HumidCity Handing New Orleanians a Megaphone Since April 2005 Sat, 22 Aug 2015 02:07:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Airbnb: Unraveling the fabric of New Orleans’ neighborhoods Tue, 23 Jun 2015 23:19:27 +0000 Map created via http://

Thanks to InsideAirbnb, quantification of Airbnb’ […]

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Map created via http://

Image courtesy of

Image courtesy of

Thanks to InsideAirbnb, quantification of Airbnb’s impact upon New Orleans may now be examined easily with a critical eye. Its summary of the real-time data presented includes the following:

Airbnb in New Orleans

According to Inside Airbnb data, there is at least 2,614 Airbnb listings in New Orleans, and while the City requires all Bed and Breakfast operators obtain a permit, the city registry currently only lists 320 properties, most of which appear to be held by established operators.

In addition, there are an estimated 1,211 listings (or 46% of listings) for an“Entire home/apartment” rented out frequently for an average of 193 nights per year. With the “host” not present in these “homes”, these listings are illegal and, more importantly, taking away residential housing in a city named by CNN/Money as one of the worst cities for renters in the U.S..

Of the 2,614 individual listings noted, 1,764 or 67.5% allow for use of the entire home/apartment. As noted above, 1,211 listings (46%) are occupied as illegal short-term rentals often enough to effectively prohibit more traditional occupation by a standard rental tenant. The data also reveals that an estimated 45% of the listings are posted by individuals offering more than one property for use as an Airbnb rental.

One can drill down on the various neighborhoods identified to discover exquisitely specific real-time data:

  • In the French Quarter, there are currently 183 active Airbnb listings with 93 (50.9%) of those being wholly unavailable for residential rental use; 90.7% of those listings (166 units) allow for use of the entire home/apartment.
  • In the Faubourg Marigny, there are currently 174 active Airbnb listings with 82 (46.9%) being wholly unavailable for residential rental use; 70.7% of those listings (123 units) allow for use of the entire home/apartment.
  • In Tremé-Lafitte, there are currently 194 active Airbnb listings with 83 (42.6%) being wholly unavailable for residential rental use; 54.6% of those listings (106 units) allow for use of the entire home/apartment.
  • In the Bywater neighborhood, there are currently 141 active Airbnb listings with 68 (47.9%) being wholly unavailable for residential rental use; 71.6% of those listings (101 units) allow for use of the entire home/apartment.

In just those four neighborhoods, the data indicates that a cumulative total of 496 homes/apartments are presently unavailable as rental units for the citizens of New Orleans. As it is unlikely that all illegal short-term rental operators/hosts solicit guests via Airbnb, it is worth emphasizing that this number reflects only those sites being offered via Airbnb.

I began asking Mayor Landrieu the following question at the District C Community Meeting in September of 2011:

In the French Quarter, one of the biggest threats to the residential base is the proliferation of illegal short-term rentals. What action will the city’s Administration take to stem this tide and enforce the laws on the books? This is a potential revenue stream for our cash-strapped city. These operations don’t pay the hotel/motel taxes and they undercut legitimate hotels and bed & breakfasts. They reduce the availability of rental units for people who wish to reside in this neighborhood.

At the District C Community Meeting in 2012, I repeated that question — word for word — and received an equally lackluster response.

In 2013, I briefly referenced the subject again, but instead of repeating the question noted, I chose to use that opportunity to address the mayor by advocating on behalf for the New Orleans Police Department’s budget, as it had become obvious by that time that addressing the issue of illegal short-term rentals was not a priority for our city’s administration.

Yesterday it was reported that Councilmember Susan Guidry had expressed her frustration regarding Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s administration’s recent decision to indefinitely shelve the prosecutions of nine suspected short-term-rental operators:

“‘I agree that it is imperative that we act to restrict short-term rentals. We are working on a way to regulate the property owners,’ Guidry said. ‘Meanwhile, it is my belief that we could act more aggressively to enforce. I have spoken with Safety and Permits about my thoughts on this and will do so again.'”

The same article also notes that “Councilwoman Stacy Head has been leading an effort to draft a regulatory framework for short-term rentals, but a vote is likely weeks, if not months, away.” One has to wonder why, given that the city of Santa Monica, CA has recently adopted a home-sharing ordinance that could easily be replicated as a sensible approach:

Santa Monica has also created new webpage added to its Planning and Community Development website which clearly and concisely outlines the applicable rules and regulations applying to two types of Short-Term Rentals:

  • Home-Sharing” – The new law authorizes Home-Sharing, which is an activity whereby a resident hosts visitors in their home, for periods of 30 consecutive days or less, while at least one of the primary residents lives on-site throughout the visitor’s stay.  The guest enjoys the non-exclusive shared use of the unit with at least one of the persons who is domiciled at the location.
  • “Vacation Rental” – The new law continues the City’s longstanding prohibition against Vacation Rentals.  A Vacation Rental is a rental of any dwelling unit, in whole or in part, to any persons for exclusive transient use of 30 consecutive days or less, whereby the unit is only approved for permanent residential occupancy and not approved for transient occupancy.  The guest enjoys the exclusive private use of the unit.

Mayor Landrieu and New Orleans City Councilmembers: When something this simple and sensible already exists, it is unconscionably foolish to delay meaningful action any further — the hand-wringing can stop now. Please act now to ensure the stability of our city’s neighborhoods and in a manner which reflects that New Orleans, first and foremost, is a community — not a commodity. May these words from a letter to the editor of the North Denver Tribune guide your actions:

Residential neighborhoods are prized for their comparative stability. One knows one’s neighbors, whether owners or renters, and changes in the makeup of the neighborhood are relatively slow and predictable. Neighborhood stability is a shared social good – created by all together, it is not a commodity for sale by any particular resident. 

All posts by lunanola

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Starbucks Can’t Spell Coffee (others can’t spell at all) Tue, 14 Apr 2015 00:17:40 +0000 spelling-error

Just like I pointed out in my last article, there are c […]

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Just like I pointed out in my last article, there are certain entities that should be able to spell certain things. Residents of a state should be able to spell their state names and businesses should be able to spell things that are specific to their industry.   Here are some examples of major gaffes I’ve seen recently that illustrate this point.


Canal Place
New Orleans, La.
Discovered 04/10/2015

I’m sorry but, if you’re the largest, global COFFEE chain IN THE WORLD with over 21,000 stores in over 60 COUNTRIES, and YOU CAN’T SPELL “COFFEE”, you need to shut down immediately.  Either close your doors or start serving items you can spell.

My next victim is a bar that can’t spell the drinks they serve.  In particular, a NEW ORLEANS bar that CAN’T SPELL “HURRICANE”.


Jazz Cafe
Decatur Street
New Orleans, La
Discovered 04/11/2015

Seriously, the “Hurricane” is arguably the most popular drink in the city and one that was created here.  And, as everyone knows, this city is no stranger to the storms of the same name.   If I owned this bar, I would have fired the person who wrote this.

Here’s another place  (restaurant) that can’t spell “hurricane”.  I was alerted to this by a friend of a friend so I had to go find it myself a few weeks ago.


How about a Souvenir Shop owner that can’t spell “Souvenir”?


Parked on N. Peters St.
New Orleans, La.

And lastly, this French Quarter restaurant has some issues they need to resolve as well.  In fact, I’ve posted their mistakes to their Facebook Page twice.  In each post, I asked them if they’ll hire me to make their signs.  I’m still waiting for an answer.  (edit: I just noticed they deleted my last post……)

10277374_10152721031929503_5949163970743090429_n (1)10421291_10152853482129503_7125361773216835737_n

Huck Finn’s Cafe
Decatur Street
New Orleans, La.
Discovered between 02/2015 – 04/2015

That’s it for this post. If you discover items like this on  your own that you’d like to share, let me know!

This is why we can’t have nice things.


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Twitter: @dansoto

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10 Years! Thu, 09 Apr 2015 05:52:15 +0000 Streetlight

Astounding. People still read my drivel. No, that can&# […]

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Astounding. People still read my drivel. No, that can’t be it, I’ve been insanely bad about posting for awhile now.

I guess those of you reading are coming here for the good stuff, the writers that have graced HumidCity since it’s inception. Well you’re in luck, because most of them will be posting over the next few weeks as we celebrate a decade of New Orleans – the good, the bad, and the geeky.

Here’s a slice of what’s coming up in addition to our usual shenanaigans:

Lord David will be coming back after going solo with The Truth and Other Lies.  We’ve very proud to have started him off on blogging over here.

The Infamous Rex Dingler, founder of NOLA Rising and our allay against the Grey Ghost.

Our resident jewish mommy, Liprap, bring us her take on things after having to relocate to Houston. L’chaim, darlin! 

Mark Moseley, who had just started covering politics for us when Katrina hit. After the storm we were all short on time so he returned to just posting on Your Right Hand Thief.  Nowadays you can find him on The Lens where he is still kicking ass and taking names.

Adrastos will be kidnapped from First Draft to bring the snark quotient up. Besides, he usually ends with a song.

Louis Maistros will be coming back. He writes novels you must read and takes pictures that will make you happy you have eyes.

We will also be bringing some of the good stuff into focus. Look for a series of interviews with local authors and other creators. A round of reviews on some of our favorite places, and perhaps a few giveaways.

Ten years! Thanks for reading, and for for your help in supporting the voices you find here!

-Loki, the evil mastermind behind the curtain



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We Miss You Ashley Thu, 02 Apr 2015 17:42:47 +0000 Ashley

Seven years ago today New Orleans lost one of it’ […]

The post We Miss You Ashley by Loki appeared first on HumidCity.


Seven years ago today New Orleans lost one of it’s most profane and vital voices. Ashley Morris, firebrand blogger and professor of computer science at DePaul University passed away unexpectedly of a heart attack while in Florida handling family business.

Ashley was one of the best of us. An intelligent and educated voice with no patience for prevarication or bullshit. At a time when we were still seeing Blackwater troops in the streets and water in some of the neighborhoods he was the voice of our frustration and anger. The fact that his constant stream of (well deserved) F-bombs was backed up by a titanic intellect and extensive education is what made him one of the finest voices in the city.

I remember drinking Jameson and eating po-boys in his porch with him as we shared out outrage at the way people were taking advantage of the chaos to screw each other and our city over. A week later he was gone.

Since then David Simon used selections of his writings for the character Creighton Barrnet in Treme, although mostly in a watered down form. Just take a look at his most legendary post, Fuck You, You Fucking Fucks, which still remains the perfect encapsulation of the New Orleans mindset in the days after Hurricane Katrina and the great levee failure of 2005. Don’t let the profanity put you off, its important stuff.

I’d write more, but to be honest as I type this it feels as though I’ve been punched in the chest. I’ll simply close with a song, one that became synonymous with Ashley during his all too brief stint in this world. Ashley, you’ll always be our excitable boy….


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Can You Spell Your State Name? Mon, 30 Mar 2015 18:32:47 +0000 i_heart_louisana_ash_grey_tshirt

Apparently, Louisiana is a problematic word to spell. From our own state-named public university to state-based newspapers, no one can spell it.

The post Can You Spell Your State Name? by Dan Soto appeared first on HumidCity.


Apparently, Louisiana is a problematic word to spell.  From our own state-named public university to state-based newspapers, no one can spell it.

Let’s start with a major mistake from a local paper that’s owned by the major media conglomerate, Gannett.

I present to you Exhibit A.


The Times of Acadiana is owned by the Gannett Company who can’t afford decent editors.  If you really want to have fun with this, read the comments of the Huffington Post Senior Writer who felt sorry for whoever did this and made the most ridiculous remarks in his/her defense.

It seems, however, that not only do we make these mistakes in gigantic fonts, we make them on smaller, but still egregious, scales.

Exhibit B:  Louisiana State University

I discovered that, when LSU first set up their FB presence, someone accidentally misspelled the state when they were naming this page.  Later, the page was merged with another page but, that one simple mistake, now shows up multiple places.



Exhibit C: Multiple “Sell-My-Craft” type online stores.

Online marketplaces don’t really care if you can spell or not so it’s up the individual who makes the item to ensure quality.   This leaves a lot of room for carelessness.

This gem is a great “Tea Party” blunder found on Zazzle.




Here are few others from similar sites. Click on the image to see the source sites.







So now you get the point.  No one can spell our state, not even the natives.

This is why we can’t have nice things.


