So far Goodell has hurt the Saints considerably. He has sent a message- a strong one at that. The message was received loudly and clearly not only by the Saints, but by the whole league. The coaches and GM that have been suspended have been devestated in more ways than one. But, the Saints, as they stand, can still be competitive this year. Unless certain things happen or don't happen.
Now comes the really important stuff. This is where you can devestate the entire fanbase of a team. In fact it can involve many teams. I haven't tallied the numbers, but clearly there are ex- Saints defensive players around the league on many different rosters. Depending on the Saints players who get suspended and for how many games, it can make the difference if this season is a total waste or a season worth buying into with your whole heart and soul.
I am hopeful there will be fines but minimal suspensions or no suspensions. I am hoping that Goodell sees he can really screw up a bunch innocent teams' rosters and plans with suspensions. The message has been set. Perhaps the sanctions against management has been so severe because of this.
It is my opinion that the Saints offense will continue to be powerful this season (assuming Brees is signed and plays) even without Payton. I am sure that Carmichael and Brees can conspire to run the offense at a high level. And we are very lucky to have Spagnoulo who is a master defensive coach and also has head coaching experience. Joe Vitt wil be back after 6 games. If we don''t get whacked as far as defensive suspensions, we have a considerable amount of decent players on that side of the ball to be competitive. We still have a very suspect pass rush (which means Romeus has to step up- this is not an optional thing anymore), and Galetta, Will Smith , etal will have to be better than last year. I am confident Broderick Bunkley will be an big asset. And, the emphasis on trades/pickups/ draft/ undrafted free agents will be linebacker (sign London Fletcher!) . But, all things considered, if we are not in a situation where multiple starters are playing muliple game suspensions, we can survive. As I said, though, if Goodell whacks us, we are in for a long season.