Ok, really. That's enough.
Is this some weird New Orleans voodoo ritual thing? You can stop kissing my ring.
Oh for God's sake! Don't suck on my ring finger! Jee-zus!
Alright, now that we have that out of the way, you started Canal Street Chronicles and right from the start your writing about the Saints was spot on. Why'd you start blogging, and why SB Nation?
Sunil: Well thank you, first of all, for the kind welcome and the ring that I just e-stole. I chose SBN becau$e it's the best blogging network around. Seriously though, I was blogging on my own, and reading all of the SBN blogs anyways. I always liked the sense of community that the SCOOP software creates. When the opportunity presented itself, I was really excited to jump on board.
BigBlueShoe: I remember reading about Archie Manning's career way before Peyton was drafted in 1998. I've always had a soft spot for Archie mainly because I felt he was a terrific player on a bad team. If he'd played in Pittsburgh in the 1970s, they'd have won six championships and Terry Bradshaw would be a silly after thought and not a Hall of Famer. Today, the perception (incorrectly, imho) of Archie is that he's a meddler. He advised Eli to resist getting drafted by the Chargers, and he was often very local defending Peyton when people would criticize him. How do new Orleans fans feel about Archie today?
Sunil: I find it interesting that when people speak about Archie Manning, they never really say his last name; he's just Archie. They use quiet, reverential tones, almost like he's a member of the family. And I think that's about right. New Orleans is a very old fashioned city, where institutions like aristocracy don't really seem that farfetched. The Mannings are definitely part of the New Orleans gentility. The locals celebrate the ideal of a high-society. It's what makes New Orleans (or maybe the South in general) unique, and in many ways, it's a vestige from the French and Spanish lineage. So things like "meddling" with the Chargers -- that's more Eli's thing first-of-all -- Archie's role was just as a Dad wanting to protect his
BigBlueShoe: You know my thoughts on Reggie Bush. Let's talk Drew Brees. He was a tremendous college QB, but got a bit of the Brady Quinn treatment before draft day. He fell out of the first round, and battled with a midget (Doug Flutie) in San Diego for the starting QB position. He's now in New Orleans, and last year he play was Manning-like. Does Drew have a chance to surpass Archie and become one of THE all-time Saints players?
Sunil: Absolutely. As long as Drew doesn't go all Aaron Brooks on us, he's probably going to pass Archie. But Drew's playing on a team that includes Deuce, who may actually be the most beloved Saint, Reggie, Grant and Smith ... the whole group of core players is truly revered. Suffice it to say, no Saint will be buying his own drinks for awhile.
BigBlueShoe: Last year, the Saints reminded me a lot of the 1999 Colts: Tremendous offense, shaky defense. The Saints invested a lot in their defense this off-season, including taking Jason David from the Colts. Did they do enough on defense to help compliment the offense?
Sunil: That's the $64,000 question. It's tough, since last year's resurgence was tied to some aging veterans in the secondary, Mike McKenzie and Jason Craft, who are unlikely to repeat their performances. But there is some young talent on this defense as well. And Will Smith is a manster.
BigBlueShoe: Ok, last question: What's the key to the game tonight? Yes, I know you think the Saints will win. Blah. Blah. Blah. Yawn. Yawn. Yawn. What do they need to do to spoil the Colts home opener. I personally think their Special Teams has to make big plays. Your thoughts?
Sunil: Special teams would certainly help; return man Lance Moore could be a big figure tonight. I'm old fashioned, so I think that if the Saints can control the ball with their ground game and short passing game, and keep Manning on the sideline, they have a good chance of winning. Now, I know this is easier said than done, but the cover-2 forces you to dink-and-dunk your way down the field, which the Saints have shown that they can do. If the Saints are facing lots of 2nd-and-4's, 3rd-and-1's, they will be in good shape.
Thanks to Sunil for answering my questions. Check out his blog, Canal Street Chronicles, for a Saints fan's POV on tonight's game.