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Twitter: @dansoto

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WGNO, You Suck at Editing Tue, 17 Mar 2015 01:26:49 +0000 If you read my previous post, “This Is Why We Can […]

The post WGNO, You Suck at Editing by Dan Soto appeared first on HumidCity.

If you read my previous post, “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things“, you’ll understand my issue with news organizations who employ people with no grammar skills.  I generally read articles from all the local news sources and, in my opinion, WGNO hires the worst journalists with respect to grammar and editing.

Their own job posting for a “Multimedia Journalist” includes the following qualification request.

“Experience should include a demonstration of writing, shooting and editing skills.”

Let’s be honest, WGNO.  You really don’t care about their writing or editing skills.  With respect to writing skills, many of their online stories read something like this.

John had a gun.  John shot someone in the French Quarter.  John got away.  The police are still looking for John.  If you know where John is, call the police.

OK, so it’s not completely that bad but it’s very close.

With respect to grammar skills, it gets a million times worse.   Here are just a few samples from this year so far.






So they have no clue how to properly use the words its or it’s.  Isn’t that basic grammar we learn before we’re able ride the roller coasters?

How about some of these that show their complete lack of editing capabilities.







Despicable, right?

Yes, WGNO, you really suck at this and your journalists, who are probably making $50K or more (I have no clue) are wasting space in your offices.  Sure, I make mistakes, but I’m not getting paid for this.

This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things


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Twitter: @dansoto

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Super Sunday 2015 Mon, 16 Mar 2015 23:40:43 +0000 SuperSunday2015-44-feature-image-size

For the second straight year, I’ve gone out with […]

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For the second straight year, I’ve gone out with my trusty camera to capture the magic and good times known to us as “Super Sunday”.  It’s a pure smorgasbord of color and revelry.

If you’d like to see the pictures I took, head on over to the Flickr album I created just for this occasion.

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This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things Wed, 11 Mar 2015 16:47:50 +0000 This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things

I have a problem. New Orleans has a problem. We have a […]

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This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things

I have a problem.
New Orleans has a problem.
We have a serious problem.
But, before I elaborate, let me give you some background.

I love my city.
I really do.
I was raised here until I took my first venture to another city at the age of 24. Since then, I’ve lived in a few different cities but, as y’all know, nothing compares (to you). In the end, I always come back. As much as this city has given me, I greedily want more.
More in the form of better.
Better in the form of let’s not be the laughing stock of the United States.  I think that title might belong to Florida.

The Problem:
We (some of our residents)  are constantly doing things to make us look worse than we are. The world already thinks our education system produces nothing but illiterate party animals. Quite often, we are the source of that image.

The Solution:
There are many people in positions of power, prestige or other public-facing areas. These jobs often require college-level educations in order to be considered. The last time I checked, passing 6th grade was a prerequisite to going on to any level higher than that. How is it that we have people making six or seven figures that don’t know the difference between there, their, and they’re?

One solution is public ridicule laced with sarcasm . This is where I come in. We don’t have the authority to go fire every journalist who can’t spell, but we have the power of the Internet and Social Media to quickly point out their mistakes. There are millions of people looking for jobs that know how to proofread, do simple math, spell and capitalize state names. Some of them should get these jobs.

Caveat Emptor:
Before you become too attached to my methods, please know that I am not perfect nor do I want to be. I will occasionally misspell words or use improper grammar. The difference is that I’m not getting paid gazillions of dollars for this so it doesn’t matter.

So, before I close out my first post on this site, I’ll leave you with one example that just occurred recently.



Who gets paid to proofread these before they post them?  Really.

This is why we can’t have nice things.



There is absolutely a ton that we do right in New Orleans but my mission here is just to point out some of the funny faults to help :)


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Twitter: @dansoto

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Dear 47 “Senators” Wed, 11 Mar 2015 00:36:12 +0000 You know that letter? The one that 47 Senators wrote to […]

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You know that letter? The one that 47 Senators wrote to Iran in an attempt to sandbag the President? Here is the best response I’ve seen. A former military intelligence guy who is also a fellow game designer and a member of the clergy. Joshua Villines, the author of this little gem,  is a righteous dude no matter how you parse it and this letter will make that clear. Co-Sign in the comments. -Loki

Dear 47 “Senators” and Those Whom You Teabag:

It has come to our attention, while observing your attempts to hold our nation hostage with your rhetoric of arrogance and ignorance, that you may not fully understand our constitutional system.  Thus, we are writing to bring to your attention two features of our Constitution – the executive power invested in the President and the accountability you have to the American electorate.  We hope that you will seriously consider these points before you again attempt to inject your infantile rants while the adults are speaking.

First, under our Constitution, Article II, Section 1, “The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America.”  Your party’s constant attempts to undermine the President’s authority notwithstanding, he remains the person whom the majority of the voters in this country chose to represent us as the head of our nation’s executive branch.  This may be confusing to you, because the gerrymandering that sustains your colleagues in the House along with the disproportionate representation of low-population states in the Senate (something constitutionally designed, ironically, to prevent extremism), has somehow deluded you into thinking your fringe views represent the majority of Americans.  They do not.  The President is the only person chosen by the majority of American voters, and as such he has the authority to enter into executive agreements with other nations.  You may not like that, in part because his diplomatic efforts are likely to impede your ability to someday work as an overpaid K-Street lobbyist for a defense contractor, but that’s how things are.

Secondly, you may want to note that Section 3 of our Constitution indicates that you are elected by the voters of a state, and no longer by a state’s legislators.  This means that if you continue to deviate from all manner of logic, decorum, and integrity you will increasingly offend the “average” voters in your home state.  You may think that the billionaires who bankroll you can dupe the middle class into voting against their self-interest and supporting you, but that will only work up to a point.  If you continue to embarrass our nation on the global stage, the democratic process will do its duty and you will not remain in office.  Your terms will be measured in years, perhaps months if you continue to behave in an impeachable manner.

What these two constitutional points mean is that, if you continue to purvey weapons-grade stupidity, you will only weaken your ability to have a say in the governance of our great nation.  More importantly, and pay close attention to this one, you are also undermining our national security.  We understand that your political statecraft has so far been limited to puerile tantrums pitched before sympathetically ignorant audiences, but should you be willing to listen more than you speak you might have the opportunity to learn about actual statesmanship.  We are not naïve enough to blindly trust terrorist regimes (even the ones you seem to like because of their willingness to provide you with oil), but as adults we understand that the formalities and obligations of diplomacy are essential to the equitable and effective conduct of international relations.

All of this may be difficult for you to comprehend.  You are interested in vituperative grandstanding for the purpose of single-minded political gain.  On the other hand, we are doing our best to act with the values that make our country great:  character, integrity, loyalty, and duty.  If you decide to grow up and act like Americans, maybe you’ll begin to understand.


The United States Electorate

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9 Years, 11 Months, 1 Dan Tue, 10 Mar 2015 03:29:24 +0000 Streetlight

Next month is April. It will mark the tenth anniversary […]

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StreetlightNext month is April. It will mark the tenth anniversary of HumdCity’s original launch on Blogger. In honor of that we are revving up the energy level and hoping to kick off our second decade with some modicum of style.

I am currently looking for a few more mutants to join our little team. Since it’s inception this site has always been a rotating cast of characters, intentionally so. Now it’s once more time for new blood, and we are going to start that infusion by welcoming Dan Soto to our warped little family. Keep your eyes peeled for the debut of his his new series, “Why we can’t have nice things.”

There are also some charity events in the works, I’ll be posting more about those later. In the meantime, prepare for the sarcasm levels to skyrocket. Dan is in the house!

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Saints 2014|20 Sun, 18 Jan 2015 16:29:56 +0000 Saints Logo

In case you haven’t heard, Rob Ryan stays. And I […]

The post Saints 2014|20 by M Styborski appeared first on HumidCity.

Saints Logo

Saints Logo

In case you haven’t heard, Rob Ryan stays. And I really do hate to say I told you so because now I’m getting yelled at by drunks in bars as if it’s all somehow my doing! Freaking sportsball fans! Of course, now that the Steelers and long-time DC Dick Lebeau have parted ways there might be some rug-yanking from under Rob’s feet! Nah… it would be nice, but one Lebeau House to a town. Shame about ours.

Last week The Machine went three-of-four and the game it missed was Colts-Broncos. But then everyone got that wrong, right? Peyton Manning is the greatest quarterback in the history of the NFL, right? Wrong. Brett Favre still has more attempts, completions, yards and years than anyone. Per game Drew Brees still breats both Favre and Manning in those categories. And playoffs? Playoffs? In his sixteen years Manning is 9-9 in post-season play, reaching the Big Game twice and winning it once. Most everything else is one and done. Peyton does have the most TD passes in the league and the most lucrative corporate shill gigs since Leno hawked Doritos, so he’s got that going for him.

And for those of you tracking killer references, this marks the first time anyone in New Orleans has used the “Playoffs!” reference correctly. Colts head coach Jim Mora gave that memorable post-game performance in 2001, Manning’s fourth year in the league and Mora’s last in Indy, in the middle of what would turn out to be  a 6-10 season. I can’t tell you how many free shots I’ve gotten from drunks at the bar who think Mora was coaching New Orleans when he said that! (Though I can certainly understand their reasoning!)

But enough about the past! We have games to pick and miles to sleep before I go!

Green Bay (13-4) at Seattle (13-4):
Deja vu! This game is soooo September 04th, 2014! You see, it’s a rematch/grudge-match/whatever of the opening game of the season. Last time the Packers fell 16-36. This time it should be closer. Eddie Lacy has found his legs and the cheese that makes up the GB defense is decidedly not swiss! On the other hand, the Seahawks have been steamrolling teams all year long. The Machine took a full hour to grind this one out and I had to add decimal gears to determine a winner! With just a .53 point margin it’s a squeaker for the Seahawks hoping to become the eighth NFL franchise to win back-to-back Superbowls.
Packers: 20
Seahawks: 21

Indianapolis (13-5) at New England (13-4):
Nobody saw the Broncos defeat coming. Well, I did, but I didn’t have the stones (or the stats) to back up the call. This week, however, The Machine has convinced me to take the leap. While the GB-SEA game will be a down-and-dirty slugfest, IND-NE looks to be a lesson in finesse. Andrew Luck is turning into what his early hype promised: the next Tom Brady while the original Tom Brady is aging gracefully. The question here is if the original has anything left in his tank.

Now, now, simmer down ladies! I’m not doing the “Stick a fork in him, he’s done!” schtick that the media tried earlier this season. Clearly he’s still got game, but if you look at the numbers there’s not as much as there was a year ago. Brady always made a difficult job look easy, but this season I saw him do something he hasn’t had to do in a decade: Try. The effortless game is fading and Brady has actually had to work for his wins this year. And while I don’t think he’s done in the NFL, the 2014 post-season is another story.
Colts: 30
Patriots: 25

-M Styborski

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Saints 2014|19 Sat, 10 Jan 2015 21:49:58 +0000 Saints Logo

I’ve been asked why I keep headlining the post-se […]

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Saints Logo

Saints LogoI’ve been asked why I keep headlining the post-season posts with “Saints”. Because even though we aren’t in it, it’s still part of the season. Sometimes a spank stings weeks after it’s administered.

So, Last week The Machine went two-out-of-four and then I found a fly in the ointment! I have since greased that gear and re-run the games and The Machine produced a more respectable 3/4. So, without further ado, here’s what it spits out this week…

Baltimore: 28
New England: 31
Looks close and it may be closer! I think the Ravens have a bee in their bonnet this year, as opposed to las year when they were simply a great team. While I’m not certain they can win this game, I am certain that the Patriots can lose it! It’s all going to come down to defense. Still, the smart money says New England.

Carolina: 19
Seattle: 26
Unlike last week the Panthers face a defense. Will it be enough to stop Cam Newton’s antics? The Machine thinks so, and so do I. Carolina has been living on borrowed time since W01 and methinks the clock has wound down.

Dallas: 28
Green Bay: 30
Everyone knows that the Packers are going to win this, but like I said last week, the Cowboys have that Wile E Coyote denial thing going on. If they keep it close it’s entirely within the realm of possibility that this is the alternate reality in which the Cowboys win a second playoff game in a single season. The Machine did begin to smoke when it cranked out these numbers…

Indianapolis: 32
Denver: 33
OK, Now I know The Machine is on crack. While these two teams really don’t have great defenses, their offenses certainly aren’t this good, are they? Well, yeah, they are. Atleast, they used to be. The question is: Can they be this good at this point in the season? More to the point, does Indy have enough Luck to keep pace with Peyton?

