The Who Dat Boys …… Can They Make A Quick Turnaround ?

The Who Dat Boys …… Can They Make A Quick Turnaround ?

One year removed from having won the Superbowl the New Orleans Saints had the inauspicious privilege of being hoisted on their own petards during the wildcard round of last season’s NFL playoffs by the Seattle Seahawks . That untimely exit left many wondering whether or not the New Orleans Saints had in fact become complacent in light of their triumph . The loss in of-itself was simply one where what you see is what you get as complacency simply had set in with this organization .

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Slide show for your perusal .

Heroes in the wake of the post ‘Hurricane Katrina’ disaster the Saints set out to bring pride back to the Crescent City and its residents . The 2010 regular season for the team showed that while they still possessed that offensive prowess there was something lacking in Sean Payton’s team. It was never properly addressed by the coach and his assistants in spite of the belief that this organization was looking to be once again a part of the postseason. Team owner Tom Benson loved being the center of attention after the years of ridicule being portrayed as disinterested NFL franchisee . But the tide turned after the team was able to secure the trade that would bring Drew Brees from the San Diego Chargers to join the New Orleans Saints . And the rest as they say is history as things gradually progressed to the point were the quarterback would simply bring about changes in the fortunes of the organization.

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New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landriew , second from right, speaks during a tour and dedication of the newly renovated Louisiana Superdome, home of the New Orleans Saints NFL football team, in New Orleans, Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2011. The $85 million in state-funded upgrades were a key part of the state’s agreement with the New Orleans Saints to ensure the team remains in New Orleans through 2025. From left are Saints owner Tom Benson, Superdome Management Group senior vice president Doug Thornton , Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Saints owner and executive vice president Rita Benson LeBlanc. AP Photo/Gerald Herbert …..

This season however , with changes made by the front office led my general manager Mickey Loomis the loss of Reggie Bush notwithstanding the organization sought to make the necessary moves through the draft and via free agency make this team considerably better and a serious challenger within the NFC South , the conference as a whole and a legitimate contender for the Superbowl once again.

With the former Heisman Trophy winner now making his home with the Miami Dolphins like a former Saints’ predecessor , Ricky Williams ___ it has to be said that Bush’s undistinguished career with the Saints was simply one of ups and downs. Never truly acclimatizing or living up to the hype the player will now try to prove himself worthy of Dolphins’ trust in him. Dolphins’ owner Stephen Ross , general manager Jeff Ireland and coach Tony Sparano may well be going out on a limb in acquiring the player but given Dolphins’ woes of last season within the AFC East of this organization leads me to believe that not only is this an act of desperation but Sparano’s very future will rely upon Reggie Bush leading this team with some authority on the field of play.

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Darren Sproles (43) of the New Orleans Saints works out during practice at the New Orleans Saints training facility on August 5, 2011 in Metairie, Louisiana. Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) ………

The New Orleans Saints at this point through attrition and the moves made via free agency and the draft should be considerably better. The team added Alex Barron , Aubrayo Franklin , Olin Kreutz , Will Herring , Darren Sproles , Fabian Washington and Shaun Rogers . Players one would still deem that they have something to offer the organization and will ultimately be of benefit to the team. The defense needed to be shored up and it should now bode well for the Saints over the course of the regular season. The Saints having drafted Mark Ingram to complement a receiving corp that might just one of the most potent weaponry of any team within the NFC and league as a whole .

As I alluded to earlier the season could very well give a great insight into how the New Orleans may well acquit themselves . And given the competitiveness within the NFC South , a trio teams in the Atlanta Falcons , Carolina Panthers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers ___ each of whom will be looking to prove their dominance within the division. From my own perspective I believe that the Carolina Panthers will have their struggles as Cam Newton looks to acquaint himself to the rigors of the NFL as rookie coach Ron Rivera also has his own baptism of fire within the league.

The Falcons with their Pro Bowl quarterback Matt Ryan and Mike Smith the team’s coach will also be looking to gauge their own competitiveness within the NFL this upcoming season . I can’t say that the Atlanta Falcons are not a team to be feared but given the inconsistency shown by the team they may well struggle to prove themselves truly worthy consideration as a Superbowl contender .

For what is now a resurgent Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ organization led by coach Raheem Morris and general manager Mark Dominik . This will be a team looking to make even further strides than beyond what was achieved last season . The Tampa Bay Buccaneers narrowly missed the postseason by failing to notch an eleventh win which would have secured them a berth in playoffs. That lone misstep pretty much summed up a lost opportunity for the team which was gallantly led by their quarterback Josh Freeman .

