Ralph Malbrough / Contributing Writer
The Saints are now nearly two weeks into the offseason and have yet to DO ANYTHING! They signed some guys off the street this week but why have they not publicly shamed Roman Harper, signed the next Bruce Smith, and exhumed Red Grange from the earth to solve their running back issues?
Ralph, we haven't even had the Super Bowl, aren't you being a bit unrealistic? If I want realistic I'll go watch 'Inception' because nothing is more true to life than Leonardo DiCaprio wandering someone's dreams like a door to door salesman.
Actually what I really want is football season to not end. The labor situation threatens to destroy the whole offseason. NFL, what am I supposed to do at work if I can't go to WWLTV.com to see what free agents are visiting the Saints? Exactly how do you expect me to make it through the spring if I can't scream like a teenage girl who just saw Robert Pattinson when I read a headline, 'Jets Shaun Ellis to visit New Orleans tomorrow'? Ellis just destroyed Tom Brady and clearly he is 25 percent Reggie White, 25 percent Wayne Martin, and 50 percent Angel of Death for quarterbacks. He will solve every problem New Orleans has and not only on defense but his signing would make potholes in Lakeview disappear.
The NFL off season might not be as good as actual football games but it's way better than baseball, college recruiting, or even the NBA (sorry Hornets).
So what will the Saints do this off season? I'm sure you've read columns listing free agents and telling you what they should do. I'm going to tell you what they will do. I might not have any actual sources inside Saints camp but I read ESPN Insider everyday so clearly I KNOW IMPORTANT THINGS AND CAN PREDICT THE FUTURE. I also enjoy those 10 readers you save all my predictions columns then write me in six months documenting how absurd they are. Here is how the Saints off season will unfold....
1. Reggie Bush will NOT be on the 2011 roster.
The Saints are going to ask Reggie to go from CEO pay to minimum wage. If the Saints not only wouldn't give Pierre Thomas an extension last year but threatened to pull his tender of $1.6 million if he didn't sign it why are they going to pay Reggie a penny more than the veteran minimum? Bush's production has dropped off each year along with the amount of times Sean Payton gives him the ball. The Saints have discovered Bush is a part time player and not all that good at that role. I predict the Saints release Bush and he finds a team willing to pay him more than the Saints are. Who that team is I have no idea but it will happen.
2. The Saints will bring back the offensive line for 2011
The Saints started the same five linemen every game in 2010 and even though Carl Nicks, Jonathan Goodwin, and Jermon Bushrod's contracts are up they will all be back. If the new labor agreement allows Nicks to be an unrestricted free agent I think he'd have a good market and could leave because I doubt the Saints will pay huge money to both guards. The offensive line wasn't as good this year but any changes the Saints make here will come from in house. Even that's unlikely and whenever the Saints play again in 2011 they'll start with the same line the ended 2010 with.
3. Pierre Thomas WILL be on the 2011 Saints roster
I know Sean Payton got into as big a tussle with Thomas over his injured ankle as we've seen him do publicly with any Saints player. The Saints did nearly trade him but the fact is Thomas is the Saints best running back.
4. Run Ricky Run!
The Saints are going hit the reset button at running back and guess who is a free agent? Ricky Williams. He's perfect as a guy to get 200 carries for 800 yards and 6 touchdowns. Tell me you wouldn't want Ricky to finish up where he started? Williams did bash Tony Sparano on his way out the door and since Sparano is a friend of Sean Payton it could make the Saints less likely to sign him. I have #34 Ricky Williams jersey collecting dust and it needs to see the sun again. We'll just get Patrick Robinson a new number. Who doesn't want to read daily updates from Bradley Handwerger about the Saints pursuit of the formerly dread-locked Who Dat hero?
5. Saints use #1 pick to draft a DE
The last time the Saints used a #1 pick to draft a defensive end was Will Smith from Ohio State in 2004. It worked so well then they'll go back to Ohio State and grab Cameron Heyward. Heyward is the son of former Saint Craig 'Ironhead' Heyward so it makes for a great story. The Saints will try to grab a veteran linebacker in free agency. So file this away and make jokes at my expense in the fall when I'm wrong but if the Saints pick Heyward I'll remind you every day I PREDICTED the Saints 2011 #1 pick. I haven't nailed a Saints #1 pick since they drafted Deuce McAllister in 2001, which is my finest draft day moment ever. So there you have how the 2011 off season will go unless there is a lockout in which case none of this will happen until August.
The games Last week: 3-1 Playoffs: 5-3
Green Bay (-3.5) at Chicago: You know what the best part of the Packers destruction of Atlanta was? The Falcons won't be able to get that stink off them until they actually win a playoff game. Atlanta will always be considered a fraud next year no matter what they do. Anytime they lose a big game they'll get reminded they are 0-2 in the playoffs with Matt Ryan. Don't believe me? How often did the media beat the 'Saints have never won a playoff game' drum before the Saints actually won one? The correct answer is, 'They beat that drum so much I wanted to do very bad things to Chris Berman every time he mentioned Saints were 0-4 in the playoffs.'
As for this game, the Bears have played well against Aaron Rogers and part of me thinks the Falcons were just a great matchup for the Packers but there is no way I'm picking Jay Cutler. Packers 27-14
New York Jets (+3.5) at Pittsburgh: Watching New England's 14-2 season burn to the ground was completely stunning. Tom Brady did lose last year at home in playoffs but I just didn't see the Jets shutting down the Patriots. I'll admit I love Rex Ryan. In a league where coaches say nothing and have the personality of dry wall Ryan reminds me of the Bum Phillips and Jerry Glanvilles of NFL past. Ryan looks like a guy living his dream of being an NFL coach. It's supposed to be fun so fun he will have. Watching him waddle up the sideline after the Jets scored the clinching TD wasn't surprising at all because I thought, 'Why wouldn't Ryan do that?' If the Falcon's Mike Smith acted like Ryan it would probably make me so angry I'd end up in prison but since the Jets are in the AFC it's very entertaining. Get ready for the Green Super Bowl.
The Jets will take advantage of the Steelers weak offensive line and Santonio Holmes will make a play. If the Jets make the Super Bowl they have to be the team which talked the most crap from training camp on to make it since the '85 Bears. Jets 20-17
Ralph Malbrough is a Saints fan living in Houston. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, find him on facebook, or listen to his Saints podcast at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/forecastradio.