Saturday, February 6, 2010

New Orleans Scuttlebutt 2-6-10

Posted By on Sat, Feb 6, 2010 at 5:38 PM

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by Clay A. Smith

As the media feeding frenzy fattens itself on fabricated plot lines and nonsensical postulations in a thinly veiled attempt at augmenting the already palpable drama that naturally envelopes the Super Bowl, its easy for fans to lose sight of the more important stories admits the tabloid fodder. Spoiler alert: Saints' all time great Archie Manning is going to, has always, and will continue to root for his son (who wouldn't), resting your players in order to prepare for the post season is not a good idea, its a GREAT idea, and YES!-Saints' fans are the BEST FANS BAR NONE(where have you been).

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But despite the apparent dearth, there is an undercurrent of legitimately substantive commentary just beneath the surface of the superficial headlines: like Peyton Manning's campaign for a second title and how it may very well hinge upon the injured ankle of All-Pro defensive end Dwight Freeny, the Saints' penchant for sending Hall of Fame quarterbacks into early retirement (and the ICU), and Drew Brees' potential ascension into the prelims of the all time great debate.

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1.) Easily one of the most celebrated signal callers in the league, (and rightfully so) Manning's methodical approach to the game invites comparisons to the best to ever line up over center. Coming off of arguably his most impressive season, a season in which he garnered his NFL record forth MVP award and put on a one man show featuring a cast of relative unknowns, Manning has an opportunity to add to his ever growing legacy. One title might get you to Canton, but two puts you among NFL royalty.

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But Freeny's injured ankle, suffered against the Jets in the AFC championship game, has threatened to postpone Manning's coronation. Freeny is one of the premiere pass rushers in the league, and is presence or absence could tip the scales dramatically. If the Colts are unable to get pressure on Brees, the Saints and their number one ranked offense could conceivably be the ones crowned when all is said and done.

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2.) If you've followed the coverage to date, you may have forgotten that there are in fact two defenses playing on Sunday. Much has been made of both offenses and the recent developments concerning Freeny's injury, but despite what the so called experts would have you believe, the Saints defense will have its opportunities. Lets face it. No one is shutting down Manning anytime soon and New Orleans has given up the most points this post season(76).

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But as of late, the Saints opportunistic defense has taken every opportunity its been presented with to mercilessly ground and pound future first balloters. Bobby MCcray's violent hit on Kurt Warner after an interception late in the second quarter had even the most fervent Saints' fans lobbying for a temporary cease fire. And the anguished expression on Bret Favre's face as he writhed all over the Super Dome will forever be one of the lasting images from the NFC championship game.

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In a quarterback driven league Manning mans the driver's seat. But if the Saints have learned nothing else this post season its that no quarterback likes to be hit (I know, who does?). New Orleans must find their way to the four time MVP or else Manning and the Colts, who've just come off of a dismantling of the Jets' number one ranked defense, will almost certainly make short work Gregg Williams' crew.

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3.) For the past four years, with little to no fan fare, Brees has quietly authored four of the most epic seasons ever. This, among his glorified contemporaries whose trophy latent mantles are a direct slap in the face to a man who came within fifteen yards of eclipsing Dan Marino's record for most passing yards in a single season one year ago. Or completed 70.6 percent of his passes to ledger  the most accurate season in the history of the NFL. All too often Brees' name has been lost amongst the shuffle of the Manning's(both of them) , Brady's and the Roethlisberger's. Still, Brees has a chance pen his own narrative in Super Bowl XLIV-a "must read" tale of redemption for a city and its team.

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