After the New Orleans Saints opening night loss to the defending world champion Indianapolis Colts, the word you heard most often was “disappointing.”
Despite the 41-10 thrashing by Peyton Manning and the Colts, you had a feeling that this was just a bad day at the office for the Saints. But after the 31-10 whipping by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the word you hear more often now has turned from disappointing to shocking.
How could this football team, and most of them are still on the squad, that went 10-6 and had a magic carpet ride to the NFC Championship game play this poorly for a second straight week.
The answer is that the team you saw last season will never be seen again.
Due to the ever changing world of the NFL, teams never stay the same from year to year. In this world you either get better or you get worse and right now this football team has little resemblance to the team we all saw in 2006.
Right now this football team seems to have little life in it and even less of a sense of urgency.
Last season this football team played with great passion, 1st rate execution and they played with heart, lots of heart. So far, there has been very little passion, no rhythm of top play on either side of the ball and this team seems to be searching for a sense of purpose.
Last season the Saints averaged 25.8 points scored per game. This season the Saints have scored a total of 24 points the past two weeks and are averaging 12 points per game.
This is not a time to panic because it is very early in the season, but there needs to be a sense of urgency brought back to this team and a shakeup in personnel and how some players are being used needs to be addressed.
Many people now point to the fact that this version of the Saints have read too many of their preseason press clippings and have lost their strong work ethic.
I don’t buy it.
What the Saints don’t have right now is what they had in 2006 and that is that they played with great confidence. Winning is always the best blood line to confidence and once this team got on an early roll there seemed to be little to stop them, especially on offense last season.
Right now the strength on this football team, and that is the explosive weapons on offense, is not in tune and they are just searching for something to work right for them.
And they are not playing with any sense of confidence.
We all knew that there would be defensive woes on this football team, but no one expected that this offense would be brought down to featherweight fighting status.
Against the Buccaneers the Saints played with little confidence on offense and they seemed to consistently go three and out in critical drives early in the game.
Once they couldn’t put points on the board, then the Joey Galloway-factor came into play.
Galloway, the 35-year old wide receiver for the Buccaneers, and one of the league’s marvels for his great play at such an advanced age of a NFL receiver, started working his magic against what looked like a helpless Saints secondary.
Joey Galloway brought in 4 receptions of crafty Jeff Garcia’s passes for 135 yards and 2 touchdowns.
After that is was game, set and match.
And the disappointment of last week quickly turned into shock.
The Saints are fortune that they are in the NFC where right now there is no dominant team like Indianapolis, New England, Denver, Pittsburgh and even San Diego in their own conference.
Let’s all take a deep breath and trust that head coach Sean Payton can find the right mix of plays and players to get things backs on track, but unless this team snaps out of their offensive funk real soon, the hopes of returning deep into the playoffs will be lost due to a disastrous and totally unexpected start.
Questions? Comments? Email Mike Detillier at firstname.lastname@example.org.