OK, now that you've dropped off your things in your pink-flowered rooms, picked up your iPad playbooks, weighed in, completed your conditioning tests, and eaten your first camp cafeteria meals, it's time to really dig into the first practice session of CSC's Virtual Training Camp 2014.
During this week of camp, we're going to focus on installing CSC's Game Preview Coverage, which will occur in these hallowed halls in the days leading up to every Saints game. This coverage will have everything you need to get ready for each game, including both regular weekly features and individual posts based on specific topics of relevance as they become, um, relevant and timely.
As this session begins, I'd like to offer up the first of HansDat's Helpful Hints, which you will receive from time to time throughout the season. This one is mainly for the rookies, and goes like this: JOIN ALL THE SB NATION BLOGS OF SAINTS 2014 OPPONENTS NOW, even if you can hardly think of a reason you might want to participate in any of the discussions held on these blogs during the season (like over at The Falcoholic during Falcons Hate Week I or II). It only takes a few seconds, and you'll thank me later for doing it.
All these sites typically have a 24-48 hour waiting period after you join and before you are allowed to post a comment or vote in a poll, or rec something, and you'll want to get that red tape taken care of BEFORE YOU HAVE SOMETHING SPECIFIC TO SAY. Believe me, there's nothing worse than having the perfect retort to someone's comment all set to expose some weak logic, incorrect fact, or bald-faced lie (in my case, it usually involves a clever .jpg), but when you try to post it, you realize you're not a member of that site. Then you have to wait until you clear the waiting period, and by then the moment has passed, and you have yet another one of life's disappointments to add to the growing, steaming pile in your closet. If/when you do comment on other sites, remember that you represent Canal Street Chronicles and Saints fans in general and keep it respectful.
The shift from previous game coverage to Game Preview mode usually happens around the time when Wallace's Weekly NFL Picks appears (HansDat's Helpful Hint #2: the title of each post or article I name in our Virtual Training Camp is also a link to a 2013 example of said post/article), in which he picks the winners of every single NFL game for that week. It leads off with a blurb about the upcoming Saints game, a review of his previous week's record (including a sweet-n-sour "I Told You So/What Do I Know?" proclamation), followed by each game pick supported by a sometimes clever, but always pithy sentence.
Another weekly feature involves JR facilitating a Scouting the Enemy/5 Questions-type exchange with a contributor from the opposing SB Nation blog. Since it's an exchange, the opposing blogger will answer JR's five questions in a post on our site, and then JR will be answering the enemy's questions on their site, too, so you'll also have that forum in enemy territory to explore.
JR and Kevin Skiver are going to provide us with steady flow of insightful Film Study pieces week in and week out. We've read plenty of Kevin's work this summer, so the link takes you to JR's O-line breakdown from last November.
When Prediction Friday rolls around, you'll have the chance to participate in the prediction challenge that is both issued and ruled upon (along with a member vote) by Dave. You get to predict a final score and then make three specific predictions about the upcoming game itself...the bolder and more specific, the better.
Dave also has a pair of cut-and-paste posts that are integral to my game preview ruminations: the Final Injury Report, and the Preview and Matchup History post. The injury report is self-explanatory, and the PMH contains series history, stats, broadcast info, and other interesting factoid nuggets about the players, teams, and coaches.
And of course, Satch will keep us fully informed with his weekday Fleur-de-Links, that include Saints-news-related tweets, links, and videos.
As a special treat, on the odd occasion that Jon Oliver is both inspired AND has the time, he will grace us with one of his Ode to... parodies in which he takes a song and hijacks the lyrics to skewer a Saints opponent, to hilarious effect.
We're looking to recruit (or just remember) someone(s) to agree to set up weekly Fanposts on the opposing SB Nation blog called "Ask a Saints Fan" that politely solicit questions/comments/trash talk from their membership to which any CSC member can respond. This post usually corresponds with an "Ask a ______ Fan" Fanpost that appears on CSC, as well (Ask the Falcoholic and Ask a Jets Fan). I think somebody may have done this in previous years for CSC, but for the life of me, I can't recall who it was.
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OK, so there's the rundown of the CSC Game Preview Coverage that you'll experience each week of the season. Those of you who have been here before, share your commentary on these in the comment thread. What advice would you offer CSC rookies? What are your favorite posts? What types of comments can we expect to see in threads of these posts? What's your game preview regimen each week? Do you read everything you can get your hands on, or just lay low until game time? What do you think of HansDat's Helpful Hints? Have you ever been fired up and all ready to comment/but not yet a member of another site?
Jump into the comment thread and make it hum...it's Training Camp, bitches!!! Because otherwise I could have you doing "up and downs" instead. And nobody wants that.