Panthers-Saints Preview: Sean Payton and "Men Who Stare At Goats"

Jeffrey BoswellAnalyst IOctober 1, 2010

NEW ORLEANS - AUGUST 27:  Head coach Sean Payton of the New Orleans Saints watches a play during the game against the San Diego Chargers at the Louisiana Superdome on August 27, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  The Saints defeated the Chargers 36-21.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Note: The quotes in this article are fictional.

Carolina @ New Orleans (-13½)

The Saints were a 29-yard Garrett Hartley field goal away from an overtime win over Atlanta and the outright lead in the NFC South. Unfortunately, Hartley hooked the attempt and the Falcons won on Matt Bryant's 46-yard kick just seconds after Bryant's first attempt was blocked, a play that was nullified by Sean Payton's timeout just beforehand.

"There's 'icing the kicker,'" Payton said, "and then there's 'icing the cake,' which is what I did by calling that timeout. Trust me, it was tough facing the team after my bonehead mistake. It felt like a scene from the movie Men Who Stare at Goats.

Now, Hartley may find himself fighting for his job unless he can quickly remedy this habit of hooking easy field goals. If he can't get the job done, I'll have no qualms about releasing him, though. And I won't feel sorry for him. Heck, this is New Orleans. A good hooker can easily find work here."

Carolina's Jimmy Clausen finds himself in an unenviable position—as a rookie quarterback on a team that the opposition dares to pass. Opponents have been loading the line of scrimmage, limiting the effectiveness of DeAngelo Hall and Jonathan Stewart, and forcing the Panthers to rely on the passing game.

"He's not even dead," said Clausen, "yet the ghost of Jake Delhomme still haunts this team. Legend has it that this apparition strikes fear into no one. And it is said that when linebackers and defensive backs look into its eyes, they can see right through him."

Saints win, 31-24.