New Orleans Saints: 6 Reasons Their Window Could Be Closing Fast
Haters love to talk. They love to tell you reasons you can't do something.
For the positive person this is normally annoying, hurtful and brings down their energy level. For the already pessimistic it's sometimes all that person needs to simply give up.
But for the even-keeled, it can be used as motivation and encouragement to accomplish your goals.
The Saints are about as even-keeled an organization as exists in today's sports world. They truly focus on one game at a time, they celebrate, but not too much, they don't talk trash and they let their play do the talking for them.
Therefore, the Saints have the right ingredients to ward off the naysayers. One of the ways they'll do so is by admitting that some of what the naysayers say could be true, and then use that as motivation.
Here are six possible reasons the Saints' window of opportunity could be closing, followed by reasons the organization and/or team won't allow it to go down that way.
6. Sean Payton Admits He Doesn't Want To Coach Forever
When rumors got out right around the Super Bowl that Sean Payton and his family were moving back to Dallas, everyone assumed his time in New Orleans as the head coach was going to be short-lived.
And you know that opposing organizations will continue to use that rhetoric—similar to the way college coaches will speak against Joe Paterno in recruiting—in free agency.
The only thing Payton actually said that would be any kind of cause for concern is that he didn't see himself coaching much past 10 years from now. Considering that few coaches make it past 15 years with their organizations, this truly isn't a big deal.
Payton still has the same youthful enthusiasm he brought to the table in 2006 when he took over the reins as head coach. Over time, Payton has gained tremendous experience and discipline in his game plans and game management.
My bet is Payton will coach close to 10 years for the Saints, and win a few more Super Bowls along the way.
5. Gregg Williams: A Hot Head Coaching Item
While many may point to Sean Payton's eventual retirement from coaching as a reason the Saints might go downhill, others will more wisely point to defensive coordinator Gregg Williams' likely departure to take over another organization as head coach.
Williams was the perfect marriage in 2009 for this team, providing the same kind of enthusiasm and aggressiveness that Sean Payton and the offense showed for years. The marriage seemed to be short-lived when he became a hot commodity for a head coaching job this past January.
Thankfully, the Saints made it into the clear this offseason. Hopefully they can avoid losing Williams for a few more years. Still, the Saints hope Williams remains a hot commodity, as that would mean the defense is continuing to improve.
4. Drew Brees Isn't Getting Any Younger
Those who know Brees well have said that he's one of those guys who could be successful at anything he chooses to do. Many see him as a politician, or working for the NFL. Most know he'll do a great job at whatever he chooses to do.
Most fans believe Brees still has plenty of time to cement his legacy as a player, adding more rings and maybe an MVP to his resume. That's what I believe, and I believe he'll do those things with the New Orleans Saints.
3. Offensive Line Struggles
Everybody loves to point to the struggles of right tackle Jon Stinchcomb a year ago, but the truth is that the entire offensive line had probably its worst season as a unit in the Sean Payton era last year.
If that continues, then the team really does have some issues to concern itself with. But, if the team is able to improve in that area, the offense will get back to its dominant self. Running the football is a priority for the team after struggling greatly in 2010.
Getting back to the grinding attack of '09 will keep the offense on schedule, and prevent Brees from getting sacked too often as well.
2. Linebacker Play in Question
Aside from Jon Vilma, the Saints don't exactly have marquee names in their linebacking corps. Instead they have a group of workman-types.
Gregg Williams has long been known for getting the most out of the talent in his lineup, so it's not a huge surprise that he's done well without marquee guys in this area of the defense. What is a surprise is that the team hasn't made a strong effort to acquire bigger names.
It tells me that everyone else is missing something, or the Saints as an organization are blind to their deficiencies. But considering they won a Super Bowl with this relatively unknown group, I'm thinking the consensus is dead wrong.
1. Hard To Stay on Top
Since the Raiders played in the Super Bowl they've had one season in which they have finished .500 or better. Other teams have obviously fared better, but many struggled to stay on top for long.
The point is that ultimately nothing is harder in sports than staying on top. With a few good drafts, a team can get to the top, but staying there is much more difficult as other teams purge your roster, trying to bring in that winning formula.
Heck, just look at the 2007 and 2008 seasons for the Saints. They've experienced the difficulties of backing up a winning season. But after winning the Super Bowl in 2009, the Saints had the most successful season by a defending champion since the Patriots won back-to-back championships in 2003 and 2004.
Based on the makeup of the team, I fully believe the Saints will stay on top as long as the factors listed above continue to bring positive success to the team.