At some point, the dust from the Saints bounty scandal will settle. As the Patriots can tell you from their Spygate experiences, it will never quite go away. As far as the immediate future is concerned, things will probably get worse before they get better in New Orleans. Gregg Williams’ disturbing playoff speech that was released last week can in a way be considered the climax of the situation, but former and current players will continue to weigh in throughout the offseason.
Some former Saints and players from other Williams programs have acknowledged that the bounty programs existed, while others claim to know nothing about it. Former New Orleans defensive lineman Hollis Thomas, who was with the team from 2006-2008, tried to find a middle ground when discussing the bounties. His explanation was a bit puzzling.
“It’s a pool. It’s not even a bounty, it’s a pool that you put in,” Hollis said during an interview with 97.5 The Fanatic in Philadelphia. “And it’s like every defense on any team, you all have a set of goals. No. 1 goal is to hold the team to 17 points or less, get two turnovers, hit the quarterback at least five or six times and have two sacks. No explosive runs and no explosive passes. And the final one is win, win, win. Do all of that, you might have some different criteria for the defensive guys, like quarterback hits are worth this, kill shots are worth this. You know? But everybody keeps saying bounty — it’s pretty much a pool.”
Prior to those comments, Thomas said “stuff wasn’t going on” when he played with the Saints. In other words, he’s arguing that there is a big difference between paying someone for a “kill shot” and running a bounty program. Am I missing something?
In a way I see his point. Thomas is trying to say guys were given an incentive to level their opponent in a legal fashion. Hard hits are a part of football. The bounty scandal has made people forget that the premise of football involves trying to hurt your opponent. You want to hit someone so hard that the ball comes loose or that they think twice before catching a pass over the middle. I get all that, I just think he could have done a much better job of explaining it than trying to argue that there were pools that paid players for “kill shots” but certainly not bounties. To-may-toe, to-mah-toe.
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