The Saints are cooked, so now what?

In front of a national audience on Thursday Night Football the New Orleans Saints just confirmed what a lot of Saints fans already thought about the 2023 team.
Dennis Allen, New Orleans Saints
Dennis Allen, New Orleans Saints / Kevork Djansezian/GettyImages

Whatever hope there was that this New Orleans Saints team may yet have some pluck left in them just exited the building. This team just confirmed that, confronted with a decently functional opponent, the Saints are not one. All of the cardinal sins of the season reared their heads again, from offensive drives that moved and then stalled, to a defense that opened by giving up a 94-yard opening touchdown drive and only proved moderately better from there, this was another full team loss. 

If you’re like this writer, then you’ve seen enough of Derek Carr looking consternated on the sidelines, while offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael tries to coach him up, while head coach Dennis Allen looks like…well, just…like a coach that doesn’t have answers. 

Following the team line of none of the players quitting on each other, it’s a noble message, but to what end? If the Saints aren’t a competitive team, then what does it matter if the team is playing for each other? That might fly in Pee-Wee, but not in the NFL. If you aren’t winning games, playing for one another doesn’t matter much. 

The real gut-punch is that this game reinforced all the concerns the team has had throughout the season, which, offensive futility aside, is if Allen’s defense can’t perform, what is he doing for anyone? In an ideal situation, the head coach can oversee all aspects of the team dynamics. In a slightly less than ideal but still perfectly workable situation, you have a head coach with expertise on one side of the ball but not the other, and they find someone to fill that void, and then in the least ideal situation, you find yourself with someone that might have expertise on one side, and are so overwhelmed that nothing works. The Saints sure seem to be falling into the latter camp with Allen. The offense is so inept that he probably feels the need to intercede, but meanwhile the defense, his side of the ball, is suffering their own ills. 

The New Orleans Saints are still mathematically alive for the playoffs, but if the Los Angeles Rams game proved anything, it’s that it's going to take many miracles to advance beyond even a generous home opening round game if the Saints somehow win the division.