Ralph Malbrough / Contributing Writer
Are you enjoying the polar opposites of the 2012 football season? If you are both an LSU and Saints fan then you are watching maybe the most bizarre football display in history.
LSU struggles to run a coherent passing attack while their defense continues to destroy offenses’ souls and the Saints still have at times a high flying passing attack but employ a defense so bad it’s on pace to be the worst in professional football since man put air into a pigskin.
On Saturdays we get to watch an LSU team whose pass offense is performing so poorly I sometimes long for the ‘Good Old Days’ of Jarrett Lee. Sure LSU’s inability to have even a bad passing game cost it the 2011 National Championship but the five dollar combo meal of Jarrett Lee and Jordan Jefferson at times in 2011 looked pretty good. For all the grief LSU fans gave Lee he completed 62 percent of his passes and had 14 touchdowns and only three interceptions.
In 2012 the Tigers were supposed to be getting an upgrade at quarterback but it hasn’t exactly worked out. Zach Mettenberger hasn’t completed 50 percent of his throws in the last three weeks and looks to be having a confidence crisis. It would probably help if on those occasions when he does make a good throw his receivers would actually catch the ball. Seriously, how can all those five star receivers have hands of stone?
As maddening as watching LSU is I’ll give Les Miles credit in that he hasn’t abandoned trying to throw the ball. At times late against Texas A&M LSU’s decision to throw the ball seemed questionable at best but Miles knows he has to try. LSU isn’t beating Alabama if Mettenberger can’t convert third downs so Miles continues to try to figure a way to get his quarterback’s confidence up.
Mettenberger is maddening to watch. He’ll at times have no pocket awareness and miss the most basic of throws and then he’ll throw a 15yard slant perfectly and make you think he’s not a lost cause. I think Les Miles believes there is a decent quarterback in Metttenberger and he just has to bring it out. At least with LSU’s passing game there is hope.
I can’t say the same about the Saints defense we watch on Sundays.
After watching this defense for six games I’ve come to the conclusion they aren’t good at anything and in 2012 aren’t ever going to be good at anything. There is only one realistic goal for them to achieve: STOP BEING STATISTICALLY THE WORST DEFENSE IN NFL HISTORY.
That’s all I’m asking. I’m not saying develop a pass rush, stop from getting gashed on the ground or even catch potential interceptions. I’ve seen plenty of you Saints defense and you’re just not capable.
It’s ok. I’ve accepted you for who you are. You are like the crazy drunk uncle we all have who comes over for the holidays. Uncle Bob always gets really drunk, says horrible things about family members, starts multiple fights and maybe even gropes someone inappropriately.
You know Uncle Bob isn’t going to change. He’s not going to sober up because he’s 60 years old and isn’t changing. The thing is last year some time around 2 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day he wasn’t wearing pants and you have to draw the line somewhere.
So you call Uncle Bob and you tell him, “We love you Uncle Bob and you can still come over for turkey, you can still get drunk, you can still talk about the presidential election and make everyone uncomfortable, and you can even fight Uncle Joe in the den but you have to wear pants. ALL DAY. Can you do that Uncle Bob?” That’s all we are asking Saints. Just put on some pants. You are scaring the kids.
Sean Payton sabbatical spot of the week: Canada
This week Sean can head up north and hang out with America’s cool suburban neighbors. Did you know Canadians eat more mac and cheese than any other country on earth? I respect that about you Canada because I too love me some mac and cheese. Canada also hasn’t had mail delivered on Saturday for 35 years. How do they survive without pizza coupons they’ll never use? It’s a miracle.
Last week: 5-0 BOOM!
New Orleans (+6) at Denver: I would like to talk to all the people who email me after the Saints win and yell at me on Twitter and say, “Saints won. Defense gave up fewer points then (insert team) and that’s all you should care about. Defense is fine.”
No actually it’s not. It’s still awful and save the whole ‘What was the defense ranked in 2009 when the Saints won the Super Bowl?’ argument.
The 2009 team created a ton of turnovers from start to finish. That team also got a career year from Jabari Greer and Pro Bowl years from Darren Sharper and Will Smith. Who on the 2012 Saints defense is even playing well? Calling this defense a flaw is like calling cancer a flaw. Cancer isn’t a flaw. Cancer will kill you dead.
Before every year I give myself a goal for writing these columns like stop telling Mike Ditka jokes or explain Saints history. This year’s goal was try to use more stats, data, and facts to back up my argument. I love political polls and like to read columns that are data driven about the election and not just some columnist who says, “Obama/Romney is going to win because unicorns will help him win Ohio. I feel it IN MY HEART.” Could you back that up with unicorn data and voting patterns please?
After saying I’m trying to use more stats and data in my columns I’m picking the Saints based on absolutely nothing. This is the glorious week in the football season where the Saints show us their ceiling of how good they can be in 2012.
I think they are going to look great on offense and not terrible on defense. Drew Brees will be fantastic and the defense won’t be so horrible I make my standard joke on Twitter: BREAKING NEWS Saints force punt, Angela Hill with details after the game.
Good times. Doesn’t mean the season is saved but on Monday morning you’ll feel really good about the Saints and when was the last time that happened? Oh and with LSU facing Alabama and the Saints hosting Philadelphia on Monday night next weekend will be best football of 2012.
Saints 41-21 Atlanta (+2.5) at Philadelphia: Football is so funny. Next week if the Eagles and Saints are both 3-4 Philly fans will want Andy Reid fired and Saints fans might make Joe Vitt king of Bacchus we will be so excited. All 3-4 records are not created equal.
Cleveland (+2.5) vs. San Diego: Losing to Cleveland won’t get Norv Turner fired BUT IT SHOULD.
Minnesota (-6.5) vs. Tampa: Last week the Vikings didn’t even throw for 70 yards while Drew Brees threw for 300 in the first half against the Bucs defense. Are you excited for incompetence vs. incompetence on Thursday Night Football?
Carolina (+7.5) at Chicago: I’m taking the Panthers because the world is taking the Bears. SCIENCE.
Ralph Malbrough is a Saints fan living in Houston. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, find him on facebook, follow him on twitter at http://twitter.com/#!/MilneMalbrough or download his podcast at Itunes.