I'm not sure how apparent I've made this in the four months I've written at this site, but I really like football. That must be why as I sit here typing this, I have goosebumps thinking about tomorrow's pre-season opener at the Saints. The sickness is so bad that pre-season games have me jacked up. Man, I love football.
In preparation for this historic(ally irrelevant) event, I have been fortunate enough to have a few questions answered by Sunil, head blogger extraordinaire over at Canal Street Chronicles, an SB Nation blog that covers - you guessed it - the New Orleans Saints. Sunil is a very gifted writer (something that the rest of us SB Nation football blogging hacks are very jealous of) and is hilarious to boot. He was kind enough to stop by and answer some of my burning questions about tomorrow night's contest (questions in bold):
My guess is that guys like Brees, Deuce and Reggie won't be playing much. Is there a danger to these guys being rusty when the regular season rolls around?
CSC: I don't think there's a danger that the starters will be rusty in the first game. First of all, they are going to see time in five preseason games, so the opening game will actually be the team's sixth game. In addition, they are probably going to see substantial playing time in the fourth preseason game, the penultimate tuneup before opening day. I'm more worried about them getting hurt and missing the first game.
What three not-so-prominent Saints players will you be keeping an eye on in this contest?
CSC: I'm not good at brevity, so I'm giving you three groups.
A. Usama Young (CB), Roman Harper (SS) and Josh Bullocks (FS). The Saints desperately need a playmaker in the secondary. If one is on the roster, it's probably going to be one of these three. Young is a rookie 3rd round pick who has dazzled in camp. He has athletic gifts, but he's a rookie from a small school (Kent State). Harper, who is entering his second season, was the team's 2nd round pick last season. He showed flashed of brilliance early last season, but blew-out his knee in week five. He's battling with Kevin Kaesviharn for the starting spot now. Bullocks, a third-year pro, was a 2nd round pick in 2005. He dropped about seven picks last season, so he's right there, he just needs to learn how to finish plays.
B. Jamie Martin, Jason Fife and Tyler Palko (QB). The most compelling position battle on the Saints roster may be for backup quarterback. Martin is so old, I've dubbed him "Coach" Martin, because he's like a coach on the field, both in knowledge and ability. Fife has been on the roster for a season, but wasn't impressive enough to beat out Martin (he also couldn't beat out Kellen Clemens in college). Palko is an undrafted rookie from Pitt.
C. Mark Simoneau and Brian Simmons (MLB). Both are experienced players trying to win the starting middle linebacker position. Simoneau started last season, but Simmons is the more highly-regarded player, based on his career with the Bengals. Simmons is clearly the better athlete, but Simoneau just seems to always make plays. He's a bit like London Fletcher-Baker in that way.
Which form of grieving/torture do you plan to inflict upon others in the event of a Saints loss?
CSC: Coach Payton doesn't care about the preseason. His career preseason record is 1-4. In the likely event that the Saints lose, I will unleash the Tulane Official Cheer, to celebrate J.P. Losman's first win in the Dome** (which doubles as Tulane's home field):
A One, A Two,
A Helluva Hullabaloo
A Hullabaloo Ray Ray
A Hullabaloo Ray Ray
Varsa Varsa Tee Ay
Tee Ay, Tee Ay
Varsa Varsa Tee Ay
They sell a lot of alcohol at Tulane athletic events.
(** This is an exaggeration, but J.P. wasn't very inspiring in college, either.)
Thanks again to Sunil, whose rendition of the Tulane Official Cheer will be ringing in my ears for the rest of the day. Varsa Varsa Tee Ay! Tulane!
We have practice reports coming up this afternoon, followed by a quick announcement and then Saints previews tomorrow. Get ready for football, Bills fans!