON TEAM: I could've easily gone with Isa Abdul-Quddus, and made Al-Qaeda jokes, but honestly, as a spirit-filled man of all Gods, the mystical yet precise morality of Islam is the finest of all the major world religions. Unfortunately it drifts into militantism easily along the fringes, but the beauty of the teachings of the Quran cannot be denied. So let's say the best name on the team instead is Jo-Lonn Dunbar, because that sounds like a wacky character from a Donald Goines novel. If you have not read Donald Goines novels before, you should; they are far superior to whatever stupid fucking fantasy world bullshit you pretend is reading. (Oh wait, Turk McBride plays for them too, but the Donald Goines thing applies to him as well.)
IN A PERFECT WORLD (Neil): In a perfect world, I wouldn’t wake up from a deep sleep and find myself naked along the shores of the Mississippi River running naked from an army of zombies whose only goal in life is to eat my beautiful brain. But what the hell, this isn’t a perfect world now is it? And that means, just like everybody else, I must accept my lot in life and move on. For the Saints, their perfect world involves Drew Brees staying healthy and throwing for, like, 6,000 yards and carrying them to another Super Bowl, after which the people of New Orleans can melt down the Lombardi Trophy now that they have a spare and sell it so they can buy a new levee system. Too soon? Fuck it, I think I have made a variation of that same joke in everything I’ve ever written about the Saints or the city of New Orleans since Katrina. I was even paid money to make jokes like that in an NFL Draft diary I did a year and a half ago or so for a company which later told me that I had been made expendable by the presence of midgets recreating scenes from Entourage, which is apparently hilarious to . . . someone, I guess. Then they stiffed me on my last check. Then again, maybe that’s what I deserved for profiteering off of the misery of my ancestral city. I’m so ashamed. Forgive me, New Orleans, I need your help in defeating the Creole Pirates. Together, we can build a better tomorrow, even if we are all a bunch of French degenerates, effete and debauched. After all, we have The Great Willie Young on our side.
PROGNOSIS (Raven): The Saints are in a tough division, even if the Panthers are there. They'll get another solid 10-6 year, wild card berth to the playoffs, win the wild card game they should've won last year except for the overpowering dominance for 14 seconds of Beast Mode punked them out of it, and then lose.