WHAT WE LEARNED
The guys in the old rap group “Public Enemy” were right yet again. They warned people “Don’t Believe the Hype” in 1988. The same could have and should have been true for Saints entering the 2014 season. Instead, because Saints fans believed the hype about this team, they are even more disappointed about its failures than they would have been had they looked at the group of players more objectively. This team was never as good as we thought it was.
Sunday’s game was a microcosm of the Saints’ up and mostly down season. If it wasn’t bad defense, it was a bad decision by quarterback Drew Brees. If it wasn’t a bad decision by Brees, it was a mental mistake by some player assumed to be mentally tough. Even though the Saints won, it was a hollow victory, because the Buccaneers needed to lose to secure the No. 1 pick in the draft, and they played to lose in the second half.
TAKE SOME R&R
Here is some advice to Saints coach Sean Payton: Take a few days off, go down to the Florida Keys and pick the brain of former Dallas Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson. Then take some more days off and find mentor Bill Parcells and do the same thing. It’s time for the Saints to have some old school coaching in 2015.
IS THERE A RÉSUMÉ WRITER IN THE HOUSE?
If Sunday’s game by the Saints defense was an audition tape for defensive coordinator Rob Ryan to keep his job, then he should be starting to get some estimates from local moving companies Monday. The Saints need a fall guy for this disappointing season, and he is the easiest target. That’s not to say that the defense was the only problem with this team, but just the most glaring. When a team that probably wants to lose so it can get the No. 1 pick in the draft gashes through the Saints defense for more than 100 yards rushing in the first half, it is a hint and a half that someone has got to go.
MARCUS MARIOTA, HOLD YOUR BREATH
Despite the way the Saints played at times, the Buccaneers lost and have the No. 1 pick in the draft. The quarterback-starving team will probably pass on Florida State’s Jameis Winston. Even though Tampa Bay quarterback Josh McCown looked like Brad Johnson at times against the Saints defense, Oregon’s Mariota will likely be the player the Bucs take.
THE BREES FACTOR
Now that the 2014 season is over, the statistics for Brees will look pretty close to those of his previous seasons. But realistically, there has been a difference. His decision making at times, especially before halftime, was terrible and led to some bad turnovers. He could never get into one of those consistent, killer, Brees-type game streaks where he was untouchable. After ignoring it the past few years, it’s time for the Saints to start grooming an heir apparent. His three interceptions Sunday were too much for an “elite” quarterback against a team like Tampa Bay.
-- Pierce Huff