Sports

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Sean Payton confirms he's staying as coach of the New Orleans Saints

Posted By on Wed, Jan 6, 2016 at 3:41 PM

A reflective Sean Payton talked to the press for more than an hour today after he announced he intends to stay with the New Orleans Saints.
  • A reflective Sean Payton talked to the press for more than an hour today after he announced he intends to stay with the New Orleans Saints.

Whatever happened over the course of the 2015 Saints season to cause the rumors that Sean Payton's time in New Orleans was nearing its end did not, in fact, lead to Sean Payton's time in New Orleans coming to an end.

But it did lead to perhaps the most remarkable press conference of his career, in which he first confirmed he has no plans to leave the Saints — ever! — and then spoke to reporters for over an hour.

It may have been the most unexpected possible result of the many days and weeks and months of speculation.

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Monday, January 4, 2016

Y@ Speak: Carnival cruise

Posted By on Mon, Jan 4, 2016 at 3:31 PM

Now that you're bloated and round from holiday glut, you can roll right into Carnival alongside the St. Charles streetcar, as children point and laugh and roll you around like a hoop pushed by a stick. You're the spirit of Mardi Gras. This week: welcoming 2016, released from the prison of the New Orleans Saints, and Trump does Mississippi.

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Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Saints have a chance to start 2016 right playing against the Atlanta Falcons

Posted By on Thu, Dec 31, 2015 at 12:02 PM

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Jonathan Vilma and Drew Brees look on during the coin toss of a Saints/Falcons game in 2009.
CREATIVE COMMONS

Saints-Falcons games are never meaningless. 

Both teams have been eliminated from playoff competition, but, really, Sunday's contest is a playoff game all its own: it's a chance for the Saints to sweep the Falcons for the 14th time since 1967, bringing the all-time series record to 49-45 in favor of Atlanta; it's also a chance for the Falcons to avoid a sweep and establish, under head coach Dan Quinn, that the Saints will not extend the dominance they enjoyed over former coach Mike Smith.

Anyway, you know all that. The real chance we have here is to start the 2016 football calendar year off about as well as you can start off a football calendar year: by beating Atlanta. 

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Monday, December 28, 2015

Y@ Speak: 12 tweets of Christmas

Posted By on Mon, Dec 28, 2015 at 3:16 PM

Twelve poison ice creams, 11 humid sweaters, 10 "goodbye" letters, nine Saints a-losing, eight pieces spicy,
seven thousand termites, six Chads a-Krewing, fiiiiiiiive Ronnielogues, four Confederates, three boil orders, two Jindal terms, and a Bronze Tom's wine and ice cream.

See you in 2016.

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NFL team with $33 million in dead money thinks Hall of Fame QB's contract caused lack of talent

Posted By on Mon, Dec 28, 2015 at 9:39 AM

Lord of the Sunday morning splash report Ian Rapoport kicked off the third day of Christmas with a gem about Drew Brees' contract. And to think just a few days ago in this space I wrote the Saints should resist the urge to go crazy over the coming off-season. Seems it's too late; the crazy is already there, running the team.

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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

New Orleans Saints should resist the urge to go crazy this off-season

Posted By on Tue, Dec 22, 2015 at 3:14 PM

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The CJ Spiller signing didn't work out. Let's not make that sort of mistake again.
Last night, the New Orleans Saints' offense started poorly but rallied and produced 27 points — but because it is paired with the Saints' defense, the result was only a quarter's worth of something resembling fun. Nothing new happened, in other words. In the end, the Saints were imperfect but good enough to win on offense and spectacularly bad on defense, so they lost.

Change the point total and you can use that summary for a lot of games this year, so let's move on.

NFL teams skew towards .500 in close games — games decided by a touchdown or less. Often, teams that fall below that mark one year improve dramatically the next. For example, the 2008 Saints went 3-6 in one-score games, but the 2009 ones went 5-2 in them, including the playoffs. 

The 2014 Saints went 3-5 in one-score games — 2-5 if you don't include the season finale win over Tampa Bay that looked suspiciously like a Bucs draft positioning conspiracy. So what happened this year? Why haven't the Saints improved?

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Friday, December 18, 2015

For the Saints, the grass probably isn't greener beyond Sean Payton after all

Posted By on Fri, Dec 18, 2015 at 12:56 PM

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Keep the Jimmy Buffett fan after all.
TOM PUMPHRET/CREATIVE COMMONS

Football Outsiders, the pioneering advanced football statistics site that uses a mixture of math and arcane witchcraft to produce numbers no one understands, ranked the best and worst defenses since 1989. You shouldn't be surprised that the Saints are the worst one.

We already knew this, of course. What'll be interesting to see is whether the Saints improve on these numbers over the next few weeks. If linebacker Dannell Ellerbe stays healthy, maybe they will.

Improvement would give us reason to hope that maybe, despite what I've written in this space over the past couple months, Sean Payton can turn the franchise back around. More and more that seems like the best path, however he may work it out.

The problem with change in the current NFL is that almost every potential coach is a terribly depressing retread.

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Monday, December 14, 2015

Apparently linebacker Dannell Ellerbe is the key to everything for the Saints

Posted By on Mon, Dec 14, 2015 at 12:58 PM

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Linebacker Dannell Ellerbe has been an enigma since his days with the Baltimore Ravens.
WIKI CREATIVE COMMONS

So I sat down to watch the Saints play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers yesterday with the same level of interest I've devoted to most Saints games in 2015: It was something to do. Linebacker Danniell Ellerbe, who is almost always injured, was on the field for the first time in a while. The Saints' defense played pretty well. Eventually, the Saints won.

It was a pretty okay afternoon.

Did you realize the Saints are 4-1 this year in games Ellerbe has appeared in, and 1-7 in games he hasn't? Ellerbe, it turns out, might be the difference between sucking and not sucking. 

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Thursday, December 10, 2015

Franchise at a crossroads: What the New Orleans Saints should do this off-season

Posted By on Thu, Dec 10, 2015 at 5:14 PM

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The most likely scenario is the Saints will play in the Superdome next year.
The most frustrating thing about being a New Orleans Saints fan these past few years is that everything has been the same every year. The Saints are always pretty good on offense and have a good quarterback, but are always (2009 and 2013 excepted) terrible on defense. The particulars change — Steve Spagnuolo becomes Rob Ryan becomes Dennis Allen; Corey White becomes Brandon Browner; and so on. But the larger story remains the same.

It's pretty tiring. If it's finally going to change, here's what needs to happen — and what'll probably happen.

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Monday, December 7, 2015

Y@ Speak: least popular

Posted By on Mon, Dec 7, 2015 at 1:47 PM

Penalty fan Brandon Browner joins a list of least-liked New Orleans Saints along with Martin "I don't like football" Gramatica and interception machine Aaron Brooks. Browner is disliked more than parking meter rate hikes, the NRA and closing down Royal Street — all in this week's edition.

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