Week 1 saw its fair share of exciting games to kick off the 2012 season. Week 2 will surely not disappoint as teams look to either continue their success from Week 1 or earn their first win of the season. One of the big matchups this week takes place on Thursday night, as the Chicago Bears head to Lambeau Field to face a Green Bay Packers team who lost their home opener against the San Francisco 49ers. …
Very rarely do we see a player take on an entire league and win.
If this was a fight Vilma would be up on the scorecards going into the Championship Rounds and now he is going for KO.
Peter Ginsberg, who represents New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma, said Tuesday that the suspended-and-now-reinstated player will inform the league that he’s willing to meet with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell regarding the bounty allegations for the first time.
Ginsberg has sent unofficial notice through an email with the league office and will formally do so before the commissioner’s deadline – the end of business Tuesday.
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A team starting a rookie quarterback, rookie running back and playing away would typically spell out disaster. In this case, it instead was a dominating win for the Washington Redskins and rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III, who put on quite a show in New Orleans.
The Saints came into the game with a great motivational boost with the suspensions of Jonathan Vilma and Will Smith being removed. That motivation didn’t seem to translate onto the field.
Defensively, there isn’t much not to criticize. New defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo was supposed to be the change that was needed after the terrible ending the Saints defense and organization had with Greg Williams.
Instead, Spagnuolo seemed to pick up right were Williams had left off. Robert Griffin III seemed to complete every single pass he threw and looked like an All-Pro veteran in only his first game in the NFL. I do understand that it was the first game of the season and some of New Orleans’ key players were either out or playing a little dinged up, but I don’t believe that justifies allowing 40 points to a starting rookie quarterback and running back at home.
On offense, it was evident from the get-go that Sean Payton was greatly missed.
The Saints went three-and-out on their first possession, which isn’t uncommon for most teams, but for a team that led the NFL in total offense in 2011, it was a sign of what was to come. The Saints offense only managed to total 358 yards of offense compared to 464 for Washington and were almost doubled in time of possession. They only managed to score two offensive touchdowns all game, which is something that has rarely been seen in the Sean Payton era.
The Saints team as a whole seemed a bit confused and unprepared in the first game of the season. Drew Brees made very uncharacteristic mistakes, and the team never seemed to settle down. It was very evident that the certain preparation that Sean Payton brings to the team was missed, and now it remains to be seen whether the Saints can succeed without him for the remainder of the season.
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Coaches have to be themselves
One game into the 2012 NFL season and the Carolina Panthers are already facing a pressure-packed game.
The New Orleans Saints will bring their flared nostrils to Bank of America Stadium this Sunday to take on a Panthers team that also surprisingly lost its season opener. For New Orleans, it was a rookie quarterback named Robert Griffin III for the Washington Redskins who lit them up to the tune of a 40-32 beating at the Superdome.
For Carolina, it was its own impotent offense that enabled the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to end a 10-game losing streak with a 16-10 victory.
New Orleans is just two-plus years removed from winning a Super Bowl, and despite suspensions that include not having their head coach around due to a bizarre bounty-scheme, the Saints still had visions of an extensive postseason run this coming winter.
Carolina brazenly approached this season as if it would make another giant leap toward the postseason, and in just year two of the Cam Newton and Ron Rivera eras would jump into the Super Bowl picture.
Both teams can still achieve their goals, but it will be increasingly difficult for Sundays loser, as clubs that begin seasons 0-2 rarely make the playoffs.
For the Panthers to avoid such a start they need to figure out what on earth went wrong with their ground attack. Tampa Bay had the worst rushing defense in the NFL last season, but Carolina managed a franchise-low 10 yards Sunday. It averaged 150 a game last season.
Newton spent much of the game evading would-be tacklers behind the line of scrimmage. Tailback Jonathan Stewart didnt play, but that wasnt the problem. Carolinas offensive line was dominated, and it set the tone for the afternoon.
What really got us beat in certain situations (was that) we lost some one-on-one matchups, Rivera said.
A whole host of them. But the key now is getting those issues squared away. New Orleans is more talented than Tampa Bay and suddenly has its back against the wall, too. Not that playing Drew Brees, Will Smith and company is ever ideal, but taking them on a week after an embarrassing defeat just isnt ideal.
But Rivera said looking at things through such a scope wont help. He wants his team to maintain its focus and keep believing in what theyve been taught.
Theres no reason to panic or do anything rash right now, Rivera said Monday. This is our first real situation under fire, and were a young football team. We have four rookies that played a key role for us (at Tampa). Its not like were talking about a veteran team with five and six-year starters all over the place.
No, Carolina has few such players. But thats lost on the teams expectations, much of which are driven from within the franchise.
Veteran center Ryan Kalil took out a full-page ad in the Charlotte Observer in July saying the team will reach the Super Bowl. Rivera said he liked his players thinking that way and didnt mind them talking about such goals, adding that all NFL teams should have that as their objective.
But few ever tell the world in such a public way, and in todays nature that will either make a player look like a genius down the road or become cause for tremendous consternation.
Football is about blocking, tackling and executing. So whichever team is better at that likely will win Sunday. Rivera knows that, which is why he wants to keep things moving along as they have. One setback hasnt derailed hope in the teams locker room. It just calls for added inspiration.
Were going to come out and do some things and make some things happen, Rivera said. And were going to have some crazy things happen that weve got to be able to withstand. But right now, theres a lot of optimism for what we can become as a football team.
Whatever team that is, we will begin to learn more about Sunday afternoon.
Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma sent notice through his legal team that he’s willing to sit down for a formal meeting with commissioner Roger Goodell. Vilma and attorney Peter Ginsberg walked out of a joint appeal hearing June 18. That meeting started with all four suspended players — Saints defensive end Will Smith, free agent Anthony Hargrove and Browns linebacker Scott Fujita — before it was delayed and then re-started without Vilma hours later. Ginsberg declined to return for that meeting after adjournment and called the appeal hearing “a sham.” “I’m expecting a fair meeting, unlike the June 18 appeals hearing,” Vilma told ESPN via text message. “We can all benefit from transparency regarding evidence and witnesses instead of using conjecture or hearsay to come to inaccurate conclusions. I look forward to getting this accomplished.” Ginsberg said he and Vilma are ready to talk to Goodell and Tuesday was set as the NFL’s deadli…
Andrew Juge of The Saints Nation breaks down the film from the disaster that was the Saints vs. Redskins season opener. He explains the struggles of the secondary, why Jermon Bushrod was worse than you thought and Zach Strief played pretty well. He also explains how Washington completely out-coached the Saints.
Ralph defends Mickey Loomis’ decision to not re-sign Tracy Porter. He also explains why the number 51 is the magic number for offenses in the NFL. Andrew also compares Sean Payton to Lindsay Lohan and the comparison involves hard drugs. Andrew also gives his biggest non-Saints surprise from Week 1 while he and Ralph debate how Sean Payton would communicate with Saints coaches if he didn’t want to get caught.
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1. New England Patriots: Now defenses have to find a way to stop RB Ridley, too. 2. San Francisco 49ers: Big statement made in Lambeau on both sides of the ball. 3. Houston Texans: A nice Sunday for Schaub: A win and a new contract. 4. Green Bay Packers: What’s worse: allowing 30 points to S.F. or offense in first half? 5. Baltimore Ravens: The hype about Flacco and Ravens offense appears to be legit. 6. Atlanta Falcons: Air attack was efficient like Falcons hoped with addition of Koetter. 7. Chicago Bears: Offense looked as good as advertised; test comes Thursday vs. Packers. 8. …