With players required to report to training camp tomorrow, today is officially the last day of the 2008 offseason. I think I speak for many Saints fans when I say that this has been one of the best and most hopeful Saints offseasons in recent memory.
It seems you may have realized the same thing we the fans have known for a while; championships don't just happen.
I applaud you for having the bravery and self-awareness to notice our teams flaws, face them head on, and counter it by making bold moves to immediately alleviate the Saints inadequacy's. It takes a lot of courage to recognize one's own shortcomings and even more courage to do something about it. For years we, the fans, have sat idly by as we watched you make poor decision after poor decision. This offseason has been a breath of fresh air and serves as an example of what good teams do to try and become great.
We desperately needed help in our backfield and you delivered Randall Gay, Aaron Glenn and Tracy Porter. The team needed a play-making linebacker and you brought us Vilma (You couldn't predict Morgan's retirement). The Giants proved a strong pass rush is necessary for success and you responded by getting Bobby McCray and locking up Will Smith. At draft time, you guys didn't take a wait and see attitude, hoping the right pick would fall in your lap. Twice you traded up to get the exact guy you were going for. Finally, when all of us assumed the roster was set and we prepared for training camp, you made one last move and pulled the trigger on a trade that brings Jeremy Shockey into the fold. I will assume you are not dumb enough to let Colston leave.
Whether you realize that this is probably the best chance this city has ever had at bringing home a Superbowl or you are just sick and tired of being a running joke in this league, mission accomplished.
If the team you have worked so tirelessly to put together this summer turns out only to be great on paper, I don't think this team and its fans would have the right to blame you. None of this guarantees a championship, I understand. You guys can only do so much and its all up to the players from this point on. But if the teams on-field success does not match what is expected and victory eludes us once again, I think it is safe to say it would not be fair for you to share very much of the blame.
I know this letter may be premature with training camp not even underway, but a Who Dat just can't help but be excited. I also know we have been here before, as this time last year had me filled with the same feelings; but last summers attempts to better this team pale in comparison to the assertiveness you have shown this year.
So to Tom Benson, Rita Benson-LeBlanc, Mickey Loomis, Sean Payton, Khai Harley and the entire Saints staff, once again, thank you for your efforts this offseason.
Saints in '08!!
Your fellow Who Dat,
Canal Street Chronicles