As I sit here watching the Giants and Redskins redefine mediocrity, I can’t help but get giddy at the notion that this is the year the Saints officially end their “on again”, “off again” relationship with disappointment. Does it make me sound too much like a Saints fan to say “This is OUR year?” Yeah probably…but this time I actually have reasons.
1. This year, we kick off the season against a division rival we’re desperate to defeat.
The Saints suffered a late season, knockout punch at the hands of the Tampa Bay Bucs last year that left a taste in my mouth about as salty as T.O.’s “That’s my quarterback” tears. No need to revisit history on the poorly timed play and resulting fumble that cost us the damn game and possibly, ultimately the season. All I know is that Sean Payton doesn’t have a clipboard big enough to hide the “revenge wood” that rears its head at the thought of sticking it to Jon Gruden. (No Jeff Garcia, he will not “stick it” to you and no, that’s not what I meant by “stick it”, so simmer down.)
Plus, you gotta think the defense is done with getting torched bi-seasonally by Joey Galloway. (I said “bi-seasonally” Jeff. Seriously, simmer down.) Our secondary sets the tone for the season on opening day. Mike McKenzie is back, there’s fresh meat in the starting rotation at cornerback, and by golly, Joey Galloway’s been suffering from a groin injury all preseason long! That’s gotta mean good news for Jason David…right?
Should I even bother mentioning Tampa Bay’s “early bird special” defense? Yeah they’re talented but they’re up there. I mean day-um, could there really be that much steam left in those tanks?
2. Our badass offense just got badass-er
Remember Marques Colston (98 receptions, 1202 yards, 11 TD) and Drew Brees (4,423 Yds 28 TDS)? How about Deuce “The Workhorse” McAllister, Pierre “PT Bruiser” Thomas, and Reggie “Kardashain’s Ass-Sized Chip on My Shoulder” Bush? Well, they’re all back this season…and they’ve got some new friends. Jeremy Shockey and Robert Meachem may just be the missing pieces of what was already a pretty damn well put together offensive puzzle. And something tells me “His Hotness” aka Lance Moore along with David Patten will be clutch when it comes to rescuing Drew Brees from the inevitable Marques Colston double team.
3. We do better in even years
2000: The Saints win their first playoff game
2006: Saints go to their first NFC Championship game
2008*: Saints win their first Super Bowl
The additions of Jon Vilma, Sedrick Ellis, Randall Gay, and Bobby McCray should help to dramatically reduce some of those head-slapping, fire-breathing, “WHAT THE F*CK WERE THEY THINKING?” moments when the other guys have the ball. The Saints might finally get an opportunity to put some serious pressure on opposing QBs. If I were Coach Payton, I’d hang the number 32 up on the old locker room bulletin board. That’s the measly number of sacks our defense produced in 2007. It all really boils down to whether we can keep our defensive ends healthy. (Hmmm…anybody know the patron saint of healthy hamstrings?)
I’ve got a good vibe people. (Sure I had a good vibe last season too…but sadly that turned out to be the result of some laced chronic.) The good news is, this year isn’t just about vibes. We’ve actually made some solid improvements on both sides of the ball.
The road to the postseason starts this Sunday against Tampa Bay. And I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to get BUC wild!
*These statements have not been approved by the FDA