The Saints were in Foxboro last Thursday to finally play the New England Patriots after a couple of joint practices. The Saints first-string defense, in limited action, showed a lot of spark and made some plays, including two early sacks by Kasim Edebali.
On the offensive side, Drew Brees just played one series completing his only pass attempted for 37 yards. So, if you take that stat and project it out across an entire game, I think Brees would have ended up with just shy of 6,000 yards passing in the game. Which, to me, is pretty good.
The talk of camp has centered around the play of diminutive WR Tommylee Lewis, and not-so-diminutive WR Michael Thomas. Lewis impressed, scoring on a 2-point conversion and catching three balls, but more importantly, showing his quickness while taking a punt return 19 yards. On the opposite end of the size spectrum, Thomas looks like he is ready – to not only start, but STAR in the NFL. Thomas showed amazing poise collecting six catches for 67 yards on the night – and none of those passes were from a man named Brees. The sky could be the limit for this one.
In the end, it was the Saints falling to the Patriots, 34-22.
Moving into the second week of camp, injuries have once again taken center stage with the Saints. Yesterday, the Saints first-round draft pick out of Louisville, Sheldon Rankins, went down with what is believed to be a broken fibula. Rankins was penciled in as a week one starter at defensive tackle. The Saints report that he will be out for six weeks, which would get Rankins back around the fourth week of the season, which happens to be one week before the Saints bye week. A likely scenario is the Saints placing Rankins on the IR-Recall list, which would shelve Rankins for the first eight games of the season. The Nick Fairley signing is looking better and better all the time.
Unfortunately, Rankins won’t be lonely during rehab. Rankins is currently joined by fellow starters Hau’oli Kikaha, Stephone Anthony, and Keenan Lewis on the sidelines.
Kikaha tore his ACL in June and is done for the season. Lewis is still trying to overcome his hip injury, making Whodat Nation more uncomfortable as time ticks on. In a move to bolster the defensive back ranks, the Saints signed Courtland Finnegan.
Stephone Anthony, the human-tackling machine, suffered a leg injury during the Patriots game, but Adam Schefter reports Anthony will definitely be back for week one of the regular season. Let’s hope so. It doesn’t take a football scientist to realize how tough it is to replace a monster that recorded 144 combined tackles in his rookie season.
So, in total, that’s your starting strongside linebacker, defensive end, defensive tackle and cornerback. Wow.
But, if that gets you down in the dumps just watch this video of the Saints practice from Monday. The accompanying sweet licks of eighties guitar will have you feeling the need…the need for speed, in no time.
The Saints fans are dealing with a lot of bad injury news, but just think if you were a Saints and LSU Tigers fan? You’re starting to feel haunted.
The LSU Tigers definitely feel the Saints pain, having lost starting defensive lineman Christian LaCouture for the season after he tore his ACL during practice. LaCouture, with 23 starts to his name, doesn’t show up on any preseason All-SEC teams but is an absolute leader in the Tigers clubhouse. LaCouture still owns his redshirt, so he could come back next year and play as a fifth-year senior.
Joining LaCouture in rehab are reserve linebackers Corey Thompson and Isaiah Washington. Thompson, a fifth-year senior, has started eight games in his Tigers career and was expected to be a key contributor in the linebacking corps, after moving down from the safety position. Thompson suffered a lower leg fracture and is expected to be out 6-8 weeks.
Washington, an Edna Karr high school grad, was in the mix for significant playing time before suffering a knee injury, ending his season.
Now just imagine a world where you were a Saints fan who also loved LSU while also loving the New Orleans Zephyrs. This isn’t so much about injuries as an inability to string together some wins. The still-named-Zephyrs are 58-62 on the season and sitting in last place in their division. It’s been a season of ups and downs where the Zephyrs could never get off the mat long enough to make any sort of headway. It’s been a season of four-game win streaks immediately followed by four-game losing streaks – beat Colorado Springs, lose to Colorado Springs, beat Iowa, then lose to Iowa.
I guess the good news is that the Zephyrs are only a game out of second place. The bad news is that they are eleven games out of first place and only division champions move on to the playoffs. Some up, some down.
On a more serious note, after last week’s catastrophic flooding throughout southern Louisiana there are many of our sisters and brothers that need our help. Here is a list of organizations that are accepting donations – online and in person – for those in need. So let’s go, New Orleans. Show ‘em what you’re made of.
And like a fine wine with a steak dinner, every game should be accompanied by a beverage and song.
Beer Pairing: Parish Brewing’s “Canebrake” Ale
Playlist Recommendation: Bananarama – “Cruel Summer”
Around the Way
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the loss of legendary writer, Peter Finney, who died at home at the age of 88. Finney was a sportswriter for a mind-boggling 68 years and, according to nola.com, cranked out 15,000 columns.
I didn’t live here during Finney’s hey-dey but have been lucky enough to experience his writing through his latest book, “ The Best of Peter Finney: Legendary New Orleans Sports Writer.” Finney seemed like my kind of writer. Not only caring about the Big Three in sports, but also my loves – boxing and horse racing.
The book has taught me a lot – not only about sport, but also this town. In it, after all is said it done – I just keep coming back to the feeling that Finney must’ve been a helluva guy, and one I would love to have had grabbed a drink with. So, if you haven’t yet, check it out.