So you’ve probably heard the news that New Orleans Saints defensive end Charles Grant has been indicted for an incident at a rural Georgia night club back in February. He left training camp this week and headed to Southeast Georgia to face involuntary manslaughter charges. If convicted, the he could get 1-10 years in prison. And if you’re anything like us, you think this is 100%, unfiltered dog vomit. Continue reading
Being a football player is cool. Being a football player who seems to be over the whole “Willy Beamon” ego trip of playing in the NFL is even cooler. That’s what made talking to Jonathan Vilma feel like I was talking to the Jake Ryan of football. (That’s right, an Any Given Sunday and a Sixteen Candles reference in the same post. Deal with it.) Unlike the T.O.s, Chad Johnsons, and Jeremy Shockeys of the world, Jon Vilma knows he’s not bigger than the game.
A good 20 minutes worth of peak-time cell phone chatting with the Saints’ new linebacker left me breathing a sigh of relief about what’s to come in 2008 for my team. You see regardless of whether he’s willing to admit it, Jonathan Vilma will be an impact player in the Saints’ defense; if not on the field, than certainly in the locker room. Maybe it’s because he’s got a sense of purpose that goes beyond just winning games. Jonathan Vilma’s got something to prove.
We’ll get to the stuff he said about helping people in the community, knocking players on their asses and drinking in a moment, but first: the football talk. Here’s what’s clear; Jonathan Vilma is ready to make you believe that he’s the same guy who went 12th in the draft in 2004 to the Jets, won NFL defensive player of the year, and went to the 2006 Pro Bowl. His career was flying high until Jets Coach Eric Mangini made changes on the defense, shifting from Vilma’s favorable 4-3 to a 3-4 formation.
Things went from bad to worse in 2007 when Vilma suffered a season ending knee injury in week 7. That means this guy hasn’t played football since October. To say that he’s a “little bit anxious” to get back on the field again would be like saying you get just a “little bit anxious” when Olindo Mare takes the field. This dude is so hungry to silence his critics and overcome his injury he’s almost salivating at the mouth.
“I know what I was able to do the first two years in the NFL and I hope to get back to that level of playing. I want to get back to that level,” Vilma says.
When asked about his injury, his words reminded me of another resiliant player, Deuce McAllister.
“So far so good. I haven’t had any setbacks. I’m not 100% but I hope to be close to it by the start of the season.”
When asked about whether he’s ready to take a leadership role in the Saints defense, Vilma played it coy.
“I’m the new guy. I just want to find my way. I don’t want to get there and mess up anything.
(They’re ranked 26th in the NFL Jon. You can’t mess anything up.)
Alright, enough of my football banter. Time for your questions.
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Sure draft day had about as many surprises as the end of a Jennifer Lopez movie, but what mattered at the end of the day was that just like J. Lo, the Saints got their man. Sedrick Ellis of USC will join the squad as the hotshot defensive tackle that could finally solve the Saints’ pass rush problems. He’s got the versatility, speed, and strength needed to create some pressure up front while taking some heat off the secondary (a.k.a. saving Jason David’s sad ass from a public flogging.)
And it seems the Jason David nightmare could be over for another reason. That’s because the Saints also drafted a corner from Indiana in the second round, Tracy Porter. The former Hoosier had six interceptions and four pass breakups last season and is considered a playmaker in man coverage situations. If he can actually make a play on the ball without wasting time peeking into the backfield, he’s instantly got my vote for a starting gig.
After glancing at the Saints newly released schedule, I can’t help but wonder: Why can’t we go 15-1? Before completely shooting me down, go ahead and glance at the lineup below?
WEEK 1 Sept. 7, vs Tampa Bay, Noon
WEEK 2 Sept. 14, at Washington, Noon
WEEK 3 Sept 21, at Denver, 3:05 p.m.
WEEK 4 Sept. 28, vs San Francisco, Noon
WEEK 5 Oct. 6, vs Minnesota, 7:30 p.m.
WEEK 6 Oct 12, vs Oakland, Noon
WEEK 7 Oct. 19, at Carolina, Noon
WEEK 8 Oct. 26, vs San Diego in London, Noon
WEEK 9 BYE
WEEK 10 Nov. 9, at Atlanta, Noon
WEEK 11 Nov. 16, at Kansas City, Noon
WEEK 12 Nov. 24, vs Green Bay, 7:30 p.m.
WEEK 13 Nov. 30, at Tampa Bay, Noon
WEEK 14 Dec. 7, vs Atlanta, Noon
WEEK 15 Dec. 11 at Chicago, 7:15 p.m.
WEEK 16 Dec. 21, at Detroit, Noon
WEEK 17 Dec. 28, vs Carolina, Noon
Sorry but after looking at that, I ain’t scared! Continue reading
Can you possibly imagine how low it feels to get your football scoop from a website with an ad for “peppered beef jerky” on the home page? It’s low people; lower than low. Still, scoop is scoop, and we’re bound by the laws of Sainthood to share it. Of course, since we can’t substantiate said scoop, we’ll have to relay the message “7th grade style.”
A bad hip is doing what we thought it would take an assassin’s bullet to accomplish: Saints Kicker Olindo Mare is out for the season. The team announced the news on Wednesday along with the gimpy kicker’s replacement. It’s America’s favorite little person: Martin “Please Call Me Automatica Again” Gramatica.
If you’re not familiar with Martin, just picture the Hamburglar without the hat and with really curly hair. The Argentina native earned his reputation as a clutch kicker during his tenure with the Bucs. But he’s not so much remembered for his accuracy as he is his outrageous post-kick celebrations. For him, every kick was like the end of a bad 80s sports movie where the underdog team wins the big game in the final seconds. Too bad he was usually just freaking out over an extra point that went through the uprights in the first quarter. Martin’s antics seemed to simmer a bit only after his brother, former Cardinals kicker Bill Gramatica, got hurt during a post-field goal, “crack-addict esque” celebratory leap.
Only time will tell if the Saints’ decision to replace Mare with Martin was “Gramatica-lly” correct. At least we knew Mare was the “automatica” of suck. Who knows what Martin’s bringing to the table these days. Here’s what we do know: the Saints could sure use an underdog 80s sports movie moment right about now.