Monday, September 24, 2012

Bring in a New Coach....NOW!

If anything has been learned over the past three weeks, it is that coaching matters.
I was amazed the way area sports writers and talk radio hosts painted such a rosy scenario concerning the Sean Payton-less New Orleans Saints going into the 2012 season.
They said grandly speculated that not having the head coach that hauled the Crescent City its first pro sports title would translate into no worse than two additional losses.
I didn't think any of those guys could have passed a drug test then and now peeing a cup would be unnecessary with the piss-poor performance by all three Saints' squads, offense, defense and special teams (which is a polite way to say Garrett Hartley).
Three games into the season, the Black and Gold is three games down and staring at a probable fourth loss this Sunday when they head to Lambeau Field.
And while bad officiating, continued sloppy play and bad luck have haunted the Saints this season, it can be said without a doubt that the Aaron Kromer interim-interim head coach experiment has failed miserably.
And things won't get much better when interim head coach Joe Vitt is allowed to wear his headset again.  I'm thinking that episode will more resemble the second coming of Rick Venturi, the last temp coach to win a game with the Saints, than a reasonably facsimile of the exiled Payton.
Having a running back committee has marginally better than having the entire team coached by committee.
This was never a good idea and the team would have been better off bringing in a retired NFL coach who was seeking one more bite of the apple to lead the Saints as Payton serves out his season-long suspension.
The team’s lack of aggressiveness, discipline and direction are apparent and that the Saints are not the stuff of Bill Murray and Harold Ramis's self-trained platoon in Stripes.
As much of a leader quarterback Drew Brees is, he cannot run the team and he needs to be free to focus on his job, just as coach Kromer needs to stick with dealing with a faltering offensive line that had been recognized not long ago as being the best in the NFL.
Earlier this year, I penned an April Fool's column announcing that the Saints had signed ex-head coach Jim Mora to a one year deal.
While that was written in jest, I can't help but think how having Mora back would raise the fans' morale while also bringing an intensity that isn't present on the sideline.
The Saints cannot possibly look anymore foolish with Mora running the show than they currently do under Kromer.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Week Three: Saints Stand at the Edge of the Abyss

Two games into the 2012 NFL season and the Saints already find themselves two and a half games out of the division lead.

The Saints defense was once again exploited, but this time by an offense that was only able to put ten points on the board the week before.  The once record setting Saints offense found itself struggling to stay on the field and in the end was only able to accumulate yards and points while trying to dig themselves out of a deep hole.

Sloppiness has plagued the Black and Gold thus far into the 2012 season and with 14 games left, the Saints still have time to compete for the division title or land a wild card spot, but with every loss, the prospects become dimmer and the need for help from other teams increase.

Especially with road trips to Atlanta, Tampa, Denver, Green Bay and the New York Giants on the schedule.

If there is any such thing as good news for the Saints and their interim-interim head coach Aaron Kromer is that they will host what is probably the biggest cupcake game against the also winless Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday afternoon.

The Chiefs are awful.  But don’t my word for it; ask their sports talk hosts.

On paper their offense looks impressive, averaging the fifth most yards in the league but the devil is in the details.  In points, the Chiefs are 20th averaging 20.5 points.  The Kansas City defense has given up 37.5 points per game, worst in the NFL, and has been weak against the run.  But then again so are the Saints, which have surrendered the most yards on the ground.

The Saints have an opportunity to use the Kansas City game to get back into contention by finally establishing their running game, getting their defense clicking and allowing their franchise quarterback to play up to the record contract he just signed by providing better pass protection and not dropping receptions.

With a road trip to Green Bay on the schedule for next Sunday, the game against the Chiefs is the Black and Gold’s best chance to stop the slide and salvage the season.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

After Being Home-Schooled by Rookie QB, Saints Need to Win in Carolina

Who Dat Nation, welcome to earth.

Sure the core of the Super Bowl winning team from the 2009 season remains intact. 

Minus the head coach of course.

And this past Sunday proved that Sean Payton was being paid over $7,000,000 a year for his Bill Belichick impersonations.

And a few other players whose presence were sorely missed in what was a brutal reality check for the Black and Gold, which was delivered in part by the defensive unit led by former Saints head coach Jim Haslett.

The New Orleans Saints have struggled against the Washington Redskins during the Sean Payton/Drew Brees era.  Their lone win during that period was during the magical season that was enabled by a miracle play by a wide receiver who currently wears another team’s uniform.

In the regular season opener, the Redskins beat the Saints on both sides of the line of scrimmage.  Rookie quarterback and second overall selection in the 2012 NFL Draft Robert Griffin III carved up the Saints defense while Brees was constantly under pressure.

The Steve Spagnuolo-led defense was embarrassed, coughing up 459 yards to RG3 and Company, surrendering 306 yards in the air and 153 yards on the ground. 

And when number Nine managed to launch the ball, it ended up being dropped by a receiving corps that no longer looks as deep as it did at the beginning of training camp.

Second year wide receiver Joseph Morgan proved to be no successor to speedster Robert Meachem, who remains the Saints best first round pick in the past seven drafts though he now plays for the San Diego Chargers. 

Actually Morgan didn’t even look like a good successor to practice squad favorite Andy Tanner.

This Sunday, the Saints face the 0-1 Carolina Panthers and their own young talented quarterback in an all-important divisional match up in Bank of America Stadium (nee Panther Stadium). 

The good news is that the Cats, which were expected to be the Black and Gold’s main threat for the division, also got off to a sputtering start against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Panthers racked up a pathetic ten rushing yards against the Bucs and scored ten points, both lowest in the league. 

Sophomore quarterback Cam Newton threw for 303 yards and a touchdown and will test the Saints’ lacking secondary.  And though Carolina lost to Tampa Bay, their defense proved to be stingy, giving up 16 points and only 128 passing yards, the second fewest in the NFL.

The Saints would find themselves in a major hole in the NFC South if they end up dropping two in a row. 

In Charlotte, Saints fans are going to learn if the first game was a hiccup or an omen.