I have to admit I have been in a black and gold haze of sorts after watching yet another season come to it's end in Chicago last Thursday. It's taken me more than a week to go through the five stages of grief following the death of the 2008 season:
- Denial (Sedrick Ellis did not just sack Orton.)
- Anger (F&$%ing Roman Harper!)
- Bargaining (If Robbie Gould misses this field goal I will never say anything bad about Josh Bullocks ever again.)
- Depression (I'm done being a Saints fan.)
Now a week later I have reached the final stage: Acceptance. It's over and there is nothing you or I can do about it. I'm used to it by now. We all are. There's always next year, right?
But wait! It turns out there is actually a sixth stage of grief when it comes to mourning the Saints.
It strikes when there are still a few games remaining on the schedule but no chance of making the playoffs. I just don't care anymore. I still love the Saints but could care less whether they win or lose. Even if it is to winless Detroit. In fact, I would find that amusing. So I say give Brees the green light. Go nuts and just start slinging the ball. Third and 1? Screen pass. FIrst and 10. Go deep. Who cares! Let Payton live his dream and finish what he started. Give Drew a fighting chance to make the Hall of Fame after his career is over because his Superbowl record certainly won't cut it if he stays here in New Orleans. I congratulate Payton for finally finding the running game these last few weeks but it was too little too late. So now it's time to forget all of that and get back to the pass-happy brand of football we hated so much back in September because...well...why not? Let's see this offense get as unbalanced as possible.
While I'm rambling...regardless of whether Payton and Brees do go for the record it's nice to know the Saints may have finally found the answer to their running woes. Could we be seeing the beginning of what will be the long and fruitful reign of Pierre Thomas as the number one back of this team? Reggie is done for the season. Deuce has been a shell of his former self since the middle of this season and we are now learning that he is still not 100%. Now is Pierre's time to shine. Thomas has been impressive as of late and shows no signs of slowing down these final two games. If he takes advantage of this situation by playing as well as expected than it might finally be enough to earn some overdue respect from Payton. It definitely says a lot that Payton didn't sign another running back when Reggie was placed on IR this week. Only Mike Bell is left on the roster behind a questionable Deuce. Payton, who was shopping running backs earlier this season, seems to have much more trust in Thomas at this point in the year than he did earlier. He's a slow learner but Payton also seems to be grasping this whole crazy notion of a "balanced offense" which definitely works in Pierre's favor. Add a little tension between Reggie Bush and Payton last week and we have the possible makings of a new running back era.
Pierre controls his destiny.