It’s Time For the Saints to Fly Under the Radar in 2016


The national media circus that recently surrounded the New Orleans Saints regarding the coaching status of head coach Sean Payton was an event that was blown so completely out of proportion that it bordered on being outright ridiculous.

It has only convinced me even further about a notion I had been thinking about for some time now.

That notion being that the Saints needed to get back to being a virtual “ghost” in regards to the fever and hype that enveloped them following the 2009 Super Bowl season.

Don’t get me wrong: having grown up as a Saints fan, it was good to see the team getting the recognition it deserved but with all the fame and attention comes an overabundance of eyes watching and scrutinizing every single move, as well.

Every little step taken by the Saints is now “second guessed” to the point that it almost becomes irritating to read or hear anything about the franchise.

Jan 6, 2016; Metairie, LA, USA; Sean Payton talks to the media announcing he will remain as the head coach for the New Orleans Saints during a press conference at the New Orleans Saints Training Facility. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Once again I reference back to the Payton “will he stay or will he go” reports that began well before the season even ended, and even had quarterback Drew Brees appearing to be unsure about the status of his head coach.

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Last year, it was the question on if Brees would return and that the Saints were looking to draft his replacement.

The year before that, it was that the team was going to have the second coming of the vaunted “Legion of Boom” and rival the defense of the Seattle Seahawks.

The past three years have been a series of highs and lows in regards to expectations for the team, with the lows being more prevalent.

I remember a time when players like former safety Darren Sharper was signed for a one-year deal and played like he had signed a multi-million dollar contract.

Fast forward to current Saints safety Jarius Byrd’s exuberant price tag versus his performance, and you can see why there is some discontent.

In fact, the big splash and gambles that we always wanted to see in free agency, the NFL draft, and basically anything related to the franchise; has seemed to back-fire over the past few seasons.

And hey — nobody is clean when it comes to any of this either, including the fanbase which also includes myself.

Nov 8, 2015; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints cornerback Brandon Browner (39) reacts with free safety Jairus Byrd (31) after a penalty during the second half of a game against the Tennessee Titans at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Titans defeated the Saints 34-28 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Yes I was in the group that championed the signings of players like Byrd as well as (sigh) cornerback Brandon Browner who are not even close to matching their salary cap squeezing contracts.

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With the whole Payton escapade finally dying down, hopefully thing will get back to “normal” for the Saints.

And I’m hoping it’s the decade ago-normal where when the organization made a move it was more akin to a shoulder shrug or fist bump, than a outlandish high five.

We need to see more moves like the signing of defensive lineman Kevin Williams this past season; where the Saints appeared to get a bargain instead of the player “stealin’ money” as former Saints quarterback and WWL 870 AM’s Bobby Hebert likes to say.

But once again, that goes for everything top to bottom including the hiring or letting go of staff and coaching personnel.

I think the Saints made a good move in acquiring the services of Dan Campbell; who took the reins of a interim head coach with the Miami Dolphins and did the best he could with someone else’s roster and staff.

Dec 27, 2015; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins interim head coach Dan Campbell watches warm ups before a game against the Indianapolis Colts at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Innerarity-USA TODAY Sports

Campbell is likely a coach who will be getting calls in the future as a true head coach and not just an interim on top of bringing experience as a former player to the mix.

It’s understandable that moves like this may not seem like much at the moment, but can potentially pay off dividends in the future for the team; which looking at it from a business perspective, is what is supposed to happen.

We all love gobbling up any tidbit of information we can snag on the Saints, but hopefully from this point on it will be just concerning mock drafts and instead of “I can’t believe this is happening” headlines.

Yes forget all the glitz, glamour, and national attention that supporters of the Black and Gold have craved for so long.

I know and understand that fans of a franchise that has been labeled as lovable losers for so long wants the “geeky nerd gets the prom queen, slow clap happy ending” of a John Hughes film from the late 80’s.

Hey coming from a geeky nerd of that era, so did I!

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But let’s face the facts here and realize that you don’t need ESPN’s Skip Bayless or NFL Network to know that the Saints have a great coach in Payton, or a first ballot Hall of Fame player in Brees.

It’s time for the Saints to fly under the radar and shun the spotlight — instead of seeking it out in order to fix the issues that they have now.

So instead of appearing on Hard Knocks, let’s just hope they go with the alternative and take the “PBS route” instead….