Deke: Jim Henderson likes what he sees in 2014 Saints
by Deke Bellavia,posted Jul 30 2014 5:19PM
He’s as good at what he does as anyone in the profession. He has been covering the New Orleans Saints for 35 years, and as he enters year 36, he knows that this year’s version of the team has a chance to be special.
When I asked him about what has changed since he first took over the mic, Jim Henderson told me “the expectations have gotten much greater over the years.” When I asked Jim why he thinks the Saints have become one of the most popular teams in sports today, he pointed out a few things. "The Saints have played so many nationally televised games recently, And everyone loves Drew. Everybody loves the style of football the Saints play. They love the televised home games in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. As we very well know, the Saints have a very colorful fan base and they win at home."
For those of you keeping count, the Who Dat Nation can brag with the best of them when it comes to protecting their home turf. The Saints are an impressive 31-9 at home in the 'Dome since 2009, including perfect home records in 2011 and 2013.
Jim thinks the rest of the world has many reasons to be encouraged about the 2014 Saints. "This is an easy team to root for. It's a good bunch of guys, there is great amount of talent, and when you look at the roster and the additions they have made, everybody is encouraged at this point. You would have to think that this is a team that is going to be a championship caliber team."
So what does Jim think the club is focusing on going into this season? "There is a re-commitment to the running game. When you look back at last season, running the football when you have to run the football to control the game is something the team has harped on." Jim thinks there are going to be games when the Saints have to deal with bad weather, and being able to run the ball in those conditions is important.
Jim says when you look at what the Saints have done by adding a players like Jairus Byrd and Brandin Cooks, the Black and Gold will be better. How much better? "They were close last year... when you look at how the Saints finished the season a year ago (23-15 loss to Seattle), and then look at what Seattle did to Denver in the Super Bowl, I think that re-enforces how close the Saints are to being as good as any team in the NFL."
On Sundays when I co-host "Countdown to Kickoff," every analyst, reporter and broadcaster always acknowledges how good and how professional Jim Henderson is. He's not flashy, he's not over-the-top and he damn sure ain't arrogant. Jim Henderson knows when to get excited, he knows all the right words to say and when to say them, and he's a humble man that many of us are just grateful to work with.
He's not trying to be anything other than who he is, and he's calling the games of one of the best teams in sports. So as the Saints get set to start the season, we can all get a little more excited, hyped and amped up that the man with the smooth delivery and golden touch behind the mic will guide the Who Dat Nation on another ride. And this ride could be one that does not end until early February!