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Coaching deficiencies have failed the Saints

Clean house or run it back with some of this staff?

This has been the most challenging season for New Orleans Saints fans in at least a decade, and that’s probably an understatement. With Sunday’s 20-10 loss to Pittsburgh, New Orleans fell to 3-7 on the season, its worst start in the first 10 games since 2005, before Drew Brees became a Saint. When you look at all that’s gone wrong, it’s hard to find a starting point of when things went downhill, but let’s look at some mistakes that has led to this mentally draining season.

The WRONG off-season moves

We all know the team let Marcus Williams, one of the best free safeties in football, walk to Baltimore for a 5-year/$70M deal. You can make a case Williams is worth more so to see those numbers was a bit confusing, why let a top 5 FS walk who’s just now entering his peak? Makes no sense, but the front office allowed it anyways. On top of that, the team traded Ceedy Deuce in the midst of contract negotiations, and essentially let him go for nothing. New Orleans got an extra first round pick for last year’s draft but now Philly has New Orleans’ first round pick in this upcoming year’s draft. Now, compensation for trading Sean Payton will most likely consist of at least one first round pick but let’s go away from the draft for a second. Ceedy is currently leading the NFL in interceptions (6). New Orleans has two as a team. His impact goes beyond the interceptions, and it made no sense to let him walk but again the front office allowed it. New Orleans went from the deepest secondary to a not-so-deep secondary. They counted on older guys (Mathieu, Maye) who simply aren’t holding up their end of the bargain. No one in the secondary is except for Lattimore and rookie Alontae Taylor, but Lattimore has been out for a month now. Adebo’s second year jump hasn’t been a jump, but more-so regression.

What’s gone wrong since the season started

HC Dennis Allen never gave Jameis a fair shot, and probably went to the wrong QB once Jameis went down. Jameis played with an offensive line that was a shell of itself in the small sample size we saw him - he started the season with few to none game speed reps with the starters - he played against Tampa without the team’s best player, AK. On top of all of that, he played injured, not hurt but injured. DA saw AK go for 200 all-purpose against Seattle, along with four Taysom touchdowns and said, “Andy Dalton is the answer.” Andy’s best game this year was probably against Minnesota and that wasn’t a performance that stood out. Andy has noticeably inferior arm talent, no mobility, no pocket awareness and average mechanics. He only looks good with a clean pocket along with receivers winning their matchups. He doesn’t improvise. He never was the answer and the fact that DA assumed he was, is telling. The team honestly would’ve been better off with Taysom.

What else is wrong?

This team hasn’t utilized AK correctly at all, except for the Seattle and Oakland game. Turns out the team won both, no coincidence. Against Pittsburgh, Kamara generated 45 scrimmage yards on just 11 (?????) touches, his second straight game with fewer than 70 scrimmage yards. If the staff can’t generate touches for its best player, regardless of the situation, it’s poor coaching, simply put. That goes back to play calling (Pete Carmichael), though. On a crucial 4th and 1 against Pittsburgh, with the entire playbook at his disposal, he dialed up a QB sneak with Andy that had no chance. No Taysom, no AK, let’s run the ball with Andy Dalton. That’s just a testament to the bad play-calling we’ve seen all year. Pete has moments where he’s pushing all the right buttons, but it never sustains. Never.

What else is wrong?

The defense went from top 5 in football to bottom half. They miss endless tackles; they don’t force turnovers and they don’t get off the field enough on 3rd down. The defense didn’t force a second-half punt against Pittsburgh and allowed them to do whatever they wanted, particularly in the run game… something that’s been a staple of this defense in recent years. New Orleans has some things to figure out with the defensive line in the off-season, because Demario and Pete Werner have been all-world this year.

What else is wrong?

Health. This is the second year in a row where New Orleans is BATTERED with injuries from the top to bottom. It’s just as worse as last year, which seemed impossible. Mickey Loomis has to hold the medical staff accountable at some point or find a new medical staff. On top of seemingly the entire team being hurt, the medical staff dropped the ball on Michael Thomas’ injuries for two seasons in a row. DA also deserves some blame because he doesn’t seem to know transparency when discussing injuries.

DA after the loss to Pittsburgh, “We didn’t play well enough. We didn’t coach well enough. We have to do a better job. We fought ourselves back, got back into the game at halftime, felt like we were in a good position, and we really just didn’t do anything in the second half. So, we have to be better.”

With seven games left, New Orleans is two games behind the division leader, Tampa. It’s possible New Orleans could sneak out with the division, but we’ve seen nothing to get our hopes up. Let’s just see how the next three weeks play out against the Rams, Niners and Bucs.

Saints host the Los Angeles Rams on 11/20, at noon.

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