Coming off a stellar season Josh Freeman will be out to prove to his doubters that he’s quite capable of taking this current roster to the next level. Certainly those who have witnessed the play of the young quarterback will know that he has a great deal of poise about him and that his maturity level is way beyond what many believed capable of a the third year starter. Raheem Morris, his coaching staff have a great deal of faith in the player and under the tutelage of quarterbacks’ coach Alex Van Pelt one can see the strides taken to improve Freeman’s play.

Ever resourceful , this organization will be looking to usurp the perceived supremacy of both the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints as their season unfolds. Their first task will be gauge themselves during their first outing of the preseason against the Kansas City Chiefs . Rookies and some starters will play a number of series as Raheem Morris and the coaching staff get the chance to assess the players under a game scenario , albeit that is merely a preseason game. It will be interesting to see how the fans will view the chances of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers over the course of the season and whether or not they are in fact credible contenders within the NFL. The disappointment of last season may well still linger but if this team can put that behind them , then there’s no reason not to believe why they cannot have a chance to prove themselves worthy opponents over of this NFL calendar .

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Raheem Morris, center, takes a break from practice to sign autographs for fans during NFL football training camp on Friday, July 29, 2011, in Tampa, Fla. AP Photo/Brian Blanco ….

The NFC South is not often considered one of the glamor divisions of the NFL . But when one considers that a sole loss was all that deprived the Buccaneers of finishing with a 11-5 mark and making the postseason as a wildcard entrant leads me to believe that this team won’t be making the same sort of mistake again. They have learned their lesson and most certainly that seems to be now showing during which we are now seeing Freeman taking much more of a leadership role on this team alongside seasoned veterans Kellen Winslow Jr and Ronde Barber .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have concerning the New Orleans Saints and in your opinion are they viable contenders within their division and perhaps the Superbowl ? Or do you in fact see either the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or Atlanta Falcons proving to be a better team this upcoming season ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts .

Alan aka tophatal ……. https://tophatal.wordpress.com

Contact tophatal ………. rapptu@gmail.com

http://twitter.com/tophatal

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Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landriew , second from right, speaks during a tour and dedication of the newly renovated Louisiana Superdome, home of the New Orleans Saints NFL football team, in New Orleans, Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2011. The $85 million in state-funded upgrades were a key part of the state’s agreement with the New Orleans Saints to ensure the team remains in New Orleans through 2025. From left are Saints owner Tom Benson, Superdome Management Group senior vice president Doug Thornton , Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Saints owner and executive vice president Rita Benson LeBlanc . AP Photo/Gerald Herbert ….

(2) Head coach Sean Payton talks with Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams of the New Orleans Saints during practice at the New Orleans Saints training facility on August 5, 2011 in Metairie, Louisiana. Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images …..

(3) Quarterback Drew Brees (9) talks with center Olin Kreutz (50) of the New Orleans Saints during practice at the New Orleans Saints training facility on August 5, 2011 in Metairie, Louisiana. Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images ……

(4) METAIRIE, LA – AUGUST 05: Mark Ingram (28) of the New Orleans Saints works out during practice at the New Orleans Saints training facility on August 5, 2011 in Metairie, Louisiana. Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images …..

(5) Darren Sproles (43) of the New Orleans Saints works out during practice at the New Orleans Saints training facility on August 5, 2011 in Metairie, Louisiana. Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images ………

(6) TAMPA, FL – JULY 29: Quarterback Josh Freeman (5) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers signs an autograph during the team’s first pre-season training camp practice July 29, 2011 at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images …

(7) Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Raheem Morris, center, takes a break from practice to sign autographs for fans during NFL football training camp on Friday, July 29, 2011, in Tampa, Fla. AP Photo/Brian Blanco ………

(8) TAMPA, FL – JULY 29: Tight end Kellen Winslow (82) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers runs up-field with a pass during the team’s first pre-season training camp practice July 29, 2011 at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Florida. Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images ….
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NFC South Standings 2010

The Heisman Trophy What Is It Really ?

In many respects I find sport’s awards and those fleetingly doled out in the film industry, merely nothing more than an item meant to adorn one’s mantel piece. The Oscars and the Golden Globes are nothing more than mere baubles and they do tend place style over substance when it comes to their recipients. And the ‘hype’ that goes along with it ? Well, it’s second to none ! Seemingly so, the hype over the Hesiman Trophy is met each season with the sort of brouhaha one would come to expect from a woman who’s just bought herself the latest must have outfit from Badgley Mischka or something from from Zac Posen ?

Former NFL great, Tim Brown makes the formal announcement on ESPN, as to the five nominees for the Heisman Trophy for 2009. Brown, himself was the winner of the trophy in 1987.

