As we draw closer and closer to the end of what has seemed to be the worst season of the Sean Payton, Drew Brees era in New Orleans, I can’t help but continue to address the blatant lack of leadership that has been evident from the sideline and on both sides of the ball. The heart and passion of Brees is still there, without question, but the way in which he is delivering his message to a corp of new, not quite yet mature players is seemingly becoming more and more outdated.
With that being said, he is at the forefront as being the man, as smart and intelligent as he is, to figure out a way to instill a never say never attitude in some of these younger players that have never been a part of the Saints winning ways. Let’s just take a look at a video from the 2009 season when we went on to win the Super Bowl.
Now, Let’s have a look at a pre-game chant video from 2014.
Call me crazy, but maybe Drew needs to think of axing the chant and coming up with something new! From what I see, the energy that it’s received with from 2009 to now is night and day. It doesn’t engage the players of this team the same as it did then. It’s almost as if these men are saying “ok, here we go again. Drew and his pregame chant.”
The bottom line is it is on Drew Brees as the heartbeat of this team to find a way to get into the heads of the guys that he is almost old enough to be a father to.
Sep 21, 2014; New Orleans, LA, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) looks to pass the ball in front of New Orleans Saints middle linebacker Curtis Lofton (50) in the second half at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. New Orleans defeated the Vikings 20-9. Mandatory Credit: Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports
With the departure of vocal leaders, Jon Vilma and Malcolm Jenkins, Someone must rise to the occasion and fill the shoes of these men. For me, the only man for the job is Curtis Lofton. Through thirteen games this season he has 127 tackles and 1 forced fumble. He’s always around the ball, which is what you want from your inside linebackers, but he still lacks that ability to force the big turnover. For the defense to have any success in these last three games, He must use his voice to unite this group that is so strapped due to injury.
Another man who must have a voice in the locker room and on the field is starting Cornerback Keenan Lewis. You can’t downplay the man’s passion for the game and his ability to challenge the best receivers in the game today. The photos I saw recently of the knee injury he has been playing with certainly attest to his toughness, but with such a lack of vocal veterans to lead the younger guys in the ways of being a winner, Keenan’s voice will have to be as loud and profound as Curtis Lofton’s for any success to be had going forward.
With all the wild reports this week of Sean Payton possibly stepping down or resigning after the season and Kenny Vacarro being benched, it’s been quite a rollercoaster to say the least. When Drew Brees was asked about the reports of Payton, he said “I will not comment on stories I have no idea where they came from or why, sorry.” When coach Payton was asked, he replied “you have to consider the source” speaking of Peter King, and also saying “It wont happen, no way.”
When asked about the reports of Kenny Vacarro being benched, Payton responded, “He’s going to play a ton for us.” He also went on to say that the reports were “very inaccurate.”
In the dog eat dog business that is the NFL, all things are subject to change at any given moment and Sean Payton has so far made good on his promise of shaking things up on Airline Drive in Metairie. In the end, if he isn’t the General and leading his team, then we cannot expect the Captains on the field to be leaders either. This is only the beginning of what is sure to be an eventful offseason(and no it’s not too early to speak of offseason)as I expect many, many more heads to roll regardless of the outcome of the final three games of 2014.