My two favorite weeks to be a Saints blogger are probably those in which the Saints get ready to play against their division rival Atlanta Falcons because those are also the weeks I get a chance to talk with Dave Choate, Falcons blogger extraordinaire.
Instead of the usual Q&A, Dave and I like to meet up on instant messenger and just shoot the you know what about our respective teams and their upcoming matchup. After the jump, I present to you the most recent of those conversations in its entirety. I hope it's as entertaining as it is informative.
Don't forget to listen to our live pre-game radio show, which can be found right here, tonight at 7pm Central.
Dave Cariello: What's up, Dave!
Dave Choate: Hey, it's Dave! I hear you're a Saints fan these days.
Dave Cariello: Oh, just a little bit. I follow the team occasionally. Check in from time to time.
Dave Choate: When you're not busy murdering hobos with Drew Brees, right?
Dave Cariello: Haha, you read that article, huh?
Dave Choate: I live and die by The Onion.
Dave Cariello: I could see you writing for them. You should submit your resume.
Dave Choate: I did, but my writing sample was an article about the Falcons winning the Super Bowl. They rejected it as being "too unreal."
Dave Cariello: Haha! I don't even have to talk trash about the Falcons because you just do it yourself.
Dave Choate: They know I love them. Really. It might be all the love notes I send them. But they know.
Dave Cariello: Have the Falcons been easy or hard to love so far this year?
Dave Choate: The Falcons made it tough to like them the first week and easy the second week. But after we realized how good the Steelers defense was, all was forgiven.
Dave Cariello: You like how I just transitioned right into some serious football talk right there?
Dave Choate: That was smooth. You're like the MC Hammer of transitions. How about the Saints?
Dave Cariello: The Saints are 2-0 following a Super Bowl-winning season. I'm not allowed to complain. There's rules or something about that.
Dave Cariello: So you blame the team's first loss on a good Steelers defense?
Dave Choate: I blame our first loss on a spicy mix of ineptitude, Steelers defense and paprika.
Dave Cariello: Paprika? How did the grindings of dried fruits of Capsicum annuum hurt the Falcons?
Dave Choate: You either looked that up or you're secretly a chef.
Dave Choate: Speaking of chefs...how will the Saints' offense cook without Reggie Bush?
Dave Cariello: Not as smooth as my earlier transition.
Dave Choate: We can't all be winners.
Dave Cariello: The Saints have been without Reggie Bush in the past and done just fine, if not better. Sean Payton will definitely be adjusting the play calling for the next couple of months while Reggie is out and opponents will have an easier time game planning, that's for sure. Pierre Thomas may be expected to carry the load a little more and Ladell Betts was brought back, he should get some carries now. Chris Ivory will be returning in a couple of weeks which will be a huge help. Fortunately, the Saints have a great passing game to rely on. But nobody can truly replace Reggie.
Dave Choate: Is Bush Drew Brees' binky? Or does he have enough weapons that this won't even phase him?
Dave Cariello: It won't phase him. It hurts because it makes the offense a little less versatile but there are still plenty of weapons.
Dave Choate: Well ****.
Dave Cariello: Here's what I think Falcons fans need to be worried about: The Saints offense has come out flat so far this season. They are not scoring as many points as they're used to and I think it's starting to build up and tick them off. At some point, they're going to unload on a team and hang like 50 points on them. You don't want it to be the Falcons.
Dave Choate: If you hang 50 points on us, I will eat a delicious steak dinner. Because eating hats is gross. You're not dealing with the same ol' Falcons D.
Dave Cariello: It's probably more likely to happen the following week against the Panthers.
Dave Choate: Can I just point out how much the Panthers suck?
Dave Cariello: Yes, feel free. The floor is yours.
Dave Choate: I'll just reference something I Tweeted the other day: A desperate John Fox turns his lonely eyes to Jimmy Clausen as the QB for the Panthers. I think you can stick four pins in that battleship.
Dave Cariello: Sadly, the Saints defense tends to make inexperienced QB's look like Pro Bowlers. Case in point: Alex Smith. That was probably his best game ever on Monday night.
Dave Choate: Yeah, explain that one to me. I had to rub my eyes a few times.
Dave Cariello: They just give up a lot of yardage and thrive on the takeaway. Fortunately, they seem to force a turnover whenever they need one. Like it's no big deal. Like they can do it whenever they want, they just choose not to most of the time because they feel bad.
Dave Choate: Yeah, someone up there likes you. And when I say up there, I mean in the officiating office. It's on the third floor. I abhor that about the Saints. You guys always seem to turn it on at exactly the right moment.
Dave Cariello: It makes for elevated heart rates and really amazing games.
Dave Choate: Also two side effects of Cialis.
Dave Cariello: Brilliant. Hey, I'm watching Brian Baldinger on NFL Network. They need to make him wear something to hide that freaky pinky he's got.
Dave Choate: You can't ignore it.
Dave Cariello: Thing is gross. It's going in a completely different direction, like his pinky doesn't want to be anywhere near the rest of his hand.
Dave Choate: Also a side effect of Cialis.
Dave Cariello: Ha. How about this: If the Falcons were a drug, what would they be and what would be the side effect(s)?
Dave Choate: Inconsistenex. The side effect would, not surprisingly, be inconsistency. And having good years in a row only once in your 44 year life. Also, male pattern baldness.
Dave Cariello: Wait a minute...
Dave Cariello: The Falcons had a good year last year. Are you saying that you don't think the Falcons are going to be good this year?
