Sep 12, 201710:50 AM
Full Sport Press
'The games we play in New Orleans and beyond'
Same As It Ever Was
Saints start season in familiar fashion
ESPN / Associated Press
I will always remember the day when I was walking around a record shop in the mall with my oldest brother Greg. I was a little dude just basically looking at all of the albums’ (yes albums) artwork and band names. One album stopped me dead in my tracks and I called to my brother.
“Hey! This band is called the Talking Heads.”
We laughed and it comes up to this very day. Little did I know I would fall in love with them much later in life, but more importantly the Talking Heads had a great song called, “Once In a Lifetime,” with a line that was repeated throughout the song.
“Same as it ever was. Same as it ever was. Same as it ever was. Same as it ever was.”
Saints fans, I think you see where this is going.
The Saints lost their season opener 29-19 to the Minnesota Vikings and are now 1-10 in the month of September over the past four seasons.
The Adrian Peterson Story
I really didn’t think I would write much about Adrian Peterson but I guess I should’ve known better. In what would have been only a story about the Saints inability to run behind an offensive line that lacks depth and has been ripped apart by injury turned into something quite different when the all-seeing cameras caught Peterson yelling some choice words toward head coach Sean Payton and giving him a colder stare than you can probably give.
In the post-game interview Coach Payton spoke about how Peterson was “into it” and everyone was into it. He then went on to say, “I’m being honest.”
Don’t you always just feel so assured when someone tells you I’m being honest? I don’t and the ESPN cameras told the same story.
Of course Payton is going to say that, as he should, and yes, this was the first time Peterson was on a team where he wasn’t the focal point, but it is a bit awkward for everyone involved, especially the Saints brass who brought Peterson here.
The wackiest part of this story that could haunt for weeks to come is that what is Peterson’s role exactly? Peterson doesn’t add any element to the game that a much younger Mark Ingram doesn’t already give you. If your argument is that Peterson’s 4-inch height advantage and an extra five pounds gives the Saints something that Ingram can’t give you, I will immediately counter with the fact that Ingram has a half-decade less mileage on his body. Yes, it does add up. Plus, Ingram is superior at catching the ball out of the backfield. Peterson might not be washed up but if the Saints can get a fifth round draft pick for him right now (which I don’t think they can) they should take it. But hey, I’m a nice guy. After the game, Jim Mora, former Saints head coach and current WDSU commentator repeatedly said that Peterson was washed up and over the hill in Mora’s always candid and very entertaining manner.
The story some want to tell is that Peterson didn’t get enough touches but the true foul up by Payton and company is that Mark Ingram only ran the ball six times. Yes, no one was getting any yards on the ground but to split carries between Ingram and Peterson is ridiculous. Alvin Kamara, who was running tentatively at best, is not the immediate future. Kamara is your guy attacking the edges and catching balls in the flats. Like it or not, the back that should be getting the ball and banging it in-between the tackles is Mark Ingram. Enough said.
Pre-Season Defensive Champions
Remember how awesome the defense was in the pre-season? That was really a wild time in our lives. Unfortunately, you play against the first string in the regular season and it turns out a journeyman quarterback like Sam Bradford, who was seemingly throwing darts against a defensive backfield that was only offering up bull’s-eyes all night, is way better than backup quarterbacks from San Diego.
It doesn’t matter if Delvin Breaux is hurt. The result would have been the same and you know this because you’ve seen it. Wide receivers running wild and free in the secondary without anyone from the Saints making a play on the ball. Honestly, the play that saw De’Vante Harris interfere with Stefon Diggs — then Diggs caught the ball — might have been the best play all night by the defensive backfield. The effort was a joke and the defensive backs were lost seemingly on every play in the second half. Yes, you’re right, a non-effective pass rush does string out the secondary but that wasn’t the case most of the night. Sure, Cam Jordan was once again stuck on an island without much help but Vikings quarterback Bradford was going deep at will and without fear.
This isn’t about firing Sean Payton but this is about the NFL. This is the supreme league in a bone-crushing sport that not only chews up players but franchises as well. You have to keep moving. The second you think it will get better next year without making changes, you are most likely doomed to repeat your mistakes. It’s a rough business. And what do the Saints have?
Sean Payton is entering his 11th season as head coach. The team hasn’t had a winning record the past three seasons. Moreover, 22 teams have a better record than the Saints over the last three years. Dennis Allen, defensive coordinator, entered his 23rd game running the defense in a tenure that has shown no improvement since the ouster of Rob Ryan. Monday night would be no different.
The Saints play the New England Patriots at noon on Sunday. I’m sure it will work out just fine.
And like a fine wine with a steak dinner, every game should be accompanied by a beverage and song.
Beer Pairing: Wayward Owl Brewing's "The Grind" Brown Ale
Playlist Recommendation: Stealers Wheel - "Stuck In The Middle With You"