Well, we made it. Welcome to 2016 – the future is here again. So, it’s that time to get serious, and dig deep, and be a better you! And have fun with that, New Orleans. Yours truly will be over here, at the bar, dealing with the horrors of reality. Just kidding, folks. It’s going to be great. Yeah!
So, here we go – my resolutions for the New Year. Or is it, the YOU YEAR? Good gracious, somebody stop me. I’ve revolted myself. Is that a thing? Let’s go! And about whom should we talk about first? The New Orleans Saints, of course.
I resolve to never doubt Drew Brees (but I will doubt sports bloggers).
Plenty of folks were taking their shots at Brees after week two of the 2015 season – when the Saints dropped their first home game to the Buccaneers, and Brees injured his shoulder. The writing was on the wall, they said. The End Was Near. To that, Brees said, “Cool.” Then lit up the league to the tune of 4,870 yards and 32 touchdown passes, and (just as importantly) beat the Falcons twice. He led the NFL in passing yards in a year where he missed a game. Breesus! Speaking of the boys…
I resolve to remain optimistic about the future of the Saints.
Out of all the mayhem surrounding management, no one can argue that the Saints brass didn’t bring in a quality crop of players in 2015. LB Stephone Anthony and undrafted CB Delvin Breaux played lights out this year. LB Hau’oli Kikaha and, when healthy, CB Damian Swann impressed as well.
On offense, first year WR Willie Snead hauled in 69 catches for 984 yards with 3 touchdowns. On the other side of Brees, second-year WR Brandin Cooks led the team with 84 catches, 1138 yards and 9 touchdowns. And, don’t forget third-year starting LT Terron Armstead, whose play prompted Coach Payton to say, “There’s not a left tackle I would trade him for in the league.”
There is true, young talent at every level on this team – and it could be turning the corner with another year under its belt. And, why would anyone want to jump ship now? It’s always more fun reveling in the success of underdogs, than overdogs. I don’t have to tell you that, New Orleans. The Saints just have to get that 31st-ranked defense figured out, which leads me to…
I resolve to tackle anyone who says the Saints should draft a wide receiver in the first round.
Look, you and I – my dear reader – are friends, and we don’t like crazy talk, but I assure you, some folks are saying that. Luckily, it’s not any draft analysts or scouts from the team. Any sane person knows that the Saints, in the upcoming 2016 draft, should pick – defense, defense, defense. Throw in an offensive lineman or two in the fourth round or later, and the draft should be considered a success.
I resolve to find something good about the Pelicans (besides Anthony Davis).
Sure, I suppose things are starting to turnaround. The Pels have gone 5-5 in their last 10 games, and did just beat the Dallas Mavericks on the road. On the other hand, they’re sitting at 11-22, and it doesn’t feel like the cavalry is coming to help Davis. Keep hope alive! Anyway, I said I wanted to find something good, and I was a success. Check out the “Pelicans Planner.” It’s a daily news video about the Pelicans delivered by the Dance Team. I promise you, it’s 1,000 times better than listening to some dude drone on about basketball. Check it out. Tramera is the best. Go Pelicans…dance team! Speaking of the ball that is round, and goes up and down…
I resolve not to judge LSU’s basketball team until February.
Yes. This team (8-5) needs victories, and they need them now, but when you have mega-star talent sometimes you have to wait – basketball studs don’t always immediately translate to victories. Ben Simmons is a stat sheet filler (20 points, 13 rebounds, 5 assists per game), but the team is still learning their roles. It’s never a one-man show. Look for Anthony Blakeney and Brandon Sampson to continue to grow, but the best news for Tiger fans is the return of Keith Hornsby. The fifth-year senior guard has averaged 17 points per game since his return, and shown that veteran leadership which every young team needs. The Tigers will get a chance to see how far they have come (or still have to go), when they square off against the No. 9 Kentucky Wildcats (11-2) tonight at 8 p.m. in the Maravich Center. Heading back down to New Orleans…
I resolve to start watching baseball again.
No. Not the major leagues. What are you, nuts? Do I look like a golfer to you? I prefer my sports to not need a snooze button. I mean – going to the ballpark, the smell of hot dogs and taste of peanuts, watching a foul ball rip past my head and thinking, “Wow. That could’ve done some damage.” And what better spot to do that than at Tulane’s Turchin Stadium? The Green Wave are fielding a talented, junior-heavy baseball team that’s ranked in the top 20, went to the NCAA tourney last year, and are looking for more. Hey New Orleans, baseball is back in Uptown. Speaking of which…
I resolve to not get too excited about the future of Tulane football.
Roll Wave! Wait, wait, wait…it’s a process, good people. Yes, head coach Willie Fritz (awesome coach name) is a proven winner, who turns around programs quickly, but this is his toughest challenge yet. The American Athletic Conference is for real, with four to five teams floating around the top 25 all season long in 2015. And…ah, who am I kidding? TWO WORDS – NATIONAL CHAMPIONS. TANNER LEE FOR HEISMAN! Yeah!
So, here’s to you sticking to your resolutions – unless your resolution involves not having adult beverages and steak. Because, that’s just silly…
And like a fine wine with a steak dinner, every resolution should be accompanied by a beverage and song.
Beer Pairing – Gnarley Barley’s “Korova Milk Porter”
Playlist Recommendation – Daft Punk – “Human After All”
Around the Way
Hey guys – there’s a girl who is better at hockey than you. Deal with it. Her name is Shannon Szabados, and she is the goalie for the Columbus Cottonmouths of the SPHL. Szabados is a two-time gold medalist with Team Canada, and turned pro in 2014. And this isn’t some weird gimmick by a minor-league hockey team. Szabados has a career record of 18-16-4 with the Cottonmouths, and, last week, became the first female to ever record a shutout in a men’s hockey league game. She was named Player of the Week of the SPHL. Szabados and the Cottonmouths visit the Cajundome to take on the Louisiana Ice Gators, this Friday, Jan. 8.
Marques Colston had his “most receptions in a player’s first two years” record broken by two former LSU Tigers this week. Colston, aka the “Quiet Storm,” collected 168 catches with the Saints in 2006-07. This year, Jarvis Landry – who attended Lutcher High – caught his 194th pass with the Miami Dolphins. His former Tiger teammate, Odell Beckham Jr – who attended Isidore Newman School – is now second in the record books with 187 catches for the New York Giants.