-M Styborski

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Saints 2014|18 Thu, 01 Jan 2015 16:16:04 +0000 Saints Logo

Wow! What a finish, eh? Can you imagine the Tampa Bay B […]

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Saints Logo

Saints LogoWow! What a finish, eh? Can you imagine the Tampa Bay Bucs, with the game barely in hand in the second half, sitting most of their first stringers and allowing the Saints to actually win the game? Must have wanted that first round draft pick really bad, eh?

I had a nightmare last Sunday. I dreamt that Sean Payton fired Rob Ryan. Then the Saints fired Payton and hired Rex Ryan who immediately re-hired his brother Rob… I really gotta lay off the cheap vodka! No more of that $35/bottle stuff for me!

So that’s it for the Saints season. Now it’s all about axes and rings and who’s going to get them. The axes will have to wait awhile until Sean Payton comes out of his post-regular-stupor but here’s something to read while we wait: at the beginning of this NFL year I rumbled off a mock season to try and predict the eventual NFL champion. I erred incredibly by overestimating the Saints chances. I am 100% certain they will not meet the Pittsburgh Steelers for the NFL Championship.

In the NFC East I projected the Eagles to win the division at 11-5 (they finished 10-6) and get the third seed. Who knew Foles would be replaced by Sanchez and the Cowboys would show up in December? I guess there’s something to hiring an effective offensive line to protect your QB after all. While my team pick was wrong, I got the 3rd seed on the money for the division champion Cowboys.

I came closer with the NFC West picking the 12-4 Seahawks to win the division (they did, and at 12-4) and get the 2nd seed (they got 1st). I had the Niners as the 5th seed wildcard but instead they tanked and that seed and WC slot actually went to the Cardinals. I also pegged the last place 6-10 Rams to finish last at 5-11.

For the NFC North I had the Lions winning the division as the 4th seed. Instead the Packers took the division as 2nd seed and Detroit picked up the other NFC wildcard at 6th seed. Also, I nailed the Vikings at 7-9 in 3rd place and the Bears in last.

The NFC South was a shambles both in the NFL and in my picks. Foolishly I chose the Saints to win it all as 1st seed and the Panthers as a 6th seed wildcard. Instead Carolina won the division and the 4th seed.

In the AFC East my money was on the Patriots as division champs and the 3rd seed and sure enough they took the division, but as 1st seed. I had the division in the right order and at just one W/L away from their final record!

The AFC West almost ran like clockwork for me with the 12-4 Broncos taking the division as the 2nd seed as I predicted at 11-5. If I hadn’t picked the Chiefs as a 6th seed wildcard I would done better here. I did nail KC at 9-7 but gave the Raiders twice the wins they actually got but still had them in last place.

The AFC North champ is the 11-5 Steelers, as I thought, but as 3rd seed and not 1st. I picked the Ravens as my other AFC wildcard team at 5th seed but they ended up as the 6th. Go figure the Bengals taking the 5th seed as the second AFC wildcard! Has any division sent three teams to the playoffs before? Well, yes. Apparently it’s happened a number of times. And the last place 7-9 Browns were right where I said they’d be, but I had them at 6-10.

Last, and least, I had the Texans winning the AFC South as the 4th seed. I got the spot right but it went to the Colts. Shucks! I also pegged the Jaguars in last place, where they indeed finished, but at 4-12  and not 3-13.

Oh well… I did correctly predict 7 of the 12 post-season teams and even got a few seeds right, plus I had 12 teams slotted exactly where they finished in their divisions. Sports Illustrated does this every year and in 2014 they had a pair of “experts” on the job. Chris Burke slotted ten correct team finishes and Doug Farrar nine. All of us picked NE, SEA, DEN and IND in first place and CLE and OAK in last, Burke had GB in first and SF in third, Burke and I had WAS last, and both Burke and Farrar nailed the AFC West in order; I nailed the AFC East. Burke also somehow kiped my unpublished NFC South picks for all the good it did him! But the SI guys just threw teams in an order without taking a stab at predicting W/L records or a mock playoff. Not only do I beat them in prognosticating, I have the balls to do the math, so I got that going for me!

Sadly, the mock playoffs I ran are blown to crap, much like the Saints season, so I won’t bore you with the details. While I had some the majority of correct teams my seeding destroyed the actual post-season matchup predictions. But, since there’s no Saints game this week, I’ll take a run at the actual wildcard games!

Arizona (11-5) at Carolina (7-8-1):
Much as I’d like to pick Carolina, I just can’t. The Panthers have improved since the season began but only on paper. And only if you can’t read. The Panthers have allowed eight teams to cruise past 20 points this season, five of them (PGH, BAL, CIN, GB and PHI) scoring 37 or more! And four of those teams are in the playoffs. And while Arizona’s offense hasn’t been scoring much recently, (first- and second-string QB’s both sidelined and third stringer Ryan Lindley making only his third NFL start,) their defense has kept opponents at a frigid 20 or below in all but three games this year; DEN, SEA and (inexplicably) ATL.

But Carolina’s on fire now, right? Well… in the last four weeks of the season (all Panther wins) they have managed to keep opponents at 17 or less while scoring 41, 19, 17 and 35. So yeah, that looks totally awesome in print, but those wins came against NO, TB, CLE and ATL; not the most solid defenses in the league, you see? The plain truth is that statistically Arizona is better on the road than Carolina is at home. I trust The Machine on this one!

Cardinals: 21
Panthers: 19

Baltimore (10-6) at Pittsburgh (11-5):
Steeler’s RB Le’Veon Bell “may” be out this week and they’ve signed former HOU/CLE/MIN RB Ben Tate as a back-up’s back-up, just in case. The Ravens get DT Haloti Ngata back, which I’m certain is the reason the Steelers aren’t favored more.

We’ve seen this dance a million times in the post-season since 1996. Well, three times since 2002 to be precise, but each time the Steelers emerged victorious; 27-10 in 2002, 23-14 in 2009 and 31-24 in 2011. And like this matchup, all three games were played at Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field. Empirical evidence suggests Pittsburgh as a solid lock. however there are certain differences in this contest. In 2001 and 2010 the teams split the regular season winning on each other’s turf and met in the AFC Divisional round. in 2008 the Steelers swept the Ravens at home and away and they battled in the AFC Championship. This year they each won their regular season home games and are appearing together for the first time in a wildcard round.

Statistically, Ben Roethlisberger is the best QB playing this weekend. Averaging just over 347 passing yards per game and 1.5 TDs at home no one else even comes close. Pitted against a Ravens secondary which, out of this weekends teams, gives up the most passing yards and second-most TDs, the absence of Bell may go completely unnoticed. The Machine was checked numerous times for rust, loose screws and unwound springs but passed all tests. It’s not just my bias, as I used the same settings for all four games; it really predicts this score! And that’s fine with me because the last two times the Steelers beat the Ravens in the playoffs they went on to win the Superbowl…

Ravens: 26
Steelers: 42

Cincinnati (10-5-1) at Indianapolis (11-5):
Really, the smart money is on the Bengals. They’re hot right now! Or, they were hot right then. They’re certainly capable of scoring a lot of points and they swept the Ravens this season, not to mention spanking the mighty Broncos 37-28 a few weeks ago. About that: a few Cinci fans were using the DEN game as proof of superiority for the season-ender against PIT and I pointed out that the Bengals only beat DEN because of a freak monsoon, Peyton Manning needing perfect (or dome) weather in order to win. Naturally they accused me of only watching the 4Q which is when the downpour started. I replied that they were, of course, correct about the time of deluge, but at that point the Bengals were losing 28-27, being outscored 21-7 in the third quarter and they were quickly falling apart. Still, they promised the Bengals would destroy Pittsburgh. I suggested they pray for rain. Guess they aren’t the praying type.

And losses? Cinci was swept by the Steelers this year (42-21 and 27-17), drubbed by NE 43-17 and CLE 24-3 and shut out 27-0 by the very Colts they’re about to play. Indy’s losses came at the hands of DEN 31-24, PHI 30-27, PIT 51-34, NE 42-20 and DAL 42-7; all but the Eagles making the playoffs. Indy played decent teams close and blew out pretenders like a playoff team is supposed to. And Cinci is a decent team but nothing more. They beat Tampa Bay by just 14-13 for crying out loud! I will admit a chip on a shoulder can sometimes produce miracles, but not here and not now. Luck simply isn’t on the Bengal’s side.

Bengals: 29
Colts: 32

Detroit (11-5) at Dallas (12-4):
I know everybody loves a post-season Cowboys loss. Especially Dallas fans! They feed off them like strife vampires and it keeps them fueled for the next season! Weird, weird, weird people! Unfortunately, it ain’t gonna happen this weekend. It can’t. The Machine says so. You see, The Machine only understands numbers. It has no dial for ineptitude, no choke button, no gear for the inexorable and inevitable Romoplosion. (Ex- or im-, flip a coin.) But perhaps this weekend it doesn’t need to. The Lions lost to CAR and BUF while they were missing Calvin Johnson. Then they tried to bring him back too soon and lost him for longer than they initially would have, but still managed to win hard-fought, close games! In the second half of the season their only losses were to ARI 6-14, NE 34-9 and GB 30-20, all playoff teams, and NE and GB are the only teams to score more than 24 points against Detroit’s D. But the only times the Lions scored more than 24 points was against NYG, CHI and TB. Hurm.

Dallas, on the other hand, has scored 24 points or more in eleven games including six of their last seven! And in three of those they cracked 40! Of course, the only playoff teams Dallas did this to were SEA and IND. The rest of their big-score games came against TEN, SL, NO, the Giants (twice), JAX, CHI, WAS and a Sanchez-infused PHI. Talk about taking candy-flavored footballs from very overpaid babies! But here’s the key… despite the numbers the Cowboys have deluded themselves into actually believing they are playoff contenders! Like when Wile E Coyote stands aloft in mid-air as long as he doesn’t look down! Of course, eventually the Cowboys will look down and drop to the bottom of Post-Season Canyon, but I don’t think it will be this week.

Still, I’m going to be rooting for the Lions because my dear friends Ivy and Uncle (hers, not mine) Dave are rooting for them and they also root for the Saints and Stillers (when appropriate)! Maybe if enough of us get together, all at the same time, and concentrate on just one word we can defeat the Cowboys! Just one word… Doctor… Doctor… Doc… waitaminit… Detroit… Detroit… Detroit… Doctor Detroit?

Lions: 18
Cowboys: 25

And now, your final frippery of the 2014 season. Savor it. There’s a long road to 2015!

Drew Brees (5-t-191st) caught his fifth pass. And he threw it to himself. Way to bump up your numbers, kid! Brees finished the season with 4952 passing yards which was enough to put him into the #1 spot for 2014. Until Ben Roethlisberger passed him by a yard Sunday night! But the the stats were adjusted, reeling Ben back a yard and putting him in a tie with Drew! Both finished 191 yards ahead of Andrew Luck with 4761. A nice One-Two-Punch for fans of all shades of Black and Gold!

Mark Ingram (53-t-68th) passed Joel Parker (51), Aaron Craver and Tony Baker (52) and tied Brandin Cooks, Mike Karney and Sean Dawkins on the Receptions list.

Kenny Stills (95-t-41st) passed Alvin Maxson (90), Keith Poole (91) and Cam Cleeland (93) and tied Wesley Walls on the receptions list. Stills (1572-33rd) passed Wayne Wilson and ‘Fast’ Willie Jackson on the receiving yards list.

Junior Galette (2-1st) became the first Saint to record two safeties in a single season. In fact, he’s the first Saint to record two safeties… ever! Not only that but both sacks came against the Tampa Bay Buc’s Josh McCown; #1 in W05 in the Louisiana Superdome and #2 in Tampa! Fourteen other Saints did the safety dance once. Congratulations, Junior!

Shayne Graham (55-t-8th) tied Benny Ricardo on the XP list. he can use that as a talking point when he renegotiates his contract in the off-season.

