Read the boring parts at your leisure. But I wanted to call attention to one thing I was discussing on a parallel internet last night.
B&G editor Bradley has been using the term “real player” today, as if that term means anything. What he means, he says, by “real player” is a guy who has the ability to cause havoc and create awesomeness on his own. Perhaps these are your “blue chip” guys, the badasses around whom a collection of role players and also-rans can rally, raising the play of all. Darren Sharper was a “real player” in 2009. Kenny Vaccaro has the look of a guy like that.People keep making these nebulous comments about Vaccaro. He's a "real player." On the parallel internet, I was told, "Vacarro is a rock star....I know it....i just sense it. All the stars are going to align around him."
You hear a lot of this kind of thing. But in the two home fake games I watched in person, there wasn't anything I could point to about his play that backs any of this up. Warshauer compares him to Darren Sharper. Here was my first impression of Sharper after a couple of pre-season games in 2009.
Meanwhile, Darren Sharper looks ready to play. Sharper forced a Cedric Benson fumble, knocked Laverneus Coles near unconscious, and ran down a reverse all in one quarter. Sharper's play along with that of Kendrick Clancy and Anthony Hargrove has us feeling pretty good about the Saints' post-Davidectomy defense.Vaccaro hasn't made that kind of impression yet. At least not on me.
Jeff Duncan makes a stronger argument based on Vaccaro's performance yesterday.
Vaccaro stood up KeShawn Martin at the goal line with a textbook open-field tackle on third down to prevent a touchdown in the third quarter. The hit was so violent Vaccaro gashed his nose. The tackle was one of a team-high six for Vaccaro, who once again was all over the field in his "joker" role.I say that's a stronger argument because he at least sites one standout play. But notice a lot of what's written there, "He plays like a vet" and such, is still very much in the "He just looks like a rock star" category.
Afterward, Vaccaro said he couldn't remember how his blood was shed. Nor was he concerned.
"You see me out there hitting people," Vaccaro said. "That's what I do."
As a first-round pick, Vaccaro has assumed something of a de facto leadership role among the first-year players. He's outspoken and oozes confidence. It's only a matter of time until he becomes the spokesperson for the defense.
"He plays like a vet," Foster said. "He's not afraid to get dirty and put his head and there make plays.
"He doesn't play like a rookie."
So let me answer that with a non-football-based observation of my own.
I know I tend to get different kinds of subjective vibes than most people do but, for me, there's something about Vaccaro that strikes me as kind of fake. I can't quite put a finger on it just yet. But there are certain players who get billed as having certain "intangibles" or "leadership qualities" when it turns out that they're just boastful douchebags. The last 7 or 8 USC quarterbacks come to mind as examples. I think Vaccaro might be one of those guys.
Of course I'd like to be wrong. But yesterday afternoon something happened that reinforced the notion a bit. We were watching the game and Rosalind was telling me that she thinks Vaccaro is "pretty." And this led into a side conversation about Kenny Stills' hair and.. well anyway.. just as we were talking about this, the play Duncan talks about where Vaccaro gashed his nose happened. The camera focused on Vaccaro walking off the field with his helmet off and blood running down his face.
Without even thinking about it, I said, "You know, I'd give good odds he just did that on purpose with like..."
And then she finished my sentence.
"... with like a fake blood packet or something?"
We were just kidding around, of course. We realize fake football is... probably... not quite as fake as pro wrestling. But I thought it worth noting that we both got to that joke at the same time.
If we're going to talk about Vaccaro based on things we "just sense" about him, well, he kind of seems like that kind of dude.