Eh, I just can't help it. It's too easy for me. I've seen so many football games over the years that I really can't be all that concerned by a couple of losses on the road by total of 5 points. And even still, it took a Colston fumble and a Brees pick 6 for the Saints to lose those games. Oh, yeah. The Brees interception that some folks forget about while yapping about the defense.
A pal of mine on CSC sent me an email after the game saying that the Saints will most likely have to score 40+ points on the road to guarantee a win. I suggested that he shouldn't fall into that trap of thinking because without Brees' pick-6, the Saints win that game without having to score 30, let alone 40.
Yeah, the team is facing some adversity. But, the fun part for me right now will be watching them overcome this adversity and continue to thrive. I've seen it happen in the NFL far too many times, by lesser teams than what we have, to think otherwise. And until someone blows the final whistle in a game that eliminates the Saints from playoff contention, or ends their playoff run, I will continue to have the exact same expectations for the team as I've always had.
What? So, the only kind of team worth believing in, is a team that's always out in front? Okay. I understand quite a few folks roll like that. Not everyone is built to carry the same load. But, it's gonna take a lot more than a couple of losses on the road by game winning FGs in overtime and the final seconds of regulation to get me shook.
Sure, there's some things that need to be addressed, but there's 14 games left to do something about it. Starting with the first home game of the year. There's no better medicine than a dose of the "Superdome Saints" to get the team in the win column. And with that line of thinking, here a few quick observations that I've noticed about the team.
The defense did not enter the regular season "game ready". The NFL has changed a lot over the last few decades and one of the biggest changes is how much work starters get in the preseason. I understand why. Unlike decades past, football is a multi-billion dollar industry in which a team's assets need to be protected. Watching your best players drop like flies in meaningless preseason games is not a good way to protect your investment.
There's a fine line that any team walks in how much work to give your best players without risking injury. That's why you see so much upheaval during the first 4 games of the regular season EVERY year. Pretenders, with nice shiny records which impress their fans and the talking heads media. Contenders, who get off to slow starts which worry their fans while the talking heads pull so-called analysis outta their asses to explain why a team's season might be over.
But, inevitably, just like clockwork, those pretenders, one-by-one, fall back to earth and show their true losing colors, while the real contenders rise back to the top. Hit it, Mr. Byrne (Same as it ever was!).
The reason for this is that bad teams usually have a busload of new players competing for starting jobs (because the current ones suck) and a coaching staff (new or incumbent) with something to prove. They wanna get off to a fast start to show everyone how things are now different.
The good teams (the ones who've been good for a while, not the one-season wonders) usually have more to protect, and have a mentality of not wanting to give anything way (plays/schemes) and their focus is mostly on getting their team to the regular season healthy. That's why you'll see the starters from the better teams rarely on the field together during preseason games as the coaching staff is more concerned with managing player health than "setting a tone" for the regular season.
Last year, the Saints, from ownership on down to the ball boys and hot dog vendors had a chip on their shoulders and had something to prove coming back from TSTNH. So did Rob Ryan after getting fired in Dallas. There was so much emphasis on getting things done, setting a tone, and getting off to a good start.
This season, while everyone was salivating over the offseason acquisitions (FA/Draft), and looking to build on last season's return to contention, the biggest worry was keeping everyone healthy. There wasn't the same focus and intensity in training camp or in the preseason games. That chip was gone. Replaced by a sense of "we got this". Junior Galette was talking a whole lotta s*** in his tweets this offseason. Hell, he was talking so much smack that you could actually understand some of what he was saying.
Anyway, that's how good teams can sometimes lay eggs to start a season. Happens every year to some really good squads. But, good teams usually get their act together (unless there's some major injuries), and by the end of the season, they're right back where they were before. Contenders.
And then there's that big ol' no-covering elephant in the room. New Orleans, we have a PRoblem. Um, is Champ's foot healed yet?
Unfortunately, my only reservation about Mr. Robinson (what's between his ears) seems to be proving out. This kid has too many plays where he's completely LOST on the field. And I've seen it time and time again in which a coaching staff gives a guy so many breaks because of his outstanding physical talent. Folks, PRob looks really good running fast and making plays in practice. It's the same delusion they suffered with Martez Wilson because of his freakish physical talent. But, Wilson wasn't a 1st round pick like Robinson so they didn't waste as much time on him.
Personally, I'm sick of hearing about PRob's "confidence" issues. I mean, damn, is he a football player or a Cialis patient?
The Saints are dealing with some personnel issues on defense from decisions they made during the preseason. And I do know that FFRR is continuing to scheme his defense to cover up for the Saints weaknesses in the secondary. But, unlike TSTNH in which SpagNOdefense was left alone to his own devices to continue stinking up joint, Sean Payton is actually around to put a foot in someone's ass until it gets fixed.
Unless, maybe you thought Payton was screaming at Ryan on the sidelines because he continually refuses to take CrossFit classes? (The preceding joke was brought to you courtesy of HansDat)
Similar to the defense, the offense spent more time trying to figure out Ryan Griffin and Luke McCown, and giving ol' Andy another shot, than sharpening their knives for the kill during the preseason. They're a good offense right now. They're just not a great one.
Good offenses can gain yards and score some points, which is exactly what the Saints offense has done thru two games. But, great offenses can move the ball and score points when they HAVE to. They move down the field and close a game out when they smell blood in the water. They don't move the ball to the opposing team's 30 yard line with 3:30 remaining in the game and then proceed to move backwards and end up NOT even getting a FG let alone the game clinching TD that they should have scored.
So, yeah, they're a good offense right now. But, they're not great. Yet.
Meh, it's a long season. The Saints will be fine. And for those of you who don't think so, well then, just clench up your butt cheeks, slap on a fresh diaper, and wait to see how things play out.