For four months, New Orleans was under siege by an unrelenting force that battered, beat, and washed over the age old embattlements that protected the hopes of those who call her home. I'm not talking about the waters of Lake Pontchartrain or the levees, I'm talking about the Saints' opposing offenses.
In a season that was embroiled with scandal, the Saints made their mark on the history books with a rather dubious distinction. Their defense allowed more yards (7,042) than any other team in the history of the NFL. Far be it from me to pinpoint where the problem in the defense lied. That is in part because the whole defense was awful from the word go.
The Saints' defense reminds of a time when I was a child riding home from the store with my mother. In one of the bags was a dozen eggs. In that dozen, there was a rotten one that stunk up the whole car until we found it and threw it from our sights. This Saints defense, like my mothers car, has done nothing but stink from the onset of the season. They gave the Kansas City Chiefs one of their only two wins for the entire season. They also surrendered a win to the winless Carolina Panthers at the time.
There aren't many bright spots on this defense. The images of goal line stands against the Atlanta Falcons and Tampa Bay Buccaneers come to mind. Those are easily erased by images of Saints cornerbacks being torched by Robert Griffin III, Colin Kaepernick, and the Manning brothers.
What should be done? Do the Saints get rid of Scott Shanle, Jonathan Vilma and Roman Harper? Maybe the Saints drop off Sederick Ellis at the corner and keep on rolling? There are an infinite numbers of options on the table for the defense.
If the Saints are truly serious about fixing their historically bad defense then getting rid of Steve Spagnuolo should be on the table. According to at least one anonymous Saints player, that's exactly what this defense would like to see happen.
Once considered one to the brightest defensive minds, Spagnuolo has yet to see the success he achieved in New York with the Giants. Considering the situation with the Saints defense, now would be the perfect time for the team to pick up a fired head coach who was once a defensive genius. Romeo Crennel and Lovie Smith come to mind and are looking for work. Would the Saints be faulted for dumping Spagnuolo after the season he just steered the Saints down? I, for one, wouldn't blame Mickey Loomis or the front office for parting ways with Spagnuolo.
But would this be a prudent move? Consider this: If the Saints find themselves one or two wins short of the Super Bowl or playoffs next season because of the defense, will it be time then? If the answer is yes, then who would be available to replace Spagnuolo? You can almost bet that the names available this off-season won't be there next off-season.
But there is one giant name that may be available next off-season that isn't there right now: Rex Ryan. Or as I so lovingly call him, Wrecks Ryan. If the Jets' 2013 season is anything similar to their 2012 campaign, then Ryan would be out the door. It that was to happen, then would the Saints be looking to bring Ryan in?
The future of this Saints defensive squad is up in the air. It is anyone's guess as to who stays and who goes. One thing is for sure. When one finds themselves with a whole carton full of rotten or cracked eggs, they are hard pressed not to just throw them all out.