If you look at the scoreboard from Sunday's game against the Falcons, you might think that the New Orleans Saints were actually competitive, but, make no mistake about it— the Saints were never in this one.
From the first play, coach Sean Payton seemed scared to rely on traditional Football strategy. One can only guess why the third-year coach feels the need to gamble so often. On the first play of the game he tried to catch the Falcons off guard by going for the long pass.
The problem with that strategy is that everyone expects the long ball from coach Payton. You can't shock the world with the long ball if thats your regular play.
Two years ago Sean Payton arrived and was thought of as young and idealistic. He was touted as an Offensive genius with a flair for creativity. And with a 10-6 first season, the city of New Orleans was giddy with expectations about the future of the beleaguered franchise.
Then, the 2007 season started with Superbowl expectations by many experts and prognosticators. But all of a sudden, teams seemed to have figured Payton's offense out. They realized that he hates to run the ball, so teams started to play pass on almost every down.
A pattern started to emerge to those paying attention. Saints get the ball and start throwing down field. Sometimes with good results, sometimes not. IF they don't score right off the bat, it was usually because of bad execution or turnovers. Next, the other team gets the ball and marches right through the anemic Defense. Bam! TD.
Now the Saints are behind and Payton now thinks he HAS to pass. Herein lies the problem with Sean Payton. Its pretty much accepted football wisdom that teams that pass too much will not win consistently. For some reason Sean Payton never gets that.
Most coaches will run the ball down the other teams throat when they have a lead. Not Sean Payton. Time and time again . When he has a lead, he will resort to his brilliant passing attack.
Is it Ego? Is it arrogance? Both? What makes him tick? What makes him think that he has a better way then the most successful coaches in history?
Time will tell if Sean Payton gets wiser but, as most coaches have learned NFL stands for NOT FOR LONG.