It's a word that gets thrown out a lot from year to year in discussions about teams in the NFL. The dictionary defines it as:
1. equality, as in amount, status, or character.
2. equivalence; correspondence; similarity; analogy
In NFL terms, this means if you favorite football team sucks even they have a chance at redemption and winning the Superbowl the next year. If your favorite team was good then it means nothing, as in life, is guaranteed and they might find themselves scraping the bottom of the barrel the following year. The NFC South has been a great example of this concept over the last few years. With the exception of last year, the division has seen teams go from worst to first at least four years in a row. While the Saints were a middle of the road team last season, their offense was nothing short of spectacular. So if you're a believer of the parity concept then you'd be justified in worrying about the success of the Saints offense in 2009. It would also be fair to believe that the Saints defense could actually turn things around and rise to the top.
But while the overhaul of the Saints defense has received most of the attention this off-season, it's the offense that seems to be getting taken for granted. Compared to the defensive side of the ball, very litte has been done to improve the offense this off-season as the organization has taken a somewhat laissez fare attitude. If it ain't broke, don't fix it seems to be the motto and I don't blame them.
But is that a mistake?
Jeff Duncan's vlog was what planted the seed for this post in my head when he said this:
The defense is really challenging the offense. It's someting you really didn't see a lot under Gary Gibbs as defensive coordinator.
He noted that during offense vs. defense drills it was the offense that initially got the better of their defensive counterpart until Williams and his unit began making plays and challenging Drew Brees and company. This led me to wonder if an improved defense might actually help push the Saints offense to improve as well and not become complacent. After all, if the Saints managed to put together the best offense in the league while practicing against one of the worst defenses in the league on a daily basis, just think what they can accomplish now facing a decent defense every day.
But if parity truly does exist in the NFL, is it possible for the Saints to have the number one offense in the league again? If not, how much of a drop off can we expect? Will an improved defense help stave off a contented offense and keep them from being presumptuous. Or will the offense fall victim to neglect this season? So many questions. So much time. It's an important discussion and one that I think needs to be had. Maintaining their high-powered offense while simultaneously improving their defense by leaps and bounds would no doubt be a formula for success but also seems too good to be true.
After all...it is the Saints.