Monday, March 15, 2010

Scott Fujita - The King is Dead, Long Live the King

It is with some sadness that I have to inform you that Scott Fujita has left the Saints to join the hapless Cleveland Browns... (cue LP scratching off turntable/People turning round with looks of disdain).  OK so I'm a little late writing up the news these days, in fact a lot late, so sue me why don't you.  I've got to earn a living after all.  But I just wanted to add my two cents to the Scott Fujita tribute archive whilst we are still in the official period of mourning.

You see the Saints LB was not only a supreme team player but also a great guy as witnessed by his generous donations to the coastal improvements fund.  He's the kind of guy every locker room should have and the Cleveland Browns will be well served with him in their team.

It also underlines the fragility of our attachment to Saints players.  Over the years I have been pained to see players I love and respect leave town for adventures new only to see them excel elsewhere and leave me crying into my giant Saints foam hand.

'Why Pat Swilling?  Why oh why do you have to leave us?' I cried at the age of 16.  'First Ricky Jackson leaves and now you?  I will never again enjoy watching QB's being torn limb from limb in such numbers'.

That was the first real period of mourning I had in my Saints life.  It was tough going.  Friends would drop by the house.  I would hear my mum let them in and offer a cautionary 'don't mention the Dome Patrol' warning to them.  They would come into my room and make polite conversation, offer to open the curtains maybe and then retreat as my cold hard stare froze their will to live in their tracks.  I was inconsolable, I was a wreck, I was 16.

Days would pass, I would slumber in bed sometimes listening to In Utero sometimes not.  Always thinking about Pat and Ricky tearing in from the edge, knowing I would never again see fear in Joe Montana's eyes.  Over time the freakish devotion to the Dome Patrol and the Saints would make way for girls, bad haircuts and rebellion but always the pain would linger.

That is why I say to all adolescents out there (and Michelle at Saints Rants for I know you must be hurting) you have to let go.  I know it hurts but Scott is going to a new life now.  He will always have a place in our hearts and will not be forgotten but you have to open the curtains again and let the light in, turn off In Utero (or whatever the teenage angst album of choice is these days) and go forth and prepare for the draft.

It will be OK and maybe one day, like all good ex-Saints players, he will return to the fold in some management capacity and once again infuse a bit of that Scott Fujita magic back into the organization.  In the meantime blessed be you on your journey Scott - the King is Dead, Long Live the King!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Sean Payton Head Coach Extraordinaire

Boy do I love Coach Payton.  No sooner have the Saints won the Super Bowl than the gutsy play caller is already planning for 2010.  I remember on Super Bowl night, about 10 minutes after we had seen the coach lifting the trophy, thinking (in my inebriated state) 'I love this feeling and I'm sure Payton is hungry for more'.  Well no doubt given his comments on NOLA.com from the 27th Feb.  

"I think the key is to not lose sight of the journey it takes to get there (the Super Bowl), how much work it takes to get in that game," Sean Payton said. "And in every aspect of the program, from the evaluation of talent, the decisions in regard to your roster, the decisions in regard to what we're doing as coaches and evaluators, you know, all those things, it's easy to be critical when you don't have success. What's more challenging is to be that same objective voice of reason, or have that same objective evaluation process, when you do have success."

Now that is a born winner.  To win once is great but to be considered legends in your own time you need to win it again and again and with the team we've got at the average age they are I think that is a real possibility.  A Saints Dynasty, now that really would be something.

Speaking of which he also said Mr Soap Opera himself, Reggie Bush, is definitely in his plans and coming back.  Now I've made clear all along that I'm a big fan of Reggie's.  He is a game changer at his best and at his worst he is a major distraction for the opposing D as someone needs to be tracking his every move.  That leaves room for other players to get open so it's a great early statement of intent by coach Sean Payton to say he is definitely on his way back.

I also like the news they've made tender offers to Mike Bell and Pierre Thomas.  Both were integral in getting the Saints to the Super Bowl with their combination of inside power running, outside and screen play.  To keep this group of runners togethers would be a real coup and send a message to the rest of the league that we really mean business.

Coach Payton also rates Lynell Hamilton very highly so we could also see more from him this coming season.  It's little wonder therefore that the gutsy Saints head coach is willing to forgo the opportunity to sign LaDainian Tomlinson.  As great a player as he has been Tomlinson definitely looks to be in the twilight of his career and would most likely force out one of the younger bucks from the Saints roster.  Better me thinks to invest in the youth and leave some of that money free to get my main man Scott Fujita signed up for one more year.

Finally, whilst I'm glad to hear he's already busy planning for next year I am hoping Sean Payton Head Coach Extraordinaire takes some time to recharge the batteries.  He more than deserves it and will need all the energy he can get come the big time play calls he will no doubt make again in next years Super Bowl.