It's summertime, and you know what that means. Not only is it time for a record-breaking heat wave in Louisville (over 100 degrees projected for four days in a row!), but it's also time for HansDat to bring you his annual 'Look at Lindy's Look at the 2012 Saints.'
The magazine came out in early June, and you'll probably still see it on your local newsstand well into August, along with the versions of NFL 2012 preview magazines from Athlon, USA Today, The Sporting News, and whoever else may be trying to cash in on the NFL dead zone of news in the summer with these Annuals.
Make the jump for my breakdown of what it brings us in regard to our beloved Saints.
The cover of the mag in my area this year features the Tennessee Titans' CJ1.05K. Louisville's in an NFL nexus of sorts (we're kind of close to three NFL cities: Cincinnati, Indianapolis, and Tennessee), so I never know who we'll get as the cover boy year to year.
@Surprisingly enough@, the lead story in the offseason round-up piece, Scoping the NFL, details the Saints tumultuous and "bounty-full" offseason. And it features a cartoon drawing of Goodell on a ladder, reaching over and removing a shining halo from over a towel-draped, black and gold-uniformed player with his head turned down. SIGH.
There's also a Like Father...Like Sons NFL quarterbacks article about...you guessed it - the Manning Family!! I didn't read it, as I brashly assumed it doesn't contain anything I don't already know. (Damn, I'm arrogant - ARROGANT! just like a certain coach and GM's attitude toward a certain home office. I could be in for trouble if I don't watch out.) Although I must admit that even though I didn't read the article, I enjoyed seeing the vintage pic of Archie in a classic Saints uniform dropping back to
pass get pummeled or pitch the ball to a running back who wasn't in the right place, or whatever, against the Falcons.
In the overall NFL predictions, Howard Balzer predicted the Saints to win the NFC South with this bold statement:
It's "us against the world" for Saints, who better get Drew Brees signed in time for training camp.
My over/under for the number of times that phrase is used by the media to refer to the Saints from now through the end of the season is the same as the number of yards Drew Brees threw for last year.
Balzer did not predict each round of the playoffs, but he has the Giants and Bears as NFC wild cards, a San Francisco-Philadelphia NFCCG, and a shocking Texans win over those 49ers in the Nawlins Bowl. OK, sir.
The Saints also made a big splash on the NFC South overall preview page, which is titled Rest of the Division Has a Bounty on the Saints (how original and clever). In addition to the Saints taking up nearly half the text of the intro, two of the 5 Questions To Be Answered concern them: How will Payton's absence affect Saints? and Why did the Saints name Joe Vitt interim coach?
Sheldon Mickles of The Advocate in Baton Rouge wrote the Saints preview pages, and in them, they are also predicted to win the division (although I'm not sure if Mickles made the call on that or if some editor at Lindy's did).
The title of the section is: Us Against the World Will Be Saints Approach (5,474 more times and I nail the over/under bet), and it contains the usual junk: positional analysis (with a 1-10 ranking assigned to each), a complete roster, the past five years # 1 draft picks and season records bar graph, some unsourced scouting report blurbs, 2011 stats, the coaching/front office staff (noting Payton's suspension and Vitt's assistant and interim head coaching titles, while ignoring Loomis's pending suspension), the 2011 results and 2012 schedule, the team's Additions and Losses (the big ones of each are Ben Grubbs and Carl Nicks), and 3 Things To Look For (a big year from Brees, Spagnuolo to improve the front four pass rush, and the Saints to strive for a team-record four straight playoff berths).
Mickles calls for offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael to be On the Hot Seat, but also admits that it's not all that hot, really:
It's not expected to be a problem for Carmichael, however. A highly-regarded up-and-coming assistant who interviewed for two head coaching jobs this past offseason, he's had enough time in Payton's system to be on the same page with quarterback Drew Brees at any given time the way Payton was.
Something I noticed in the positional analysis was the coaching ranking of seven (out of ten), which was tied with the score given to both the linebackers and secondary, and only .5 higher than the lowest score the Saints received this year, given to the defensive line. I guess even with the suspensions and new hires, that's about right. Who knows, really, though?
Near the end of the magazine, they compile all the scores assigned each team by position, and total them up to rank the teams by division. The Saints received a score of 69 (TWSS, natch!), with a low of 6.5 (DL) and a high of 9 (for guess who?), which placed them atop the NFC South, and in 6th place overall in the NFC, behind the 49ers, Eagles, Giants, Packers, and Bears.
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OK, so there's my look at Lindy's Look at the 2012 Saints. Nothing groundbreaking in Lindy's coverage here, but I do enjoy reading it each year and trying to keep my need for info fed through the summer (I'll flip through the magazine from time to time over the next month or so, looking over the NFC South/Saints pages again and again, as well as the Saints' other opponents for 2012). How does it compare with your look? Do you even care? Do you read Lindy's or any of the other publications? Any wrongs you'd like to right from this?