Now don’t get me wrong the Heisman has a wonderful legacy and its history is replete with the names of collegiate athletes from the world of college football that stands the test of time. But in recent years it has become nothing more than a boon-doggle around the neck of the winning athlete once they’ve been named the recipient, at the Downtown Athletic Club, in New York City, New York. And it may well be the same case , come Saturday night for the five finalists nominated for this year’s award. The nominees are assured of one thing at present , they’re about to have their initial fifteen minutes of fame. And thereafter, the recipient of the award will have a great deal to live up to. That being said, given the fact that some of his most recent predecessors have found their way into the NFL. And for whom, many of them have either had a great deal of success or simply faded away into memory. I’m of the opinion that the trophy itself and what it’s said to stand for, shouldn’t at all be equated with ongoing success at the next level.

ESPN's  college football analyst and NFL Draft guru,  Mel Kiper  Jr, seen here discussing  April's NFL Draft  from the  cable outlet's facility in Baltimore ,  Maryland,.  Kiper never  seems to be at a  loss for words  when it comes  to the  world  of  collegiate or  NFL football.  He'll  put 'it'  out there   as  to his  thoughts on  NFL  draft  prospects  be  they right  or  wrong.  And  rarely will  you hear him offer  a  thought  on  his prognostications when  they  in fact turn  out  to be  horrendously  wrong.  Can  someone  please remind  him  that  Akili Smith is  no  longer in the  NFL ?  A  player  whom he  admired  from afar  and  was  bold enough to suggest  that  Smith  would  become  a  major star  and  a  multiple time  Pro Bowler  in the  league.  None  of  which , ever  came to the  fore . I  wonder why  ?   picture  appears  courtesy  fo  ap/photo/ Gail Burton  ..................
ESPN's college football analyst and NFL Draft guru, Mel Kiper Jr, seen here discussing April's NFL Draft from the cable outlet's facility in Baltimore , Maryland,. Kiper never seems to be at a loss for words when it comes to the world of collegiate or NFL football. He'll put 'it' out there as to his thoughts on NFL draft prospects be they right or wrong. And rarely will you hear him offer a thought on his prognostications when they in fact turn out to be horrendously wrong. Can someone please remind him that Akili Smith is no longer in the NFL ? A player whom he admired from afar and was bold enough to suggest that Smith would become a major star and a multiple time Pro Bowler in the league. None of which , ever came to the fore . I wonder why ? picture appears courtesy fo ap/photo/ Gail Burton ..................

And unfortunately , when the likes of ESPN’s college analyst, Mel Kiper Jr., takes center stage with his college draft board. Much of what he talks about is predicated upon at times, on the very things I’ve just mentioned. Namely of which, a Heisman trophy nominee or recipient will turn out to have an outstanding career in the NFL. Personally, I’d like to believe that the only reason Kiper is in fact in-front of our tv sets, is to remind us bald guys why it is, we prefer our very look. Simply put, Kiper’s coiff’ and that of Donald Trump‘s can be far too disconcerting when either are on tv !

The nominees for this year’s award, are from a diverse set of players. And as appears to be the norm, quarterbacks are again on the verge of stealing the show. The added attraction here, is that we have the 2007 winner in, Tim Tebow , alongside last year’s runner-up , Colt McCoy of the Texas Longhorns. In addition to this duo, we have Mark Ingram, of Alabama, Ndamukong Suh, of Nebraska and finally Stanford’s running back,Toby Gerhart. The presumptive favorites to win the trophy, may well be, Alabama’s, Mark Ingram and Texas’ Colt McCoy. But by all account there’s also growing support for the Cornusker’s, Ndamdukong Suh. The defensive tackle from Nebraska has had, an outstanding season. The ‘dark horse’ amongst the quintet presumably would be the Cardinals’ Gearhart.

Archie Griffin , former Ohio State Buckeye and  a two time  recipient  of the Heisman Trophy   in  1974 and 1975.  The only  two-time  trophy  winner  in  Heisman  history .   picture appears  courtesy  of   buckeyenews - Alexander  Thompson  ..................
Archie Griffin , former Ohio State Buckeye and a two time recipient of the Heisman Trophy in 1974 and 1975. The only two-time trophy winner in Heisman history . picture appears courtesy of buckeyenews - Alexander Thompson ..................

And while this season’s candidates are a diverse bunch and each is warranted with their respective nomination. I think in some respects it’s always better to make the award at the culmination of the collegiate football season. But things being the way that they are and customs being the apparent norm. Saturday, we’ll either see a new face announced as being the Heisman trophy winner. Or we could in fact end up with history being made , as Florida’s Tim Tebow seeks to become only the second player in Heisman trophy history to win the award for a second time. The first person to actually win the trophy twice, was Archie Griffin of the Ohio State Buckeyes. He won the award in consecutive years , first in 1974 and then again, in 1975. A feat historic in its achievement alone. And Griffin’s career in the NFL was nonetheless, was equally as impressive. Albeit, that in the end it was curtailed by injuries.