-M Styborski

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Saints 2014|17 Sun, 28 Dec 2014 12:36:42 +0000 Saints Logo

Christmas has come and gone and after last weeks worthl […]

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Saints Logo

Saints LogoChristmas has come and gone and after last weeks worthless showing by the New Orleans Saints so has the 2014 season and my desire to plug this afternoons game. Today we shall see just how much Sean Payton wants to give Tampa Bay the first pick of the 2015 NFL draft. If the Saints win one might wonder if Payton has already finalized the details for his move to take over Lovie Smith’s job on the Buc’s sideline.

But of course, I jest. Smith is just finishing his first year in Tampa and has at least one more year to go before management considers granting fan wishes for his entrails and Sean Payton won’t be getting his hands on that particular early draft pick. (unless…) Payton himself is polishing off his second year of five on his current contract and despite Big Sports Media blowhards questioning his time left in this city, Sean isn’t going anywhere, anytime soon. Sean most certainly wants to stay here considering the apparent “hands-off” management style of Clan Benson-Leblanc and it would be almost impossible to do worse than this season. Trust me, Sean is safe here for at least one more year.

Likewise, I think Rob Ryan is here for another year as well, for better or worse. Ultimately it will come down to availability and cost of replacement weighed against scrapping the entire defensive playbook and starting over, and at this point I think the offense will be a more pressing focal point in the offseason. Besides, Ryan can always be dumped mid-season if the D starts tanking. I think this line from NFL’s Kareem Copeland on Feb. 09, 2013 probably still haunts him. And Rob. And Sean.

“Ryan won’t have to win games with his defense, since Drew Brees runs one of the most dangerous offenses in the NFL.” 

Sounded plausible at the time but two years later? Oy. If the Saints truly want a change on D, they need look no further than Special Teams coach Greg McMahon and his assistant Stan Kwan. What’s that? You didn’t know we had a coach for ST? Not surprising, considering. While the incessant meddling of Roger Goodell has virtually destroyed kick returns, McMahon and Kwan have all but abolished them.

The NFL’s safer, kinder, gentler KR rules took effect in 2011, moving kickoffs to the 35-yard line from the 30. This resulted in the KR average dropping 37.5% from 64 (average between 2006-2010) to 40 (2011-2014) per team, per season. The Saints kept pace in 2011 (42) and exceeded it in 2012 (51), but last year faltered with just 22 kick returns while the NFL average was 40.28. Worse yet, the NFL average is at 33.44 this year, (through week 15,) but the Saints have just 17 kick returns! An average barely above one kick return per game! While McMahon has nine seasons coaching the Saints ST, (seven as coordinator,) Kwan arrived two years ago at the exact time our return game disappeared…

The new rule doesn’t affect punt returns at all which average 36 per team, per year going back to 2006. This year, (through week 15,) the NFL average is at 29.06 and the Saints… again, fucking 17. Clearly Stan Kwan has some twisted kneeling fetish which he’s spread to McMahon. And while the Saints kick return yardage consistently averages out at 23.73 yards per return since 2006, (beating the NFL average of 22.98 by almost a yard,) we’re losing those extra 3.73 yards on every knee we take. You can argue that four yards aren’t really going to change a drive, much less a game–I would argue differently–but what about the returns knelt that might have gone the distance for a score? Or even just an extra ten or twenty yards? Wayne Gretzky once said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” True dat.

Now I don’t know Kwan’s actual duties as McMahon’s assistant but his arrival coincides with the disappearance of our return game. Similarly, though I’ve had just a cursory glance at the numbers, our return coverage has also faltered since Kwan arrived. Between 2006-09 in Detroit, Kwan’s units came under fire for being lazy, unmotivated, playing without heart and simply going through the motions. Sound familiar? It got him bounced to assistant ST in Buffalo. And we all remember the great Bills ST from 2010-12, right? Right. If just one Saint gets the axe this offseason I’m betting on Stan. If it’s two, hopefully he’ll take McMahon with him.

And I suppose I should mention Joe Vitt. Good linebacker coach. Great connection. Sucks at everything else. Why is he still listed as Assistant Head Coach? Yeah, exactly.

Of course, beyond coaching there’s the salary cap. At present, the team is a City Park oak planted in an Airstream trailer and there’s going to be some serious pruning. While the 2015 draft will dictate many of the final cuts next year there are some easy guesses. There are ten players in one-year contracts expiring this year including QB Luke McCown, WR Robert Meachem, LT Bryce Harris, ILB Moise Fokou, G Senio Kelemete, ILB Ramon Humber and OLB Parys Haralson. Of course, these are also the smallest contracts and don’t do much to alleviate the cap situation. Still, I’d hunch that McCown (did you hear… Ryan Griffin has been activated for today…) and Meachem are guaranteed gone next year.

Longer contracts ending either this year or the next cover TE Ben Watson, K Shayne Graham, RBs Khiry Robinson and Travaris Cadet, C Tim Lelito, CB Corey White, WR Nick Toon, S Rafael Bush, DE Cam Jordan, RB Mark Ingram, and CB Patrick Robinson. Of these players bet on Graham, Ingram, Toon and Jordan to stick around. I give Khiry a 50/50 chance and Travaris 40/60. Maybe 30/70. Seriously, it’s going to be a depressing offseason for fan favorites!

But still, we’re gonna need more cash-on-hand to fill the cut spots and there are few places it can come from. First, the team is going to blitz straight up the middle at Drew Brees and ask him if he’d rather have $20-million/yr and continue eating the turf or $16-million/yr with a chance of staying upright to make a play. Bet on Drew being a team player and taking a salary cut with heavily loaded benchmarks to improve his offensive line and QB rating!

Then there’s Marques Colston. Pretty much relegated to an afterthought this season, Colston continues to prove he’s still got it. Most of the time. He has more yards than Jimmy Graham, (on fewer receptions,) but fewer TDs. He still has two years on his contract at $7-milion/year and while he can still play, he’s clearly not the go-to guy he once was but mostly because Drew is trying to force-feed the ball elsewhere. Bet on some restructuring to keep Marques here to at least guide the young-uns or else he might find himself in the ATL. Those punks love to pick our bones.

By far the easiest pot of gold you can find on offense is Jimmy Graham who still has three $10-million contractual years left. Throughout the offseason and preseason Graham fought for a WR designation and the compensation that comes with it, but became a sulky child when it didn’t happen. It irrevocably soured his relationship with Sean Payton who didn’t take Graham’s side in the battle. Did he deserve the tag and the money? Probably. Did he have the slightest chance at getting it? No. But it’s too late to cry now. Graham still has the third-highest paycheck behind Brees and Junior Galette who makes just 375k more per year than Graham and recently fumbled the team relations ball, though doubtfully enough to lose his job. Pair that with his sub-par year though and Gallette could possibly be taking it on his heels, though I still doubt it.

Graham leads the team this season with 79 catches but with 117 targets that puts him at 67% effectiveness, a mark only better than Colston’s 61% for players with over 50 catches. Brandin Cooks and Kenny Stills are the only other two players in that category this season and they both rate at 76%. Conveniently Graham’s shoulder was a favorite target of every defense we played this year so there’s doubt as to whether the injury or sour grapes affected his season. My guess and my bet is that the Saints are going to secretly shop Graham around for draft leverage, a flat-out trade or both. (Are you reading, Tampa Bay?) It will only sting for a little while, like the next ten years, but it may be the only way to fix more than one difficult situation.

Oh, yeah, the game. OK, the Bucs are sucking wind at 2-13 and lead the Tennessee Titans by a witch’s wart for top pick in the 2015 draft. The Saints are back to playing Mora-style football: beating post-season contenders but vacuuming their nuts into their pelvic bones the minute a sub-par train wreck team enters the stadium. The one thing in our favor? We’re on the road! Of course, I’ve been so incredibly wrong prognosticating this damn season it hardly matters what I think. I’m just going to agree with The Machine and say…

Saints: 25
Bucs: 22

Meanwhile, here’s last week’s frippin’ for ya!

Drew Brees (206-3rd) is now just three sacks away from Aaron Brooks (209).

Mark Ingram (114-33rd) untied Ricky Williams and Archie Manning (108) on the points list and passed Torrance Small (110) and Shayne Graham (112). Ingram (19-24th) also untied Williams, Manning and Torrance Small (18) on the total TD list. Ingram (19-9th) broke his tie with Archie Manning on the rushing TD list.

Nick Toon (1-t-199th) became the 228th Saint to run the ball. Toon (4-t-182nd) also joined the rushing yards list.

Kenny Stills (1490-35th) passed Jeremy Shockey (1460) in receiving yards.

Jalen Saunders (1-t-248th) became the 288th Saint to catch a pass.

Jimmy Graham (306-8th) tied Joe Horn on the points list and untied Horn (50) on both the total TD list (51-4th) and receiving TD list (51-2nd).

-M Styborski

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Saints 2014|16 Sun, 21 Dec 2014 16:48:49 +0000 Saints Logo

Welcome to 6-8 for the tenth time. It was a refreshing […]

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Saints Logo

Saints LogoWelcome to 6-8 for the tenth time. It was a refreshing win!

No, really, the offense looked good for most of the game and when it faltered the D shifted into overdrive! Seven sacks and three interceptions? A return game that actually does something other then kneel? Yes, please! And while it was also refreshing to be hooting’ and hollering’ about football on The FB again, I caution you to remember one crucial element of that game: Bears! Seriously, they are who we thought they were. Even less.

The Atlanta Falcons, on the other hand, actually have some semblance of offense and defense this season despite being on a somewhat wilder roller coaster than the Saints. Up until last week they were tied with us but really ahead due to their OT win in week one. Falcons fans have recently been pointing out that “We won just as many games as y’all!” but what they fail to mention is that the only opponent Atlanta has beaten that’s not in the miserable NFC South was an injury-depleted Arizona Cardinals. The Saints at least have wins against GB and Pittsburgh! (Ouch. That still hurts!) The problem on our side of that equation is that we’re included in that miserable division that is the Falcons bread and butter.

But despite “Bears!”, despite four straight home losses and despite the Falcons uncanny ability to beat teams within the NFL’s crappiest division I still believe the Saints come out on top this week. Even The Machine agrees, cranking out a 27-25 victory for us! The only thing the Saints have to do is hold the momentum! And yeah, that’s something we haven’t done well–or at all–this season, but I have it on good authority that something has been brewing since W01 which the general public is unaware of and I’m not at liberty to discuss it. Next week, perhaps I’ll spill the beans. Sean can only fire you once, right?

Saints: 34

Bears: 30

Meanwhile, there’s a whole lotto frippin’ goin’ on, but before we get into it allow me to explain a huge mistake I’ve made. Most of you are aware that I roll my own stats week to week and while I strive for accuracy, I made a huge initial blunder when I began. I used to compile my list of Saints accomplishments and at the start of every season since then to double-check the numbers of the previous year.

I think there have been a handful of instances where my final numbers were less than a half-dozen yards off and this is due to Monday Morning fiddling by the NFL, deciding a certain play was a run instead of a pass or shaving a yard off one play. Essentially, nothing that would change a rip much in any of these posts.

However, when I compiled the stats initially I did so by category; TD’s, rushing attempts, tackles, etc. The problem being that I missed some 300 Saints that never made a tackle, scored a point or did much of anything during their time in New Orleans! The majority of these players were here for less than five games but more than a few were guards who, by definition of position, aren’t ever going to do much in the way of stats. Their job is to guard the QB and open holes for the RBs. They’re ineligible to even think of touching the ball unless it’s fumbled. Case in point: Fred Sturt who played 59 games in four seasons but never saw stat one.


So, I’m currently re-concatinating the entire history of Saints stats to bring everything into line but for my past posts this means mentions of “Nth player to take the field as a Saint” are about 300 spots off! including this post and most probably next week as well. I used the Saints own historical roster from the 2014 Media Guide to find the players I missed, looking each one up individually. (A day of my life I’ll never get back!) The problem here is that roster includes post-season players and players who spent time in training camp or on the practice squad but never actually played in a regular season game! (Andy Tanner, anyone? Four years he’ll never get back!)

So, until I get everything squared away for next year, there’s your caveat emptier and my mea culpa! Whaddya want for free? You may now frip.

Drew Brees (43,091-1st) threw his 43,000th yard as a Saint! He also moved into 6th place ahead of Dan Fouts (SD, 43,040) on the NFL Career Yards With One Team list! Drew also took his 200th and 201st sacks. He remains eight behind Aaron Brooks and 139 behind Archie Manning and only owns 12.95% of the 1552 sacks in Saints history!

