Well...it was bound to happen. One of these days, the guys over at the Times-Pic would actually write an insightful article that was surprisingly thought provoking. Jeff Duncan nailed it with his latest article titled, "Missteps after 2006 season sent New Orleans Saints sliding backward."
In five words or less the article can be summed up like this: The Saints %*&$^ up. Duncan puts it more politely because, well, he has to...
The 2007 offseason set back the club's plans a full year and contributed to the 7-9/8-8 results the past two seasons.
No matter how you slice it, he speaks the truth. The 2007 off-season is proving to be a complete bust. Of the fourteen players acquired that year only six of them are still on the team. David Patten, Olindo Mare, David Jones, Kevin Kaesviharn, Brian Simmons, Andy Alleman, Antonio Pittman and Eric Johnson are now all gone due to various reasons. Troy Evans, Jermon Bushrod and Marvin Mitchell have still yet to truly make an impact, leaving Jason David, Usama Young and Robert Meachem as the only three players of significance on the roster from the 2007 class. Even that is debatable.
Duncan, however, thinks the class of 2008 shows promise.
The good news is the club got back on track last year. Vilma and Shockey joined free agents Randall Gay and Bobby McCray and rookies Porter, Hartley, Sedrick Ellis, Carl Nicks and Glenn Pakulak to give the Saints an impressive core of young starters.
That might very well be truel but, as Bill Parcells is famously noted for saying, a team is only as good as their record. With an 8-8 record, the Saints 2008 off-season hasn't proved anything yet. Better than 2007? That would seem to be the case. But is it safe to say the Saints are out of the woods and on the right track? Not so fast.
We've got no idea down what road the next season will travel. If it turns out to be yet another one of those mediocre outputs we're used to seeing than the 2007 off-season won't be viewed as a singular set back soley responsible for a franchise's downfall, rather just a continuation of a tradition of failure. Have the 2008 and 2009 off-seasons erased the misakes of previous years? Can the Saints finally break their culture of losing? It's certainly too early to tell.