After a quick 0-2 start to the season, many New Orleans Saints fans are jumping to conclusions about the future of this team, both in 2016 and moving forward.
"Fire Sean Payton!"
"Drew Brees is proving he's in decline!"
"This can be an elite defense!"
I don't want to say there's not merit to any of the vast array of overreactions that have hit the Twitterverse in the past few days, but maybe we need to pump the brakes just a bit. Here are two of the biggest overreactions thus far:
"Coby Fleener is a huge bust."
This might eventually prove itself to be true, but let's all (myself included) calm down a little bit. It's only been two games. Even at the time of the signing, many critics questioned the amount of money the Saints threw at Coby Fleener. He very well might prove to be worth every penny, or he might end up being the biggest waste of money this side of Jairus Byrd.
After two games, Fleener has recorded 35 yards on 3 receptions. We all remember the career year Benjamin Watson put up last year, but after two games, Watson had just 31 yards on 5 receptions. Granted, the chemistry between Fleener and Brees isn't quite where we'd like to see it as Fleener's 3 receptions come on 12 targets while Watson's 5 receptions came on 9 targets. But remember: this was after Watson had been in the Saints system for two years. Fleener, on the other hand, has had just one offseason to learn the Saints playbook.
The jury is still out on this one. Maybe Fleener flames out. Maybe he becomes a Pro-Bowler. But we can't say for sure after just two games.
"The Saints finally are back to having a Top-10 defense."
Woah. Again, just like with the Fleener situation, let's wait a little more than two games before we pass that kind of praise.
Yes, the Saints defense was able to hold the New York Giants out of the endzone. Yes, the final score of the Saints opponent was under 20 points for the first time since Week 15 of the 2014 season. But let's go a little deeper here.
The Giants put up 417 total yards of offense. That is only 69 fewer yards than the Raiders put up in Week 1 when Oakland scored 35 points. What killed the Giants (and helped the Saints) were the three turnovers (all fumbles) during the game. While this might be reminiscent to some of the 2009 Super Bowl ball-hawking turnover-making defense, none of these fumbles really felt "forced" by the defense aside from the sack fumble of Eli Manning, where had the call on the field been down by contact, it probably would have stood without a turnover.
All of that is to say the Saints defense definitely looks to be improved from last season after the first two games, but considering how historically bad the defense was last year, that's not necessarily saying much. How improved the unit has become with Dennis Allen is TBD.