Mark Ingram (108-t-35th) tied Ricky Williams and Archie Manning on the points list. Ingram also tied Williams, Manning and Torrance Small (18) on the TD list. Ingram (18-t-9th) broke his tie with Reggie Bush and tied Archie Manning on the rushing TD list.

Khiry Robinson (121-t-45th) tied Ernie Wheelwright in rushing attempts. Robinson (564-39th) is now ten rushing yards behind Vaughan Dunbar (574).

Marques Colston (402-5th) is just twenty away on the points list from Garrett Hartley (422)! While this might seem trivial, [duh, of course it is!] You have to remember that kickers tend to rule the points roost on any team; the top four spots in New Orleans being Morten Anderson (1932), John Carney (768), Doug Brien (513) and Hartley.

Kenny Stills (84-46th) passed Al Dodd (80) and David Thomas (81) on the receptions list and sits two behind Billy Miller (86). Stills (1422-36th) passed Dodd (1382) on the receiving yards list and is just 38 yards behind Jeremy Shockey (1460).

Jimmy Graham (300-9th) saw little action against Chicago and still needs just one TD to tie Joe Horn on the points list and (50-t-2nd) pass Horn on the total TD and receiving TD lists.

Shayne Graham (110-t-33rd) tied Torrance Small on the points list, passing Ricky Williams and Archie Manning (108) in the process. Graham (50-9th) passed Tom Dempsey (49) on the XP list and is now five behind Benny Ricardo (55). Graham (21-11th) is also just two FGs behind Ricardo and Bill McClard (23)

Patrick Robinson (9-t-16th) tied Jabari Greer, Darren Sharper, Jay Bellamy, Jimmy Spencer, Bivian Lee and Delles Howell on the INT list.

Pierre Warren (2-t-90th) became the 182nd Saint to haul in an interception.

CB Terrence Frederick (1-t-834th) became the 858th Saint to suit up and take the field and (4-t-232nd) the 313th Saint to make a tackle.

Jamarca Sanford (2-t-255th) became the 314th Saint to make a tackle.

Erik Lorig (2-t-255th) became the 315th Saint to make a tackle.

John Jenkins (1-t-111th) became the 145th Saint to record a sack.

Junior Galette (30.5-13th) backed up his mouth and paycheck with two sacks.

David Hawthorne (6-t-47th) was literally loaded for Bear and doubled his sack total tying Anthony Hargrove, Tony Bryant and Alex Molden in the process.

And Akiem Hicks (6.5-43rd) made the most impressive defensive play of the year, bulldozing 6′ 2″, 310lb, Chicago center Roberto Garza backwards into Jay Cutler then, with one mighty, meaty paw to the shoulder, dropping Cutler for a seven yard loss! He moved up eight spots on the sack list, tying Parys Haralson, Hollis Thomas and Troy Wilson.

-M Styborski

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Saints 2014|15 Mon, 15 Dec 2014 16:38:52 +0000 Saints Logo

It’s our ninth stop at 5-8. Fifth straight game w […]

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Saints Logo

Saints Logo

It’s our ninth stop at 5-8. Fifth straight game without a rushing TD. No INTs. No sacks. 29 completions out of 49 attempts and just 235 passing yards. And that’s all I care to discuss about one of the most miserable performances by professional athletes ever in this city.

And we’re off on the road to Chicago. The Bears lead the series 15-13; tied at 2-2 SPE. What’s gonna happen on Monday Night? I hesitate to add the word “football” to the end of that query as both teams have difficulty in providing evidence of avocation in that field of late. Or, in Drunk-At-The-End-Of-The-Bar terms… they both suck eggs!

While both Saints and Bears have shown a complete disregard for anything remotely resembling professional football this season, the Saints have actually managed to score more than 30 points a handful of times, unlike their ursine counterparts whose best total to date is 28 points; a win against SF early in the season and a loss to Dallas last week. Defensively however, they both have allowed 30+ points in six games each; Chicago in their last two games and New Orleans in their last three.

Evidence would suggest a Saints road domination like that in Pittsburgh just two weeks ago, but the Steelers are a good team. The Bears, being what they are, should have no trouble decimating our anemic defense; a bear trap game, if you will. After all, the Panthers laid bare every weakness in the collective agglomeration of talented individuals on our roster. (Surely you don’t expect me to call the Saints a “team” at this point?)

Both Saints and Bears are a dismal 5-8. Chicago emerged victorious against the Niners, Jets, Falcons, Vikings and Buccaneers. Not necessarily the most fearsome collection of opponents. The Saints bested the Vikings, Buccaneers, Packers, Panthers and Steelers. Similar opponents with the exception of the Packers and Steelers, both on the road to the post-season.

Honestly, if you took all the aspects –good and bad– of both teams, and cast them into the air like runes, you’d be… well, picking up aspects for the next three hours. And you’d miss the few that rolled under the couch and they’d begin to stink after a few days and eventually the cat would wake you up with one morning, clutching a twitching aspect between her teeth and you’d think to yourself, “Oh, I forgot about that! It all makes sense now!” So… let’s not then.

The Machine went into conniptions as I force fed the stats into it this week. It petulantly refused to calculate by automation and I had to hand-crank it like a meat grinder, which is pretty much what this game is going to be: two sub-par teams beating the crap out of one another in order to prove that the world is wrong about them; that they are still relevant. Good luck with that. The Machine says Chicago 29-27. The Machine is insane. I’m willing to give the Bears their highest point total this year, but unwilling to bet on them winning. Though if I do, perhaps the Saints will show up just to prove me wrong… Fuck it. I’m on a roll.

Saints: 37

Bears: 29

Here, have some numerical frippery!

Drew Brees (140-13th) passed Will Smith’s service record by one game. I don’t even want to bring this up, but… Drew Brees’ next sack will be his 200th. That will still put him nine behind Aaron Brooks and 140 behind Archie Manning. Still, that will only be 12.89% of the 1551 sacks that Saints QBs have taken over the years!

Mark Ingram (102-37th) is one TD away from Ricky Williams and Archie Manning on the points list.

Pierre Thomas (816-5th) passed Ricky Williams (814) in rushing attempts.

Travaris Cadet (336-100th) broke his receiving yards tie with Jim Thaxton (323) and moved ahead of Lorenzo Neal (326).

Marques Colston (653-1st) caught his 650th pass and (9043-1st) 9000th yard as a Saint!

Kenny Stills (79-48th) is one reception away from Al Dodd (80).

Jimmy Graham (300-9th) needs one TD to tie Joe Horn on the points list and (50-t-2nd) pass Horn on the receiving TD list.

Jalen Saunders broke with Sea Payton’s tradition of fair catches and kneeling down in the end-zone by returning three punts for 68 yards. It’s almost as if the ghost of Darren Sproles returned for a game.

Jahri Evans (139-t-14th) tied Will Smith’s service record.

Shayne Graham (103-36th) passed Mark Ingram (102-37th) on the points list. Graham is five points away from Ricky Williams and Archie Manning (108).

Joe Morgan was given his walking papers in what is becoming a week 15 trend for Sean Payton: fixing the problem by cutting someone who’s not the problem so that the problem will see that there’s a problem and fix itself. Morgan ends his paid vacation with the Saints playing in just 19 of 61 games over the last four years. He collected 11 receptions for 386 yards (35.1 avg) and 3 TDs. Morgan also had 2 rushes for 68 yards One of those attempts was a one yard run; you can figure the other out for yourself.

-M Styborski

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Saints 2014|14 Sun, 07 Dec 2014 14:52:32 +0000 Saints Logo

For the seventh time the Saints have landed at 5-7. Jim […]

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Saints Logo

Saints Logo

For the seventh time the Saints have landed at 5-7. Jim Mora’s 1990 team finished at 8-8 and that’s about it for “winning” records from this stage, but with Carolina, Chicago, Atlanta and Tampa Bay at the end of our schedule it’s possible we could finish above .500. The only thing standing in our way is consistency.

By now you’ve heard how the “vastly improved” offense and/or defense defeated the 7-4 Steelers. On the road. A game we were 100% destined to lose. Like I said last week, the minute I predict one outcome, the trap will spring and the egg will hit me square in the face. Admittedly, it’s nice to read some good things about the 2014 Saints, but I take issue with “vastly improved”. Again, I say: consistency. A string of similar games would deserve that description, but until I see them, last week remains a fluke. But a very nice fluke nonetheless.

It was our fourth straight game without a rushing TD but when the passing game is on fire, who the hell cares? Drew Brees, (who a week before threw 3 TDs in a 420 passing yard loss,) managed 5 TDs in just 257 yards! Of course turnovers helped. Despite Patrick Robinson’s refusal to catch three interceptions thrown directly to him, the Saints capitalized with TDs on INTs by Cam Jordan and Kenny Vaccaro. Vastly Improved? Well, better than the goose-eggs the secondary has been stating all year but at this point, still fluke.

And speaking of fluke, I still don’t see how the Saints won. 150 fewer total yards, half as many 1Ds, worse 3D conversion percentage, 30 fewer plays, twice the penalties for three times the yardage, and eight fewer minutes of possession! About the only stat we won were those two INTs compared to the Steelers’ 0. And, of course, Brees’ 140.0 passer rating versus Big Ben’s 76.4. Mind boggling.

So here come the Carolina Panthers who lead the series 20-19, but the Saints have the edge 8-7, SPE. Everything about this game screams trap. While the Saints have been a train wreck this year, the Panthers have been the train that deliberately switches full-speed onto the track that stops at a mountain that hasn’t had a tunnel dug yet and already has four wrecked trains ablaze in front of it and a big red sign with white letters in all caps that reads “YOU’RE GOING TO CRASH AND BURN!” Yeah, they’re essentially the Wile E. Coyote of the NFC South. Plus, the Saints are still something like 90% at home over the last four years and coming off a win nobody thought they’d get. The offense proved it can dominate and the defense proved it can stop a tough opponent. So…trap.

Still, how can I not pick the Saints? The Machine calls it a 24-23 Saints win and I should go with that; it’s the best average of all scenarios including blowouts either way. And while I can’t justify placing an over-abundance of Faith in this Saints team, neither can I give Carolina the benefit of the doubt that their team will even show up today! Besides, I’ve been drinking and it’s no fun rooting your team to a one-point victory, so…

Panthers: 20

Saints: 38

And I no longer care if I’m close to correct as the one consistent element to this team is its’ inconsistency! Meanwhile, back in the jungle, there’s fresh numerical frippery just hanging low from the trees!

Drew Brees (139-t-13th) tied Will Smith’s service record. Brees (5479-1st) is 21 attempts away from #5500. Brees last completion of the Steeler game was his #3700.

Mark Ingram (528-11th) passed Reggie Bush (524) in rushing attempts.

Marques Colston (8971-1st) is now just 29 yards from being the first Saint with a career 9000 receiving yards!

Jimmy Graham caught no passes and was not targeted at all. Wonder what he did to piss off Payton.

Eric Lorig and Nick Toon Became the 314th and 315th Saints to score points in a game. (278th and 279th to score TDs; 145th and 146th by pass.)

Cam Jordan (27.5-14th) trails Junior Galette (28.5) by one sack. For the season he trails 6-7. Jordan made the Saints only sack against the Steelers.

Last week’s grabass winner, Nick Becton, failed to engage Terrence Frederick into a rematch this week. No doubt Frederick is ashamed of his meager showing last week. The two did trade sullen looks most of the game with Becton again defeating Frederick in four sets; 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-1.

-M Styborski

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Saints 2014|13 Sun, 30 Nov 2014 12:02:25 +0000 Saints Logo

Momma says if you can’t say anything nice about a […]

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Saints Logo

Saints LogoMomma says if you can’t say anything nice about a team then don’t say anything at all. Be a short post if I adhered to that.

It’s the ninth stop at 4-7 for the Saints. Jim Haslett’s 2004 team went 8-8; Mora took the 1994 and 1995 teams to 7-9; Ditka went 6-10 in 1997. In 14-game seasons the other 4-7 teams finished thrice at at 5-9 and once at 4-10. The odds are now against us.

