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Clearing the Tubes

Here's what writers from around the internet are saying about the Saints:

Mike Triplett, Times Picayune:

A year ago, these Saints were labeled a "Team of Destiny." Their march deep into the playoffs was as magical as it was improbable, as if their fate had been pre-determined and nothing could stand in their way.

Well, that's exactly what this season feels like. Only it's exactly the opposite. [...] Apparently the Saints had not yet hit rock bottom before Sunday's embarrassing performance, because they reached a new low in this one.

They had dozens of opportunities to take a big lead against the equally woeful Panthers (3-2) in a game in which it appeared each of the division rivals was almost begging the other to win.

Mike Tanier, Football Outsiders:

Saints in a nutshell:

  • The offensive tackles aren’t playing well.
  • Everyone is dropping passes.
  • The game plans are really fussy. All of the spread-formation, pick-and-wipe plays put a lot of pressure on Brees and the receivers to execute perfectly.
  • The receivers just aren’t that good. We canonized Colston a little early last year.

I got picked apart on a couple of radio shows for putting Sean Payton and Eric Mangini in a 10th place tie for Best Coaching Staff on FOX this summer. I defended myself by saying that the first year is easy: Your scheme is new to opponents; your style is new to the players. The NFL is built for teams to jump out and go 10-6 after a bad year if they have a decent coach and a few good players. Talk to me when you sustain some success. And while I am impressed by both Payton and Mangini, that’s where I am at now: Show me how you bounce back, how you stop the bleeding. I expected more from the Saints this week.

Ken Moll,

The Saints won this game in every area except the final score. Coach Sean Payton had an effective game plan that got the ball to RB Reggie Bush in several ways and made the Panthers defend him on all levels, and Bush was effective on the perimeter as both a runner and receiver. Payton called flares and sweeps to get Bush in space and create mismatches. New Orleans had several methodical drives that controlled the clock, but two miscues in the fourth quarter doomed the Saints. A blocked field goal due to defensive penetration and a low kick by the banged-up Olindo Mare, plus a late interception, let the Panthers steal the win on the road.