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Who the f*ck is Chris Barclay?, or, Game No. 17 Open Thread: Saints @ Bears

Chris Barkley appears without the knowledge of the Associated Press

Some of you may be asking yourselves who the Saints' new running backs are. They recently inked two runners, Chris Barclay (pictured) and Artose Pinner, second-year and fifth-year players, respectively.

Barclay joins us from Wake Forest, where he excelledt from 2002-05. He stands 5-foot-10, weighing 180 pounds. had this to say about Barclay's college career:

Standout running back at Wake Forest, holding school records for rushing, scoring, and all-purpose yards... Was the fifth-leading rusher in ACC history when he ended his college career in 2005... Named ACC Player of the Year in 2005... First-team All-ACC in 2004 and 2005.

Pinner, a Kentucky native, was a fourth-round pick by Detroit in 2003. He also stands 5-foot-10 but is stockier than Barclay at 230. Pinner's career reminds me a bit of Stecker's -- he's always been good enough to find work as a serial backup running back and special teamer, with occasional bouts of extreme scrappiness.

This asshole first showed up in the Chicago Tribune.

The real story here is that Pierre Thomas will get a chance to carry the ball this week. With Stecker and Bush have sat during practice, Thomas has presumably played with the first teamers. Thomas has a chance to audition for playing time in 2008 against Chicago. The Bears' rush defense ranks toward the bottom of the league in both yardage per game (124) and touchdowns (17). Thomas has an opportunity to make a statement, though not Football Outsiders' All-Rookie Team. No Saints made that (big surprise).

In other news, Bears fans were poor hosts to Saints fans last season. I dunno, this story just seems a bit invented. In every group of people there will be assholes. Having known plenty of asshole sports fans -- and been one on occasion -- I know the majority of Bears fans were polite and cordial, and were probably offended by their behavior, also. Gather any large group of people and somebody's bound to be an idiot.

But, yeah, f*ck this guy. Let's hope the Saints finish off what the O' Leary's cow started.

And, of course, there is the playoff implication of this game. We all know the drill by now -- if the Saints beat the Bears in the Noon Central game and the Vikings (at Denver) and the Redskins lose at home to Dallas, the Saints win the NFC's 6th seed. Anything else, it's over.

The Saints are wounded, playing on the road in a cold-as-f*ck Soldier Field (21 degrees), though no precipitation. They are a wounded team in need of a miracle. This'll probably double as the gameday open thread, because I'm not sure how else to say it. For those of you not intersted in the game, I give you Chocolate Rain. Hey, it's been a long season; I'm running out of stuff.

SB Nation has a Chicago Bears blog, Windy City Gridiron. It's a good site, definitely worth a read.