No huddle should be a Saints’ staple

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 1, 2011

One thing I hope to see more of this Sunday is that no huddle spread attack the Saints used to rally and beat the Texans. And it’s not just a case of “It worked and will work again” results-based thinking.

We’ve seen the insane, video-game numbers Tom Brady has put up early this season for New England; much of that stems from their no huddle, and its success is largely due to the versatile personnel they put on the field. They can go two tight ends and a running back or spread you out five wide AND NEVER CHANGE A PLAYER. Rob Gronkowski, Danny Woodhead and Aaron Hernandez (especially the latter) can pretty much do it all, dictating that whatever you do as a defense, you’re probably set up to be exploited.

The Saints don’t have the exact same set up, but it’s close; Jimmy Graham and Darren Sproles are both more than viable threats to do damage lined up outside the hashmarks. If Jacksonville comes out in the nickel or a base formation, you can pick them apart from the spread; come out in dime, and just line up Graham in tight and Sproles in the backfield, and gash em. With Marques Colston back, there’s even one more weapon for Brees to dictate a mismatch with; I’m liking the idea of Graham and Colston on the field together down in the redzone.

If it sounds like something concocted in a game of Madden … well, I can’t disagree. But heck, the way the NFL is going today: pass heavy, no huddle out the yin-yang, tons of fourth down conversion attempts, heaps of passes to the slot receiver and a severe decline in defensive success … who knows? Maybe the Madden kids have been ahead of the curve.

The NBA labor negotiations have essentially been the forgotten middle child compared to the feverish countdown to a deal during the NFL lockout … perhaps because we’ve been conditioned to expect a long, protracted delay in the season (at best).

But recent reports suggest that the deal will likely be done very soon, and the regular season may only be delayed a short time, if at all.

For Hornets fans, the terms of the deal are going to make a huge impact on the team’s long term viability as a competitor.

First … it sounds like the owners are going to win this thing big. Meaning buying an NBA team will be that much more attractive to prospective owners, especially for teams in small markets like NOLA. I don’t think, then, that we’ve seen the last of Gary Chouest; more than anything, his buying the team would be the best endgame possible for Hornet fans, since he is local and no more questions would linger about the team staying put.

Secondly … the league seems committed to balancing out the spending between big and small market teams. This, of course, is more good news for New Orleans and any other NBA city not listed among the nine (nine!) who have won a championship within the last 30 years.

Finally, a franchise tag hasn’t really been talked about lately, and if spending is as balanced as it sounds like it could be, probably won’t be included. But that, of course, would help; the Hornets have all of a season to convince Chris Paul to stay. And I fear, barring a miracle, that won’t be enough time for a team that plays hard and smart, but lacks talent beyond Paul and a now-rehabbing David West.