Repairing the New Orleans Saints’ locker room issues is a MUST for future success


The NFL is a business, and sometimes business decisions need to be made.  You’ve got to trim the unwanted fat from the good meat.  That’s what happened last offseason with the New Orleans Saints.

Sean Payton and GM Mickey Loomis cleaned up shop in 2014, parting ways with veterans Jonathan Vilma, Roman Harper, Jabari Greer, Will Smith, Lance Moore, Darren Sproles and Malcolm Jenkins, who were staples to the New Orleans Saints organization.

That was all for what we thought was good reason at the time — paying Jimmy Graham, and signing elite free safety Jairus Byrd.  Of course, Byrd missed the majority of the season with a knee injury and Graham is no longer in the Big Easy.

Yes, the production of those departed veterans was not like it once was, and injuries were a bit of a concern as well.  However, excluding QB Drew Brees, Smith, Vilma and Harper were the voices of the locker room.  Their presence as leaders outweighed their performance on the field, but unfortunately, that does not cut it in this business.

The true value of those missing pieces came into sight in 2014.  There was no heart, no passion and no determination it seemed like.  But at the end of the day, it was time for the Saints to get younger, faster, stronger and just overall better.

Unfortunately, that was not the case last season.  It was miscommunication on all ends of the spectrum, especially on the defensive side of the ball.  There were clearly more issues than just performance on the field, and it all points to the locker room.

The New Orleans Saints parted ways with several more players this offseason.  Veterans RB Pierre Thomas and LB Curtis Lofton were cut, while Jimmy Graham, WR Kenny Stills and G Ben Grubbs were all traded away.

It seems as if Graham and head coach Sean Payton have been on two totally different pages since the “wide receiver or tight end?” controversy began to surround the organization a year ago, so his departure was not too big of a surprise.

But regardless of the roster makeover and whatever other issues have damaged this organization over the past year, GM Mickey Loomis feels good about the changes (trades, cuts, etc.) and said the locker room problem will be fixed for the upcoming season.

He spoke Monday afternoon in Arizona at the annual NFL owners meeting, where also Tom Benson was reportedly quite active.  “Every year every team is different,” Loomis said. “We’ve got a pretty solid core group of guys in that locker room. I’m pretty confident we’ll have that straightened out.”

While no owner, coach or general manager will speak negatively about their organization’s future, Loomis has been pretty solid at living up to his word in the past.  Only time will tell, but repairing the locker room down on the bayou is a must in order for the Saints to get back on the winning path.

With so many new faces, stability is key — the off-field issues need to be abolished and the horseplay kept to a minimum.  Leadership is a must — the game of football thrives off of it and it fuels the players.  Who will step up?

Next: Drew Brees NOT on the trade block

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