The week has been full of Family, Food, and Thankfulness.  I hope it has been a powerful week for you and yours.  I enjoy the game of American Football, although it is entertainment, I enjoy the opportunity to watch great athletes assembled to play a game for three hours each week of the fall.   I am thankful for my Faith, Family, Friends, My Country and those that serve both in the military and as first responders.  I am thankful for health, a wonderful spouse, great son,  beautiful grand-daughter, for love, and for my bounty and treasures.

When it comes to football, I appreciate supporting a team that has put an emphasis on the culture of the organization as it much as it does on wins and losses.  I am thankful for a team that strives to be a positive part of the community.  I am thankful that Mr. Benson has provided the leadership and the assets to allow team management to run the team.  I am thankful that our coaches excel in bringing men together with a goal of weekly improvement.  I am thankful for players that want to be better, that work hard twelve months a year to hone their skills.  I am aware that injuries are a part of this violent and physical game, but I am thankful that even the most serious injuries of our year, Daniel Lasco, was not as serious as it could have been.

I am thankful that the Saints did not trade for Malcolm Butler.  I am thankful the draft aligned to allow us to draft Marshon Lattimore.  I am thankful we traded Cooks, providing us an additional first round pick.  I am thankful that management went against popular thought and drafted Ryan Ramczyk.  I am thankful for the Warford, Klein, and even the Mante Te’o signing.  I am thankful that we signed and traded Adrian Peterson.  I am thankful that a patchwork o-line has created running holes and kept Drew clean. I am thankful for a defense with swagger and an offense that is balanced.  I am thankful for a road win in Carolina and the seven wins after.

Face it, we have much to be thankful for.

Keys to the Game:

Can D.A. scheme the defense to win:  Allen has admitted to each week developing a defensive game plan to best utilize the talent he has available.  This week will be his biggest challenge so far.  Not only are the Rams the fourth ranked offense in the league, they are also the second best scoring team.  The Saints will face them after losing a very productive Alex Okafor, potential DRroY Lattimore, and surprisingly effective Ken Crawley.  Can Allen pull off a strategy that maximizes the strength of his available players.

Play Smart, Play within yourself:  We are in Hollywood, bright lights, big city, big television audience.  It is important that each player play their assignment first, then chase the ball.  Okafor’s replacements must know to set the edge first.  Cornerbacks must avoid the quarterback look-off or the play action.  Cover your guy and if it is an all-out blitz – know your duty.  Do not let aggressiveness leave you looking stupid.

Own Time of Possession:  The offense needs to rely on a steady rushing attack, consistently moving the chains, and burning the clock.  The best defense today could be a simple as keeping Gurley and Goff on the sidelines.

Prediction: Thanksgiving and Pilgrim reminds me of John Wayne in “McClintock”, “I haven’t lost my temper in 40 years; but, Pilgrim, you caused a lot of trouble this morning; might have got somebody killed; and somebody oughta belt you in the mouth. But I won’t. I won’t. The hell I won’t!”  So while in Hollywood, the Saints should just “belt the rams in the mouth”.   Saints 31 … Rams 23

or, after this holiday weekend, maybe the better John Wayne quote is “I’m here to kick ass and drink whiskey.  And Pilgrim, I’m all out of whiskey.”    WhoDat!