The GOAT speaks: Knockin’ on heaven’s door

October 24th, 2013

 The GOAT
GSEZ Founder

Let’s be blunt.  There’s one thing missing from the Payton Era trophy case:  the Big Tough Road Win. 

I don’t mean beating the Bears a couple of weeks ago. 

And I don’t mean beating the Falcons in Atlanta.

I mean going on the road against a real peer, some team right at our level, and socking them in the mouth and walking out with a W.

-o-o-o-o-o-

Oh, we’ve been close.  I’m skipping 2006, when we were just figuring out who we were, and playing with house money, as well as 2007, which was essentially a 16-game hangover.  By 2008, we had sort of woken up, taken a shower, gotten something to eat (Bud’s Broiler, preferably) and were back in business trying to figure out how to win a Super Bowl.  Problem is, there’s a pattern here, and one Payton has yet to solve:

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The GOAT speaks: Using no way, but way

October 11th, 2013

The GOAT
GSEZ Founder

“No way, but way.”

Those of you familiar with Bruce Lee’s Jun-Fan Jeet Kune Do (which I am sure is pretty much everyone reading this blog) will obviously have already recognized what’s going on with the 2013 New Orleans Saints.  Lee had no style, he had his own style.  But what many neophytes missed was that having a “unique style” was pretty much lazy bullshit — they were putting in no work, just screwing around out there and calling their half-assed attempts “unique” as an excuse when they were caught short.  [Paging Mr. Harbaugh, Mr. Jim Harbaugh.]  First, as Lee had done, you had to perfect every other style, and then realize they were not enough.  They were not sufficiently pure, not sufficiently result-driven.  Once you understand that each style has its flaws, you make your own…a better one.

Jun-Fan Jeet Kune Do was “style without style”.  Lee believed styles had become too rigid, so he took his mastery of all of them and transcended, in a result-oriented mode.   No more pretty moves.  Everything was about winning the fight.

And so Sean Payton’s year of study is now paying off.  Before 2012, it was clear that Payton knew about as much about running an NFL team as anybody, Bill Belichick included.  Now, it is becoming obvious that he knows more.  He has mastered all the styles, and he is making his own.  It is simply, we will do whatever it is that is necessary to win.  He is the water, he becomes the glass, he becomes the teapot.  We win the game.  Fists of fury, indeed.

Or, to quote Grandmaster Wang at www.moosedenied.com, We make the rules, pal [tm].

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The GOAT speaks: Cry havoc, and let slip the dogs of war

October 1st, 2013

The GOAT
GSEZ Founder

Cry havoc, and let slip the dogs of war.  Hopefully, at least some of you recognized the now-shopworn line from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, stolen as it has been from time to time.   You probably didn’t realize how specific “havoc” originally is to “rape, pillage, and plunder”, but that fits just about as well in this situation.  So cry havoc, and let slip the dogs of war.

A lot of our thinking about this, we confess, was inspired by the T-P’s (or what’s left of it) Larry Holder’s determination to embarrass himself publicly by trying to nickname the Saints defense as “The Big Easys.”  (I console myself by thinking he did this on purpose, just to watch the hijinks and hilarity ensue.  If so, kudos.  If not, death by bunga-bunga.  When I hear “The Big Easys,” my first thought is a group of chubby post-op trannies cheerfully holding court on the east end of Bourbon Street.)  Obviously, this needed to be fixed.

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The Report, Dingo-by-numbers edition

September 24th, 2013

Claude Coupee
GSEZ Correspondent

It’s tough to do a lot of numbers work after three games — the data sample’s just not big enough to find reliable trends.  For instance, is a team’s defense good because they’re good, or because they played against three bad offenses?  How do you know how bad those offenses are?  Maybe they played three good defenses.  Just too soon to tell.

Still, man does not live by current numbers alone.  I don’t think it’s crazy to say that based on 2012 and the start of 2013,  Atlanta’s offense is guaranteed to gain yards and score at least some points, an Arizona offense led by HC Bruce Arians and QB Carson Palmer will get some numbers, even if they’re a little empty, and Tampa’s offense is essentially a dumpster fire.  So, on average, we’ve faced a middlin’ bunch, and we’ll take it from there.

One thing it’s clear that Dingo Unchained believes in — do NOT let your opponent’s best receivers take over the game.  To wit:

Falcons — Julio Jones, 7 catches, 76 yards, one trip to the schoolyard; Tony Gonzales, 3 catches, 36 yards
Bucs — Vincent Jackson, 5 catches, 77 yards
Cardinals — Larry Fitzgerald, 5 catches 64 yards

Yes, they got a few catches, but none of these guys blowing us up here, running wild.  All their plays were over the middle, in front of one or two guys, as the back seven kept things in control.  We haven’t heard his name all that much, but FA CB Keenan Lewis must be playing pretty well, and a healthier CB Jabari Greer is completing the picture.  Making teams beat you with their second option has two effects:  First, there’s a reason they’re second options, like an extra dropped pass, a rounded off route here, a broken pattern there.   Second, it makes the quarterback take more time going through progressions, and that little extra time certainly helps your pass rush, if you in fact have a pass rush to help.

Meanwhile, look what happens to the other teams when they don’t bracket Jimmy Graham.  Q.E.D.  Dingo’s no fool.

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The GOAT speaks: Dingo Unchained

September 20th, 2013

The GOAT
GSEZ Founder

So we are walking to the Dome on the Sunday morning of the Falcons game, and one of the longtime holders in our season ticket crew, DefJef, comes to the conclusion that “Rob Ryan, he needs a name.  He looks sort of like a big, fat, shaggy, messy dog…..like ‘Dingo’ or something like that.  Yeah.  That’s it.  Dingo.”

