Thursday, October 25, 2007

Armchair QB: Two in a row

So I'm a little late on this one. I was out of town for the Seahawks game and watched it late, then was playing catchup at work, dealing with elections and fall's my busiest season of the year. I'm behind on lots of stuff. It happens.

At any rate, you've got to be pleased to finally get in the W column and almost ecstatic to win two in a row at this point. I've been preaching patience in the Saints circles that I run in. It seems after the 0-4 start a lot of the folks around me had forgotten that Sean Payton led this team to its best season ever just last year. They were calling for wholesale changes to the team. Some were reasonable -- a new kicker. Some were ludicrous -- trying to get Ricky Williams back if he's reinstated. No thanks.

I've got a theory, though, and that is that teams who have success quickly and unexpectedly like the Saints did last season aren't really prepared to deal with all that comes with it. Certainly, we were overhyped coming into the season, and fan expectations, including my own, were running way too high. Then there's the fact that never in the history of the team have faces from the Saints been as prevalent as Reggie Bush and Drew Brees are right now. I mean, you see one, if not both of them, during every commercial break during every game. That has to be a bit of a distraction if you're not used to dealing with it. I think the team is just finally settling down and getting back to business. Better late than never.

That's not to say that everything is fixed. They gave us a good scare at the end of the Seattle game, and barely survived against an awful Atlanta team -- though certainly you have to note that's a rivalry game, too. Then there's the fact that we punted from the 35 because we don't trust our kicker to send him out for a 52 yarder. I'm still not sure that we did the right thing by not signing one of the kickers we tried out, but for now I'll trust that Payton knows what he's doing. He served us well last season.

Still, looking down our schedule, it doesn't look too bad. Niners, Jags, Rams, Texans, Panthers, Bucs, Falcons, Cardinals, Eagles and Bears. There are definitely some tough games there, but with the Eagles and Bears struggling, it certainly doesn't look as vicious as it did at the start of the season.

Certainly the Saints have got a tough mountain to climb. They'd have to finish 8-2 to match last season's total, 7-3 to salvage a winning season. I haven't given up hope yet, though. They'll definitely have to play better than they have even in their two wins, but I think a 9-7 finish and sneaking into the playoffs as a Wild Card team is not out of the question at this point. It's not the Super Bowl that we hoped for before the season began, but I think most of us would be happy with it.

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