Should the Carolina Panthers beat the New Orleans Saints Sunday in Pantherville, the Saints will be 0-2 with four games to go before its permanent interim coach, Joe Vitt, returns. Even should Vitt get back into the game after his six month stay, who knows what type of shape and morale the team could be in--come week seven.
Judging from the Saints’ lackluster performance against the Redskins, the Saints ship is navigating into rough waters without any real compass giving direction from the top.
After all, right now, the New Orleans Saints are missing two, count them, two seasoned and experienced minds operating on the sidelines, that of Payton and Joe Vitt.
Think about it…if Payton and Vitt are not necessary and even critical to the Saints’ success, they would be out playing golf on Sunday instead of matching wits with the other coaches on the other side of the gridiron.
Certainly, a guy like Tom Benson would not be paying these guys that kind of money if they were not essential for game day Sunday.
Plus, based upon the type of dancing and tip-toeing Drew Brees had to do last week trying to evade incoming defensive headhunters, Brees might not have the time or patience to be the kind of leader on the field he has been since Katrina. His mind likely would be focused upon how to find open receivers if the front line continues to operate third-rate. It’s kinda hard to really take charge when you only have time to survive.
Which gets us to the Commish.
The Saints players are going to visit Sir Roger this week, starting with Jonathan Vilma. Just maybe, if Vilma and gang do feel they have the upper hand and know there is little chance the NFL can prove their case (because the facts presumably are not there), possibly the once-suspended players can include the coaches in whatever deal is struck.
If in fact Goodell has been swinging from the hip without aiming first (as they say), he will not want the plaintiffs to do legal discovery as to what did the NFL know and when did they know it.
Lawsuits are nasty things. While the commissioner is a combative type, that is when he is on the offense and when the football is in his corner.
If Bountygate were to linger and if the Saints are not in the number come Super Bowl Sunday in New Orleans, Roger Goodell will be blamed. While the league will be trying to showcase the greatest show on earth, eyes will be on the man who deprived the home team the chance to be the Super Bowl home team for the first time since ever.
The story line will be Goodell and exactly what type of proof did he have before laying down the boom on New Orleans.
So, if Drew Brees wants his hopes to be a reality, then it is time for the Vima and company to lay down the hatchet and take up the banner to Free Payton. Otherwise, it probably will be too little, too late.
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