Welp. Better late than never, right? In my own defense, I was well on my way to having this mailbag completed on schedule. I made the mistake of doing a Google image search for "Raiders fan gif", which in my opinion should have been a gold mine of unintentional comedy. It really was - one of the first thumbnail results was an excellent gif of a Raiders lady screaming,"That's bulls***."
"I can use that," said the Angry Who Dat. Save to desktop, please.
Just like that, I was introduced to the FBI Moneypak Virus. Nasty little bug, that one. This particular iteration accuses the user of downloading animal porn. Well-played, Oakland. Not well enough to halt the mailbag for good, though. It's time to get yelled at by crazy people in scary costumes.
Take it away, Raiders fans.
"ANGRY WHO DAT GO TO DENVER DENVER BAD *glares menacingly*"
Oh, wow. No, man, Denver was fun. Funny thing about Denver - the fans there are great, and they love some good trash talk, but it rarely seemed to get out of hand. When things did get a little heated, we learned that a quick mention of the Raiders usually mellowed things out. "Wait, what did you say about Drew Brees? F*** the Raiders!"
Just like that, everyone was cool again. Great town.
"AARON BROOKS WHY AARON BROOKS HAPPEN AS HE DO *rubs shoulder spikes*"
Oh, man, you can't blame us for Brooks. We suffered for 6 years with that dude at the helm. It took us too long to learn our lesson. When a 3-13 team lets its quarterback go, he's probably not the best choice for training-camp starter. But, to be fair, he did have a rocket arm...
"YOU SAY JAMARCUS GOOD JAMARCUS NOT GOOD JAMARCUS BAD *eats small animal*"
I never said any such thing. Stop assuming all Saints fans are LSU fans. Hey, that goes for you too, Saints fans. I went to Southern Miss. Brett Favre, bitches! Ray Guy! CUSA! CUSA! CUSA!
But seriously, what the hell was your organization thinking? Nobody thought he was worth a ...
*looks at wikipedia*
First overall? Good lord, people. Well, to be fair, he did have a hell of an arm.
"CARSON PALMER DEFENSE TERRIBLE"
I'm not sure I understand.
"DEFENSE TERRIBLE ON PASS, CARSON PALMER PASS *goes back to sharpening horns*"
Oh. You're saying the Saints' defense is really bad and that Carson Palmer will carve them up. Good luck with that, my friend. I'm glad you said something in the mailbag so I can gloat a little here at CSC as I did on my blog.
I've been saying for over a month that a quality pass rush would be enough to change this entire defense. Clearly, it has. Robinson is making plays, Corey White showed up, goal line stands are now a real possibility, Malcolm freaking Jenkins is all over the field, and while Roman Harper still doesn't really do anything between the whistles, he's free to seek out the opposing offense's biggest loudmouth and harass the s*** out of him.
Yards are still ridiculous, but I think everyone knows how I feel about yard-based stats, so I won't keep beating that horse.
We can't talk defense without including this great quote from Spagnuolo:
We need to get bettah, to me, I think we can eliminate some of ah issues between the - everywheah except inside the five yahd line - if we could be bettah on third down...
So, if it helps, Saints fans, our defensive coordinator is aware of the issues his defense has at stopping people between the fives. And he's working on that.
Carson Palmer is a guy who is known for doing some really dumb things under pressure (I'm not saying he's not a good quarterback at times) and if we can produce the same pressure on him as we did against Atlanta and Philadelphia, it could be a long day.
Uh, no. As long as none of our players wanders too close to the walls, I think they can handle the environment. Next question.
"ROGER GOODELL BAD YOU NO LIKE ROGER GOODELL EITHER"
Yes, that's right. Roger Goodell is something on which all NFL fans can agree. Hey, this is sort of a little bonding moment, isn't it?
"NO BOND WITH SAINTS FAN *chews nervously on own face*"
Easy, fella, I was just kidding. Did you see the news this morning? Apparently Gregg Williams is refusing to testify in the bounty appeal hearings before Tagliabue. And, you know, I actually feel for the guy at this point. A little.
"GREGG WILLIAMS IS SNITCH SNITCHES GET DITCHES!"
No, it's stitches.
That doesn't even make any sense.
"ANSWER QUESTION OR YOU GET DITCHES"
Um, maybe like someone will find you in a ditch? I still don't really - anyway, okay, I'll answer. Wait, there wasn't even a question. Oh, Gregg.
Yeah, I feel bad for the guy at this point. He "snitched" on Vilma to be sure, but hell, the league coerced him with threats against his entire future in the league. If he doesn't do as they say, he's done forever. Then, when he does as they say, he's going to be called up in a hearing and asked to do one of two things: 1) turn heel and rat the league for coercing him into signing some false statements, and admitting to lies - possibly perjury - or 2) continue to lie, in an official hearing, while looking his old players in the face.
That's a brutal conundrum. I wouldn't want to testify either. But the league has to make him. It's the only right thing. If they don't, it only strengthens the players' court case. If they do, of course, it could strengthen the court case just as much.
I love this stuff.
Of course, Goodell hasn't really thought about the bounty case much lately, because he really enjoys being a self-righteous dick.
"DARREN MCFADDEN BROKEN MIKE GOODSON NO ANKLE GOOD MARCEL REESE OH NO"
Uh, yeah. Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson are both out again. Marcel Reese gets the start, but he had a decent performance last week - 3.6 yards per carry and a bunch more catching out of the backfield. It'll be interesting to see how Spags deals with that, considering how bad the Saints have been against the run between the twos. Given the success of the last two weeks, I bet he tees off on Palmer.
Let's be honest: we're starting to see why Gregg Williams happen as it do, and our greatest hope for the defense is that Spags is better at adapting during the offseason and finding the right fits. In the meantime, overblitzing seems to be the cure, and I think it's going to continue.
Hey, like everything else about the 2012 Saints, at least it's exciting.
"HOW MANY POINTS EACH TEAM SUNDAY *head butts rail*"
Prediction time already? Well, we probably should. It's already four hours past the usual publish time. We can learn two lessons here: don't wait until the evening before to write a mailbag, and it is possible to catch diseases just by looking at Raiders fans.
"NOT FUNNY *removes shoulder spikes*"
Oh, s***. OKAY, I'm getting to it. Those things are removable? That shouldn't be allowed in an NFL stadium. Roger needs to do something about that. Obviously I think the Saints get a win Sunday. The fact that I began that sentence with "obviously" would have been unthinkable five weeks ago, and Joe Vitt definitely has a problem with anyone who thinks the team is going to overlook this game (even if it's the Palestine Eagles or the Beirut Buffalo Bulldogs).
No traps here.
(Seriously, if you don't already watch Joe Vitt's interviews in their entirety, you're really missing out. They run about 10 or 12 minutes on Tuesday, and maybe 4 or 5 the rest of the week. It's worth every minute spent, and they're up on the Saints official website. By the way, can anybody explain to me what the hell that is that Vitt wears to press conferences? "Let's take a silver scrub top made out of UnderArmour, throw a Fleur de Lis on it, and replace the V-neck with a weird zipper." That s*** looks weird. Where can I get one?)
But here's the thing: I'm a fan, not a coach or a player, so I can overlook whatever the hell I want. Saints win handily, 38-21.
Don't forget, everyone - if you don't have a satellite package, a sports bar might be the best option for the 12:00-3:00 block Sunday afternoon. Don't put a complete meltdown past the Falcons. This game might just be worth watching.