The Heisman itself, though there’s no clear definition as to exactly what the trophy means. It’s been the long held contention that the award is presented to the ‘best player’ in collegiate football for that given year. Whether or not this is meant to be a fair way of adjudicating a player’s productivity over the course of the year. I for one feel that if it’s not broken then why try to ‘fix it’ ? And seemingly, with the numerous other collegiate awards out there to be won amongst college football. A great deal of the time many players will go unnoticed, merely because they don’t play one of the more high profiled positions within the game. Far too often, as has been the case, it has either been a quarterback, running back or wide receiver, who in the end gets the nod. And this time around it may well be no different. But then again, I may well be wrong. The rarity when it does happen, when a defensive player wins the award, has been few and infrequent. There seems to be a fixation on the offensive prowess of a candidate, if he just happens to be a player on the offensive side of the ball.

Pictures of the Heisman Trophy candidates in no discerning order.

Heisman Trophy candidate and  Nebraska defensive tackle, Ndamukong Suh, speaks to reporters during a news conference in Lincoln, Neb., on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2009. Nebraska plays Texas in the Big 12 championship college football game on Saturday.  picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Nati Harnik  ......
Heisman Trophy candidate and Nebraska defensive tackle, Ndamukong Suh, speaks to reporters during a news conference in Lincoln, Neb., on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2009. Nebraska plays Texas in the Big 12 championship college football game on Saturday. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Nati Harnik ......


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Texas quarterback Colt McCoy (12) celebrates after their NCAA college football game against Texas A&M Thursday, Nov. 26, 2009 in College Station, Texas. Texas beat Texas A&M 49-39. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Dave Einsel .....
Texas quarterback Colt McCoy (12) celebrates after their NCAA college football game against Texas A&M Thursday, Nov. 26, 2009 in College Station, Texas. Texas beat Texas A&M 49-39. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Dave Einsel .....

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Florida quarterback Tim Tebow walks off the field after throwing an interception late in the fourth quarter of their 32-13 loss to Alabama in the NCAA college football SEC championship game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta Saturday, Dec. 5, 2009.   picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/John Bazemore ......
Florida quarterback Tim Tebow walks off the field after throwing an interception late in the fourth quarter of their 32-13 loss to Alabama in the NCAA college football SEC championship game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta Saturday, Dec. 5, 2009. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/John Bazemore ......

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Alabama's Mark Ingram (22) celebrates after a fourth quarter touchdown against Florida in the NCAA college football SEC championship game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta Saturday, Dec. 5, 2009. Alabama won 32-13. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ John Amis ......
Alabama's Mark Ingram (22) celebrates after a fourth quarter touchdown against Florida in the NCAA college football SEC championship game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta Saturday, Dec. 5, 2009. Alabama won 32-13. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ John Amis ......

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Stanford running back Toby Gerhart (7) is surrounded by fans after Stanford defeated Notre Dame 45-38 in their NCAA college football game in Stanford, Calif., Saturday, Nov. 28, 2009. picture appears  courtesy of ap/photo/ Paul Sakuma ......
Stanford running back Toby Gerhart (7) is surrounded by fans after Stanford defeated Notre Dame 45-38 in their NCAA college football game in Stanford, Calif., Saturday, Nov. 28, 2009. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Paul Sakuma ......

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My interest in the award’s ceremony if anything, will be only fleeting at best. I tend to think that the award itself if nothing else will be something for which the recipient can use as evidence as to the body of their work while in college. As to the thought that it’ll play some sort of ‘bargaining chip’ when they embark on a career in the NFL. Well, it’s only adds a precursor as to what not to expect as to their ambitions. It’s as I’ve alluded to earlier, many of the Heisman Trophy recipients have gone on to have productive , if not prolific careers in the NFL. But a great many of them have fallen by the wayside , never to be seen or heard from again. As to what awaits this year’s winner and their future . We can only presume to think what might happen and then watch it all unfold as that winner’s career gets under way in the NFL. What are your thoughts as to the this year’s prospective winner and their impending future in the NFL ? Good , bad or indifferent ?

Recent List of Heisman Trophy winners ….

2008 Sam Bradford Oklahoma
2007 Tim Tebow Florida
2006 Troy Smith Ohio State
2005 Reggie Bush USC
2004 Matt Leinart USC
2003 Jason White Oklahoma
2002 Carson Palmer USC
2001 Eric Crouch Nebraska
2000 Chris Weinke Florida State
1999 Ron Dayne Wisconsin
1998 Ricky Williams Texas
1997 Charles Woodson Michigan

Click here to see a full list of the past winners in its entirety….