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If the Saints completely flop, what happens?


Dome

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Stealing this from @patriotsheatyan

just looking for others fans perspectives

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Let’s say they go 4-12 or worse. Let’s say the 6 week timetable for Brees was incredibly optimistic and he comes back late in a very diminished capacity.

What changes should their organization make? What do you think happens with Brees? What should happen with Brees if he can’t come back from this but thinks he can? How will the Saints fare with someone other than Brees at QB?

 

 
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There are a couple of questions I would have in this case, all things considered. 

First things first, it was an unlucky injury, but I don't see it as career altering, though stranger things have happened. My guess is the offense gets tweaked around. A 50% Brees would probably still be a viable option. If it flops, I'd move on to next season, probably try and jockey for a QB if I like one, and hope Brees can get healthy for one last go. 

Now, if he can't come back, I'd consider moving on after the season. He's paid too much to be a backup, and he hasn't exactly proven himself to be overly cap friendly. That could change, but who knows. 

My bigger question would be regarding Sean Payton and the coaching staff in general. IIRC, he just got a pretty extension. It's not like the Saints are devoid of talent. You guys have one of the top WRs and one of, heck probably the most electric player in the game, a solid O-line, and proven playmakers on D. I'm honestly wondering what the heck happened if the Saints bottom out without Brees, unless it becomes an obvious Miami tank situation. Not to say give Payton the axe, but I'd expect at least a coordinator or two to be sent packing. 

Unless there's an obvious tank job, the team is plenty talented enough to still win 8, 9, or even 10 games if the coaches can work some of the kinks out. A total meltdown would, in my opinion, be a pretty bad look. Brees is a once in a lifetime type guy, but if he's so important that without him the team sinks into the >5 win territory, I'm questioning why we extended our coach, paid Thomas top dollar, so on so forth. Given that Brees won't be around forever anyway, I'm not sure I'd want to pour money into Thomas, Kamara, Cook, etc, if that lineup can't manage to win more than 5 in a division with the Falcons and Buccaneers without a top 5 All-Time QB. That's a lot of money to invest. And as a Raiders fan who watched money get poured into FA's who played great with a HOF QB only to suck wind without him (looking directly at you Jovan Walker), I know how ugly that situation can get. 

Either way, I see the Saints going 8-8 at absolute worst. 

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@ronjon1990 Brees' contract expires this year so outside of dead money from renegotiated deals they have no financial requirements to keep Brees on the roster.  Also this is just the hypothetical that the Saints for some reason totally bottom out at 4-12 so that means Tampa and Carolina likely get their acts together and Bridgewater/Hill just couldn't run the offense period.  We've seen how bad teams can be even with a great defense if their offense is crap with teams like Jacksonville and Chicago.

But if the Saints finish 4-12, which means they are a top 5 pick, it's almost guaranteed that they would draft a QB.  Exception to this would be if the Saints get a QB in FA that their current team moves on from that Payton thinks he could mold the offense around with Derek Carr being the ideal QB for a situation like that IMO as I think the Raiders could 100% decide to move on from Carr even with a good year.  At that point I wouldn't be surprised to see someone like DE Chase Young, WR Jerry Jeudy, S Grant Delpit, or DT Derrick Brown as being potential picks and still looking to take a QB at the top of the 2nd.

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6 hours ago, Raves said:

@ronjon1990 Brees' contract expires this year so outside of dead money from renegotiated deals they have no financial requirements to keep Brees on the roster.  

In that case, I'm moving on outside of team friendly 1 year deals, regardless of whether he comes back from this looking like Ryan Lindley or vintage Brees. 

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Brees will be the Saints starting QB as long as he wants to be. He’ll be back in 6 weeks and we’ll go from there. It is well known that the Saints would have taken Mahomes if he was there and Lattimore was off the board. They have been searching for a Brees contingency fir some time. I don’t think they are desperate for a QB, but they’ll get one if the value is there. The Saints are talented. They have a top 5 OL. The likely have two of the top 10 skilled offensive players in the league. They defense is truly ascending...remember that they haven’t even got back one of their best defensive players in Rankins. The key is that the QB can’t suck...and unfortunately Bridgewater is trending toward suck-town. 

