I’m holding my new daughter Elle as I blog from New Orleans, and when she was born I tweeted: “I’ve never fallen in love so quickly in my life! I’m so blessed and grateful for this gift!” As any new parent knows, a child brings a lot more responsibility and a new perspective about life and work.
We can’t control what anyone else does, but our home fans will really bring the noise this Sunday. We’ll be treating it like the first round of the playoffs!
I want to wish all football fans safe and happy holidays, and I hope you get to spend them with your families. My Foundation, working with the supermarket chain Winn-Dixie, was able to feed 135 families (about 600 hundred people) for the holidays. I’ve been so blessed that it’s great to give back. Also, my very own Rock Avenue Bow Ties is offering 15 percent off with the promo code HOLIDAYS. Check it out!
OK, are you ready for win-or-go-home football? It all comes down to the final weekend, with so many playoff positions up in the air. After our tight, rain-soaked loss to Carolina, we’re focusing purely on closing out the regular season with a victory. We’re undefeated at home and if we beat Tampa Bay, we’re in. We could end up with the 2 seed, the 5 or even the 6.
We can’t control what anyone else does, but I figure our home fans will really bring the noise this Sunday. We’ll be treating it like the first round of the playoffs! But first, here are a few things I wanted to mention as we head into Week 17…
It’s been great having Coach Payton back. That’s one thing we were missing last year; we wanted to win but we didn’t have that leader who can draw up the plan every week. It’s clear-cut what we want to do, how we’re going to win games, how we’re going to complement each other. And that’s what any success we have in the playoffs will be about—complementary offense, defense and special teams. He has brought that focus back to the team.
I’ve talked a lot about our defense, so I want to give some love to our almost unstoppable O. What more can I say about Drew Brees? He’s only the fifth NFL quarterback to top 50,000 career passing yards. And it’s just phenomenal what he produces game in, game out. He’s going to go down as one of the greatest ever. It all reflects his skill set, durability, consistency and work ethic—what he does on a weekly basis to keep himself in shape and sharp.
As a defender, I can see we have advantageous matchups on offense all over the field. We can split Jimmy Graham out as an extra receiver, and opponents may double him… but then they’ve got to have a linebacker or extra DB on Darren Sproles or Marques Colton in single coverage. We do all these different formations, and it seems the defense can’t get a bead on what we’re doing. We have so many offensive weapons it’s really hard to match up across the board.
Marques has been a key part of the Saints for awhile. I think he’s got the franchise records for touchdowns and receptions. He always gets open to make those tough catches for us. He’s been one of Drew’s favorite targets, especially when people want to double-team Jimmy. He doesn’t really talk much but comes to work every week.
What makes Marques and Jimmy dangerous is that Drew can throw it where the defender can’t get it. Because of their length and size, they can reach out to snag a ball that’s high and adjust to it. And they’ve worked that out to perfection. They know that Drew is throwing to a spot away from the defender’s leverage, and they do a great job of adjusting and making catches in traffic.
Sproles is a different guy altogether. He’s way too quick and athletic for most linebackers, and even a lot of defensive backs. He’s just a matchup nightmare. He’s small and quick, and he knows how to get open in zone or in man coverage. And he catches the ball well. He is 5’5”, but you forget about his height really fast when you’re covering him. Uh-oh! I’m just glad I don’t have to go up against these guys.
—As told to Ashley Jude Collie