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Pre-Game Recon With Canal Street Chronicles

Trading questions with the opposing team's SB Nation's blogger is always a treat.  I've been reading this week's opponent's blog for quite some time, and it's no exaggeration to say that he's one of the best around.  If you haven't given him a look yet, I'd strongly recommend moseying on over to Canal Street Chronicles to take a gander at what Sunil has to say.  With regard to this week's tilt against his beloved Saints, allow me to impart Sunil's wisdom:

1.  What the hell happened to the Saints?  Last year's darlings have become this year's, well, Saints (note:  I can't bring myself to type "Texans" there, despite the lifetime record of 28-61).  I realize you could probably write a novel about this, but please let us know what's changed or why you believe this year's squad is a mere shadow of last year's success story.

CSC:  Cinderella's shoe fell off, I suppose. Actually, the rest of the league had an entire offseason to dissect Cinderella's game and find weaknesses, particularly on Cinderella's offensive and defensive lines. As of right now, the 2007 draft is a complete waste; I mean, first-round-pick Robert Meachem hasn't even dressed yet. Usama Young is the only player who has seen significant playing time.  Their big free-agent signing, Jason David, appears to be a bust. And they've played some really good teams. Oh yeah, and Olindo Mare is terrible and they inexplicably lost to the Rams. I think that about covers it.

2.  I don't know if you've heard, but a lot of people seem to think the Texans should have drafted Reggie Bush back in 2006.  I'll be addressing that very issue in my response to one of your questions, so it's only fair that you give us your thoughts on Lil' Reggie too.  Have you been as ecstatic with ESPN's inamorata as ESPN told us you would be?  Given Deuce McAllister's injury, there were questions (legitimate ones, I believe) about whether the No. 2 pick in the 2006 NFL Draft could be an every-down back.  What do the early returns look like?

CSC:  First, Reggie isn't female, as inamorata implies. You won't slip any subtle digs past me with your (clearly) advanced vocabulary. OK, I'll admit it, Reggie Bush hasn't been everything I thought he would be. He hasn't been bad -- in fact, the possibility exists that he will be pretty good, given a chance to play regularly. But he's no Adrian Peterson, if that's what he was supposed to be. It may be possible, and I'm just going out on a limb here, that the 2006 Draft wasn't quite as good as we all heard it would be. Right now, the best players from that draft may be Vince Young (he of the 62.2 quarterback rating, four touchdowns and 10 interceptions in 2007, while his defense is -- capital R -- Ridiculous) and Devin Hester (who doesn't have a true position). Oh yeah, and DeMeco Ryans isn't shabby. Maybe ESPN didn't fool us on Reggie Bush.  Maybe they fooled us on 2006.

3.  As you so eloquently posted here (and the rest of the country saw in Week One), Jason David sure has been getting picked on.  He's like your version of Petey Faggins, which makes me smile/feel very, very bad for you because no fan deserves that.  The difference is that Kubiak finally realized Faggins was killing the team and demoted him; Sean Payton hasn't done that with David.  Why not? Is it a lack of other options?  Does Jason David have pictures of Tom Benson dancing nude with his infamous umbrella?  What gives?

CSC:  Guhhhh, the mere mention of Jason David makes me shudder. As does the idea of a scantily-clad Tom Benson. David hasn't played particularly well, but he's got the tools to be a decent player. He's got the heart and the will, and by all acounts, he's a pretty sharp guy. I guess they want to see if he can develop into a player; maybe he'll have that man-coverage moment of epiphany. There's also not much behind him. Usama Young has ability, but he's a rookie from Kent State. Fred Thomas is the original Jason David.

4.  Interesting stat, at least to me:  The Saints have gone for it on 4th down more than any team in the league except the Jags, yet they've only converted half those attempts.  Is it because Payton subscribes to the Video Game School of "Punting Is For Sissies?"  Or is there another explanation?  Please explain.

CSC:  Yeah, they've been trailing ... a lot. When you're down by 24 points, there's no point in punting. Payton also seems to have a bit of riverboat gambler in him, so I think he's inclined to go for more fourth downs than the average coach (I like to call them Martzian tendencies). Plus, the Saints can spread the field with competent receivers. There's bound to be a mismatch somewhere.

5.  PUT YOUR NAME ON IT:  The final score of Sunday's game will be NO ???, HOU ???.  And finally, a multiple choice:  At Reliant Stadium on Sunday, Reggie Bush will:  (a) have his head forcibly removed from his neck by one Super Mario Williams; (b) in an emotional postgame news conference, finally admit that he illegally took money from agents and marketers while enrolled at USC; (c) have a nervous breakdown as he enters Texas, home to The University that vanquished him on January 4, 2006; or (d) stick it to the team that bypassed him because of his perceived lack of signability, concerns about his ability to be an every-down back, and/or because management deemed adding a freakishly gifted DE a better decision than adding a RB.

CSC:  Saints 45, Texans 28. Reggie Bush will (e) have some impact (115 total yards, 2 short touchdowns) but will take a backseat to Drew Brees, who will throw for five touchdowns. Oh yeah, and Reggie will pancake Mario Williams--thrice.

As always, thanks to Sunil for playing along.  You can check out my answers to his burning questions here.