It’s been three straight games –make that three straight home games– without a rushing TD! Point the finger squarely at the O-line which has been protecting Drew Brees rather well, but can’t seem to open a hole for the running backs who continue to plow blindly into the enmeshed pile of bodies at the line of scrimmage. While that’s bad enough, the entire offense is fraught with indecision. From Drew Brees’ inexplicable start-stop-start-stop-tackled on the opening drive of the Baltimore game to any number of offensive plays where a Saint gets the ball then does some long division in his head trying to decide where he wants to be tackled. And invariably it’s where he’s standing! More often than not this results in 2- to 3-yard plays. Three of those in a row result in a punt. Go figure. Even I know that moving forward an extra two-three yards will get you closer to the goal!

Meanwhile, our fully capable receiving corps is now inexplicably bolstered by former Jets WR Jalen Saunders. I guess there’s no confidence in the health of any of our wideouts. Against Baltimore, Joe Morgan took a reverse sweep for 62 yards before being horse-collared at the two he and caught his only target for another 67 yards. Despite this, Brees and Sean Payton ignored him for the rest of the game. Incontheiveable!

And here come the Pittsburgh Steelers with the series tied at seven apiece and against Payton one each. The Saints lead in the Louisiana Superdome 5-4 while the Steelers lead 3-2 when hosting. New Orleans hasn’t topped the Steelers in the Burgh since Mora in 1987. I’m 1-1 when attending in the Dome: A 9-6 Steeler victory in a defensive slugfest known as the Battle of the Anderso/ens in 1990 and the 20-10 Saints win on Halloween in 2010. Mom did invite me up to the Burgh for the game this week, though when I asked her how she got tickets she said, “What tickets? We’ll watch it on TV!” Hurm…

The Steelers might have been one of the Saints oldest rivalries had the NFL not been such a fan of musical chairs in the late-sixties. In 1967 The Saints joined the league as its sixteenth team allowing the NFL to realign into a 4/4/2 scheme of teams/divisions/conferences. New Orleans joined the Eastern Conference Capital Division with Dallas, Philly and Washington. In 1968 the Saints traded spots with the Giants, moving into the Century Division with Cleveland, Pittsburgh and the St Louis Cardinals but swapped back in 1969. Then in 1970 the Saints were moved into the all-too-familiar and not-missed-at-all NFC West along with San Fran, Atlanta and the LA Rams.

Both Saints and Steelers managed the early part of the 2014 season badly; losing games they should have won and trouncing opponents they should have fallen to. Both teams stayed on a similar roller coaster but Pittsburgh has managed to put seven ticks in their W column–the opposite of the Saints. Yet even with the Saints troubles I had this game marked down as a victory for them; now… not so much. In fact, I don’t see them even competing in this one as Ike Taylor and Troy Polamalu return from injuries. Granted, Taylor will more than likely give the Saints at least one massive pass interference call on third-and-crucial –possibly two– but Polamalu will terrorize Brees on every play. It’s not going to be pretty. It will be interesting, though, to see how the Steelers utilize Lance Moore in this game and if the Saints will put Keenan Lewis on him.

The Machine says Stillers win, 25-21. Sure, why not! Except the minute I pick one team the other will bring a trouncing. Especially the Saints who are back to predictable form being waylaid by chumps and embarrassing contenders. If I were you, I’d bet against me!

Saints: 17
Steelers: 30

Meanwhile, here’s the hot and fresh frippery from our table to yours!

Drew Brees (138-t-14th) will tie Will Smith’s (139-13th) service total today! Brees (310-51st) passed Rod McNeill (296), Billy Kilmer (299), Wilmont Perry (302) and John Fourcade (302) in rushing yards. Brees (7261-4th) also moved past John Elway (7250-5th) in career passing attempts.

Pierre Thomas (314-6th) passed Danny Abramowicz (309) in receptions.

Mark Ingram (2107-11th) passed Reggie Bush (2090) in rushing yards.

Marques Colston (65-1st) caught his 65th TD pass! Colston (8955-1st) is 45 yards from being the first Saint with a career 9000 receiving yards!

Kenny Stills (1170-38th) passed Mike A Jones (1045), Chuck Muncie (1086), Ricky Williams (1092), Wesley Walls (1100), Boo Wiliams (1143) and Cam Cleeland (1147) on the receiving yards list!

Joe Morgan played his 17th game in three years! Morgan (68-104th) moved up from 196th in rushing yards with a single 67-yard run! Additionally, Morgan (448-78th) moved 12 spots past 14 players on his one catch for 62 yards! Morgan (12-152nd) also moved his receptions/game up to 0.71!

Nick Toon got in his 11th game in two years catching three balls for 42 yards!

Jimmy Graham (300-9th) scored his 300th career point as a Saint breaking his tie with Eric Martin and is one score away from Joe Horn (306). Graham (50-t-4th) also untied Martin and Quinn Early (48) and tied Horn (50) in total and receiving TDs.

Shayne Graham (94-39th) passed John Tice and Wes Chandler (both 90) on the points list. Graham (40-10th) also passed Garo Yepremian (39) on the XP list.

S Pierre Warren, LB Moise Fokou and WR Jalen Saunders became the 855th, 856th and 857th players to wear the Black and Gold. Warren (5-226th) became the 312th Saint to make a tackle.

The grabass game was filled by WR Terrence Frederick (one game) and OT Nick Becton (two games), both new additions who have yet to take the field. Becton won in three straight sets: 6-3, 6-4, 6-1.

-M Styborski

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Saints 2014|12 Mon, 24 Nov 2014 22:44:50 +0000 Saints Logo

Ahh… smell that 4-6 air! In one game the 2014 Saints dr […]

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Saints Logo

Saints LogoAhh… smell that 4-6 air! In one game the 2014 Saints dropped from the 20th worst season to the 29th. It’s our eighth visit to 4-6 and a winning season is now officially debatable. no 4-6 Saints team has ever finished better than 8-8.

The most vocal critics of the team are pointing fingers at Rob Ryan’s defense, specifically after allowing Cincinatti to score 27 points. This probably makes them feel better while ignoring the problems of the offense. To date, this season, the NFL average points scored per team is 23. The Saints themselves are averaging 26 while the defense is allowing an average of 25. So yes, our D performed sub-par against Cinci to the tune of four points compared to the NFL average and two points to its own average. The Bengals themselves average 22 points on both sides of the ball, so our D allowed them to do five points better than average. But their D, well…

The elephant in the room folks shy away from mentioning: Our offense only managed to put up an anemic 10 points last Sunday. Sixteen points less than we usually get and 12 points less than the Bengals usually allow! And while the Saints have scored 10 or less only a half dozen times in road losses over the last few years the last time we did so at home was in week 15 of the 2006 season, losing to the Redskins 10-16. That’s almost eight years ago!

And you folks with the “We got Superbowl rings, we should be doing better!” arguments better check yourselves. Only about ten members of our 53-man roster have those rings. The other Championship Saints have been broken, retired, traded and dismissed from service. Some of them are still kicking ass elsewhere in the NFL despite the Saints writing them off as over-the-hill. Darren Sproles is returning kicks for TDs in Philly with fellow ex-Saint Malcolm Jenkins who has three INTs including a pick-6. Roman Harper has three INTs in Carolina. The Saints D has just seven this season.

You want answers? Look beyond the field to the sidelines and then look past that to the Future Planning. New talent is great, but you can’t simply cut the vets and hope talent will out! The Saints currently rank 3rd in total yards (424.5/gm) but 7th in points (26.1/gm). Our 424.5 yard average per game is 5 trips to the endzone from our own 15. And we’re having trouble getting there more than twice from the 20 and beyond!

And here come the Baltimore Ravens who lead the series 4-1, 2-0 in the SPE. Relaxed from a bye week, the Ravens are going to be a huge test on whether we sink or swim! Did I just write that? Does it need saying? No. The Ravens are brutal and relentless and have been for years. The only thing that will save us here is skill, execution, coaching and good clock management! And perhaps a little voodun! The Machine says it’s close at 23-22 Saints which means it will probably be a blowout with a 50/50 chance of either team winning. Me, I say:

Ravens: 24

Saints: 30

Here’s some frippery. Don’t read it all at once… make it last.

Drew Brees (7216-5th) is 34 passing attempts from John Elway’s (7250-4th) career total.

Mark Ingram (494-12th) passed Mike Strachan (472) in rushing attempts. Ingram (2080-12th) passed Archie Manning (2058) in rushing yards and sits 10 yards behind Reggie Bush (2090).

Brian Leonard (1-248th-t) became the 287th Saint to catch a pass.

Joe Morgan came directly out of suspension and back onto the bench only to have his grabass game with Nick Toon rudely interrupted. Apparently Travaris Cadet was worn out from kneeling returns in the endzone so Morgan spelled him once in the 3Q and later caught a pass for seven yards.

Yeah, that’s about all the frippery you get when a team is coached by a corpse.

-M Styborski

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Saints 2014|11 Sun, 16 Nov 2014 07:38:50 +0000 Saints Logo

Here we are at 4-5 again, for the 12th time in our hist […]

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Saints Logo

Saints LogoHere we are at 4-5 again, for the 12th time in our history. Only Jim Mora’s 1989 squad pulled a winning season (9-7) out of a sow’s ear start like this. Mora, Payton and Haslett (twice) finished 8-8. And facing Cinci and Baltimore at home, (where, yes, we are vulnerable,) and Pittsburgh on the road in our next three games we could easily find ourselves in danger of another 8-8 finish. Assuming we have the heart and will to beat Carolina, Chicago, Atlanta and Tampa Bay.

Judging by the play-calling and time-management against San Fran, it’s clear that Sean Payton thought the team could simply coast last week. Perhaps he went on another bender, queefing lines out of a teen strippers ass. Who knows. I don’t have a problem with that, really, as long as you can afford it and it doesn’t affect the team. Guess what, Sean?

Perhaps that scenario is far off-base, but since Payton became a free agent for the ladies, you’ll notice that the bro-mance between him and Drew Brees is essentially a thing of the past. Even in our few victories the two seem to keep a noticeable distance from each other on the sidelines. For some folks Family Values are not just mere words to throw around during election campaigns. And again, when one’s personal actions prevent one from doing their job in a competent manner, that’s going to alienate some people.

Jus’ sayin’…

And here come the Bengals. At 5-3-1 Cinci is not quite living up to their pre-season hype, taking  brutal beatings from NE (43-17), Indy (27-0), and Cleveland (24-3) and playing Carolina to a 37-37 stalemate. They’ve won against Baltimore (twice), Tennessee, Atlanta and Jacksonville. Not the most difficult schedule, to be sure. Unfortunately the Saints resemble the latter teams more than the former.

The Bengals are our 7th most successful series, tied at 6-6, and 1-1 in the Sean Payton Era. The Machine calls for a 28-20 win by the Saints. I see nothing much to change that other than our defense, which, despite the catcalls from dilettantes last week, is still performing consistently. Four sacks, four additional tackles for lost yardage and one forced fumble against the Niners isn’t bad. No INTs, but Kaepernick has only thrown five all season. Andy Dalton will be harder to sack but he throws wild when chased, with nine INTs so far this year. Hell, I’ll even float the possibility of a pick-six in this game! Oh, and I have a feeling that former Bengal Shayne Graham will talk Payton into letting him kick a 50+ yarder out of spite! Let’s call it…

Saints: 31

Bengals: 21

And now, the Numerical Frippery!

Drew Brees (301-1st) tossed TDs #299, #300 and #301 last week. That’s 66 more than Archie (115) and Aaron (120) combined! Brees (381-4th) re-tied Tom Brady in career TDs.

Mark Ingram (471-13th) is one rushing attempt away from Mike Strachan (472). Ingram (2013-13th) passed Strachan (1902) in rushing yards and sits 45 behind Archie Manning (2058-12th).

Brandin Cooks (500-72nd) caught his 500th yard!

Jimmy Graham (288-9th) tied Eric Martin on the points list and (48-5th) on the TDs list. Graham (48-3rd) tied Martin and Quinn Early on the receiving list.

Nick Toon supposedly took the field at some point but drew no targets. Joe Morgan is off the suspended list and should join Toon on the bench today for afternoon tea.

The Sack Race continues with Cam Jordan (26.5-14th) passing Jumpy Geathers (26) and nestling snugly behind Junior Galette (27.5-13th).

Shayne Graham (36-11th) passed Olindo Mare (34) on the XP list and is just three away from Garo Yepremian (39-10th)

Thomas Morstead just keeps rocking! I don’t track punter stats, but trust me!