Dave Choate: No, I think we've finally broken free of the shackles of crappiness and are now running free in the meadow of success.
Dave Cariello: Do you think the Falcons have a chance to win the division?
Dave Choate: A slim one. I'll be honest, struggles aside, you guys are too good to lose the division. We might be able to bowl you over in the playoffs. But regular season, you'll likely have it. What's your sense of the division?
Dave Cariello: Falcons get a wild card. Panthers are in the basement.
Dave Choate: More or less how I see it. I gotta say, I think I'm going to be really sick of you guys by the end of the season.
Dave Cariello: Well that's sweet of you to say.
Dave Choate: You know me. Sweet as a groin punch.
Dave Cariello: I can't believe we haven't talked about Jerious Norwood yet.
Dave Choate: I've been trying to forget. Gentle Norwood! You're at peace now.
Dave Cariello: Explain the whole situation. How did he get injured?
Dave Choate: Fluke thing, I guess. He was returning the opening kickoff and destroyed his leg. Honestly, though, I don't think we're going to miss him that much. Jason Snelling is a much sturdier backup. And now we've got Gartrell Johnson. Who's so slow he actually moves backwards in time when he runs.
Dave Cariello: Does he have a Flux Capacitor and have to run 88 mph?
Dave Choate: I hear they call him Garty. And yes. It's okay, though. He'll get that sports almanac back from Biff. Speaking of things from the 80's, how's your defense holding up?
Dave Cariello: Darren Sharper is still out but Malcolm Jenkins is doing a decent job in his place. Other than that the secondary is probably the strongest part of the unit. They're pretty thin at linebacker and the defensive line has not done much in the way of getting pressure. Stopping the run is a weak spot so I'm a little nervous about the Falcons rushing attack. What about you guys? Abraham has always given me nightmares.
Dave Choate: Abraham's still a concern, but we really like Kroy Biermann on the other side of the line. He's crazy. The secondary's better, no doubt. Our linebackers are still awesome. I'd say we're a middle of the pack or better defense right now.Which I'm obviously pretty thrilled about.
Dave Cariello: What do you think will be their game plan for stopping the Saints offense?
Dave Choate: Well, it has to start with applying pressure to Brees. Maybe by urging him to try some marijuana. But if we can actually get to him and knock him down, I think the Falcons have a chance of disrupting the rhythm of this offense. We'll also have to corral Pierre Thomas. We've had two huge running plays against us that have accounted for both touchdowns the defense has allowed. So I'd like to avoid that.
Dave Cariello: Do the Falcons have a tendency to give up the big play?
Dave Choate: With absolutely no numbers to back it up: Yes. My memory conjures up a few big ones that ruined games for us. These two are fresh in my mind. And between them, they're like 130 yards. So yeah. Not cool.
Dave Cariello: What did you think about those Matt Ryan rumors last week?
Dave Choate: Bunch of crap. This team goes to great lengths not to give up on guys. Losing faith in the franchise quarterback at the beginning of his third season would be pretty stupid. But hey, look what happened to Brees!
Dave Choate: I know it's cliche, but who's the one guy the Falcons need to know about, but might not?
Dave Cariello: Right now, I'm gonna go with Courtney Roby on special teams. He's a great gunner who always seems to be near the ball when it's coming down and does a great job of getting himself in position to make plays. He's also pretty good on kick returns. It's always possible he can take one to the house and blow a game open.
Dave Cariello: What about the Falcons? What's up with this Kroy Biermann cat you mentioned earlier?
Dave Choate: Man, what isn't up with him? He's a pass rushing machine. Three sacks in pre-season and one to start the season. Just a great blend of agility and strength for a smaller defensive end. He gets around your lumbering offensive tackles very well.
Dave Cariello: What would a win over the Saints mean for Falcons fans?
Dave Choate: A 2-1 record. A chance to rub it in a little, which would be welcome, considering your ability to do so now. And a sign that the Falcons are for real. I'd welcome it. What does a win mean for the Saints? Besides, you know, the providence of a caring God.
Dave Cariello: Eh, not much. I think most Saints fans have gotten more confident and are expecting wins. I guess it would depend on how they won. If the Saints can somehow manage to blow out the Falcons, then it might get fans a little more excited that the team is back on track.
Dave Choate: I sincerely hope that doesn't happen.
Dave Cariello: You want to make a prediction?
Dave Choate: I do! Falcons 100-Saints 0. Do I want to make a serious prediction? I do! Falcons 31-Saints 24
Dave Cariello: Nice. Typical homer answer, as it should be. Not gonna happen though. I'd say reverse the score.
Dave Choate: You would. Remember what happened last year when you predicted the Saints would win?
Dave Choate: You were right.
Dave Cariello: I was right thirteen times last year. They made me look good.
Dave Choate: Rare. But good luck to you! May you only lose narrowly. Or, you know. By a lot. That's okay, too.
Dave Cariello: So let's close things out...Give me three keys to the game for the Saints to the beat the Falcons.
Dave Choate: 1) Stop Michael Turner and Jason Snelling 2) Keep Drew Brees upright (also a side effect of Cialis) 3) Establish the run early and often
Dave Choate: Give me one key to the Falcons beating the Saints. I like it simple.
Dave Cariello: Don't turn the ball over!
Dave Choate: Haha. Duly noted.
Dave Cariello: If the Niners don't turn the ball over on Monday night, they win. Same with the Vikings game.
Dave Choate: Agreed. Easier said than done, though.