Top 10 Greatest Saints To Ever Play

Johnathon Vilma, Pat Swilling, Mark Ingram. All dominate Saints players yet they didn’t make the cut for my personal top 10 Saints players. Here is my top 10 Saints players.

Number 10: DE Will Smith

Super Bowl winning DE Will Smith was murdered tragically April 9th, 2016. Will Smith’s greatest play, in my opinion, was Tracy Porter’s game-sealing interception as he laid a key block on Peyton Manning.

Number 9: QB Archie Manning

Although it was another era when Saints fans typically wore paper bags over their heads, there was a shining star at QB by the name of Archie Manning. He gave the Saints hope yet we were typically considered the “laughing stock of the league.”

Number 8: WR Joe Horn

WR Joe Horn was not only a great receiver, he was a hilarious personality to have around New Orleans. He’s iconically know for his cell phone celebration after a touchdown.

Number 7: LB Sam Mills

LB Sam Mills passed away August 3rd, 2005 after a battle with colon cancer. Mills was inducted into the Saints and Panthers Hall of Fame. Mills is the inspiration behind the Panthers’ slogan “Keep Pounding.” He was in “Dome Patrol.” The “Dome Patrol” was a nickname for the Saints linebacking corp.

Number 6: OL Willie Roaf

OT Willie Roaf, aka “Nasty,” played for the Saints and Chiefs for thirteen seasons. He was such an exceptional tackle, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2012.

Number 5: RB Deuce McAllister

DEUCEEEEE!!! Deuce McAllister is the greatest running back in Saints history. He was drafted out of Ole Miss in the first round and spent eight seasons with the Saints.

Number 4: WR Marques Colston

WR Marques Colston, the greatest WR to never make a Pro Bowl. After drafted in the seventh round out of Hofstra, he was never looked at tremendously. He has just under 10,000 career yards (9,759) and 72 touchdowns.

Number 3: K Morten Anderson

K Morten Andersen is one of the greatest kickers ever after just being passed by ageless K Adam Vinatieri. Andersen ended his career with 2,544 points. He was inducted into the 2017 Hall of Fame class.

Number 2: LB Rickey Jackson

HOF LB Rickey Jackson was inducted into the 2010 class. Jackson was the leader of the “Dome Patrol.” The “Dome Patrol” consisted of Rickey Jackson, Sam Mills, Vaughn Johnson and Pat Swilling.

Number 1: QB Drew Brees

Although this may be obvious, I placed Brees as the greatest Saint ever because after Hurricane Katrina, the Saints, and quite frankly, the whole city of New Orleans was in desperate need of a hero. The Saints were rumored to be relocated to San Antonio if NOLA couldn’t recover. Within a few years of being signed, Brees brought a Lombardi to NOLA.


Photo Credits : Canal Street Chronicles {#10-3}{Cover Photo}, Pro Football HOF {#2}, NY Times {#1}

Jayrone Elliott: Saints Best AAF Prospect

Former San Antonio Commanders’ LB/DE Jayrone Elliott would add great depth to the Saints’ defensive line and linebackers.

Elliott, who led the AAF in sacks with 7.5 in just 8 games, was a Packers linebacker a few years back and already spent time in New Orleans during the preseason.

With the Saints losing DT Sheldon Rankins for the beginning of the season due to a torn achilles and the lack of depth at the linebacker position for us, Jayrone Elliott could supply us with “breathing room” per se. Elliot is a great pass rusher and for him to learn with one of the game’s best in Cam Jordan can be very beneficial for him.

The 6’3″, 255lbs linebacker nearly missed the 53-man roster cut off and had to sign with the AAF in the meantime.


Fun Fact: LB Jayrone Elliott, CB Marshon Lattimore, WR Ted Ginn Jr, and ST/CB Justin Hardee all attended Glenville High School in Cleveland, OH.

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Champions League 2019: Results After Round of 16

Image via Twitter/@ChampionsLeague

Barcelona and Liverpool both won their games Wednesday, setting up the quarter-finals and completing the final eight teams remaining in the UEFA Champions League competition.

The final eight teams are listed below along with their odds to win it all at this point      (Caesars Entertainment):

  • Barcelona: 7-2
  • Manchester City: 9-4
  • Juventus: 3-1
  • Liverpool: 4-1
  • Manchester United: 8-1
  • Tottenham Hotspur: 12-1
  • Ajax: 20-1
  • Porto: 50-1

The Premier League showed out this year with four teams qualifying, with the rest coming out from separate individual leagues.

With the reigning champs, Real Madrid, already being knocked out, the heir to the trophy is up for grabs.

The first leg of the quarter-finals starts April 9-10, with the second leg proceeding on April 16-17.

 

Can Nashville SC Replicate the Las Vegas Golden Knights of the NHL?

Photo via: The Tennessean 

There is nothing more exciting in sports than when a league decides to add expansion franchises. History has shown us that across all sports it is a common theme that new expansion teams are plagued with unwanted free agents, rookies, and/or 3rd tier talent. It generally takes years upon years for the new franchise to develop a culture within their city, to win, and to gain a consistent following. Take for example when the NBA expanded to add the Dallas Mavericks back in the 1980-1981 season. The Mavs finished the first 3 seasons (15-67), (28-54), and (38-44), respectively. It’s apparent the franchise struggled to compete for its adolescent years, and this is a trend that can be generalized to all expansion teams throughout history… but we do have exceptions! With Nashville being the latest city to receive an expansion team, let’s dig into how and why Nashville SC can replicate the success of a recent expansion team in the NHL.