-M Styborski

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Saints 2014|10 Sun, 09 Nov 2014 14:56:19 +0000 Saints Logo

Rob Ryan’s simplified schemes are working wonders […]

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Saints Logo

Saints LogoRob Ryan’s simplified schemes are working wonders for the defense, holding Carolina to just 10 points in their own litterbox! On the offense, the absence (due to injury) of RB by Committee has worked wonders for Mark Ingram, which in turn, has helped to congeal the offense into a top caliber unit. For the third straight week both offense and defense are working as a professional football team!

And thank you because here come the San Francisco Forty-Niners who lead the series 47-25-2, a 33.78% record that stands as the 26th worst of our series. However, under Sean Payton (in the regular season) the Saints are 5-0 against the Niners! Our only SPE loss against them came in the post-season, on the road, when–I’m certain you’ll remember–Pierre Thomas was knocked out of the game early by an illegal, uncalled helmet-to-helmet hit.

This is the beginning of a home-stretch of three games which could see the team sitting at 7-4 when they next hit the road at Pittsburgh. Under Sean Payton the regular season Saints are 20-0 in the Louisiana Superdome since 2011! Add in the 2012 season coached by proxies and it’s still a respectable 24-4. If you want, add one win to either stat to include a win over Detroit in the 2011 post-season.

Of course, the Niners were just embarrassed at home by the St Louis Rams. Both Niners and Saints are at 4-4, but just between you and me the Niners are are pretty damned lucky to be there while the Saints were gypped into that record. San Francisco’s ground game has recently withered, posting just 151 yards in their last two games combined! This of course leads to panic passing and, ultimately, defeat. And I know we’re all familiar with that formula!

Don’t get me wrong; it won’t be easy. The Niners D is allowing around 85 rushing yards per game, so you Ingram-o-phobes out there will have a good measure of who your target is today. And other than a 42-point torching by the Broncos three weeks ago, they haven’t allowed more than 23-points this season. And in half of their games they’ve allowed just 17!

But despite the obvious “trap” aspects of this matchup, The Machine calls for a 30-16 Saints romp, but I’m willing to push the envelope, or, at the very least, foment insanity and call it…

Niners: 17

Saints: 36

Are you ready kids? Here comes the Numerical Frippery!!

Drew Brees (135-16th) ties Tommy Myers (136-15th) today on the service list with his 136th game as a Saint! Brees needs just two TDs for #300! Brees (210-27th) passed Earl Campbell (208) and Lamar Smith and Fred McAfee (209) on the rushing attempts list. Brees, (9-19th) in an incredibly uncharacteristic move, untied Chris ivory and Buford Jordan (8) on the rushing TD list, tying Bob Gresham (9).

Jimmy Graham (347-4th) passed Lance Moore (346) on the receptions list. Graham (4381) also passed Devery Henderson (4377) on the receiving yards list.

Mark Ingram (102-36th) moved past Dave Parks (96) and Bill McClard (98) on the points list with two TD’s. He’s now just one score away from tying Ricky Williams and Archie Manning (108-34th). One score would also tie him with Williams, Manning and Torrance Small (18-24th) on the career Saints TD list. Ingram (444-13th) slipped past Craig Heyward (432) on the attempts list. Ingram (1893-14th) also traded with Heyward (1813) on the rushing yards list and sits nine yards behind Mike Strachan (1902). [He’s also 165 yards behind Archie Manning (2058)… I double-dare him to…!!] Ingram (17-10th) passed Ricky Williams and Wayne Wilson (15) and tied Reggie Bush on the rushing TD list. He now sits one behind Archie Manning (18).

Edwyn Baker became the 227th Saint to carry the ball. While his one carry ties him at 198th with 29 other Saints, his two yards rocket him to 189th, past such nigh-forgettable yardage totals as Brian Hansen and Julian Fagan (-23), Ken Stabler and Kenny Duckett (-19), Mark Brunell (-12), Lonzell Hill and Dave Parks (-9), Josh Hill (-8), Luke McCown (-4) and the recently cast-aside Joe Morgan (1).

Nick Toon sat dejectedly on the bench, twiddling his thumbs, staring into the preternatural shadows of the locker-room tunnel for a Joe Morgan who was nowhere to be seen.

Shayne Graham (33-12th) untied Bill McClard on the XP list and is one kick away from Olindo Mare (34).

Corey White (4-t58th) now has two interceptions in as many games. Could this be a trend?

Lastly, the Sack Race continues! Junior Galette (27.5-13th) leads Cameron Jordan (25.5-15th) on the career list and 6-4 on the season! This could certainly be a trend as Colin Kaepernick has eaten the turf 27 times this season. Anything less than four sacks today must be considered a colossal failure. Personally, I’m betting on seven!

-M Styborski

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Saints 2014|09 Thu, 30 Oct 2014 22:50:16 +0000 Saints Logo

Rob Ryan did the unexpected and simplified the defense […]

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Saints Logo

Saints LogoRob Ryan did the unexpected and simplified the defense and the results were spectacular! Four sacks and two interceptions? That’s the D we want to see! Offensively, the Championship Saints were back in action! I don’t mean the second-half overkill, nor do I specifically mean the high-octane win. I mean the calm, collected, panic-less, two-minute offense that marched downfield to tie the score at the end of the first half! Where the hell have they been? Strike that; I don’t care! As long as they’re here now–and here to stay–I’m happy!

It’s a short week and I’m a lazy bastard. it’s our 15th stop at 3-4, the Carolina Panthers lead the series 20-18, we’re tied 7-7 in the SPE. The Panthers lead the Saints, and the division, for the next five hours or so by a half-a-game. If you thought last week was going to be a statement game, brother, you ain’t seen nothing yet! And as long as I’ve crawled out on that limb, let me try to reach that farthest leaf at the end of the branch and say

Saints: 36

Panthers: 24

And now for something completely fripperent:

Drew Brees (134-16th) tied Archie Manning and John Tice on the service list with 134 games. So, just to remind those of you who’ve been squawking about Brees recent slump, here’s a handy comparison of passing stats, followed by the percentage of total Saints passing offense:

Attempts: Brees 5285 (22.52%), Manning 3335 (14.21)

Completions: Brees 3561 (26.31%), Manning 1849 (13.66%)

Yards: Brees 40,960 (25.57%), Manning 21,734 (13.57)

Passing TD’s: Brees 297 (30.65%), Manning 115 (11.87)

Intercepted: Brees 131 (14.30%), Manning 156 (17.03%)

Sacked: Brees 186 (12.10%), Manning 340 (22.12%)

Brees is single-handedly responsible for over 25% of all Saints passing, nearly double Maning’s 13%. Of course, it’s an incredibly unfair comparison. In Archie’s day the game was 40/60 pass/run. Today those numbers have inverted to 60/40. And not to take anything away from Drew, but there’s the whole other aspect of the O-line to consider. Elisha Archibald spent 11 years as a Saint, Drew Christopher is just halfway through his ninth, and this is the single most important reason why stats need to be compared using games and not years. Remember that the next time you’re comparing stats at the end of a bar!

Brees (377-4th) tied Tom Brady on the NFL’s all-time passing TD list. Technically, Brees was ahead before the games began, but Brady tied and passed him in his early game and Brees caught back up by the end of the night. However, Brady has a year on Brees in the NFL and sits behind him in TDs/game, 1.98 to 2.13.

C/G Eric Olsen (2011-2013) made a surprise return to the team after a short 2013 stint with the Steelers and spending pre-season this year on the Titans’ practice squad. Welcome back, Eric!

Mark Ingram (90-38th) broke his tie with Floyd Turner, Craig Heyward and Mike Strachan (84) and entered a tie with John Tice and Wes Chandler on the scoring list. Ingram (15-28th) broke and entered the same ties on the TD list as well. His next score will tie him with Dave Parks on both lists. Ingram (1793-15th) now sits just 20 yards behind Craig Heyward (1813) on the rushing yards list! His mind-boggling 172 rushing yards, ranks only fifth in Saints history behind George Rogers (206 v SL, 1983), Reuben Mayes (203 v MIA, 1986), Deuce McAllister (184 v PHI, 2003) and Ricky Williams (179 v CLE, 1999). Ingram’s (15-13th) rushing TD moved him out of a tie with Mike Strachan (14) and one away from Ricky Williams and Wayne Wilson (16 each-11th).

Erik Lorig made it off the sidelines to become the 226th Saint to rush the ball and 286th to catch a pass.

RB Edwin Baker moved up from the practice squad, ending the Great Tom Crabtree Dodge of 2014. It was fun while it lasted. At least for those of you who thought it was for real. Baker is the 853rd Saint to suit up for regular season action.

Jimmy Graham (4298-6th) passed Lance Moore (4281) in receiving yards and sits just 79 yards behind Devery Henderson (4377)!

Kenny Stills (942-50th) cracked the top 50 Saints in receiving yards!

Brandin Cooks (18) two TDs catapulted him from 204th to 125th on the scoring list. Cooks also became only the 96th Saint to rush for a TD. Cooks (372-93rd) also cracked the top 100 in receiving yards!

Nick Toon and Joe Morgan compared i-Pod playlists on the sidelines for most of the game.

Shayne Graham (15-11th) left Garo Yepremian (12) in the dust on the FG list. Graham (29-12th) also untied Martin Gramatica (24) and tied Bill McClard on the XP list.

David Hawthorne (1-t120th) became the 180th Saint to intercept a pass.

Kasim Edebali (2-t87th) became the 144th Saint to sack an opposing QB.

Cameron Jordan (24.5-t15th) moved back into contention in the Sack race, tying Willie Whitehead, but more importantly sitting just beneath Junior Galette (25.5-14th).


-M Styborski

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Saints 2014|08 Sun, 26 Oct 2014 19:19:34 +0000 Saints Logo

Welcome to our 15th stop at 2-4. While 11 seasons have […]

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Saints Logo

Saints LogoWelcome to our 15th stop at 2-4. While 11 seasons have started worse, no 2-4 season has finished better than 9-7. Only one 2-4 Saints team made the playoffs: Jim Mora’s 1990 squad finished 8-8 and lost to the Bears, 6-16, at Soldier Field.That year the Saints finished divisionally in 2nd place behind the 14-2 49ers. How? With just 14 teams per conference, eight NFC teams finished 7-9 or worse! But unless we win the division this year, that kind of math won’t help us.

The good news is that the NFC south is a morass of failure with a combined 8-17-1 record. The Saints are in 2nd place behind the 3-3-1 Carolina Panthers and still have a decent chance at winning our division with six remaining home games and four away. This week is a division-wide home show with Seattle at Carolina, Detroit “at” Atlanta (in Londinium) and Minnesota at Tampa Bay. Carolina and Atlanta should go down, Tampa Bay, on the other hand, has shown steady improvement despite their record and could possibly bitchslap the Vikings.

Now I know you kids love to cry about the “Caints”, as in, “We caint win on the road!!” Ordinarily I ignore your churlish babble because the stats simply don’t back you up. Yes, yes, I know that since 1967 the Saints are a road nightmare at 139-233, (37.8%) but you can not apply past seasons to the current team unless the data is consistent! If anything the line has to be drawn at coaching!

But this year we’re 0-4 on the road, (0-7 stretching back to last season,) and the perception is quickly turning into solid fact! I don’t have any answers on how to fix it, (save consistency,) but I did dig around in the Saints home/away records. The following stats include post-season games:

– In 48 seasons, the Saints have 27 seasons with a better home record than away, 14 seasons better on the road and 7 seasons crapping it up equally regardless of locale.

– Sean Payton has 4 seasons better at home, 3 better on the road and one tied. Note this includes 2014 but not the 2012 season he spent combing cheerleaders out of his beard in Dallas.

– The Saints 2009-10 Championship run boasted an 80% home record but an 88.9% away record! (You can argue that we were the home team in Miami, but the record books say not.)

– The Saints actually have 19 seasons where they won 50% or more of their road games! 5 of those belong to Sean Payton, 4 to Jim Haslett, 7 to Jim Mora, 2 to Bum Phillips and one to Dick Nolan.

– Overall only four coaches have 50% or better road records: Dick Stanfel (50%), Jim Mora (50.6%), Jim Haslett (53.1%) and Sean Payton (51.5%).

– Between Haslett and Payton the Saints have won roughly 52% of their road games; Not great, just a wafer-thin sliver above average. (And again, no, we are not counting 2012!) But not the “Caints” I keep hearing about every fucking year!

