The New Orleans Saints once brightly shinning halo has dimmed, decisively. The 2015 edition has two dozen new faces on the roster and the mixture of younger and older players has resulted in one win in five games.
What are the odds of a team cracking the NFL playoffs with a 1-4 record? Not very good...five percent.
On Sunday, a not-so-good Philadelphia Eagles team sacked the Saints 39-17.
Quarterback Drew Brees was the spark that ignited the Saints offense that led to a Super Bowl Championship six years ago.
Brees is older and can't throw the long ball with consistency any longer and it doesn't help having a weak, extremely weak offensive line and not one game breaking receiver.
Philadelphia sacked Brees five times, two of the sacks were turned-in by former Mississippi State standout defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, that resulted in fumble recoveries by the Eagles.
The Saints offensive line, beset by injuries, forced rookie Andrus Peat into a starting assignment at left tackle. He surely didn't resemble a first-round draft pick.
Brees said, "We have great guys. I think we're doing things the right way. I think guys are working their tales off. I don't want to hear anything about youth. I don't want to hear anything about talent. I don't want to hear anything about anything, other than what we've to do to win the game. Man, feel like we've got the right pieces in place. It just has not come together yet, but it will."
The Saints apparently won't have veteran wide receiver Marques Colston in the lineup. According to various reports, Colston separated his shoulder on Sunday.
Payton said, "“Yeah, well first thing, I really wouldn’t get into it because we have to list an injury report, so we will list what it would be if he practiced today and see how things go. Tomorrow we will get out there and move around a little bit and have a chance to do that as well Wednesday.”
On Sunday there were various reports that said a number of NFL teams including the Miami Dolphins want to see Payton would be willing to leave the Saints and coach somewhere else in 2016. During Monday's news conference Payton was asked about the reports.
“I’m going into my 10th year here and my ninth season, you ignore half of that stuff and obviously dismiss it, "stated Payton. "Our players aren’t distracted by that. I think the focus of our team is dead-square on getting better. On the plane ride home we’ve got guys watching the game on the DVDs and looking at the mistakes, trying to get the corrections made. That comes up yearly now (and) not just every three or four years. That came up my second, third, fifth and ninth (year here), pick a year. You just have to make sure that the players, coaches and everyone understands what the focus is. We talk about it all of the time. (We talk about) tuning out the noise and not letting that become a distraction. Certainly, as a coach, you pay attention to it because you pay attention to all of those things that are threatening.”
Payton was also asked if a coach stays too long at one job, that coach and the organization could get stale and is that one of the reasons for the Saints 1 and 4 record?
“I think that some of the challenges that we are going through now are just the youth of a team, "said Payton. "Obviously, we’ve got a bunch of young guys playing. As a staff and as a head coach, I would say that we pay close attention to the details and changing things up. There are times where I feel like man, they’ve heard me say this before, and if I really count how many in the room have heard it, it’d probably be six or eight, and not 48. That kind of speculation though, all of a sudden, here we are 10 minutes into a day after a game conference call and we’re talking about it. It is what it is. It happened last year and it happened three years ago. It was the Dallas Cowboys during the suspension year. It was the Dallas Cowboys two years before that. It was college before that; it was Michigan (and) Texas. That’s it. What else do you do? Let me just talk about how it is refueled; what’ll happen is the lead news item will be (a story such as this), and it really shouldn’t be. It should be more about why aren’t we having success and what do we need to do to improve, but that (other story) will sell and I understand why and how. As a head coach, I think the most important thing is your own team and focusing on the next game. Like I said before, I think our players will understand this industry well enough. ”
It doesn't get any easier. The wounded 1 and 4 Saints entertain the 5 and 0 Atlanta Falcons Thursday night in the Mercedes Benz Superdome.
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