This is beginning to feel a lot like the 2007 season in which fan expectations were soaring high for the team to build upon their 10-6 record and 2006 NFC Championship, but those hopes were quickly vanished by the team's 0-4 start.
I know each season is different but their just seems to be an eery similarity between 2007 and 2012. The Saints ended up winning seven of their remaining twelve games and continued on the rebuilding process leading up to the 2012 Super Bowl Championship.
It has been said that repeating as champions is much more difficult than becoming a champion. This certainly has been true in the case of the Saints as they have been knocked out in the playoffs twice since winning the Super Bowl in '09. Unlike the Steelers of the 70's, the 49ers of the 80's and the Cowboys of the early 90's, it is much harder for a team to become a dynasty because of the way the NFL is structured now to set up better parity across the league. Yet dating back to 2000, the Patriots have won three Super Bowls, while the Steelers and Giants have each won two apiece.
The Saints are fortunate to possess one of the NFL's most valued commidities-an elite quarterback. Although there have been exceptions in recent years (see Trent Dilfer), winning a Super Bowl without an elite quarterback, especially in today's pass happy NFL, is nearly impossible. It is why the Saints finally paid so much to resign Drew Brees. Because with Brees, the chance to repeat as champions is always there. The way he plays and the way he carries himself, it just seems evident that he has another Lombardi Trophy in him.
Yet, despite as good as Brees has, he is not a one man show. Regardless of how much we build up individual players up to be, it is still a team game. Brees can continue to produce huge passing numbers, but until the defense gets better, the Saints will not be going to anymore Super Bowls, or even the playoffs. Unfortunately, this challenge was made even harder to overcome by bountygate. What was already a team weakness, was further decimated by the bountygate charges and punishment. In addition to the suspension of Vilma and the taking away of draft choices, I also think the removal of Joe Vitt as full time linebacker coach has also hurt the team.
While all through the Summer and preseason, Saints players have said all the right things about the importance of staying focused and only working on what they can control. However, their performance in their first two games speaks differently. The quest for winning another Super Bowl under the Drew Brees era seems to have gotten much more difficult. But, then again, the team and the city has already overcome obstacles much greater.