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Welcome back

To that same old place that you laughed about

Well the names have all changed since you hung around

But those dreams have remained and they've turned around

Who'd have thought they'd lead ya

(who'd have thought they'd lead ya)

Back here where we need ya

(back here where we need ya)

-John Sebastian

Couldn't have said it better myself.

By now we've all overcome the minor shock of the news that seemed to come from nowhere last night. The Saints have brought back kicker John Carney after a two year hiatus from the team and Garrett Hartley appears to be suspended the first four games of the 2009 season. Yet amidst all the surprise and sheer confusion, nobody seems to be shouting for joy from the higest mountain about this most wonderful turn of events. Let me be the first.

This is freakin's sweet!

Sure, I'm a little nervous and a wee bit frustrated because this reeks of the same stench as all of the other failed chapters in what has been a never ending saga to gain consistency in the kicking game these last two years but, hell, Carney is coming off a Pro-Bowl season. What more could you want?

We obviously don't know the circumstances behind Hartley's suspension and we definitely don't know how this will effect his standing with the organization. The cover story, of course, is that this move was just to create a little competition in camp...

"We're always looking to increase the depth and competition at every position on our roster, and bringing John in certainly allows us to do that."

...and that's certainly a wise move that I have no problem with but considering the looming suspension of Hartley, it seems about as coincidental as the release of a long snapper following a bad business deal. It sounds, at least, as though they're going to keep him around to compete through training camp.

So it will be interesting now to watch what happens during camp between Carney and Hartley. If the suspension is upheld, JC will defintely be the Saints kicker for the first quarter of the season. What happens after that, however, is now up for discussion. To be sure, Carney is a short-term solution and the Saints should continue looking beyond this year. I personally would like to see the team keep Hartley around, possibly using him for kickoffs and some of the longer stuff. He has been perfect so far in the regular season and to begin doubting after the single missed field goal Friday night would be a bit harsh and unfair. He nailed the 54-yarder. But I firmly believe that if Carney starts the season, he also finshes it, which is exactly what the Saints need. Carney's accuracy and consistency provide one of the few missing pieces to the championship puzzle.

Remember that Payton has already acknowledged his mistake of letting John Carney go the first time around...

I’ve said this before and looking back at the success that John (Carney) had with us, you don’t take it for granted but in hindsight we wouldn’t have made that move and it’s alright to acknowledge that.

Hindsight, as they say, is 20/20 and Sean Payton is getting one of those rare second chances that don't come around too often for coaches in this league. Surely he's learned his lesson that accuracy and consistency always trump distance in terms of the kicking game. So would he really be foolish enough to take Carney for granted...again?