Saints GIVE Panthers 31-21 win in ‘a game about nothing’
In a game without any postseason implications New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton said he would play this game “smart.” What that meant was that the Saints would rest most of their starters and get healthy and mentally ready to play in two weeks.
That is exactly what happened.
But before Payton had a quick hook with quarterback Drew Brees, he engineered an 8-play, 65 yard scoring drive, which was capped off by a Reggie Bush one-yard touchdown run.
Brees would play only a couple of more plays and be pulled to the chants of “MVP, MVP, MVP”.
The best NFL free agent signee of the 2006 off-season finished up the season with a career-best 4,418 yards passing and 26 touchdown passes.
The Panthers took full advantage of the Saints second-string players and were able to go after an inexperienced New Orleans defense.
Former Saints back-up Jake Delhomme had one of his best outings of the 2006 season completing 23 of his 27 passes for 207 yards and 2 scores. Both of those touchdown passes went to All-Pro wide receiver Steve Smith.
Let’s talk playoffs ...
Now the Saints have two weeks to rest up and mentally prepare for a home game playoff setting.
After watching the Chicago Bears and the Dallas Cowboys the past few weeks, I have no doubt in my mind that the New Orleans Saints are as good as any other team in the NFC.
The team that scares me the most right now is the Philadelphia Eagles. If the Eagles defeat the New York Giants in the first round of the playoffs guess who the Saints face?
That’s right, Philadelphia.
That matchup would be a great contest to watch and believe me I wouldn’t be surprised to see the winner of that game in Super Bowl XLI.
Let’s talk Sugar Bowl
When the LSU Tigers face the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on January 3, all of college football America will be watching the two top quarterbacks in the nation in Brady Quinn and Jamarcus Russell.
This game has all the makings of a shootout affair not only because of the passing exploits of Quinn and Russell, but also the pass catching skills of Dwayne Bowe, “Buster” Davis and Early Doucet for LSU and Jeff Samardzija, Rhema McKnight and John Carlson for Notre Dame.
Defensive backs in this game for both clubs will be put through the ultimate test trying to match up against six of the top pass receiving targets in college football.
What will make the difference ... LSU’s defense.
Yes, the Irish are a very explosive offensive club, but LSU has the decided edge on talent and speed-wise on defense.
When the starting lineup for LSU is announced, keep that list of 11 players in mind because three years from now every player from that starting unit will be playing in the NFL.
Few, and I mean very few, college teams can make that kind of statement.
If you see some Illinois license plates traveling the roads in the River Parish don’t be surprised to find out that they belong to coaches of the University of Southern Illinois.
Ever since the Salukis landed former Assumption High School and current New York Giants halfback Brandon Jacobs from the bayou state, Southern Illinois has hit the state of Louisiana hard during the recruiting process.
The Salukis currently have six players on their roster from south Louisiana and one of those is former Hahnville High School standout Craig Turner, who earned 1st team All-Gateway Conference honors this season as a punt returner.
This season Southern Illinois has shown great interest in signing Hahnville High School quarterback Early James.
The very athletic signal-caller is highly regarded for his quarterbacking skills by the coaching staff of Southern Illinois and reports are they are the team to beat to in the recruiting process for his services.
The Salukis are also very interested in landing East St. John High School halfback Johnny Owen and Assumption High School wide receiver Damian Jefferson.
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In light of recent police shootings in Baton Rouge and Dallas, as well as a heated debate being waged nationally over cases of alleged police brutality, to be a law enforcement officer in these times is that much more stressful a duty.