Payton, Saints feel the heat after two losses, talent deficit take their toll
It didn’t take long for the ‘ditch Sean Payton’ movement to pick up steam.
Those in the movement know the numbers like the back of their hand. The 7-9 record the last three seasons, and two more losses to start 2017.
As a coach, they say, Payton has lost his fastball. And so has his quarterback, they say.
Forget the fact that Drew Brees was the best deep middle passer in the National Football League last season. Two games into 2017, Drew allegedly doesn’t have it anymore.
My take? The reason why the Saints aren’t winning is because their myriad of personnel mistakes is being reflected in their record.
It is that simple.
Hours after leaving the Superdome, where the Saints were routed Sunday by New England, I watched intently as the Packers visited the Falcons in a primetime game
It was no contest. The game went on for four quarters, but much of it was garbage time as Atlanta whipped Green Bay.
After watching both games, you could only come to one conclusion.
The defending NFL champion Falcons have done a far superior job in the draft and free agency than the New Orleans Saints.
As recently as two years ago, Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan was running for his life.
Since that time, Atlanta added tackle Jake Matthews in the draft and signed Cleveland center Alex Mack in free agency. Suddenly, Ryan was the NFL’s Most Valuable Player in 2016.
In recent drafts, the Falcons have added stud runners Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman, pass rushers Vic Beasley and Takk McKinley, and two more top shelf defenders, safety Keanu Neal and linebacker Deoin Jones of LSU and Jesuit high school.
Atlanta certainly had their misses in the draft, but each offseason they seem to add impact players to their roster.
Not surprisingly, their record reflects it.
When the Saints traded linebacker Stephone Anthony to the Dolphins, that left only four players of nine from the 2015 draft on their roster. None of the remaining quartet – guard Andrus Peat, pass rusher Hau’oli Kikaha, cornerback PJ Williams and defensive tackle Tyeler Davison – have been standout pros yet.
It is important to note that Kikaha and Williams have battled injuries early in their careers.
On the bright side, the last two Saints drafts look promising. Michael Thomas is the team’s number one wide out, and cornerback Marshon Lattimore could be a star. There is some decent but young talent on hand.
What the Saints need right now is to hold the fort. At least one win at Carolina or in London against the Dolphins before the bye week is a must.
Receiver Willie Snead returns from suspension for the Dolphins game, and starting offensive tackles Terron Armstead and Zach Strief may return to action soon after.
All three are difference makers.
But the time to acquire those difference making types of players has passed. Payton must play with the roster that he is ultimately responsible for crafting.
There is only way word to describe that group through two games.
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WGNO Sports Director/106.1 FM
Ed is a New Orleans native, born at Baptist Hospital. He graduated Rummel High School, class of 1975, and subsequently graduated from Loyola University. Ed started in TV in 1977 as first sports intern at WVUE Channel 8. He became Sports Director at KPLC TV Channel 7 in Lake Charles in 1980. In 1982 he was hired as sports reporter…