All 7-9 seasons are not created equal!
Such is the case for the river of mediocrity the New Orleans Saints have tread for the last 3 years, but It’s the cost of doing business.
Here’s the thing. I need people to realize that up until the 2014 season the Saints had been to the playoffs 5 of the 7 years Payton coached the team. Of those 5 times, one of them was a Superbowl appearance and win along with being one play away from another SB appearance in 2011.
Fact is...Saints fans have become spoiled.
Are we so quick to forget our past? 42 years we were pretty much the laughing stock of the NFL. When I say All Brown Paper Bags I’m not talking about a bonus track from Lil Wayne and Baby’s - Like Father Like Son album. I’m talking about having to suffer through a period where it seemed nothing could go right. Then along comes Sean Payton who brings us to the NFC Championship his rookie year followed by a Super Bowl three years later. 42 years a part of this league and we were one of a handful of teams, that still includes the Lions, who had never sniffed a SB. Now, fans want to get rid of him?
Understanding is the key to everything
We’re all aware of the salary cap issues, free agent misses and poor drafts have led to a lack of depth that culminated in that disaster of a season in 2014. We also need to be aware that while at the peak of making a lot of those decisions, they won a Super Bowl. However, eventually the chickens must come home to roost and that’s exactly what happened.
2014 Was deemed as one of the “most talented” teams of Paytons tenure ended up being a dud. It seemed like everything that had plagued the Saints in increments from 2010-2013 suddenly decided to combine its powers like the kids from Captain Planet. We missed on Jairus Byrd and Champ Bailey in FA and whiffed on an entire draft class (after the Cooks trade there is no one left from that draft). The team depth from all those one player away moves was just trash. What was supposed to be an upgraded from the 2013 team that went 11-5 ended up being a total milk dud, thus you get the first 7-9 season.
2015 was a rebuild year that saw us move on from guys like Kenny Stills and Jimmy Graham. The Saints brass never conceded that this was in fact what was happening but its true. We got a new GM of sorts (Jeff Ireland), made a big hire in Dennis Allen, and also remodeled the locker room. In short things were being done to rectify some of the previous gaffes. Unfortunately what ends up happening in these situations is teams are young and they don’t know how to win games. The team was competitive but couldn’t overcome themselves, thus you get a 2nd 7-9 season.
2016 could have been a big year but injuries derailed anything before it could get started. When you are down to two UDFAs and a journeyman 4th round CB as your starting unit you are going to have problems. Our secondary got torched simply due to a lack of talent. Special teams were a problem as well but that team was easily close to being a 9-7 team with the ball bouncing their way one or two times.
I said all of that to say this...
There are Franchises in the NFL that haven’t won 7 games in 3 years combined. We are not the most dysfunctional team in the NFL. SP does not need to be fired nor is he on his last leg in New Orleans. Heck, the Saints were poised to select Patrick Mahomes at 11 had the Chiefs not traded up to get him plus Payton just got a contract extension. Those are not moves you make if a coach is on the hot-seat. In fact, it suggests there is a lot of confidence that he’s the right guy to get them back to the promise land,
Under The Lights : 3 to Watch in Saints vs Chargers Pre-Season Week 2
In keeping up with tradition here are 3 under the radar players to watch in tonight’s game
Ryan Nassib - QB
Sean Payton practically gushed about the 3rd year QB from Syracuse on last Friday after the loss to Cleveland. Perhaps it was the meh play of Garret Grayson that made it easy to do so. I’m not particularly sure but what I do know is that Nassib moved the ball during his time in the game. His most defining moment was the play he was injured on as he masterfully navigated the pocket to complete a throw under duress to a cutting WR. Either he’ll get a chance to show he can continue on his upward trajectory or Grayson will be given a chance to sink all by his lonesome. Regardless, I’ll have a close eye on Nassib once he does enter the game on Sunday.
Corey Fuller - WR
Before getting injured I’d say Corey Fuller was giving Brandon Coleman a run for his money as the standout of training camp. He made play after play on every DB including an Odell Beckham Jr like one-handed catch over Delvin Breaux. While I like Tommy Lee Lewis as a prospect Fuller has the requisite size to play on the outside. He’s a bigger bodied WR (6’0”, 200) with legit 4.4 speed that can spell Ginn as a downfield threat at times and I’ll be curious to see if he can pick up where he left off before his injury as a legit big play machine.
Mitchell Loewen - DT
The Saints 2nd year DT from Arkansas has been making splash plays in practice and must now carry that over into this weeks game. He’s a former DE, so he’s slightly undersized but the Saints are likely only going to keep 4 DTs and showing that he can make plays rushing the passer could go a long way to securing his spot on the team. Any plays in run defense will be lagniappe but I’ll be looking to see if he can come away with some pressures or a sack when given the opportunity.