No, this isn’t an emotional reaction to a bad loss at Carolina tonight, or a hangover from the game the Saints flat-out gave away against Denver on Sunday.
It’s an objective reaction to the last three years of abject mediocrity. This team plays like losers, they lack intensity and focus and they make mistakes losing teams make.
And Payton doesn’t fool anybody with his offensive scheme anymore. The Saints move the ball a bit because Drew Brees is really good, but the offense turns the ball over at an alarming rate and fails to make plays when necessary.
And tonight, while watching the offense lazily march down the field for a touchdown which put the score at 23-20 – a five-minute drive which should have been a three-minute drive and would have if they hadn’t wasted time in huddles and slow tempo at the line of scrimmage – it struck me that the sloppy play of this team is a reflection of a half-assed effort by its coach.
Payton is far too comfortable in New Orleans. He’s dining out on a Super Bowl he won in the first year of Barack Obama’s presidency.
He’s a good coach, but he’s stale. He’s done. He’d profit from a change in scenery, and so would the Saints.
I have a suggestion – let Payton go, and make a run at Nick Saban to replace him. Make Saban tell you no.
Saban is going to win the national championship again this year. At this point there is very little he can prove as a college football coach. His dominance of the college game is complete.
All Saban has left to do is win as an NFL head coach. He might not want that challenge, but he ought to be offered a shot at taking it on back in Louisiana, where he achieved such fame and status as a champion in the first place. He’d also get the chance to coach Brees – letting him get away in free agency when he was the Dolphins’ head coach remains the single largest mistake of his career. This would be an opportunity to rectify that to a degree.
Saban would have the opportunity to climb that mountain and have Louisiana’s people, many of whom he retains as friends, love him once again. Nobody from Alabama could complain that he chose to go back for another shot at the NFL; he’s given them everything they could have possibly asked for and he’d be leaving that program in pristine condition. In the short term they’re unlikely to skip a beat with a new coach, and if Saban’s replacement would really be Dabo Swinney from Clemson they’d be getting a very good coach likely to continue their winning ways.
Not to mention that lots of Bama fans are also Saints fans. If they’re going to lose Saban this would be the most palatable way to lose him.
And LSU fans, who are beyond irritated at the stiff-arm the Saints continuously give former Tigers when it comes to drafting and signing players, would have reason for some goodwill about the Saints again.
It’s really a win across the board. Make it happen. The status quo simply won’t do.