Can New Orleans Saints Dig Their Way Out of 0-3 Sinkhole?

Lou RomContributor ISeptember 23, 2012

NEW ORLEANS, LA - SEPTEMBER 23:   Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints throws under pressure from  Jovan Belcher #59 of the Kansas City Chiefs at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on September 23, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

The New Orleans Saints look so lost, so confused on defense, so inconsistent on offense, so slow on special teams that it may be time for Jim Mora to come home and shake up this locker room.

Because, after giving up six straight scores to go 0-3 in the 2012 campaign, any talk of Mora's former team making the playoffs has been shelved and replaced with quiet, desperate talk about maybe, possibly, eventually winning a game.

The Saints are now 0-3 and just lost to the heretofore woeful Kansas City Chiefs, who gave up 75 points and nearly 800 yards in their first two games while going 0-2.

The Saints have lost a Holy Trinity of ballgames—they got run by a rookie quarterback on opening day for three touchdowns, they lost to a Carolina team giving up 150 yards rushing a game a week ago and on Sunday their offense took the second half off, gaining all of 70 yards in the last 30-minutes plus.

I don't mean to worry Saints fans, but this does not look good.

Let me count the ways:

  • The Saints are 0-3 and by the end of the day could trail the NFC South leading Atlanta Falcons by three games.
  • They are 0-2 in the conference and are one of only three teams in the league to give up more than 100 points in their first three games.
  • And, on top of that, their offense has wilted late in the game every single week.

Up next they play the Packers and the rejuvenated Chargers.They could well be 0-5 before they get a possible breather against the young Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

This team is in chaos.

Drew Brees is playing like a guy who just got a fat contract. Marques Colston can't find the end zone. And the defense, well, do they play defense in New Orleans?

To be fair, the defense played well down the stretch—but the offense did not hold up its part.

The Saints kept the Chiefs out of the end zone on four of the last five drives, forcing Ryan Succop to kick four field goals.

Despite that greyish lining the 2012 Saints—wracked by Bountygate, by the loss of head coach Sean Payton, by the leagues' worst defense—do have a prayer.

Brees is in the midst of his worst season since he came to the Big Easy, barely completing 50 percent of his passes and matching every TD with a pick. But how long can that last? How long will that last? It's hard to believe that Brees won't return to his form of the past five years.

When he does he'll have a running game to complement him that, at the very least, can buy him some time if the O-line holds up its part of the bargain, with Pierre Thomas leading the way.

And, Brees has an abundance of versatile receivers with good hands to help spread the ball around, most importantly, the dangerous Darren Sproles and Jimmy Graham, Lance Moore and Devery Henderson (who has yet to show up this year).

On the schedule, the Saints have some daylight. They play the Bucs twice, the Raiders and close the year at home against Carolina.

But beyond that, it's a tough road ahead.

After the Bucs in Week 6, they play the Cowboys, Giants and Falcons on the road and host the Niners, and the Falcons again at  home. 

The bottom line, though, does not look good.

The Saints are playing like a team without focus, without a leader, and that's because head coach Sean Payton—banned for a year for his role in Bountygate—was the glue that held this team together.

The Saints began the year with an "us against them" mantra, hell bent on avenging what they called a witch hunt by the NFL and winning one for the players and coaches who were casualties of that alleged witch hunt.

They will likely end the year with the same angst and only a handful of victories to soften the blow.