That's what tonight was for me. Not so much because of the Saints on-field performance, though it did leave a bit to be desired, but because of the location of my new season tickets. While I was excited about being closer to mid-field this year and on the Saints side of the Dome, I was a little nervous about just how low and close to the field I was actually going to be. As it turns out, my fears were well founded.
After arriving late, being held up at the gate by the Ticket Fiasco of '09 (see below) and losing my friend I hurried through the concourse and rushed to my seats making it in time just to see the first series begin. I was both elated and pissed when I discovered that I would spending the season in the second row. Sure, it sounds awesome to be sitting only two rows back and with the team so close I can spit on them. I also think I'm surrounded by friends and family of the players. But it's a double-edged sword my friend. The damn players block my view of the field! And if it's not the players, it's the down markers or the television crane. Son of a...
I spent most of the game brooding and trying to rationalize this most recent turn of events in an effort to make myself feel better about the situation. Fortunately, I did realize two things. First of all, the Dome will be undergoing major renovations over the next two years and I thought I had remembered them saying the Plaza Level seats would be upgraded. Just checked the Superdome's webpage and my suspicion proved correct:
New Sideline Seating--Complete replacement of the Plaza Level (lower bowl) sideline seats, moving them closer to the action, resulting in improved sightlines,
Perfect. I also remembered that this was pre-season and there are 80 players standing around. Once the season starts there will be 27 less people obstructing my view. Sweet.
So I'm willing to stick it out and see what happens. These things usually turn out alright for me. Regardless, this season is going to be interesting from the bottom of Section 140 and I genuinely think that the proximity of my seats to the Saints sidelines will completely change my perspective of the team. Though I may not have the best view of every down, I will be able to see the emotions and interactions betweens players and coaches as each play unfolds throughout the course of a game. Surely this will remain an eye-opening experience.
Enough about my own personal tribulations, let's get down to what we all came here to talk about: The game. After the jump are my initial notes in no particular order, personal pictures from the game and the open thread roll call. Remember that I haven't watched the game again on television and with the crummy new view from my seats, I could really be off base on some of these observations. Make sure to click the picture for all of the AP's photos from last nights game.
- The Ticket Fiasco of '09. For the last few years the Saints have printed their season tickets in booklets, with each page being it's own ticket. This year they went all cheap and put the entire seasons tickets on one big perforated sheet. Each individual ticket, however, has two perforations; one that separates each ticket from the next and one that separates the stub of the ticket that contains the barcode. Apparently, a lot of fans didn't look too carefully when ripping their game ticket from the whole sheet and failed to rip the entire ticket, leaving the barcoded section at home. This led to mass confusion, holdups at the gate and separate accommodations being made.
- We've been expecting Jonathan Vilma to play a huge role in Williams' new defense and to be the "quarterback" on that side of the ball but this was a hell of a start. It almost makes you think that Williams knows what he's doing and is actually getting the results he wants. Crazy notion. If you're pissed off about the fumble at the end of Vilma's run, don't be. Dude had to be tired. Besides, the end result of the play pushed the Bengals all the way back to their four yard line. That would never have even happened last year and Cincinnati would still have been in Saints territory so it's a step in the right direction.
- How fitting that the Saints defense starts their season off with a big turnover thanks to Darren Sharper and Jonathan Vilma, who play the two key positions in Williams' defense. Two turnovers from Vilma is great and they followed through on that "scoop and score" mentality we've heard so much about about. Overall, the Saints won the turnover battle +1. Good signs and a step in the right direction. So if the defense is fixed, what aspect of the team will begin to break down and lead to failure?
- The answer to the above question could very well be the running game. I didn't see anything worth writing about. They're still having problems with short yardage. Last night seemed to be Lynell Hamilton's chance to show what he's made of but I certainly wasn't impressed. I wasn't impressed by anyone in fact. And you cannot put the ball on the ground three times. Not good at all. Pierre barely touched the ball, though, so that should count for something.
- Robert Meachem looked pretty good and saw a lot of playing time. Still, his touchdown catch was against Cincinnati's second team so I'm not so sure that's a completely accurate gauge. Got a little nervous when he took his time getting up after that one play.
- Malcolm Jenkins wasn't given a chance to play until late in the game but he used his time wisely and was responsible for causing the Casillas interception. Not a bad start. I would like to see him get more time with the second and even first team.
- When I got back home I quickly scanned the game thread and was glad to see that everyone else seemed to agree with me. Jason David is done. He really needed to shine tonight and prove that he could thrive in Gregg Williams' new system but he did just the opposite. Rather, he kept doing the things that made everyone hate him in the first place and it felt like old times in the Dome last night with everyone cursing David's name.
- While we're on the subject of cornerbacks, I'm still not sold on Randall Gay. I never was, not even last year, and I really don't understand why some people continue to think he's good enough to start. He's not. Certainly not now. Your starters are Greer and Porter. End of discussion.
- Congratulations to Jeremy Shockey for getting his first touchdown as a Saint and getting that monkey off his back early. Hopefully, this is a sign of great things to come. We know how dangerous a good tight end can be in Payton's system.
- They were advertising on the jumbotron for a local television show called, "The Sean Payton Show" that will begin this fall. I have know idea what the format will be but my interest in piqued. I'll keep you updated.
- I've got to be honest, Garrett Hartley's missed field goal really had me nervous. Like a bad omen. But he made up for it with the 54-yarder so I'm not as worried anymore.
- I caught a brief glimpse of one of those remote controlled stadium blimps at the start of halftime but as quickly as it appeared, it was gone. Probably malfunctioning. Anyway, look out for that this season if you're attending the game.
- I think Skyler Green can kiss his job goodbye. I know he gets the local love every year, being from LSU, but I just don't think he can cut it.
- Brunell was solid and clearly better than Harrington. No surprise. We learned last year how good of a backup Brunell is.
- It looked like Morstead was the better punter. Pakulak kicked a short one out of bounds. Morstead pinned a very nice one inside the 10-yard line and another mediocre one.
- Charles Grant may have looked fast while running after Ochocinco but he also pulled up with a limp while chasing down Carson Palmer. All he was doing was running and minutes later he's got ice on his knee. That, to me, seems like a sign of poor conditioning and I don't like the look of it.
- Rod Harper has got to be the surprise of the game. He looked pretty decent last night, making two big receptions. He also shined during the Black & Gold scrimmage last week. If any of the young guys are actually going to crack the wide receiver lineup, Harper seems to be it.
- Darren Sharper looked good. He was responsible for causing the first fumble. And how about that big hit over the middle on the attempted pass? To quote Borat, "Vary niiiice."
- Actually attending pre-season games sucks. Now I know why season ticket holders usually give them away every year or just don't use them. It's just not the same. There is no energy.
The Dome at dusk.
I've already had my lawyers contact their lawyers regarding naming rights. They're gonna pay for this.
The stadium was nowhere near full.
Gumbo close up.
Shockey interacting with the crowd. He really is a ham.
Mike Nabors doing his thing.
For the single guys.
More for the single guys.
The new defense.
I can barely see the damn field.
Lovely. Couldn't have found a better place for that thing.
What I wish the view looked like.
Just some game action.
Hartley keeping fresh.
The offensive line.
Reggie icing up the knee.
Here is the roll call for last nights open thread. Thanks to everyone who stopped by. It was great to see so many names on there.
|Name||# of Posts|
|Monkey Poop Battle||35|
|Just Some Guy||32|
|Steve the fan||7|
|GSO Saints Fan||1|