Sean Payton’s Saints continue to overcome obstacles

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The Saints beat the Packers by 35 points on Sunday with the historically erratic Jameis Winston down center and the excellent Michael Thomas on the sidelines. Five of Winston’s 14 attempts resulted in touchdowns. His passer rating was better against Green Bay (130.8) than in any game under Bruce Arians and Byron Leftwich, the coach and coordinator duo who just won the Super Bowl.

Of course, we have no earthly idea of ​​how this entire season will play out. Throughout his life, Winston has had enough of these games to inspire blind confidence, to find solace again in the dysfunction of his pocket. Similar-laid out quarterbacks argue that they can get out of any situation, which is about as hard a notion to come out of a five-star high school player as any other that exists in the sport. . Also, it’s important to note that one of those touchdowns was essentially a shovel pass and another was an alley-oop – a phenomenal grip in traffic. On a third, the receiver was so painfully open that a Packers defender didn’t exist in that whole third of the end zone, and Winston nearly forced an incompletion.

Either way, here we are with the Saints 1-0 at a time when, yes, the NFL seems odd, as it often does after the first week of the season. But the one constant, the one truism about this week that has direct ties to the past, is how fantastically economical this franchise has been despite many obstacles: the retirement of a legendary quarterback, a situation of ceiling resembling that of a dying car rental company, and a hurricane that forced them out of town as they prepared for the season and play their “home opener” in Jacksonville.

Saints often fade under the brightest lights. They’ve been hammered home by notoriously mediocre officials and a miraculous Hail Mary that will ultimately affect how we view Head Coach Sean Payton’s legacy, as well as the entire staff and operation of the caps. Having said that, how much worse could they be? And looking at the whole organization through that lens, how much more willing are we to admit that this team is one of the most fun to watch and observe in the NFL?

Think about it. The Saints have won games with Teddy Bridgewater and Taysom Hill. Hill was a wonderful college quarterback who by the time he was forced under center had altered his body so much that he looked more like an NHL defenseman. In three of his four important periods of playing time last year, Hill recorded a quarterback score of over 100. New Orleans has won three of those games.

At one point in March, the Saints exceeded the salary cap by more than $ 32 million. They currently don’t have enough ceiling space ($ 2.529 million) to compete for a well-located four-bedroom, three-bathroom home in a good school district anywhere in California.

For the perspective, look around the league at other franchises in similar situations. The Giants, two years after the retirement of their legendary franchise quarterback, were shaved by the Broncos on Sunday. Despite an unprecedented overhaul by investing in all the fundamental pieces of a winning club, the team have been completely infallible offensively for almost three years.

The Saints also made mistakes. They signed contracts that would rival Orlando’s most manic timeshare deals. As a result, they let the good players down. There are undoubtedly complications that arise when working around a perpetually mad, freakish genius like Payton, whose ability to outsmart the rest of the league is only surpassed by his ability to outdo himself.

So far, however, they have never been out of control. During that streak, which included Drew Brees’ career final, several injuries to Brees, and the noticeable drop (for Brees, but not compared to the rest of the league) in his arm strength, they failed. never been totally incompetent in the field. They have never shied away from the inevitable rush of time and the irreversible effects of aging. They have threw a converted punt shooter, career mate and now a busted former first-round pick best known for his recklessness with football into the field, and went on to score plenty of points and win games . It won’t reverse the team’s horrific streak of woes at the most critical times of the season, both self-inflicted and otherwise. But that says something about what they have, which unlike other teams is the ability to conjure up something that other coaches might excuse as nothing.

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• The 49ers are already showing us the future with Trey Lance


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