Fast forward to the car ride on the way home after the game-winning stand on first-and-goal.  DefJef just looks up and says, “Yeah, Dingo.  Dingo Unchained.”

And so it is. The Witchh Doctor QUAACKK has been replaced by Dingo Unchained.

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The GOAT speaks: you can get satisfaction

September 13th, 2013

The GOAT
GSEZ Founder

 The GOAT usually does not like to involve the real names of people in the blog, but in this case, we’ll make an exception.  Yet another win over the Falcons evokes the words of the great, great Greg Ellis, in a slightly different context:  “Did you see that video of that guy hitting Geraldo Rivera across the face with a chair?  Satisfying, VERY satisfying.”

Truly, I am a little torn over whether it’s better to beat the Falcons in a “WWE-folding-chair-across-the-back” mode, or a “Garry’s Olde Towne Taverne over Cheers once again by a **** hair” mode.  One of my fondest Saints memories from the Bum Phillips years (don’t lie, you loved it at the time until Lansford made that FG) was beating the hell out of them in the finale at the end of the 1981 strike season, when Bum ran the fake field goal for a TD when we were already up 28-6.  On the other hand, there’s something about them feeling like they’re justthisclose and we do the Lucy/Charlie Brown thing and make them insane once again.

Ultimately, I decided to kick it over to GSEZ correspondent and stats nut Claude Coupee for the denouement:

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The GOAT speaks: The return of the king to the fellowship of the ring

September 7th, 2013

The GOAT
GSEZ Founder

I promise, no more dork-meister Tolkien references.  I didn’t even like the whole Tolkien thing all that much, really, had never read the books until right before the movies came out, etc., etc.  But title was too good to pass up, as the world has badly underestimated how much smart talent remains on this roster, how committed they are to winning, and how much the whole organization missed maybe the best coach in the NFL last year.  This will be a reunion of epic proportions.

You’ve seen all the rafts of NFL predictions on ESPN, SI, Shutdown Corner, god knows where else, and I can barely get a witness for a wild card, much less the NFCCG.  One particular group that relies uber-heavily on metrics has the Saints at 6-10.  Wait.  We have the world’s worst defense last year, Payton is back now, and we’re gonna get worse?  The team that won 37 games the three prior seasons and came within one defensive stop of winning two Super Bowls in three years?  They had the Saints scoring 96 points fewer than they gave up, scoring by far the fewest points (313) in the Payton era.  As Claude points out, that’s fewer points than any offense of the Haslett era save the Katrina year.

(Claude also pointed out to me the negative point differentials in some past Saints seasons:

2005 — minus-164
1999 – minus-174
1996 – minus-110
1985 – minus-107

You probably connected those to the pre-firing seasons of Jim Haslett, Mike Ditka, Jim Mora/Rick Venturi and Bum/Wade Phillips.  Yes, somebody just predicted that we’ll have a coach-firing level season.  WTF pays those people for that drek when you can get this for free?  The answer:  most of those guys are smart enough but intellectually lazy.)

Donnez-moi une break.

This is going to be a very good, maybe great, football team.

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The Report, why not edition

September 8th, 2012

Claude Coupee
Lead Correspondent

I, too, read The Goat’s trenchant analysis of the Saints’ chances in 2012. It makes sense; it is hard to imagine the Patriots winning titles without Bill Belichick, or the Giants winning without Bill Parcells.

But, and I know we stole this from somewhere, if Peyton Manning can lead a Colts team coached by a wax figure of Jim Caldwell to the Super Bowl, why can’t Drew Brees win it all in his home stadium?

Let’s review a few forgotten elements of the bidding, shall we?
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The Goat Speaks: Didn’t really think we’d miss this one, did you?

September 3rd, 2012

The Goat
GSEZ Founder

It’s obviously taken a little longer than usual to coalesce my thoughts, but you didn’t think we’d miss this 2012 ride, did you? 

Crazed, angry, bitter fans screaming at Saints’ opponents like enraged ex-husbands screaming at an alimony-enriched ex-wife?

Watching a real-life laboratory experiment about the relative values to the franchise of Sean Payton, Drew Brees, Pete Carmichael and a few other guys?

Seeing just how much more-traditional DC Steve Spagnuolo’s defense is more effective than Gregg Williams’s anachronistic Last Samurai approach?

We’ll be there on Sunday.  But first, a few thoughts about what’s happened, and where we’re going, and the glorious romance of a tragically doomed season.

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The Goat Speaks: where do we go from here

March 22nd, 2012

The Goat
GSEZ Founder

Tough day yesterday.

After some thinking, and with a Kid who plays football and already had one concussion, I have decided that the right thing to do is to deal with the team’s sanctions and move on.

It is difficult in football, in between the excitement of physicality and the other things that go with any kind of risk-bearing activity with which people love to challenge themselves (rock climbing, NASCAR, you name it), to balance the risk with the reward.  Nobody would (or, in world I would want to live in, should) enjoy watching something that ultimately might turn out to be more cruel than fun.  I’m not sure I could watch any game where player or participant safety was not more important than fan enjoyment. The people in charge have to draw some lines, some where, as best they can.  You might disagree with where the lines are right now, compared to where we think they’ve been in the past, but if somebody crosses a line, even a new line, there are going to be consequences.  So it goes.   Rather than worry about what’s happened, I am going to embrace the new reality of the 2012 season and move on con gusto.

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