bill-swift - June 13, 2012
Last summer it appeared as if the Indianapolis Colts had a solid chance of becoming the first team in the history of the NFL to play in a Super Bowl being hosted in its city. Instead the Colts turned in one of the most pitiful excuses of a football season to ever be played.
That's okay. With a record-setting quarterback in Drew Brees leading the way the New Orleans Saints will have an excellent shot at breaking the curse next season. Oh—incidentally, in case you didn't know Super Bowl XLVII will be played in the friendly confines of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Well, if that doesn't explain all the crap that the team is going through!
As if all the crap that has befallen the Saints this off-season is not enough, the team now stands to lose some much needed OTAs. Much like with the Seattle Seahawks, the NFL got wind of some fights at practice. The perception is that they were caused by guys getting too involved in the drills.
According to the collective bargaining agreement, teams can't have any real or even pretend contact during OTAs and mini-camp. Doing so is a direct violation of the CBA and will result in the team losing much-needed practice time.
The rule in itself is stupid. Most of the guys that actually participate in camp are the ones that are hungry and fighting for a roster spot. They need to have contact in order to prove to the coaches they have what it takes. To tell these guys not to hit at all is like telling a fat guy dieting is for quitters. It's ridiculous.
To add insult to injury, the word on Saints OTAs so far is that the team has been rather lethargic so to accuse them of participating in illegal contact drills is laughable.
The Not So New But Still Unresolved
The Drew Brees contract situation is nothing new, but if the team wants to have any hopes of even competing this season they will need to have their field general back and ready to go (Chase Daniel is not going to cut it).
For some reason the team is not willing to make Brees an insanely rich person with his new contract. They've put the franchise tag on him, but that just gets the Saints one more year.
The man deserves to get paid. He has been an integral part of revitalizing the franchise and making it a perennial contender. At the age of 33 he is not a spring chicken anymore, but the man is not old and decrepit either. As Brett Favre proved (with the exception of his last season) stud QBs can play a long time.
This issue will play itself out in time most likely (unless it's the curse trying to make sure the Saints don't make the playoffs).
First, they get busted for what is known as ‘Bounty-Gate,' an alleged bounty system that former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams ran from the '09 season through '11. The loss in draft picks will not hurt anything this season, nor will the fine. Losing a head coach like Sean Payton and then having to get through the first six games without the acting head coach Joe Vitt—that could be a bit hard to overcome.
What makes this matter eve worse is that it does not appear to be going away anytime soon. Unlike the coaches, the players are not just taking their lumps. Having the constant specter of this scandal hanging around will not be good for morale.
Losing GM Mickey Loomis will not hurt the on-field performance too much, but the additional scandal that he has been accused of sure will. I'm talking about the accusations that a former Saints employee made stating that Loomis had his suite at the stadium wired to listen into the opposing coaches calls during games.
Loomis and the team have vehemently denied this of course; thankfully the media seemed to lose interest in it pretty quick. The media may regain interest after the firm that the Saints recently hired to look into the affair finishes its investigation
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