It was all right there for the Saints. All they had to do was take it. True to form, just like every season in the NFL, some of the pretenders are already starting to fall back to earth. Some of the good teams who started out not playing very well are starting to make a move. By weeks 6 thru 8, things will start to take shape as to who are the real contenders and then matters will be settled down the back stretch during the last 4-5 games of the season.
Sunday afternoon couldn't have worked out any better with losses by the so-called leaders in the division as well as overall in the NFC. All the Saints had to do was take care of business on Sunday night to begin making their own move. Instead, they went out and got raked over the coals. It was Amateur Night at The Apollo. Whoops, a representative from the Apollo Theater just called. He said Sandman never chased any act off the stage as bad as the Saints were against Dallas.
Well, here's the good news. It doesn't matter. Nah, it doesn't. Not in a season in which there are not any dominant teams in the NFL. Each NFL season is different. A 13-3 record in 2009 was good enough to give the Saints the #1 seed in the NFC and homefield advantage. That same 13-3 record in 2011 was only good enough for a #3 seed. This season, a 1-3 record means the Saints are only 1 game out of first place within the division and only two games off the pace in the NFC conference.
That's what happens in a season when some of the dominant teams from last season already have 1-2 losses and the division leaders in each conference include teams that didn't make the playoffs last year. In other words folks, when I say that there are more games to be played with a lot left to be decided, that ain't wishful thinking. It's a fact of football life for the season of 2014.
Just look at the NFC South. Who really wants the division right now? The "leaders" in the division (don't make me laugh) Carolina and Atlanta, are 2-2 and each of them have been beaten by double-digits in both of their losses. There is a lousy, stinking one game difference between the four teams. The winner of this division could back into the title with a 7-9 record just like Seattle did in the NFC West in 2010. None of these teams seem to want it very much.
As for the Saints specifically, they're just not a very good team right now. Right Now.
Yeah, sure, the team played like s*** on Sunday. But, they've been looking like s*** since game one. The offense has not been lighting anyone on fire despite the 34 points they scored against Atlanta which was a mirage because the Falcons couldn't even stop Minnesota. The Saints were exposed in prime-time for the completely unprepared football team that they really are right now.
It's not a matter of talent. The talent is there. Don't be fooled into thinking that the team is overrated and they just don't have the players to get it done. That is a hysterical fan's knee jerk response (we shoulda kept Sproles!). After a complacent, full of themselves offseason, they simply came into this season woefully unprepared to win football games.
I haven't seen a Payton coached team this unprepared to play since 2007 when they wet the bed to start the season after the 2006 playoff run. Doesn't mean they can't turn it round. The issues they have are fixable. And it starts with coaching.
Do defensive players even remotely look like they know where they're supposed to be? It's gotten considerably better after those first two games, but one of the wheels came off the wagon when they were trying to steer it back into the middle of the road on Sunday night.
And the offense, oh geesh. Folks, looky here, the 2011 Saints offense is NOT walking through that door to bail the team out. Hell, the 2008 offense is not even walking through the door and I hated those inconsistent high-scoring MFers. There is a big ol' giant elephant in the middle of the room that quite a few of you simply refuse to acknowledge. Which is funny because I've never heard of an effing midget being described as an elephant before. I'll just leave that there for now because without detailed analysis which includes GIFs of gaffes, some things about his royal shortness just won't be accepted.
But, I will say this (dammit, I can't help myself). There is a reason why you're seeing the same plays over and over again; why so many passes are being confined to certain areas of the field; why the deep passing game is so inconsistent; why Sean Payton has scaled back the offense considerably and there are certain plays we haven't seen on the field in 3-4 seasons; why the offense has been intentionally focused more on the run since Payton came back from suspension in 2013. Even though it didn't work out the way he wanted last season because of OL issues along with his own natural tendency to go away from his prescribed game-plan and just wing it.
And there's a reason why Mark Ingram was such a big focus along with installing the ZBS to get him going. Saints fans need to learn to embrace a new term - "grind". Because that's what it's gonna take for the team to get going and overcome their start. It's also what will open up the offense for a certain dwarf not named Tyrion. And then, maybe, the points will come more consistently.
Also, I just have to throw this out there. Junior Galette has ONE move. He did not work on a damn thing this past offseason except his twitter account. It's not too hard to stop a guy who only goes in one direction. It's also easy for an offensive lineman to hide holding because they can keep their hands in the same place and never have to worry about being caught with a handful of jersey from a spin move. Or, any other move for that matter.
Do NOT get me started on the Saints position coaches. This post is long enough as it is.
Anyway, I'm still not worried. They're not playing well right now. Right Now. But, neither is any other team in the division. There's a lot more football to play and no other team in the NFL has separated themselves yet. So, even after that puke inducing performance on Sunday night, it is STILL right there for the Saints to take it.