I was not a believer...no sir, I didn't believe in no redemption. There ain't no Lord can save this wretched team, no sir. But "never-give-up" truthers, led by elder BewareOfDog and deacon DrunkWino and collection officer StuJo made me waver. I wavered, Lord, yes I did. I thought maybe there was hope. I even began to resist the infectious pessimism of brother ZipCode and the ever-flowing cold sweats of brother JRicky. Maybe we was still able to be saved and not burn in the fire that always burns. But then yesterday they done rip my guts out. Just ripped them out like I was a cow for winter meat, Lord. Ripped them out and watched me bleed, Lord. Dem no Saints, Lord, no Saints would do what they do. And then their leader, the short one with the thinning hair, he said next week they won't rip my guts so hard. That they really weren't trying to hurt me, they just clumsy is all. But that gave me no comfort none. I've given up, I'm tired Lord! I'm tired.
1) December 29, 2013
That is the last time the New Orleans Saints were above .500 in an NFL regular season, after they had just defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 42-17 in the Mercedes Benz Superdome to finish the season 11-5. Since then, the best record the Saints have had is 4-4 on November 9, 2014 before losing to the San Francisco 49ers and yesterday, November 8, 2015 before losing to the Tennessee Titans. If I had 1000 ways to spell "unacceptable" for a team that is led by one of the highest-paid quarterback-head coach duos, I would do it.
2) Rob Ryan Should Get Fired...
...and maybe it's just a matter of time. Look, it sucks to call for anyone to get fired. Losing your job is no fun, no matter how much money one makes. NFL coaches and players get paid millions yes, but these come with higher taxes, and a higher lifestyle. If you made that kind of money, despite everything you're saying now, you would also live in a bigger house and drive a fancier car. That's just human nature. They have families, responsibilities, bills to pay, like you and me. But in any walk of life and at any socio-economic level, if you can't do the job you're paid to do and you repeatedly fail while attempting to do it, you should be held responsible. Ryan had an amazing 2013 season. This is 2015 and for the past season and a half, his Saints defense has been an utter abomination on the field.
What are the reasons? They are too multiple to enumerate and even if I tried, let me emulate Jim Mora Sr.: I don't know, I think I know, but I don't and I probably never will. Here's what I know: the Saints defense sucks. It is horrendous; it is ridiculous to even call it a defense and the man in charge of it should not continue to enjoy the benefits that come with leading it.
3) The Saints' Offense Has Done Enough
The "defense is not that bad" truthers (we have a lot of truthers here, I love them) will come at me for this one. Come at me bros. The Saints have scored 31, 27, 52 and 28 points in their last four games. They went 3-1, but had to sweat in every single one of these games. And this year, there has been no insane "pick-sixes at the worst possible time" from Brees, or some hair-pulling fumble in your own redzone to give the defense some excuses. Has his shoulder has healed, Brees has returned to the form that has him destined for Canton. Just in the last two games, Brees has 10 TDs, 3 INTs, 892 yards and a combined QB rating of 129.3. No unit is perfect in football, and the Saints' offense certainly hasn't been that. But it is insane to expect them to be near-flawless for the Saints just to have a chance to win by three points as was the case against the Giants last week.
4) Willie Snead is Lance Moore 3.0
It's not all doom-and-gloom good people, because there are still a lot of positives coming out of this season. One of them is clearly Willie Snead IV. Coming into this game, Snead was just one yard away from leading the Saints in total yards, with fewer targets and catches than receptions leader Brandin Cooks. Yesterday, Brees went to Snead 10 times (the most out of all the receivers) and Snead caught six of these passes for 95 yards. Most importantly, several of his catches were on crucial downs or moved the chains. Snead now leads the Saints with 626 yards on 41 receptions with three touchdowns (Cooks is second with 45 receptions for 603 yards and four TDs). It is not unfathomable that with seven games to go, a guy hardly anyone had heard of before this offseason could be a 1000-yard receiver for the Saints. Not too shabby.
5) Hau'oli Kikaha's Absence Was Felt Yesterday
With Saints rookie linebacker/defensive end Hau'oli Kikaha sidelined with an ankle injury, the Titans knew were the danger was on the Saints' defensive line: Cam Jordan. Tennessee smartly bracketed Jordan for most of the game and single-blocked whoever lined up opposite of Jordan for New Orleans, being Bobby Richardson or Kasim Edebali. The titans also used a lot of quick passes and let Mariota often roll out of the pocket to his left, away from the Saints left rush end. The result was zero sacks for a New Orleans against Mariota, a stark contrast with the seven sacks that the Saints had recorded the past two games against the Colts and the Giants. The good news here is that Kikaha was seen working out pregame and his ankle injury doesn't seem to be serious. To have any sort of effectiveness, the Saints' pass rush needs to be a threat from both sides of the defensive line, otherwise we're in for another frustrating display of "defense" by New Orleans next week in Washington.