With the Saints shipping out to Houston for their next Preseason game, the three-year deal with the Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia has come to an end, and there is currently no extension in place.
General manager Mickey Loomis has said the team will evaluate whether or not to return at the end of the year.
It wasn’t a popular decision when the organization announced that training camp would be held at the Greenbrier — a haven for vacationers (especially golfers) in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.
While the resort offers scenic views, and an amazing golf course, fans were skeptical as to what it would bring the franchise from a football operations perspective.
Aug 3, 2015; White Sulphur Springs, WV, USA; An aerial view of the New Orleans Saints training camp facilities at The Greenbrier. Mandatory Credit: Michael Shroyer-USA TODAY Sports
The answer: two 7-9 seasons, no playoff appearances, and a host of injuries.
From a results perspective, regardless of what happens this season, clearly West Virginia has not been good to the Saints.
For starters, taking the Saints out of New Orleans is never a good idea.
Few franchises mean more to their respective cities than this one, and given the limited amount of practices in Mini-Camp and OTA’s, it seems downright wrong to deny fans the opportunity to see their team as often as possible.
Additionally, the team seems to have been plagued by injuries ever since stepping foot on the premises.
From the get-go, Jarius Byrd has never been fully healthy as a Saint, and last season it turned out that C.J. Spiller would need a procedure on his knee and Keenan Lewis began to have issues with his hip.
Jun 2, 2016; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints free safety Jairus Byrd (31) stretches during organized team activities at the New Orleans Saints Training Facility. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
To be fair, these incidents are not necessarily related, and a lot of these injuries appear to have originated before the team went to the Greenbrier.
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However, the latest blow in the injury column is one of the most devastating, first-round draft pick Sheldon Rankins went down with a broken leg under a beautiful West Virginia sky.
I’m not normally superstitious, but I’m beginning to get a “The Shining” type of vibe (for those of you familiar with the 1980 horror movie classic featuring Jack Nicholson about a haunted resort and hotel) from this place, at least where the Saints are concerned.
It may not seem fair to pin the results of an entire season on what happens during training camp. This is a valid argument, however, since it does seem fair to attribute at least some of how a team starts to their camp.
The past two years, New Orleans has started 0-2 out of the gate.
Oct 5, 2014; New Orleans, LA, USA; The Fat City Drum Corps play for football fans at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome before the game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the New Orleans Saints. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports
Enough is enough.
There was never a truly compelling reason to take the Saints out of New Orleans to begin with, especially given the fact that Super Bowl and playoff teams have been fielded after conducting training camp at home.
As the L.A. Rams are proving on “Hard Knocks”: you CAN go home again.
Mickey Loomis should listen to his fan base.
It’s time to end the “West Virginia Era” and let the Saints come home……..