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Gabbing With Saints Gab

After what turned into a rather not cordial trash talking segment earlier this week, I was approached by Gilberto Torres of Saints Gab to exchange some questions for our readers.

I’ve noticed that for the most part, Saints fans are far more sportsman-like than those pesky Cowgirls were, and Mr. Torres is no different.  I would like to thank him for seeking me out to do these segments.  It is always good to hear what we are up against from the upcoming enemy themselves. 

Below are the ten questions I asked Gilberto, and later I will link to how I answered his questions.

What can the Vikings expect as far as atmosphere at the Super Dome?  How bad is it really going to be?

You better believe the Dome is going to be rocking this weekend. The noise inside the Dome is comparable to what you’re probably accustomed to at the Metrodome. The Vikings will probably be better equipped than the Cardinals were last weekend for the noise factor. If the Saints jump out early, the noise could be deafening. Give Saints fans a reason to cheer and they will scream their lungs out.

What is the biggest, most consistent threat your team poses to opponents?

Drew Brees has been the rock the Saints lean on all season, and not just on the field. Brees is one of the smartest, hardest working quarterbacks in the league. His film study and preparations are second to none. And that shows on the field. Has anyone shut down Drew Brees down this season like the Saints did to Kurt Warner last week? You can rattle Brees, but he will bounce right back up, make adjustments, and torch you, like in the Miami game. The key to the Saints offense is to give Brees time to dissect a defense and make the right decision.

What is the thing your team struggles with the most?

Does staying healthy count? The Saints have about 17 guys on injured reserve right now, by far the most in the league. Those injuries forced the Saints to change schemes so many times this season. For example, Jabari Greer and Tracy Porter going down means a guy like Darren Sharper was forced to become a cover-2 safety instead of a ball hawking safety who can make plays. Missing Jeremy Shockey took away an excellent pass and run blocker and a talented receiver who usually draws a safety away from coverage, creating mismatches. Now, the Saints have been as healthy as they’ve been all season and it showed last week against the Cardinals. The Saints defense shut down Kurt Warner, Larry Fitzgerald and that talented Cardinals O with a healthy defense. The Saints’ offensive struggles ended with Shockey returning after missing three games, all Saints losses.

On the feild, the Saints struggle stopping the running game early. They’ve given up three touchdowns this season on the opponent’s first or second run of the game. But the Saints are perhaps best at adjusting as the game goes on. We hope they can hold the Vikings run game early.

Every team has that one or two guys that all the fans think stink really bad.  Who are yours?

We got rid of him this past summer. CB Jason David was the most hated Saints player I can remember. He got burnt like toast so many times the last couple of seasons, including a couple of times by Bernard Berrian in the game against the Saints in the Dome last year. He was an excellent cover-2 corner with the Colts, but never a good individual defender with the Saints. While he did have about 5 INTs on the season, they were mostly in zone coverage and the plays he gave up were not worth keeping him, especially in Gregg William’s scheme were CBs are asked to man-up against receivers. He got cut after a preseason game against the Bengals in which he was just outmuscled and too slow for Chad Ochocinco.


Really, there are no guys that Saints fans love to hate this season. LB Scott Shanle has gotten some heat earlier this season but he’s stepped up and played well. Everyone gets frustrated when LT Bushrod gives up a sack, but we understand he’s subbing for a Pro Bowl LT. And of course, Coach Payton got his fair share of heat the last couple of weeks with the losses mounting. But we’re fans. We got to find a scapegoat.

What was the biggest difference that caused the Saints to lose games at the end of the season?

Losing Jeremy Shockey.  Not having Shockey changed how teams played us with their defense. Teams usually commit a safety to play Shockey in the passing game because he is that much of a threat. That usually creates a favorable matchup somewhere for the Saints and Drew Brees just needs a little bit of time to exploit it. That’s what the Saints offense is built upon… creating mismatches. The Cowboys were able to play a lot of bracket coverage on our receivers and had a lot more safety help. While the defense played average, the Saints could have won those late games, but the offense just could not put points on the board.

Your team has done well rushing, but do they really have what it takes rush against the WilliamsWall?

Don’t forget the Saints counter with Pro Bowl C Jonathan Goodwin and G Jahri Evans in the middle. This is the matchup I’m most looking forward to this weekend. Not only can they stop them from getting to Brees, but also moving the Great Wall of Williams to open lanes in the running game. I don’t necessarily think the Saints will run it up the middle the entire game, but they will be effective running the ball none the less. Pierre Thomas and Mike Bell are both bruising backs that like to hit and are good at finding holes. Reggie Bush showed last week that he can hit and run. Reggie is an excellent runner outside the tackles and Coach Payton will give Bush opportunities to run in the open field. Payton also loves throwing in reverses and screen passes as extensions of the running game.  They may not be running plays exactly, but they do the same job.

Our teams are linked in the ongoing StarCaps case, what is the take on that matter from Saints fans?

Well, we dodged a bullet there. When we looked at our schedule and saw which games they would be suspended for, we thought we would have been all right.  We could have beaten Detroit, Buffalo, and the Jets, maybe lose to the Eagles. We were bracing ourselves for the suspensions all preseason and waiting for the announcement before the first game that they would be suspended, but it never came, which was such a relief. Now that the case and suspensions are on hold, it’s just an afterthought.

I believe it was just an honest mistake. I don’t think the players knew what was really in it and StarCaps lied on its label. Like I said, it’s just an afterthought now. 




Darren Sharper has been quite the ball hawk for you all.  Outside of turnovers, what has he meant to your team?

He’s been a great addition and a wonderful teammate. He’s a smart veteran guy who has been through the battles. If Drew Brees is the heart and soul of the Saints’ offense, then Sharper is the same with the Saints’ defense. Sharper is always going the extra mile, doing a little more work, instilling that same pride and work ethic to the rest of the defense.

He is a mentor to the younger players and always willing to impart words of wisdom to anyone who needs them. He’ll be in the huddle and tell his corners to look for this and that from the receivers, little subtle things to the untrained eye that could be the difference between a pick six or getting picked on for six.

Oh and watch out!  He has most definitely told his current teammates all about his old ones and players he’s played against often.

Your defense has struggled at times, what is the single greatest liability on that side of the ball?

The front four has to play a great game on defense. So much is dependent on them, especially in Gregg Williams’ blitz happy scheme. They have to help create pressure on the opposing QB quickly because behind them there is a lot of one on one coverage. The goal is to get to the QB early and force a bad throw.

They also have to help control the Minnesota rushing attack, which will be in full force this Sunday. They have to stay disciplined and stay true to their assignment.

Can Drew Brees be rattled by a dominant front four?

Rattled for a whole game… not likely. Of course, any quarterback can be rattled, but Brees and Payton are probably the best coach-player tandem at making adjustments on the fly. So if the pass rush gets to Brees early, expect the Saints to find a scheme to protect Brees.

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2 Responses to “Gabbing With Saints Gab”

  1. olderthandirt says:

    Great Post Adam!!! I like to get the points of view from knowlegeble fans from the other side. I think this will prove to be a good, exciting game. HHHHHhhhhmmmmmm??? A nail biter??? I hate them. This season was a pleasure for a Vikings’ fan to watch. Except for the games that they didn’t show up.

    GO VIKES!!! SKOL!!

  2. Fran the Man says:

    Shoot, that Gilberto dude seemed to have all the answers. If he knows what he’s talking about, we’re in trouble.
    For the time being, I’m just going to consider him a big fat liar.

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