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Saints Nation: The Offseason is Upon Us

I’ve got a number of things I want to talk about so be forewarned, there’s numerous topics discussed in this blog post. Here are the 8 topics I want to touch on, so I hope you’re ready to spend your Monday reading about the Saints.

1. Super Bowl thoughts – So the Giants won last night in what I thought was a very boring game. Neither team really took chances and they were both satisfied attempting to play mistake free football. I felt like both teams played an incredibly conservative football game trying “not to lose”. I will say the final Patriot Hail Mary was an exciting play and a good way to end it, though. As disgusted as I am that the Giants won as a 9-7 team that the Saints pummelled, you have to at least take solice in the fact that any team that makes the playoffs can win. The Giants proved that. Were they a good team? Yes. But they were also probably one of the weakest Super Bowl champions of all time. What that says is anything can happen once you get in the playoffs. That’s what makes football so great. Still, the sting of that team winning is very present.

2. Willie Roaf – I had a feeling Roaf might get in on his second year of eligibility, and sure enough, he was elected to go to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Roaf is now the second Saint after Rickey Jackson to stamp his ticket to Canton. At this point I think he’s the best all time player in team history, though we’ll see how Drew Brees’ career goes. After breaking Marino’s record I think Brees is now the second best all time. The way Roaf left the Saints was really sad and part of me will always dislike Jim Haslett for how that all played out, but at least Roaf has patched things up with the organization and seems like a true Saints fan once again. My favorite memory of Roaf, who absolutely dominated and obliterated his opponents, was a game he played against the Chicago Bears. He was lined up against a solid player in Alonzo Spellman, and he just threw him flat on his back several times in that game. I’ve never in my life see an offensive lineman just abuse a fellow NFL player like that. Spellman was a decent player, and Roaf just embarrassed him the entire game. Congrats Willie on the Hall of Fame, you deserve it!

3. Offseason – With the Super Bowl over we can now focus on the offseason and I can put that miserable playoff run that ended in Vernon Davis eating our DB’s alive behind me. Some important dates to remember:

Feb 20 – Franchise tag can be applied. Will Brees’ contract be done by then? If not, will he be tagged? If so, do the Saints tag Colston or Nicks?

Feb 22-28 – NFL Combine. A first chance to look at the incoming draft class.

March 5 – Deadling to apply Franchise Tag. This is notable because the Saints essentially have a month to finalize Brees’ contract. If they don’t, he will almost assuredly be franchised on March 5th. That’s not ideal because the Saints, I would think, want to franchise either Nicks or Colston to make sure they at least keep one. So we really need to hope Brees’ contract is done before the deadline to apply a franchise tag so it can be placed on someone else.

March 13 – Free Agency Starts. The Saints risk losing a lot of key elements, but Brees, Colston and Nicks are the most notable. Starting March 13th they’ll be able to entertain offers. The Saints will also be able to recruit new players as well. Don’t be surprised if Sagnuolo targets some of “his guys” on defense.

April 26 – NFL Draft. No 1st round pick this year (unless the Saints trade for one) so the Saints will have to get good value out of later picks.

Late July – Training Camp.

4. 2012 Season Opener – Now that we know the Giants will open the 2012 season at home, the big question is who will be headed to play them on Thursday, September 6th to start the NFL season? The Giants are slated to play the Redskins, Cowboys, Eagles, SAINTS, Bucs, Browns, Steelers and Packers at home this upcoming season. My guess is the Packers are the most likely selection because it would pit the last two Super Bowl champions. The Cowboys are another possibility because they battled for the division title into the last week of the season, but they usually like to keep big division game rilvaries till later in the season. That means, in my mind, the Packers are the favorite to go with the Saints and Steelers also being possibilities. If the Saints were selected, it would be the third straight season the Saints kicked off the NFL season. I’m kind of done with that personally, so I really hope they don’t get selected.

5. Aaron Rodgers wins MVP – I kind of expected this, but I was shocked that Brees only received two votes. I can’t believe he breaks Marino’s record and that earns him 2 votes. Rodgers is a deserving MVP, no doubt about it, but I was half way hoping the NFL would give Brees co-MVP like they did with Peyton Manning and Steve McNair years ago. At this point, I think Kevin Held of Hakim Drops the Ball said it best, and we need to just be done with the award. If Drew Brees can’t win the award when he breaks Marino’s record, how is he ever going to win it? Like Kevin said, if Brees has an amazing season next year but doesn’t break the record, people are just going to say “sure he had a great season, but it wasn’t as great as the season before and he didn’t win then so why should he win now?”. I think we all need to collectively wash our hands of the MVP award as Saints fans and just agree that it’s not in the cards. Ever. Clearly the media and the league has their own agenda which has been slighting Drew Brees for years. It is what it is. So we aim for the Super Bowl and leave the personal awards to the popularity contest that it is.

6. The Next Super Bowl is in New Orleans – I’m calling foir this now. DESTINY. The Saints will be the first team in NFL history to have a home game for the Super Bowl. This is the year. I’m calling for all fans, players, coaches and bloggers to commit to this now. This is our time to win it again and have a chance to experience something really special. We are all going to root for this and it WILL HAPPEN. DESTINY.

7. Twitter Handle Change – You may or may not have noticed, but the Saints Nation twitter account is now: @SaintsNationBlg (short for blog, couldn’t fit that extra letter in there) instead of @GoSaintsNation. Apparently I was reported for impersonation (by the Saints, I’m sure) and benefiting from followers by essentially being an imposter. So I needed to have something in my title to essentially explain what it is I am. I’m a blog on the Saints. So that new handle should work with the guidelines. Anyway, that’s the reason behind it. I know many of you don’t care but I was asked about it enough on twitter that I felt I needed to make a public explanation.

8. Error Loading Feed Data – You may have noticed that on the top of the site. That will be fixed this week. It’s just a twitter problem related to the handle name change. Sorry for the eye sore but I’ll be getting that off asap.