Today we have a special treat for the online community of Who Dat Nation and a new feature.
Not too long ago I got the incredibly intelligent idea of combining the finest consortium of football minds the sport has ever known to get together and discuss the most pressing issues of the game. It just so happened that these great minds all had one thing in common: they all write blogs about the New Orleans Saints! Together, we represent the finest Saints coverage on the internet that is anything but mainstream and combined, our powers are stronger.
And so I present to you what I have named - at least temporarily - The Who Dat Pack. This name is still up in the air and definitely open to suggestion. So if you've got one, let us hear it! The idea behind it is simple. Every so often, we will all get together and discuss a particularly hot topic as it relates to the black and gold. We also encourage you to throw out any topics that you would like us to discuss. Our first topic will be hosted here at Canal Street Chronicles but in the interest of fairness, future topics may be hosted at any of our other member websites.
Before we get started I would like to introduce you to our Super Group:
Nola Chick - From the popular all-girl blog Chicks in the Huddle. Nola Chick is known for her awesome insider interviews and her witty Saints banter with a female twist.
Mr. Held Over - Hakim may have dropped the ball but Mr. Held never does. CSC's weekly game predictor always has a lot to say on his own blog, HakimDropsTheBall!
Grandmaster Wang - You guys know him from his incredibly funny blog MooseDenied and his insightful commenting here on CSC. The guy is straight funny!
Chef Who Dat - Whether he's shouting and screaming on Lee Circle before home games or banging the roof of section 641 in the Dome, the Chef always has something funny cooking at Chef Who Dat.
So without further ado, let's jump right into our first topic and you could probably guess what this one's about: the one, the only Gary Gibbs. I posed the same question to everyone and compiled our responses: Do you think Gary Gibbs should be the defensive coordinator for the Saints in 2009? Why or why not? If so, do you have any suggestion for his replacement? Below you will find part one of our roundtable discussion which includes commentary from Mr. Held Over and Chef Who Dat. The rest of our discussion will be found tomorrow and you won't want to miss it.
First up, I don't have some Xs and Os skill that maybe other fans do. I watch the ball most of the time and when I'm not doing that I like to watch and see what the wide receivers and the secondary are doing on their respective side of the ball. I can only go with results and what I observe and feel over a given time.
All that said I do not believe the Saints will get rid of defensive coordinator Gary Gibbs. This is in no way an endorsement of Gary Gibbs. I believe he needs to go for the good of the franchise.
Some fans would point to 2008 as the key reason why Gibbs should be let go. After all, the Saints ranked 23rd overall in defense, 23rd against the pass and 17th against the rush. Actually, the Saints defense this year was a marked-albeit slight-improvement over their 2007 campaign, where they ranked 26th overall in defense (30th versus the pass, 13th against the run).
I believe Gary Gibbs should be fired for the regression the team took following the 2006 miracle season. We all remember Fred Thomas as public enemy number one in the secondary, but our passing defense that year was third in the NFL. Third. Our rushing defense obviously left something to be desired - we ranked 23rd. It was the defense that helped propel us to the NFC Championship. And no, I'm not trying to avoid praising the offense - far from it. Our offense for the last three years has been above average and I believe it will stay that way for the next two or three years, barring serious injuries or personnel moves.
The thing that will take this team back to the playoffs and to the Super Bowl is, at the very least, an average defense. Looking back, we had a good defense in 2006. We had an awful defense in 2007 and a mediocre at best squad this year. This offense does not have time to wait for the defense to be good enough.
But again, I don't think Gibbs will be going anywhere.
According to my "Guy Who Knows a Guy," Sean Payton is fiercely loyal to Gary Gibbs for coming over with him from Dallas in 2006. Payton has already tried to put some of the onus on defensive line coach Ed Orgeron, who is bolting for a college job at the University of Tennessee. You could point to the fact that our rushing numbers dipped from 2007 to 2008 and that the team recorded fewer sacks as well, but Orgeron was widely credited with the development of top draft pick Sedrick Ellis. From what I've been told, Payton is much like his mentor Bill Parcells in that he has something of an ego as being the head coach. Maybe that 2006 campaign spoiled him in terms of immediate success, but Coach Payton is going to stick with his defensive coordinator and hope to make some minor adjustments and tweaks in the off-season.
So far, the only substantive problem with Coach Payton's leadership is that he has a tendency to remain too loyal to some people: Olindo Mare, Martin Gramatica, Jeremy Shockey, Gary Gibbs. Loyalty is a noble quality to have, and maybe guys who're in their first head coaching gig feel that pressure to stay loyal in greater amounts, but what I do know is that Jim Haslett lost the fans of New Orleans for being loyal to Aaron Brooks and his defensive coordinator (he who shall not be named) when he should have been both smart and shrewd enough to make the necessary changes. It remains to be seen if Sean Payton possesses a high level of shrewdness necessary to make it as a successful head coach.
Fire Gary Gibbs at your own risk. When Gibbs goes, bless his mediocre heart, so go some things Who Dats have come to count on. Jason David swatting at flies? Yes, there's that. And Kyle friggin' Orton winning ballgames too. But before we cut ties, perhaps we should consider what else Gibbs has given us besides 7-9, 8-8, and scrotal discomfort. Here's a short list:
1. Frozen ticket prices in 2009. That's all Gibbs.
2. Commitment to the post-play celebration. Gibbs never lets his linemen be stuntin' (like my daddy), but his mediocre corps brought more than one smile to the Upper Terrace after the rare sack or pick.
3. The douche bag for our hot chick. It's scientifically proven that when the planets align correctly (usually during MTV's Spring Break), every db gets a hc. In fact, the life-altering success of HCWDB goes to great pains every day to prove it. But what do we do, Who Dats, when our hot chick (aka Drew Brees and our record-setting offense) loses her douche bag (aka Posse de Gibbs)?
Hey, fire the guy if you wanna. I just wonder if we're ready to pay more for tickets, watch the ordinary high five and ass slap, and drool over a defense every bit as sexy as our offense.
Stay tuned for part two of our roundtable discussion on Gary Gibbs coming tomorrow and read responses from The Grandmaster, Nola Chick and myself! And please let us all know what you think of this post in the comment section. Finally, if you're not already checking out each of our individual blogs on our a regular basis it's never too late to start.