26 April 2007

Fitch Is Back, and So Are the Saints

It's been a while since you've heard from me. I've been out the loop, meaning I haven't had the time or expertise to talk about all things associated with America's increasing indifference toward the Great City of New Orleans.

But the Saints are back in the news, and that makes me happy for the first time in months, it seems. So let's take some time to look at what has happened pre-draft during the offseason, shall we?

From all accounts, especially today (4/26/07), it's looking good.

Drew Brees
BACKUPS: Martin, Fife
COMMENTS: Not many. Brees will be ready for the season. There's a chance that they draft a QB of the future, unless they're convinced that Fife has a shot at being a good NFL backup.

STARTER: Deuce McAllister/Reggie Bush and Mike Karney
BACKUPS: Stecker, Branch, FB t.b.a.
COMMENTS: The biggest question in training camp is if Jamal Branch beats out Aaron Stecker and makes the 53-man roster this year

WIDE RECEIVER: Joe Horn gone, David Patten signed
STARTERS: Marques Colston, Terrance Copper
BACKUPS: Henderson, Patten, Jones, Lewis, Moore
COMMENTS: A lot of people think they're going to pick a WR on the first day of the draft. Maybe. I think they won't miss Horn that much. He didn't contribute after November last year, and they really didn't miss it. I think Patten will be a good backup. He and Payton were together in New York for one year. I think Michael Lewis may be done, and that the Saints will look for a return man to replace him.

TIGHT END: Ernie Conwell gone, Eric Johnson signed
STARTER: Mark Campbell
BACKUPS: Johnson, Miller
COMMENTS: The Saints may have finally found a pass-receiving TE in Eric Johnson. But if you thought Ernie Conwell was injury prone.... It's also a popular notion that they will go with a TE in the draft, perhaps early.

OFFENSIVE LINE: Backup OL Montrae Holland gone
STARTERS: Brown, Stinchcomb, Nesbit, Evans, Faine
BACKUPS: Strief, Petitti, Goodwin, OL t.b.a.
COMMENTS: Not much change here. The Saints made a key move keeping Jon Stinchcomb. Holland probably won't be missed, and he will be replaced by one of the no-names signed during the off-season or by a rookie.

No major changes
STARTERS: Charles Grant (DE), Will Smith (DE), Hollis Thomas (DT), Brian Young (DT)
BACKUPS: Whitehead, Ninkovich, Leisle, Lake
COMMENTS: Re-signing Hollis Thomas was huge. But they still need one more better guy to bring in to the DT rotation, in my opinion. Charles Grant just signed on long-term too. So that means that the DE position remains rock solid. Hopefully Grant will play worth the money he is getting.

LINEBACKER: Danny Clark and Terence Melton gone, Brian Simmons, Troy Evans and Trev Faulk signed
STARTERS: Fujita, Simmons, Shanle
BACKUPS: Simoneau, Evans, Faulk, Fincher
COMMENTS: Simmons should be an improvement in the middle for the Saints. It also gives the Saints a quality backup in Simoneau who knows the defense. Troy evans and Trev Faulk are probably going to replace Melton as key special teams guys. Fincher is on the serious bubble, and there's a chance that another linebacker could be drafted.

DEFENSIVE BACK: Omar Stoutmire and Curtis DeLoatch gone, Kevin Kaesviharn and Jason David signed
STARTERS: Jason David (CB), Mike McKenzie (CB), Roman Harper (S), Josh Bullocks (S)
BACKUPS: Thomas, Craft, Kaesviharn, Bellamy, Gleason
COMMENTS: Thank God the Saints were able to sign Jason David at the last minute. That means that Fred Thomas drops to nickel back, where he belongs. Kaesviharn could start at safety if Harper isn't ready or if Bullocks has a bad pre-season. I'm still hoping (praying) that another CB or two are brought in to compete.

SPECIAL TEAMS: John Carney and Billy Cundiff gone, Olindo Mare acquired via trade
STARTERS: Steve Weatherford (P), Olindo Mare (K), Kevin Houser (LS)
COMMENTS: It's disappointing to see John Carney gone. But he's getting too old, and the team has no faith in him to make a long kick or kick off, so maybe it's time. The problem here is that Olindo Mare hasn't been as good lately as he once was. Hopefully he'll do better kicking indoors. And he's certainly a better kickoff option than anything the Saints had before. The only other question: can Mitch Berger come back and beat out Steve Weatherford. My gut instinct is "no."

So that's it for now. We'll see you during or after the draft.

19 April 2007

VA Tech

VERY sad news for the Students and families of VA Tech. And now, in my new Politically Correct world (P.C. Beauregard now...) I have to ask... Why does the media have to play the "Manefesto"? Now the shooter has exactly what he wanted. He has his 15 minutes. Why not send a message to all of these idiots??? When you shoot up a school, when you butcher innocent people, you will leave no legacy.

The folks in Blacksburg have enough to deal with without having to see this idiot (I refuse to call him by any other name) spewing his bile all over the networks. When will the media finally understand that? Or are we so morbid as a society that anything will sell these days? Have we become the society just like in the movie "The Running Man"? Is Richard Dawson actually out there egging people on to watch people try to kill each other in an attempt to get ratings? What's next... Arnold for Governor??? Oh wait, he did that.

Please do not misunderstand, my friends. What happened at VA Tech is horrendous. But the idiot referenced the other idiots at a certain High School from a few years back in his "Manifesto"... If we allow the media to continue to let these jokers have a ton of air time, others will surely follow.

Love or hate Bush, he tried to change the phrase "Suicide Bomber" to "Homicide Bomber". He tried to make THOSE idiots out to be killers. The media refused to embrace the concept, and the concept was 100% accurate. I am not for the Media controlling everything we see and supressing news. But I could do without the Manifesto.

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08 April 2007

The Three Post-Katrina Hurricane Protection System Failure Studies

Independent Levee Investigation Team (ILIT) Report: National Science Foundation/UC-Berkley-sponsored study. Final version released 31 July 2006.

The Team Louisiana Report: Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (LADOTD) commissioned report headed by Ivor LI. van Heerden. Final version released 16 March 2007.

Interagency Performance Evaluation Taskforce (IPET) Report: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-sponsored study. Final version released 26 March 2007.

You know, because knowledge is power.

07 April 2007

Photo du Jour: I-10 Escambia Bay Bridge

The Fair Family made a quick run over to Pensacola on Thursday afternoon to meet a cousin's newborn. The first of the two new I-10 bridges across Escambia Bay re-opened about three months ago after the original bridge was damaged from the storm surge of Hurricane Ivan in September 2004. All traffic has been diverted to the new bridge which will permanently be the eastbound-bound bridge once the older bridges have been demolished and the second new bridge has been constructed. The Louisiana DOTD is employing a similar strategy with the new I-10 bridges crossing Lake Pontchartrain--the first new bridge will be used by two-way traffic while the original bridges are demolished and the other bridge is constructed.

The eastbound ramp to I-10 at US90 (Scenic Highway) has also finally been re-opened which had been closed since the original bridges reopened with limited capacity. From what I saw Thursday and Friday it doesn't appear that the long traffic jam that became commonplace back for two miles or so during rush hours with the temporary bridge fix is happening anymore. I suppose this post is just an FYI--you know if say, you have to suddenly go east for some weather-related reason in the next couple of months. Or more positively, when you make your weekend getaway to the beaches of Navarre, or Fort Walton Beach, or Destin . . .