NEW ORLEANS - OCTOBER 31: Heath Evans #44 of the New Orleans Saints celebrates a first down during the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at the Louisiana Superdome on October 31 2010 in New Orleans Louisiana. (Photo by Matthew Sharpe/Getty Images)
"If Drew Brees is there, then this lion doesn't need protection, just unlock the cage and it'll come."
These words spoken by former Saints and Patriots fullback Heath Evans are describing just how intrinsic Drew Brees is to the New Orleans Saints. He goes on to say, "That's what we were in 2007 [with New England], and that's what the Saints are capable of. People think I'm crazy, but if Drew is there and he's happy and healthy, they are a 10-12 win team, even if the defense gives up 20 points a game. And with Steve Sapnuolo there, they aren't gonna give up 20 points a game."
Evans is referring to his 2007 season with the New England Patriots, the year they were hit with the Spygate scandal, and relating it to the Saints current position following Bountygate, saying they are more than capable of turning the negatives that have been bestowed upon them into a positive.
As you may or may not know the Patriots scorched through the regular season undefeated following Spygate and would go on to lose to the New York Giants in the Super Bowl, one game shy of a perfect season. The Pats punishment for their scandal (the loss of their first round pick in the draft) may not have been nearly as harsh as all the suspensions dealt to the Saints, but the team still has the necessary pieces to be successful through adversity. The organization has a great coaching staff, great players, and is built on great core values.
But it goes without saying, Drew Brees must first be re-signed in order for there to be a successful season. He runs the show around Metairie, so without him it is far from the usual. Once he returns to training activities, the team will begin to bond and mesh like they are supposed to.
The quote by Heath is nothing but the truth. The Saints' high octane offense is too much for opponents to handle and the defense will be new and improved next year. They'll also have the "us against the world" chip on their shoulder. Critics have been bagging on the Saints, portraying them as the bad guys. Next season will be their chance to fight back and show the rest of the league that they shouldn't have messed with them. If the team can channel this negative energy and use it to their advantage, this lion won't be tamed.