About the Saints: Taking nothing away from the Seahawks, the Saints can pin their loss Sunday on their defense. The unit that gave up 7 points to the Falcons in the Georgia Dome gives up 41 to the Seahawks? For most of the game, they didn't cover well, didn't tackle well, and didn't get to the quarterback. The only positive that can come from this is that everyone in the locker room had to be pissed about this lousy effort. Assuming there will be football next year (BIG assumption), they'll have about 7 months to think about it and stew about it.
My to do list for the Saints this offseason:
Quarterback: Drew enters the final year of his contract. He's the star of the team, the face of the franchise, and a great quarterback. Peyton Manning is about to sign a new contract with the Colts. He'll set the scale. Drew will have to get one similar. He has all of the leverage. The numbers will be in place. There really isn't much to negotiate.
Running Backs: I'm OK with the "running back by committee" approach. All of the Saints running backs have different strengths and qualities but the one quality none of them have is durability. Reggie Bush is scheduled to make $12 million in 2011. $8 million this year was hard to swallow. He'll be released or asked to take a substantial pay cut. His durability is an issue. Pierre Thomas signed a one year tender last year because he and the Saints couldn't agree on a long-term deal. His durability is also an issue. Chris Ivory had a good first season but he has durability issues, too. The running game was a problem this year. I think this area of the team should be overhauled. They need to draft a running back with one of their first two picks.
Wide Receivers: A pretty good group but I'd like to see a little more consistency. Too many drops.
Tight Ends: All of them got nicked up this year. Jeremy Shockey is getting old, makes a lot of money, and doesn't contribute much any more. Dave Thomas is a solid #2. Jimmy Graham is a star in the making. It's a good group that they probably should try to keep together one more year.
Offensive line: They had a disappointing season. The tackles were a problem Sunday. They have a rookie 2nd round draft pick tackle on the roster but I don't think he played a down this year. This unit needs improvement and consistency but I think some of their problems stem from the Saints over-reliance on the pass. The team has other needs more pressing than this.
Defensive Line: This unit needs another consistent pass rusher. Could also use a big run stuffer in the middle.
Linebackers: Vilma is a terrific player in the middle. All of the other linebackers are rather ordinary. They could add one to this group.
Defensive Backs: Thought to be the strength of the defense, they didn't always play like it. They have good players in this area but they have serious durability issues. 1st rounder Patrick Robinson did not show any signs of improvement during the course of the year. He needs a lot of work. Jabari Greer, Tracy Porter, and Malcolm Jenkins need to stay healthy and the Saints need to remove Roman Harper on passing downs.
Special teams: The kicking games are OK, the cover units are medium to bad, and the return games are awful. I'd fire that coach (McMahon?)and bring in some return guys through the draft or free agency.
Overall: There is a lot of talent on this team. They have much more than most of the teams in the NFL. A few tweaks are in order but this team does not need major overhaul.
GEAUX Red Barchettas-Ya Boys Champs-1998,2002,2013
A brilliant red Barchetta
From a better vanished time
I fire up the willing engine
Responding with a roar
Tires spitting gravel
I commit my weekly crime