“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."
Sunday, February 07, 2010
Super Bowl XLIV & Banned Super Bowl Ads. Place your predictions.
WHEN THE SAINTS HAVE THE BALL
For 14 weeks, the Saints’ offense was a multi-dimensional monster. Undersized whiz Drew Brees orchestrated the show, with receivers Marques Colston, Devery Henderson and Robert Meachem attacking the seams. Jeremy Shockey resurfaced as a tight end threat. Pierre Thomas powered the running game, with former Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush lurking like unused dynamite.
Then the Dallas Cowboys’ pass rush showed up at the Superdome in Week 15, beat up the Saints, ended their undefeated streak and provided a blueprint for stopping Sean Payton’s team. The truth is this: Since then, the veneer has faded somewhat for this offense — the Minnesota front four tormented the Saints during the NFC Championship Game.
If the Colts can pressure Brees, they can prevent the fireworks. Much of this relies on the health of DE Dwight Freeney — which has been discussed ad nauseam — as he and Robert Mathis attack from the edges. But it also depends on the play of Saints offensive tackles Jermon Bushrod and Jonathan Stinchcomb. If they can handle the outside, the Saints won’t need to keep a tight end in for extra protection. Still, the Indy defense is extremely fast — especially in the red zone, when space is at a premium. And to beat this Colts team, you need to score touchdowns.
WHEN THE COLTS HAVE THE BALL
The quarterback is named Peyton. He’ll be the fellow gesticulating wildly before each play and draining the play clock down. The television announcers will probably talk about him a lot. Anyway, he’s the best in the game. Without a hearty running game — Joseph Addai and Donald Brown might not factor much into the outcome today — Manning drove this offense to 16 victories this year. In fact, the Colts won every game in which the starters played throughout. The offensive line protects Manning well and he has extraordinary pocket sense. So how will Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams attack him? He pledged to blitz earlier during the pregame hoopla. But with Manning, it’s usually boom or bust.
If the Saints blitz Manning, as the Jets did in the AFC Championship Game, they can get burned. If you settle into coverage and just rush four, as the Ravens often did in the divisional round, Manning can pick you apart and gobble chunks of yards. New Orleans’ lead cornerback, Jabari Greer, will probably track Reggie Wayne for most of the game. So expect Manning, as he did against the Jets, to look to wideouts Pierre Garcon and Austin Collie.
The big stage used to be Bush’s place. Back at USC, he excelled when the camera lights burned. Sunday night, Saints fans hope he displays the form he had there — or in the NFC Divisional round against Arizona, when his 83-yard punt return TD closed the proceedings. The Colts can’t counter with a similar game-breaker. Indy’s Chad Simpson is serviceable, but nothing special. Interestingly enough, both teams switched their kickers during midseason. New Orleans dumped longtime vet John Carney for Garrett Hartley (who kicked New Orleans into the Super Bowl) and Indianapolis scooped up 42-year-old Matt Stover after Adam Vinatieri underwent midseason knee surgery.
ONE MORE THING
The Colts and Saints both played in Miami this season against the Dolphins. Both teams won, although it wasn’t easy. In Week 2, the Dolphins held the ball for more than 45 minutes against the Colts. But they kept accumulating field goals, and Manning’s 48-yard scoring strike to Garcon gave Indianapolis a 27-23 victory. In late October, New Orleans roared back from a 24-3 first-half deficit to win a 46-34 shootout. Brees threw a TD, ran for two more and the defense returned two picks for scores.
By Andy McCullough/The Star-Ledger
February 07, 2010, 9:00AM