And here’s the problem: The “Caint” illusion is due to the fact that the Saints are actually undefeated at home in Payton’s last three seasons! 9-0 in 2011, 8-0 in 2013 and 2-0 so far this year! (We went 4-4 in 2012, but again, not a Payton year.) When you’re undefeated at home a 50% road success rate is certainly going to look shabby in comparison! If we won just 60% of our home games nobody would give a shit about losing half of our road games! At least, not to the point of crying about it every time we lost one!

Still, as I said earlier, the road has taken a sharp turn for us with seven straight losses going back to last season. Detroit has the league’s best defense, allowing an average of 14 points per game. And we scored 23! The only other team to do that this year was Carolina with 24 points! No one else has gotten past 17! That game was ours from start-to-finish save for two plays: An interception that should have been thrown away and a pass interference play that wasn’t even necessary. Play the ball, you get an INT; Play the man… you get the flag.

Rob Ryan almost has our defense in NFL shape. For most of four quarters they showed us what could be, but by the end of the game they were wheezingly awful. (The same can be said for the offense…) Still, it’s an improvement and that’s a good thing! A bad thing would be bracketing the two-minute warning with two timeouts while Detroit rests patiently ten yards away from your endzone. Worse would be a panicky, haphazard possession with 1:48 to go while hoarding your last timeout like my grandparents hoarded used tinfoil! Oh well. I’m not even going to mention the stupidity of trying to use Jimmy Graham as a decoy, considering the Lions did that with Megatron two games in a row… Oops!

Up Next: The Green Bay Packers come to town for our 24th meeting! The Saints trail the Pack’ 7-16, (30.43%) our 29th worst series. under Payton we’re 3-2-1. It’s a Dome-Sweet-Dome game so it’s a lock, yes? Well… The Packers have two road losses, (Seattle and Detroit,) and two road wins, (Chicago and Miami). Compare the Saints to those four teams and we pretty much line up dead center. If you figure it out strictly by home/away performance, the Saints should prevail 24-21. If you ignore venue the Saints walk away 24-32 losers.  But honestly, it’s the Dome! And it’s primetime! And we’re really, really, really pissed off! I’m going off-script for this one, kids:

Packers: 35

Saints: 38

Looks like it could be an overtime finish too! I mean, I have no data to support that, but as long as I’m winging it…

And now, for the moment you’ve all been dreading… The Numerical Frippery!

This sunday Drew Brees will tie John Tice and Archie Manning for 16th place in service with 134 games! Tune in next week as we compare Drew and Archie in what’s certain to be a stat-fest to surprise nobody!

In a rare explosion of desperation, Drew Brees (277-55th) rushed for 13 yards, passing Randy Schultz (269) and Joe Profit (274) in rushing yards!

Brees is currently on pace for 701 passing attempts this season which would land him in 2nd place all-time behind, ironically enough, Matthew Stafford’s 2012 mark of 727! He’s also on pace for 475 completions which would beat the current single-season record of 468 set in 2011 by… um… Drew Brees. And let’s look at yardage while we’re here! Brees is currently on pace for 5109 passing yards this year which would put this season at 6th place all-time, behind Peyton Manning (5477-2013), Drew Brees (5476-2011), Tom Brady (5235-2011), Drew Brees(5177-2012) and, uh… Drew Brees (5162-2013).

Pierre Thomas (308-7th) needs one reception to tie Danny Abramowicz.

Mark Ingram (390-14th) passed Ray Zellars (382) and Derek D Brown (388) in rushing attempts.

Austin Johnson became the 313th Saint to score, the 277th Saint to score a TD, the 285th Saint to catch a pass, and the 144th Saint to catch a TD pass! That’s a lot of work for one little 13-yard pass!

Nick Toon and Joe Morgan ran a three-card monte game on Tom Crabtree in the visitor’s tunnel for most of the game, siphoning his first Saints paycheck right out of his pocket!

Shayne Graham (12-11th place) jumped the power trio of Olindo Mare (10), Happy Feller (10) and Martin Gramatica (11) on the Saints FG list and now sits tied with Garo Yepremian. Graham (24-13th) is also tied with Gramatica for XPs.

Marcus Ball became the 311th Saint to make a tackle.

Curtis Lofton (214-28th) passed Josh Bullocks (208) and Renaldo Turnbull (209) on the tackle list. Lofton is six tackles away from jumping into 25th place, past Jabari Greer (217), Darrin Smith (218) and La’Roi Glover (219).

Keenan Lewis (5-47th) and Kenny Vaccaro (2-88th) both intercepted Matt Stafford. Yay! We’re making interceptions!!

Corey White (1-110th, 30-way tie) became the 143rd Saint to sack a QB. Parys Haralson (4.5-56th) and Junior Galette (25.5-14th) each also sacked Stafford. Galette moved out of his tie with Willie Whitehead (24.5) and is half a sack behind Jumpy Geathers (26). Cameron Jordan… we’re waiting…

-M Styborski

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Saints 2014|07 Sun, 19 Oct 2014 07:17:18 +0000 Saints Logo

Welcome back my friends to the coronary that never ends […]

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Saints Logo

Saints LogoWelcome back my friends to the coronary that never ends! It’s our 9th stop at 2-3, and 17 seasons have begun worse, so, we got that going for us! Jimmy Graham is gone for the next few weeks but Tom Corbett will be riding the bench as an emergency back-up TE while Josh Hill and Ben Watson actually compete for yardage.

In the past I might assume that Graham’s 2-3 week sit-down was just Sean Payton playing mind games. “We’re 2-3, let’s tell ’em Jimmy’s out for that long! Then when he plays Sunday, they’ll be baffled! Baffled, I say!!” But, sadly, that Sean seems to have died during his year in suspension hell. (Oh, sure, he’s hinting at Graham playing Sunday but if you believe that I have a bridge in Brooklyn I’d like to sell you!) We’re now stuck with a sad, lackluster, handsomely compensated head coach who shows no sign of allowing the spark of imagination back onto the field. Punt and kick returns? Take a knee. Third and long? Checkdown lateral. Fourth and inches? Punt. We did try a fake kick a few weeks back, the execution of which sent half of Saints Nation to Charity with apoplexy. I’m not saying we should try a flea-flicker on every down, (although…) but let’s have a little more diversity than the three-yard play-action dump-offs that were the hallmark of Jim Mora’s anemic offense and seem to be our go-to play every other down.

By the way, King Roger the Inconsistent did not fine Bucs CB Major Wright for lowering his head and spearing Jimmy Graham. The second time Graham’s right shoulder was targeted in two plays. Can you say bounty? Can you say bullshit?

The good news is that Mark Ingram is back! (Shaddup, you!) Ingram should be able to pick up where he left off and if Payton has any football sense left behind his granny-glasses he’ll retool the positioning so that Khiry Robinson can take over the Darren Sproles routes that Branden Cooks has been running and Cooks can slide into Jimmy Graham’s routes. We can only hope, right?

Sunday we face the Detroit Lions for the 23rd time! The Saints lead the series 12-9 and under Payton are 3-0! Unfortunately, we’re heading to The Motor City and this season we’re positively Suck Incarnate on the road dropping two games in OT and being blown out by the Cowboys in W05. Meanwhile, Detroit has been almost perfect at home drubbing the Giants 35-14, the Packers 19-7 and losing to the Bills 17-14 in what can only be considered an Act of God.

Detroit’s D is working overtime keeping opponent scores low, (allowing a league-low 14-points on average,) and the Bills loss can be chalked up to Calvin Johnson’s bum ankle.About that, I’m irked as he’s wideout numero-uno on two fantasy teams. As a Saints fan though, it’s manna from heaven! The Lions have used the injured Johnson as a decoy for two straight weeks and each time he’s re-injured himself. Resting him would be the Lions best move both for the Saints and for the Lions season.

Of course, there’s also the matter of the grudge match. Not only has Payton trounced Detroit three games running, (something bound to be remembered by all but the rookies,) but there are a few folks up there looking to make a very loud statement. Like the entire Lions RB corps. Reggie Bush, Joique Bell and Jed Collins, all former Saints, make up the whole of the Lions rushing attack! It might seem odd that all three Saints cast-offs-from-diverse-times wound up on the same team but I think OC Joe Lombardi, (Saints OA/QBC from 2007-2013,) may have had something to do with that. Oh, and what were you asking about why Drew Brees seems to be slumping this year?

It’s gonna be interesting. Graham or Johnson out makes this game an arguable slam dunk for the other team. Both gone brings it back to a coin flip. Respective home and road records tilts the game to the Lions league-best D. The unknowable factor, however, is the bye-week. Did we work hard on fundamentals or did we just go through the motions? Is Ingram truly 100%? Will Crabtree be more than a seat-warmer? I really don’t know. I’ve spent the bye-week working my tuchas off fine-tuning The Machine but unfortunately it just made things worse for the Saints. Initially it called for a 20-25 loss but thanks to time on my hands and a pig-headed desire for prognostic accuracy it now says:

Saints: 19

Lions: 26 

And before you start hating on me… LOOK!! The shiny object that is The Numerical Frippery!

Drew Brees will tie Sam Mills at 18th place today with 133 games as a Saint! Brees (5208-1st) got his 5200th attempt, (3506-1st) 3500th completion, (40,307-1st) and 40,000th yard as a Saint all in one game! Unfortunately he also threw (130-2nd) his 128th, 129th and 130th interception as a Saint. Still, he needs another 26 to catch Archie and that’s not likely to happen this year! (<<Knocks wood!)

Brees (7017-5th) also got his 7000th career attempt, (4631-4th) 4600th career completion and (52,659-4th) 52,600th career yard! Drew also crossed the 40,000 mark in yards with one team, (40,311-7th). He should easily cover the 2730 yard distance needed to pass Dan Fouts (43,040-6th) by W15.

One “non-stat stat” about Brees: He is the scoringest sumbitch the Saints have ever had! NFL stats give passing scores to the receivers and not the QBs. I don’t know why it’s not a split, but there it is. So, while Brees officially sits in a 67th place tie with Andy Livingston and Bob Newland at 48 points, his unofficial scoring total (rushing, passing, 2PCs, etc, calculated at full value) hit exactly 1800 points last week! That’s 482 points past Morten! And despite this lackluster season, I’d just like to say “Thank you, Drew!” I’d offer to have your babies, but you seem to have that covered!

This will be Pierre Thomas‘ 100th game as a Saint! Thomas (248-11th) Passed Lance Moore (238) and Charlie Durkee (243) on the scoring list. He is now just 16 points away from Jimmy Graham (264)! Thomas (40-7th) passed Moore (39) on the TD list and needs four to catch Graham (44). He (28-3rd) also moved into a TD tie with Chuck Muncie! Thomas (2417-14th) passed Michael Haynes (2368) in receiving yards and (12-23rd) moved into a tie with Reggie Bush, Boo Williams and Ike Harris for receiving TDs.

Khiry Robinson (115-47th) passedJames Ford (104) and Tony Lorick (109) in rushing attempts. Robinson (528-39th) also jumped Troy Davis (446), Bobby Hebert (452), Tom Barrington (493) and Jim Strong (524) in yardage and sits 46 yards behind Vaughn Dunbar (574).

Joe Morgan and Nick Toon held a heated debate on the sidelines over the advantages and disadvantages of a national flat-tax rate.

Shayne Graham (9-15th) passed Steve Mike-Meyer (6) and Chip Lohmiller (8) for FGs made. Graham (22-14th) needs three PATs to pass Martin Gramatica. And he needs to not jump up and down in celebration when he does.

Junior Galette (24.5-14th) tied Willie Whitehead in sacks and is pulling away from Cam Jordan in this years Sack Race, 3-1. You gonna let him get away with that, Cam? I dare you to sack Stafford six times! Both of ya! And by the way, that was an end-zone sack for a safety! The last safety the Saints recorded was by Will Smith against, ironically, the Bucs’ QB Luke McCown in a 23-27 loss in W13 of 2007, and frankly, it’s been too damn long! (You have no idea how long it took to track down that stat!)

Curtis Lofton (201-30th) made his 200th tackle as a Saint passing James E Williams in the process. Lofton leads all active Saints in tackles followed by Patrick Robinson (127-50th).

Patrick Robinson (8-22nd) left his 12-way tie for an 8-way in interceptions.

Marcus Ball became the 852nd Saint to take the field.

Brian Dixon became the 851st Saint to take the field and 310th to make a tackle.

-M Styborski

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