Paytons not going anywhere. He’s a narcissist and I truly believe he wants to prove that he can win without Brees...and the pieces are there. 

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4 hours ago, sammymvpknight said:

Paytons not going anywhere. He’s a narcissist and I truly believe he wants to prove that he can win without Brees...and the pieces are there. 

That would be my biggest concern in the event of an undeliberately bad season. Payton has a Bill B level mentality, and a lot of people treat him with the same reverence. 

Now, given the franchise's history, Payton is pretty well deserving of this status. But we've seen The Hoodie have success with literally EVERY QB he's had in New England (and why I think there is some validity to the notion that Brady is not Brady without Bill). With the talent that the Saints possess, we're going to learn pretty quickly if Payton is Payton without Drew.

If he's not, and I think it would require their offense being absolutely neutered over the next 6 or so weeks while losing handily (probably no going to happen), what becomes the long term plan? Paytons had a few 7-9 seasons with some really good ones. But is he really more of a 7-9, 8-8 Jack del Rio type who can have a hot season or two? Is he only capable of being competitive with a HoF QB? 

I think the Saints will ultimately be fine, but in regards to the OP, these are some of the things I thought about. As you said, he wants to prove he can win without Drew. Drew isn't an average QB. He's not a good, really good, or excellent QB. The guy is on that ethereal level that few get to. If Payton "can't" win without that level of QB play, I'd have to think the Saints opt for a hard reset sooner rather than later.

Don't think it'll happen, but the original question does make for some interesting pondering. Unlike the post about the Steelers, who have a coach that has heard the musings about being ineffective and a QB who has openly been talking retirement, Payton has yet to feel the heat from the fans and Drew's status, while on the back of peoples' minds, has seemed more secure than Roethlisberger's. The gravity in regards to the people involved makes this one a fun one to think about. 

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@ronjon1990 Didn't DelRio typically have good defenses but god awful offenses and that's why he would go 7-9 or 8-8 but when he had a competent offense he would do well?  If so then Payton is pretty much the other side of the coin.  Always a good/great offenses but a dog crap defense that took otherwise great teams to 7-9 or 8-8.  Also Brees wasn't Brees before coming to NO.  He was a good, average looking QB in San Diego, similar to Teddy B, and he ascended to the heights he's at in the offense of Payton's.  I mean granted Brees' skillset is what makes Payton's offense so efficient as well though so it's probably a bit of a symbiotic relationship for success.

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1 minute ago, Raves said:

@ronjon1990 Didn't DelRio typically have good defenses but god awful offenses and that's why he would go 7-9 or 8-8 but when he had a competent offense he would do well?  If so then Payton is pretty much the other side of the coin.  Always a good/great offenses but a dog crap defense that took otherwise great teams to 7-9 or 8-8.

Pretty much. It's why Jacksonville canned him eventually. Some of those D's were sick, but his offenses would have to get in a groove early and often like they did with Garrard and MJD a few times for the wins to pile up. 

I actually really liked his style and, though an unpopular opinion on here, think Oakland made a kneejerk reaction to a shiny *new* toy with Gruden. I appreciate a steady HC who can get the ball rolling with the right players in place and can generally avoid being totally uncompetitive. Alas, that kind of patience with a head coach rarely exists outside of Cincinnati. 

That being said, if JDR is a perennial 8-8 guy (which I think he ultimately is), I'd put Payton in the 9-7, 10-6 range. Once post-Brees adjustments get made, I have a hard time believing the drop off will be dramatic. Maybe not as many record setting performances, maybe not as many 12, 13, 14+ win seasons, but on the aggregate, I'd set Payton's floor with a Brees-less Saints roster at 9-7. Less is a "bad" season, more is a pretty good to possibly special one. And honestly, a 9-7 floor is pretty good all things considered. If anything, Payton is still more likely to have a good defense than JDR an adequate offense, especially if one wants 30 pts a game. 

The question then becomes "Is that what the Saints want?" Or does Gayle wind up envisioning this roster as a 11+ win team regardless of the presence of an all-time QB? It may seem knitpicky, but I think the franchise can justify being that way if they want to. Especially if Payton's floor is lower than that and 9-7 becomes more of a ceiling with the odd 10+ win breakthrough every few years. Either way, the next couple of years should be interesting to watch.

 

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