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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Long season for Saints?

Yes, they are only preseason games, but the cause for pessimism for New Orleans Saints fans is not in the final score. It is in watching the game and seeing very little to be comforted by.
The Saints did not play well at all. Very little went well. The Dallas defense looked dominant early, and that was either because it was or because the Saints didn't provide much of a challenge.
Meanwhile, the Cowboys offense moved down the field nearly at will. It scored on three of its four first-half possessions. That was either because the Saints didn't present much of a challenge or because Drew Bledsoe and his boys are pretty darn good.
It's one or the other.
Either the Saints still have some work to do, or Dallas could be in for a tremendous year.

Thanks Saints, Cowboys for a great night

Well, the Cowboys rolled while the Saints reeled.

Dallas won 30-7 without Terrell Owens, which has got to be a major thumb in Owens' face.

The Cowboys looked crisp and were in perfect harmony for probably 90-95 percent of the night. The Saints didn't look half as good and only moved the ball when Dallas first-team defense was off the field.
Wasn't that the problem last season for the Saints? Not being able to get their offense on track early and being forced to play from behind?
Not much as changed then.

Despite all of their success, Dallas head coach Bill Parcells thought his defense could have used a little more work, which is why he kept them on the field to start the second half.
That was the greatest benchmark of success for the Cowboys - the offense did a great job moving the ball and giving the defense plenty of time off.

Parcells did have one good quote. A member of the Shreveport media asked him how he would grade the offense and the defense.

"Well, I'm going to have to look at the film before I put a grade on it. But I'll send it to you as soon as I get it."

Monday, August 21, 2006

How about them Aints?

The Saints last two substantial drives into the red zone have yielded nothing.

Drew Brees missed on his quick out to Devery Henderson to end the first half.

New Orleans just coughed the ball up at the Dallas 1-yard line.

The more things change...

Reggie Bush is awesome. Duh.

One little cut. That's all Reggie Bush made, but it was a cut worthy of Barry Sanders.

The Saints are finally driving on the Cowboys and Bush is getting his first real carries of the game. He just made a move, a quick cut to the inside that left Terence Newman grabbing for air.
One step.

The run wasn't as amazing as his 45-yarder last week, but Reggie has got the Saints' fans buzzing.

T.O. isn't needed here

Terrell Owens likes to think that the Cowboys wouldn't be the same without him in the lineup and he's right. The Cowboys get an extra dimension to their passing game with him on the field.

But Dallas is proving in this first half that they don't need him to be successful. The Saints cannot stop the Cowboys at all. Bledsoe just threw his second TD of the game, another fade pattern like his first one to Terry Glenn. Only this one went to Sam Hurd, who's been one of the biggest surprises through the Cowboys' training camp.

T.O. better not keep up his antics much longer because Parcells' patience grows thinner with him the more points they put up on the board.

Cowboys 17-0.
Oh, and the Saints just got their first first down of the game, which drew a hearty, sarcastic cheer from the Saints fans.

First quarter is in the books

Cowboys are up 10-0. Dallas has moved the ball almost at ease against the Saints. Drew Bledsoe had some very nice passes to keep Dallas' second drive moving.

The Saints have gone three and out on their first two possessions and hardly look cohesive.

Dallas has 157 yards to Saints 9 in the first quarter.

What QB controversy?

Tony Romo impressed a lot of folks in the Cowboys preseason opener, even getting a few fans calling for him at quarterback. No joke.

Drew Bledsoe may put those rumors to rest with his first two drives, including a beautiful pass to Terry Glenn for the Cowboys' first touchdown...Of course, Glenn had an amazing one-handed grab and managed to get both feet down for the TD.

Bush begins slow

Reggie Bush, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, suffered a 2-yard loss on his first carry of the evening. The Cowboys have moved the ball, but the Saints have just one drive -- a 3-and-out.

Cowboys look good; Saints not so much

Dallas looks very good with its first drive, moving the ball very efficiently against New Orleans. The Cowboys can't get it into the end zone and settle for a field goal.

One bad note for the Cowboys: tackle Flozell Adams left the game with a left calf contusion. He's return to the game is questionable.
Also, it appeared that kicker Mike Vanderjagt injured himself in pregame warmups. He didn't kick the Cowboys field goal attempt. Shawn Suisham did.

The Saints didn't look as crisp as the Cowboys, going three and out with their first possession.

Note to Mike Silva ... and the rest of the area's Saints fans

The Dallas Cowboys are far outnumbering the New Orleans Saints as far as fans go.
We get calls every once in a while asking why we tend to cover the Cowboys more. Now you know. This is Louisiana, but we are twice as close to Dallas, and judging by the fans at the game, have twice the amount of people interested in the blue and silver.

A bigger deal

It's evident very quickly upon arriving at the State Fairgrounds that this is something beyond what we've had at Independence Stadium any time recently.
Although I was living in Texas at the time, I suspect the stadium hasn't seen anything like this other than the LSU-Notre Dame game in the Independence Bowl.
The crowd blanketing the fairgrounds more than two hours before kickoff was already bigger than we usually see even as most Independence Bowls are kicking off. Tents and booths everywhere featured food, music and more spirit and levity than we ever see.
The crowd may not be the largest ever at the facility, but I suspect it will be densely packed into the stands, quite vocal and near the record.
As far as the number of people watching the game, it is the Monday night game on ESPN, and the Cowboys always draw big numbers. Can anyone imagine any other event in this stadium that will have been seen in person and over the airwaves by more people?

Let the campaigning begin!

Walking to Independence Stadium was like walking a gauntlet as mayoral candidates and their supporters lined either side of the main thoroughfare making their pitches.

Arlena Acree had a tent with cooling mist sprays for passers-by and free food.

Liz Swain's headquarters were a bit simpler - an RV with a picnic table out front.

But the unabashed king of mayoral candidates was Jerry Jones. Jones had three RVs parked in a U-shape and a giant banner proclaiming whose camp it was. It looked like a rock band had pitched a camp.

That'll be $50 sir

After a quick drive by Independence Stadium this afternoon, it appears that at least some folks are willing to spend the $50 to park (and tailgate) for tonight's game.

That being said, the number of calls to The Times indicates the city's free shuttle bus service may see its most activity ever. The city runs the shuttle during the I-Bowl and big football games (La. Tech-Miami the most recent).

Still, the stadium is beginning to show some football atmosphere - even as the temperature climbs toward 100 degrees again.

Game day is here

Follow the big game here as Reggie Bush and the Saints take on Drew Bledsoe and the Cowboys at Independence Stadium