Not So Easy In the Big Easy for the Saints
After being MIA for a week and missing two weeks of NFL action, I am back bringing the truth bombs.
The Saints won the season opener in an absolute thriller. Luckily the Disney Cruise I was on had access to the game. I was able to watch on the pool deck. Big screen, beer and sailing the open seas, what a night! What a game! That was one of the best and most electric finishes I have seen under Brees and Payton.
There were Houston and New Orleans fans watching and we all had the same reaction of “oh shit, the Texans scored too quickly.” Brees had just enough time to get the Saints in range for Will Lutz to boot a 58 yarder (career long) to put the game on ice. It made for a hell of a start to the season.
Rematch vs Rams
Week 2 rolls around and we hear about the infamous no call as the Saints set their sites on the Los Angeles Rams. As fate would have it, a long scoop and score for defensive end Cam Jordan gets called back. Another awful situation and call. Cue the violins and tears from Saints fans.
Two miserable calls against the same team. Obviously that is no good. However, the Saints fan base is becoming deplorable. It is a fan base I hardly recognize. They are becoming a base that is easy to make fun of and hate all at the same time.
For a fan base that talks about how resilient they and their team is, they sure won’t let one call die. It seems like every time something bad happens, it is the refs fault. Based on the shit spewing from social media after week 2, it was the refs who screwed the Saints again. Despite an offensive showing in which they had 9 points on 10 possessions, there were still part of the echo chamber blaming only the officials.
In the most fruitful era of Saints Football (Brees/Payton), many of the shortcomings have been a result of major flops and heartbreaks. None of those have stung and lasted this long.
- 2006 – The dud on ice @ Chicago in the NFC Championship
Of course that was a total disappointment. It was during the homecoming campaign after Hurricane Katrina. I think I speak for most when I saw we were just happy to see some wins in NOLA.
- 2010 – The Beast Quake @ Seattle in the Wildcard Round vs the 7-9 Seahawks
Poor tackling by the Saints stingy defense, which ranked 4th in total yards and 7th in points, was the defining moment of that playoff game as Marshawn Lynch bullied everyone on a long scamper for pay dirt late in the 4th quarter. Saints fans bitched because they felt the Saints should not have been playing in Seattle because of the 7-9 record. It lasted a nanosecond.
- 2011 – Vernon Davis
We all remember the best team in Saints history breaking our hearts in San Francisco. We forgave them though.
- 2012 – Bountygate
The Saints lose Sean Payton for a season and Gregg Williams forever as he became the scapegoat of the infamous bounty program. The Saints suffered a major set back as a result. Some fans are still bringing this up saying the NFL is trying punish the Saints for that. Put your tin foil hat away. But no one really faulted or went on a witch hunt for anyone in the Saints locker room for this.
- 2017 – Minnesota Miracle
Marcus Williams makes one of the most bone headed mistakes in the final seconds in what was otherwise a stellar rookie year. Forgiven.
- 2018 – The No Call
Move the fuck on.
I firmly believe one call or one play can change a game, but it doesn’t write the entire story of a game. But because it was an official error, fans can’t let it go. It was an awful call. But seriously? Far-fetched conspiracy theories and lawsuits are making you guys look like lunatics.
The longer you talk about it, the more it will haunt you. Just shut up about it at this point.
No one mentions Drew Brees’ audible to a pass when a run was called. That was only for him to throw to a wide open Michael Thomas’s feet, which would have led to a score had the pass been better. That was the play before the no call.
No one mentions the Saints offense going ice cold for two and a half quarters after a hot start. No one mentions the multiple opportunities they received after the no call to put it away.
It is all about the no call. The fan base has become a laughing stock and punchline. And God forbid someone makes fun of them for it due to how sensitive they are about it. These are the same fans who years later still laugh about 28-3 jokes. But they couldn’t take the Falcons using a dig at the Saints in their 2019 schedule release promo.
If you are going to dish it, be able to take it. It’s sports. It’s fun. There is banter.
Move on. The longer you cling on to it and the more sensitive you are about it, the longer it haunts you.
Drew Brees Injury
During week 2, Brees injures his thumb on his throwing hand. Now it looks like the future Hall of Famer will be sidelined for 6 weeks.
Now the debate becomes Teddy Bridgewater or Taysom Hill. Before I give my take on that, I need to rant about this for a minute.
After the game, Terron Armstead said the following…
“The Saints offense is Drew Brees. He’s been doing this a long time.”
I hate that Armstead said that no matter how meant it. Make plays not excuses. Let other people do that for you because you know damn good and well everyone (fans and media) will say the Saints don’t have Brees if they spiral. Let those people do that for you.
The best teams in the league know how to flip on the “next guy up” mentality.” The Eagles did with Nick Foles. The Patriots have always done it including the year Tom Brady went down. The Rams made it without Todd Gurley late last year.
What he said sounds like such a defeatist attitude. It’s ok to know the odds are against you, but it’s not ok walking into a game or situation expecting to lose. Otherwise, you get clobbered (see Miami).
This was an opportunity to give Teddy Bridgewater a vote of confidence and you didn’t. We all know Brees is better. The guy is a Hall of Famer. I don’t expect you to say Bridgewater is that or even close to it. He is not, but this is the time for a typical PR response and take a page from Bill Belichick.
“Bridgewater is our current quarterback and we are going to fight as hard as him as we do for Drew.”
Then you go out there and do your best and deliver on that.
Teddy Bridgewater vs Taysom Hill
To answer the question of who the QB of the future is. The answer is neither.
I like Bridgewater as a back up. Nothing more. Nothing less. He’s a good QB who can fill a void when you need it. He is no franchise QB. He has been in the league since 2014 and his best season to date is 14 TDs and 3,200 yards. That doesn’t scream starting material. You don’t play in the league for that long and all of a sudden it clicks.
He is a very average QB who’s good enough to give your team a fair shake to win as long as he is backed by a run game and defense. The Saints fortunately have both. As long as he does what he’s best at, protecting the football, they should be fine.
Now comes the conundrum of whether or not you give Taysom Hill the nod. Hill is a shiny new toy who we all love because his position is “football.” I certainly fan boy out a little when he touches the rock.
But the reality is that he is fool’s gold. He is unconventional and unpolished. Maybe he works for a few games. Once the league adjusts, he’s an albatross.
The other downside that people forget when it comes to starting Hill is what happens if he fails? You can’t just go back to Bridgewater. At that point, you’ve already sent your message loud and clear that you don’t believe in him.
Bridgewater should get first crack and if he is real bad, make a move.
Get Well Drew
Despite him losing much of his arm strength, he is still an effective QB. I really hope he can come back and ride off into the sunset with a ring now more than ever.
He has been such a treat to watch in black and gold to give us the best run in Saints history. I believe this is going to be his last year regardless so I want to see it end with a deep postseason run.
Get well Drew. Give them hell for one last ride.