A Few Observations From the Hall of Fame Game

It’s that time of year again.

From now through February, every weekend will be filled with football.  That must be music  to every NFL fan’s ears across the globe.  This past Sunday, the Arizona Cardinals and the New Orleans Saints kicked off the preseason the NFL’s annual Hall of Fame Game.  How did both teams look?  Click through to find out …

  • With head coach Sean Payton suspended for the entire season, and interim head coach Joe Vitt suspended for the first six games, New Orleans offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael will serve as captain of the Saints’ ship.  According to Rotoworld.com’s Evan Silva, the Saints played 18 games in 2011. Carmichael made the offensive play calls in 12 of them.  In those 12 games, the Saints averaged 488 yards of offense and 35.5 points.  In the 6 games under Payton’s play calling, the Saints averaged 452 yards and 28.3 points.  Drew Brees and the Saints offense set the tone early, marching right down field for a touchdown on a 77 yard drive that ate up just over 4 minutes of the game clock.  With Carmichael making the calls, expect fireworks this season from the Saints’ offense.
  • The Cardinals are reluctantly holding a competition for their starting QB job.  The front office and head coach Ken Wisenhunt are openly rooting for Kevin Kolb to win the job since they gave up a ransom to acquire him from the Eagles last season.  However, he may have played himself out of the hunt last night.  Kolb’s first pass: a wobbly duck on an out-route toward the sideline that was picked off by Malcolm Jenkins.  His next drive: 3 & out.  Kolb suffered a chest contusion on his third drive and sat for the rest of the game.  John Skelton looked much better.  Although he has accuracy issues, he seems to play within himself.  No situation seems too big for him.  WIth Kolb expected to miss some training camp time while recovering from his injury, the increase in Skelton’s reps just may get him over the hump and lead to him snatching the starter’s title.
  • Not much has been made of the ongoing labor battle between the NFL and referees union.  Last night game was officiated by former Arena League and NCAA refs.  Things didn’t get off without a hitch.  The opening coin toss was botched.  An obvious holding call which would have netted a safety for the Saints was missed by the ref 4 feet away from the play.  And there were numerous times where a penalty was called, and the refs would huddle up to make sure they’d get the yardage right. Any fan of the NBA knows how much of a negative impact bad refs can have on a professional sports game.  The NFL may want to strike a deal soon, before the real games start

Preseason football continues this week with Peyton Manning donning his Bronco colors for the first time on a visit to Soldier Field here in Chicago this Thursday.  Call me lame, but I’m uber excited to see these teams’ starters match up for the 1 or 2 series they’ll be on the field.  FOOTBALL IS BACK!!

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