Aug 9, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints general manager Mickey Loomis during a preseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Saints defeated the Chiefs 17-13. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
New Orleans Saints general manager Mickey Loomis, who has been with the organization since 2000 and became GM in 2002, held his 2014 end of the season press conference Tuesday morning.
Numerous topics came up after the Black and Gold finished 7-9 this year and missed out on the playoffs after initially being projected as a Super Bowl favorite by many experts.
Of course, the unfortunate Junior Galette situation came up — the Saints’ sack leader was arrested Monday morning on misdemeanor domestic violent charges after he and another man, who Galette claims is his cousin, allegedly pushed a woman to the ground, injuring her outside the linebacker’s home.
Loomis said the team takes the matter very seriously and will let the legal process play out. If Galette is found guilty (his lawyer is confident he will be exonerated though), he will likely be suspended for the first six games of 2015 under the new and improved personal conduct policy by the National Football League. Some harsher penalties could be served out by the Saints’ organization as well.
However, I think the biggest concern for next season is the coaching, specifically defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. After finishing with the No. 4 overall defense in 2013, Ryan and company took a turn for the worst, concluding 2014 as the second worst unit in the NFL just in front of their NFC South rivals, the Atlanta Falcons.
The organization already parted ways with several assistants since the season came to an early end. Wide receivers coach Henry Ellard and tight ends coach Terry Malone are both on their way out. The Saints also fired assistant secondary coach Andre Curtis. The news came just days after secondary coach Wesley McGriff took the defensive coordinator job at Vanderbilt University.
More changes are likely to come, but when Loomis was questioned about it, he completely avoided it. He refused to discuss anything about Rob Ryan or the rest of the staff in the hot seat, but ‘will once we are done with the evaluation process.’ Well, after such a disappointing performance by a franchise with undeniable talent, some hardcore “evaluation” will certainly be required.
“I think we’ve got to be concerned about every aspect of our football team, starting with me, starting with the personnel department. We’re going to go through this evaluation process of our club, and that’s again, every aspect of what we do and how we did it, and we’re just at the beginning of that,” Loomis stated.
When specifically asked about the evaluation of the coaching staff and when that will be done, the Saints’ GM continued beating around the bush, but nothing more was really expected at this time.
“I don’t know if I have a time or a date for that. Obviously Sean (Payton) is heavily involved in that — it’s his staff. We discuss every aspect of our football operation, he and I. We’re just at the beginning of that process, so we don’t put deadlines on ourselves in terms of that — we just want to be thorough.”
The Rob Ryan topic was soon to follow, but again, Loomis avoided anything that would cause a stir up, respectfully. “Look, it’s what I said earlier — we’re in the very beginning of the evaluation process, and look, when we get our decisions completely made, we’ll make announcements at the appropriate time.”
Rob Ryan arrived in 2013, completely turning around a defense that was one of the worst in the history of the NFL just one season before. However, 2014 was an epic fail in a year plagued by miscommunication.
Sure, injuries played a role, especially when the newly acquired Jairus Bryd ended his season early with a torn meniscus, but that is still no excuse for such a horrid performance. This offseason will certainly be one for the books.