Prior to last week's season opener we had read through enough "season preview" articles to notice that, even though Saints fans' emotions were running justifiably hot, a surprising number of them expressed modest expectations for this year's eventual win total. So the deflated feeling Sunday afternoon didn't stem directly from the scoreboard. Rather, it came from the lack of opportunity to let out the offseason's store of pent up rage.
Other than one spectacular touchdown reception by Jimmy Graham, a blocked punt, and the appearance of Jonathan Vilma on the field to lead the pre-game "Who Dat" chant, Saints fans had very little to get excited about. The rest of the day was unspectacular with the outcome not very much in doubt most of the way. Losing the game sucks, sure, but after everything the fans have been through this year, they at least deserved to lose in a more entertaining fashion. Life can be sadly un-poetic like that sometimes. Some weeks, you get to run out of the stadium screaming in ecstasy or in agony. And sometimes you just come way scratching your head asking, "Why football happen as it do?" Those are the shitty times.
Saints vs Redskins: (As we are wont to do during football season, we stole some game photos from NOLA.com. We feel it adds robustness to the posts.. so long as Advance's servers don't crash)
- Roger Goodell is still an asshole: This week's obligatory "Roger Goodell Is Still An Asshole" quotation comes to us courtesy of Fox Sports' Jason Whitlock.
- "Remember Me" hits still as ineffective as ever: Near the end of the first quarter, Washington took a 10-7 lead on an 88 yard pass from Thurston Howell The Third to a receiver with an even more effete-sounding name. Just as he released the ball, The Third was knocked to the ground by Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins who was blitzing despite no longer playing for Gregg Williams. Were he still around, Williams might have credited Jenkins with a "whack" or a "remember me" hit which would have been a big coup for Jenkins during the next week's powerpoint presentation. But Williams is gone so Jenkins (probably) gets nothing. Even worse, the result on the field is unchanged.
- Mark Ingram Bust Watch: Everybody complained all week that the Saints didn't run the ball enough. The numbers (10 attempts for 32 yards) are pretty damning. But, to us, this looked less like poor game planning than it did just a result of the Saints digging a hole for themselves combined with Washington owning the ball for long stretches of time.
- At least Mark Ingram is a warm body: Every season is a derby to see if the Saints run out of running backs or defensive backs first. This season the Saints decided to carry 500 running backs on the roster, just in case they need them for later. Meanwhile they let Tracy Porter go in free agency. Porter, now a Denver Bronco, returned and interception for a touchdown last week. Saints cornerback Johnny Patrick suffered a vaguely described leg injury. So far they're running out of DBs faster. Maybe Travaris Cadet can play corner.
Steve Spagnuolo urges CB Patrick Robinson to hurry off the field before somebody takes his knee out too.
- The Offensive Line coach is running the team: Zach Strief jumped offsides something like 50 times. Meanwhile the protection was downright terrible. People who like to act like they know what they're talking about are saying that Jermon Bushrod is even more garbage-like than before without Carl Nix lined up to his right. It's possible that the unit is contributing to Mark Ingram showing up on the bust-watch. The Saints wasted a timeout because Ben Grubbs' shoe came untied. During another timeout, fans in the Superdome were introduced to the "Entergy Lineman Of The Game" Many began immediately lobbying to have him suited up.
Jermon Bushrod reacts with the alacrity of a regulated utility monopoly as Brees closes his eyes and thinks about Jimmy John's
Anyway, the point here is maybe the offensive line coach needs to go back to coaching the offensive line. He didn't seem particularly useful as the fake interim head coach, anyway. When things weren't looking so great at halftime, Kromer could have at least tried checking in with Coach Payton via pre-paid cell phone or something. It worked for Al-Qaeda, right?
As it turns out, though, Kromer seems to have other means of communicating with the beyond. At least that's what this quote seems to imply.
Kromer on #Saints team meeting this morning: "I sensed determination, I sensed focus, I sensed a wakeup call."
— Sheldon Mickles (@SheldonMickles) September 10, 2012
We'll look for signs that he's sensed something he can use this week.
- The Redskins' Defensive Coordinator is Jim Haslett: We don't have anything to add here. Just noting that Jim Haslett outcoached
Kromer Carmichael Breeswhoever the hell is in charge of the Saints' offense. It isn't entirely clear.
- Meachemwatch: We try to do one of these exercises every year where we track a personnel change the Saints have made and compare statistics between the departed player and his replacement. Usually this works in the Saints' favor because we're inspired by a change we have a good feeling about at the beginning of the season. We started in 2006 when we compared Marques Colston's touchdowns total with Donte Stallworth's. Last year we compared Reggie Bush's and Jeremy Shockey's numbers in Miami and Carolina with Darren Sproles and Jimmy Graham. Sproles and Graham ended up setting NFL records last season so the whole thing quickly became a joke.
This year's stat tracker might not be so funny. We're going to be watching former Saint receiver Robert Meachem's performance in San Diego and comparing it to the various wideouts replacing him on the Saints' roster. For our purposes here, "Not Meachem" will be the sum of the statistics compiled by any receiver not named Colston, Moore, or Henderson. Week One was not so great for Not Meachem.
Robert Meachem vs Oakland: 2 receptions for 49 yards
Not Meachem vs Washington: Nada
Well, actually, worse than nada. Joe Morgan dropped two passes. Morgan is the sort of "camp darling" Saints fans like to get excited about. We admit that we like him. He seems like a nice kid. We know from Twitter that he really likes Spongebob. But as a football player, so far, he's really good at running fast and dropping the ball. So.. uh oh. But it does remind us a bit of where Devery was early in his career. And, to be fair, Colston had a perfectly craptastic game himself. Joe Morgan might have a future. We're just not sure he's ready to do "Not Meachem" proud this season.
Note: Adrian Arrington is on IR for the rest of the year
What is more dangerous — a symbolic, thousand-dollar bounty system or the Baltimore Ravens opening the season playing four NFL games in 17 days?Football is dangerous. The men who play it shouldn't be subjected to unnecessarily harsh working conditions on top of that. But Goodell would rather suspend people for unpalatable smack talk. Roger Goodell is still an asshole.
The elimination of bounties will not stop one NFL defensive player from curb-stomping an opposing player if given the opportunity. Goodell’s New Orleans witch hunt won’t make the game safer. Would the elimination of Thursday night football enhance safety? I suspect one day a smart lawyer will argue that it would.
But that day isn’t here just yet, so Thursday night the Bears and the Packers kicked off the NFL’s season-long money grab. Year 7 of Thursday night football will stretch across the entire NFL season rather than just the second half.
The Ravens opened the 2012 season on “Monday Night Football” and will play their fourth game on Thursday, Sept. 27, completing as grueling a stretch of tackle football as we’ve ever seen.
The Saints had few opportunities to get the offense rolling at all. When they did, they frequently put themselves in bad situations with penalties or blown protections. Simply put, aside from their limited number of 1st and 10s, the Saints weren't in many running situations on offense. Of their 10 total rushes, 6 of them were handled by Mark Ingram. Poorly.
We know it's still maybe a little too early to call Ingram a total bust. But we're pretty sure he's entering his first year of bust eligibility. We'll keep an eye on this as the season goes along.
But it's already 2:00 am on the next game day and none of that stuff seems all that important right now. We're taking ourselves to bed where we'll dream of, at the very least, a more beautiful disaster to talk about next week.