When I started reading the recap, I hoped that I'd finally find out how the exclusive interview came to pass, and my hopes were realized!
Make the jump for the Saints excerpts from Rapoport's Road Trip Recap, and to learn what my realized hopes revealed.
The first Saints bit from the piece is this video in which Rapoport discusses what the OTAs have been like without Drew Brees, and then he offers these first impressions:
The first thing that struck me about both Winter Park in Eden Prairie, and the Saints facility in Metaire (sic) was the construction. Lots of it. Trucks everywhere, men working on things, both places are getting a facelift.
What really makes this meal report sad is that he is in town with enough time for breakfast AND lunch, but he wants us to believe that he still couldn't find his way to a good meal. I don't think he tried hard enough.
The saddest thing about New Orleans was that I landed at 11 p.m. on Wednesday and left at 8 p.m. on Thursday. That meant no good meals. Quite sad. Even Cajun food, airport-style just wasn't cutting it.
And then it gets really good as I find out that he was in the right place at the right time for the exclusive interview with Vilma...
Best random encounter: This is an easy one. I was a little surprised to run into Saints LB Jonathan Vilma at the airport as I was leaving to head back to Dallas and Vilma was flying to Miami. I was even more surprised that Vilma agreed to an impromptu interview about bounties and his lawsuit. I had to ask, but I didn't know what he'd say. I know he's been suspended for some alleged terrible actions, but in this instance, he was a total class act. I approached with cautioun, identified myself and simply asked if we could talk for an on-the-record interview. I knew it could go either way, but I was glad he did it. Afterward, we talked about his buddy Vince Wilfork and BBQ. So, that was nice.
...but soon after, he was in the wrong place at the wrong time :-(
Worst act of unkindness: I waited until Vilma's wife and daughter went to the bathroom before approaching the linebacker. So when they got up, I had to move quickly. I grabbed my recorder and headed over to his gate. When I returned, someone had stolen my iPhone charger. Really guys? You needed a charger that bad? Wish I'd looked back and seen the dude who did it.
What did he learn from the Saints? It's all about the mindset.
It's way to early to know how the Saints will look in 2012. The assumption is that Drew Brees will sign, and they will be fine, but we'll see. Still, the attitude they have is the right one. And it's not just that they have taken on a bit of an underdog role. It's also that they don't hide from the bounty accusations and distraction from Brees contract. They don't seem burdened by it, and they don't seem to mind questions about it. Whatever happens, it's a part of their season, and the players who talked to the media Wednesday seem to get that.
He loves him some Vitt, too...
Joe Vitt is funny: OK, last thing. I know Joe Vitt is just an interim coach, but I bet a bunch of media members wouldn't mind if he stuck around. Never one to be considered a media darling, Vitt has risen his interview game while filling in for Sean Payton. He was borderline hilarious with his comment about Brees dancing, for instance. For any question, he had a usable sound bite with a little bit of color. The Saints have been many things, and entertaining is one of them. Vitt helps that.
I don't know if I'm with him on the whole "borderline hilarious" assessment, but meh, to each his/her own, I guess.
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That's about all he has for us. Not much, really, and the biggest takeaway I, um, take away from this is...what construction is going on at the Saints training facility? (A quick google search on this topic revealed nada.)