Happy Thanksgiving to all those football fanatics out there that are about to indulge in your respective traditions. May your Thursday be filled with good food, family, and football. On Wednesdays, SB Nation football sites tackle a particular topic or theme, and this week’s all about: “What are you thankful for?” There’s a lot to be thankful for when it comes to the New Orleans Saints.
For starters, how about being thankful that there’s not going to be another 7-9 season? It was fun for those few months constantly hearing Falcons fans talk about how that was going to keep being the norm for New Orleans.
Unfortunately Fortunately for them, 28-3 jokes will always be a thing. The team’s 8-2 record after starting in a dreaded 0-2 hole has been pretty enjoyable every step of the way. Assuming there isn’t a massive implosion over the final six games of the season, it would appear we won’t have the annual Sean Payton is on the hot seat and getting traded talk.
Speaking of, we can also be thankful for Sean Payton. Getting rid of Bill Johnson, Joe Vitt, and Greg McMahon was a big deal for this team. We’ll always be forever thankful for their role in helping bring a Lombardi Trophy to New Orleans, but Ryan Nielsen, Mike Nolan, and Brad Banta have been stellar additions to the coaching staff.
We’re very thankful for Jeff Ireland and the past two drafts. This year’s class has been something special, and there’s been little to no drop off for the second-year players on the Saints roster. Marshon Lattimore has been a tremendous gift for the team’s defense, and Alvin Kamara made Adrian Peterson expendable on offense.
We’re also thankful to have a defense. That’s perhaps been the single most largest gripe over the past three seasons, and the Saints have come a long way from the complexities and failures of Rob Ryan to the atrocities of Brandon Browner to now fielding a defense that can be taken seriously.
Here’s a few things our staff is thankful for this Saints season:
Adam Williamson: Mr Obvious here. I'm thankful for being in contention on Thanksgiving this year. Beyond that, I'm really thankful for a non-complacent Sean Payton (i.e. hiring Mike Westhoff midseason) and I'm thankful for a really cool staff at Canal Street Chronicles that can have good educated debates and conversations before, during, and after Saints games that teach me new things daily.
JM Di Giulio: I am thankful for a front office that values the draft. 3 straight years of acquiring productive starters through the draft, and each time the Saints have been the perfect combination of patient (Ryan Ramczyk, Michael Thomas, Sheldon Rankins) and appropriately aggressive (Vonn Bell, Alvin Kamara). Players come and go, but a front office that is great at valuation and evaluation is long-lasting. One of my favorite developments is that Brandin Cooks hasn't morphed into Antonio Brown in New England. He is exactly who we thought he was: A good, sometimes very good, Z receiver with top-of-the-league deep threat capabilities.
John Sigler: I’m thankful for Jeff Ireland.
Tee Word: Im thankful for top notch offensive line and ground game and quality depth. Won’t he do it? I’m thankful for Ted Ginn making Panthers fans into liars.
Ellias Williams: I'm thankful for a botched Malcolm Butler trade.
What are you thankful for?