Las Vegas introduced the Golden Knights into the NHL in 2017, and this city/franchise tossed the ‘New Expansion Team Handbook’ of the past right out the window. The Golden Knights finished the 2017-2018 season with a record of 51-24-7 earning them the top spot in the NHL Pacific Division. Even More remarkable, Vegas fought their way into the Stanley Cup Final! Although the Golden Knights ended up falling to the Washington Capitals in 5 games, the fact that the team reached the Stanley Cup in just its first season is unprecedented. So, how did Vegas do it? The franchise did it with hungry (underrated) players, coaching, and the full support of the city. Now let’s use this same logic and reasoning and apply it to how Nashville SC is positioned to take the same approach as the Golden Knights.

NashVegas Right?

Nashville is currently one of the fastest growing cities in America with a population reaching near 700,000 people. Primarily known for its country music, Nashville is also known for a night on the town, outdoor tourist attractions, hot chicken, and an influx of immigrants moving into the area. According to worldpopulationreview.com, Nashville’s foreign-born population has tripled between 1990-2000. The locals may not love densely populating the city,  but builders/investors do, which is one major reason the MLS perceived Nashville as a city capable of supporting an MLS franchise.

Soccer is already rich in Tennessee with clubs such as Tennessee Soccer Club (TSC) in Nashville, FC Alliance in Knoxville, and the Lobos in Memphis producing quality players year in and year out. One of the players includes TSC standout, and now Clemson Tiger Johnny Heckman, who is a Nashville native. On the women’s side, former TSC talent Wrenne French is now playing for the Tennessee Volunteers where she racked up 11 starts at wingback. Heckman and French are just 2 of the 300 former players that TSC  has produced to the collegiate level. Soccer is a beautiful game and as more and more kids are exposed to it at a young age, the appreciation by the community as a whole will only continue to grow. Example: Every soccer dad who blamed only football back in his day!

 

Nashville is hungry for a successful sports franchise. The Tennessee Titans and Nashville Predators have shown spurts of promising potential, only to lead to disappointing fans. Watching the locals cling to the Preds in their Stanley Cup run in 2017 shows just what I am talking about. Some may call it ‘fairweather or bandwagon’ fans (and they may be right..) but Nashville is absolutely ready to support a true contending franchise. Along with the fans, the Stars living in the Nashville area are as well. Nashville SC would be able to mimic the Preds by having BIG name stars singing the National Anthem and halftime shows.

Coaching

Las Vegas’s had Gerald Gallant as their head coach in their inaugural season. Gallant was by no means the most qualified for the job, and his track record isn’t exactly impressive. What Gallant had going for him was he was a “players coach.” General Manager George McPhee described Gallant with a statement that reads, “In the eight months of vetting, we never heard a negative word about Gerald Gallant, the person.” In the organization’s first year, Gallant brought maturity, knowledge of the game, and something bigger than sports… someone the players could count on. Gallant was more concerned with the positive mindset of his players, and their well-being than his own personal win-loss record. Unselfish coaches like this are hard pressed to find in this day and age of sports. This is the exact candidate Nashville SC needs at the wheel to take them through their inaugural season, and they have just the man. His name is Gary Smith.

 

 

Gary Smith is currently the head coach of Nashville SC as they are still a year away from the MLS, playing in the USL. Nashville SC CEO stated the following in regards to the hire, “We need someone who understands the nuances of the U.S. game, someone that has experience of working with domestic and international players, someone with a history of developing young talent, someone who believed in our vision for the club and most importantly someone who is a winner. Gary fits that bill perfectly. Alongside those key attributes, the value of the continuity of having Gary already at Nashville SC and working with our team for the 2019 USL season make for a fantastic outcome.” The key sentence in that lengthy quote is where he addressed the means to find someone who believed in the vision of the club. Coach Smith will bring consistency, insights, tactics, and a calmness that most expansion teams are not fortunate enough to have.

Players that Create a Culture

Nashville SC has honestly had it as good as it gets in terms of preparing for their opening MLS season. The Club took a similar route that Orlando City SC who started signing players before their opening season. Nashville SC signed Daniel Rios on November 20, 2018, and Cameron Lancaster on December 20, 2018. Rios and Lancaster were the first MLS players that the club signed going into the 2020 season. Both of these players bring experience and leadership to a young club that will look to them as their leaders. The challenge for Rios and Lancaster is going to be to instill a culture and style of play that the rest of the team will embody. Hopefully, Nashville SC will be a place opposing players will HATE playing against, but want to play for! One big challenge will be competing for aging European players with bigger markets such as Los Angeles and New York that will really put Nashville on the map.

All in all, Nashville SC has seemed to have taken extreme caution when it comes to planning out the teams’ route into the MLS in 2020. I would look for the franchise to surprise people around the league in their inaugural season, and for the Nashville SC fans to be recognized as one of the best fan bases in the country!

Photo via: Celero Commerce