Dr. Drew & Mr. Brees
With a division crown and home playoff game still at hand, will the Saints salvage the season or simply give up?
It’s right there, dangling in front of us, but we just can’t grab it.
Last week the New Orleans Saints had an opportunity to slay a division foe and grab first place in the NFC South. Instead, they were once again embarrassed at home in a 41-10 loss that was decided by the second quarter.
Tackle Zach Streif said after the game that he could tell the team didn’t have “it” on game day and he suspected trouble.
Carolina Quarterback Cam Newton must have picked up on the Saints lack of desire, too. Did anyone else notice Newton standing on the three yard line just outside the team’s entrance tunnel, eyeing down and jawing with the Saints defensive starters as they ran onto the field? The rest of Newton’s team was on the sideline, waiting for the nation anthem, but there was Cam, intense, focused and ready.
The Saints first two possessions resulted in three plays, two turnovers and two scores for the Panthers. Running Back Mark Ingram fumbled a swing pass on the first possession. Drew Brees threw into double coverage on a go route. The fortune hoped for soon turned to failure.
Yet, somehow, at 5-8, the Saints are still tied for first place in the division, with the possibility of their coming matchup with the archrival Atlanta Falcons deciding which team will host a wild-card playoff game. I know, I know. Former Saints’ head coach Jim Mora’s rant, squealing “Playoffs?” is ringing in your head as you read this.
In some games, the Saints have looked worthy of being a playoff team, think Green Bay, Pittsburgh, Minnesota. In others, they look like a team that won’t have a winning record – Dallas, Cincinnati, Carolina.
Playoff ticket requisitions are due today (Friday) for season ticket holders. The cost of my seats in Section 627 went up 100 percent. After the performance against Carolina, I’m hearing many fans aren’t buying. It will be interesting to see if the 50,000 on the Saints season ticket waiting list will take advantage of the supply or is demand for Saints playoff tickets off due to a sub-par team. If the Saints do host a playoff game, the dome may look more like it’s hosting a Tulane game. While the view of empty seats on a nationally televised playoff game would damage our reputation as diehards, it would send a strong message to Saints management that changes must be made. While Sean Payton made waves cutting wide receiver Joe Morgan, an overhaul is still needed to correct the problems with this team. It will be tough with so much money tied to Drew Brees and Jairus Byrd, but it’s a necessity.
I can promise you the Saints won’t lose this Sunday. I can’t say the same for Monday when they play the Bears in Chicago. Which team will show up in the Windy City – a tightknit group determined to correct past mistakes and move forward or players who are ready for the season to end so they can go their separate ways?