During the first two weeks of the 2016 NFL regular season, the New Orleans Saints seemingly have “given away” games in most heartbreaking fashion — even causing some of even the most faithful fans of the team, to give up and already “throw in the towel” on this season.
Without question, it’s been extremely frustrating on many levels to watch it all unfold; but one should really take in the broad scope of what it is that we are really watching.
What’s been lost in all of the hoopla of an 0-2 start, is that this team has a lot of FIGHT in it.
We saw some signs of this last year, which came on the heels of the complete debacle that was the 2014 season — when the Saints had a weak division handed to them on a silver platter week after week, only to hand it right back with a series of heartless efforts.
The Saints won three of their final four games last season, when they clearly could have given up prior to that point; after a stretch of losses that included back-to-back blow-outs at the hands of the Redskins and Texans in successive weeks,
Because of their current 0-2 standing, the team has been pegged by some from other fan-bases as “losers”, but this team is anything but.
Sep 18, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New Orleans Saints wide receiver Willie Snead (83) catches a touchdown pass during the second half at MetLife Stadium. The Giants defeated the Saints 16-13. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
Now certainly, the Saints have suffered a great loss at a competitive level; with an inordinate amount of injuries that most teams don’t suffer in an entire season, much less the first 2 weeks.
Once rookie defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins returns from a broken leg that he suffered back in training camp, he will be a difference maker; providing the defensive line with a much-needed inside push.
Sep 11, 2016; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints cornerback Delvin Breaux (40) is carted off the field after an injury in the second half against the Oakland Raiders at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Raiders won 35-34. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports
Upon their collective returns, 2nd year star Delvin Breaux will once again be a shutdown corner; and edge rusher / Hau’oli Kikaha will thrive as a rush specialist. Additionally, 2nd year CB P.J. Williams should become a solid #2 corner.
These are things many of us believed, and with good reason.
But as we all know, those four very talented players are now gone for most, or all, of the season; making a very young team that was already paper-thin on the depth chart, perhaps even more thinner than it already was.
Yet, despite this, the Saints still have clawed, scratched, and fought their way into situations where they could have — and should have–won in two consecutive weeks.
A young team often takes time to first learn HOW to win, and I believe that this is what we have been seeing.
Sep 18, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz (80) and New Orleans Saints cornerback Ken Crawley (46) go for a long fourth quarter pass at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
There is no better opportunity to take the next step, then right now.
Sean Payton and Drew Brees have mostly “owned” the Atlanta Falcons since uniting in 2006. And “unite” is probably the most appropriate word to use in this situation.
There are a handful of players that both fans and those that cover the team professionally have pointed out need to either step up, or should be leaned upon for great performances.
But make no mistake about it: this needs to be a “team” effort in every sense of the word.
Nov 1, 2015; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) celebrates with wide receiver Brandin Cooks (10) after a touchdown against the New York Giants during the second half of a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Saints defeated the Giants 52-49. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
As the Saints approach kickoff on Monday Night, the series of bottom lines are multiple:
"1) It’s a Monday Night, with a national TV audience watching each and every move2) It’s at home inside of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, site of the notable history from over a decade ago3) It’s against a bitter rival, who by the way is not very good — in spite of ehat they and theirr insidious fan-ase, think of themselvesAnd last but certainly not least 4) It’s on an emotional anniversary, in which the Saints have always played well."
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There is no better situation to use the term “must win”, then in this contest.
The New Orleans Saints to get it done and get it done right now — or else talk will quickly turn into receiving what likely will be a Top 10 draft choice, instead of contending for and earning a Playoff spot.
It’s all up to them to make that become a reality.
So as you watch this Saints team on Monday Night, just remember that they aren’t “losers”, despite what their record says they are.
They’re FIGHTERS in every sense of the word — and in the end, fighters ultimately prevail.
For the New Orleans Saints during the rest of this 2016 season, there are no other options………..