Let’s do something different today: let’s talk about actual football matters, instead of legal maneuvering.
Mike Detillier of the Houma Courier had an article yesterday on the key pieces of the Saints. The most important was—no big surprise—Drew Brees. In fact, if Drew doesn’t sign and play, all bets are off. But everyone knows that: it’s not news in the same way that “Water admits own wetness” wouldn’t be news. (Well, actually, talking water would probably make a few headlines.)
What’s surprising is that Detillier puts Jimmy Graham #2. What’s even more surprising is that a lot of people would concur—he was, after all, the highest-ranked tight end in the NFL’s “100 Top Players” recently. Plus, he’s a beast; I’m not trying to say otherwise. But suppose Jimmy Graham went down in training camp and spent the season on IR: would we be doomed? It would make it much harder for the offense to reach the same rpm’s it reached last season, but the Saints should still be able to field a unit in the top 5, at least.
Detillier put interim head coach Joe Vitt at #5; he should be #2. And whoever is going to take over as interim interim head coach in the first six weeks should be #3. That might be Pete Carmichael (#10); or it might be Steve Spagnuolo (#14); or it might be Aaron Kromer (#notfound). Whoever it is automatically and immediately vaults over everyone else to the position right behind Vitt. And whoever it isn’t, among these three coaches, deserves to come in immediately following.
Let’s face it: the postseason has been so dominated by the lack of a Brees signing that the elephant in the room has somehow actually managed to go largely unnoticed: this is the most talented Saints team ever. Ever. If the rest of the league hasn’t been paying attention, they’re in for a rude awakening: our offense is intact, and our defense is improved. If it weren’t for Bountygate and all its “distractions,” I think the Saints would be the consensus favorites to win it all. Or else people are even stupider than I thought.
It’s the coaching staff that generates the big questions. Can Vitt prove himself to be an able game manager? Can Carmichael run the offense without any oversight whatsoever from Sean Payton? Can Steve Spagnuolo reproduce the magic he oversaw in New York?
If the answer to any two of those questions is “yes,” the Saints win the division handily; if to all three of them, we welcome home another Lombardi.
If to none of them? We’re in trouble, even with Drew Brees and Jimmy Graham.
In fact, I would far rather see the coaching staff settle in and work together calmly and competently with Chase Daniel, than see them fuss and flounder a full season with Drew Brees. And even though I agree with what Detillier says here…
Brees is the best player in the league and the life raft for this team to get back to the playoffs and possibly make a deep run. His statistics over the last six years are unmatched by any other quarterback in league history. He led the Saints to four playoff appearances, two NFC title game appearances and one Super Bowl title. That says it all for his skills.
…I think we’re putting too much confidence in the ability of this one man to bail us out. Drew Brees is a weapons system. There’s a saying in the military: Amateurs talk tactics. Professionals talk logistics. What that means is, you can’t win on Sunday unless you win during the week. And so I’m going to amend what I said above, and elevate Vitt/Carmichael/Spagnuolo/Kromer to a collective #1 on my list. Drew isn’t often #2 in my book, but the plain fact is we can win without Drew more easily than we can win with both Drew, and chaos in the coaching ranks.
As Gregg Williams would say, “Kill the head…”
On the Jukebox
It’s kind of strange that we’ve had this jukebox going this long and this is the first Eric Clapton. Shame on me.