Dec 21, 2014; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) walks off the field after the game against the Atlanta Falcons at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Falcons won 30-14. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
I think we are all running out of metaphors, analogies, and comparisons to describe the 2014 New Orleans Saints. I’ll just let Mike Greenberg (from ESPN’s Mike and Mike) say it plain:
Thanks Greeny. This brings Saints fans to the unfortunate place of having to pack up the jerseys early and look forward to a long off-season before another bout of Saints football next year. Some fans are so angry and depressed at the state of the team this year, that they believe the Saints are in for another sub .500 season next year. I would pump the brakes on that one.
This is definitely going against how everybody is feeling on a Monday after the Saints got gut-checked out of the playoffs, but this is a championship team that drastically under-performed this season and needed a reality check.
The team has some rebuilding to do for sure, but if you are expecting the Saints to cut ties with most of its star players and clean house with most of its coaching staff you are either crazy or really depressed. I can’t blame you though. Most sports media at the beginning of the year, pegged this roster as most likely one of the best the New Orleans Saints has fielded in their history.
The reality is the Saints offensive line has seen cosmetic changes at best in the past few years, the Saints haven’t devoted early round picks to linebackers in the past eight years, and Sean Payton has refused to update his offensive scheme to keep pace with a changing NFL defensive landscape.
That explains the turnovers from Drew Brees in key situations, the lack of a consistent pass rush to help out the secondary in the passing game, and why Payton’s play-calling seems to have been figured out by the rest of the NFL.
When you look around the NFL to see how New Orleans offensive line from 2009 is doing, you’ll see that Carl Nicks and Jon Stinchcomb are retired and Bushrod has been struggling to stay healthy for the Chicago Bears.
It starts to explain the decline we are starting to see from All-Pro Guard Jahri Evans. He got manhandled by an Atlanta interior defender whose name I can’t even spell! He is approaching his ninth season in the league and he is clearly trending down.