Dear Sean,

Sorry we haven’t written in a while. But we thought you probably were too busy trying to figure out how to change the course of the Saints season to pay attention to this old sportswriter.

However, now that that turnaround obviously isn’t going to happen, or it’s too late if it does, we thought we’d check in.

Things aren’t too good, are they?

Your team is 4-8, its worst record at this point in your 10 seasons in New Orleans. gives you less than a 1 percent chance of making the playoffs.

At least your players don’t seem to have given up.

“Our coaches preach to just keep working,” safety Kenny Vacarro said Monday. “We’re headed in the right direction.

“The only thing is we’re 4-8.”

There’s an inconvenient truth for you.

We’ve got to say you certainly had the team ready to play Sunday against Carolina.

Maybe you told them that the Saints hadn’t been this big of a home underdog (7.5 points) since Mike Ditka’s penultimate game in 1999.

Your defense came out playing with their hair on fire: a three-and-out, a Delvin Breaux interception, and Stephone Anthony’s fumble return for a touchdown. That was more big plays than we’ve seen in a month.

And after stalling out at midfield on its first possession, your offense moved efficiently on its second: five plays, 51 yards and a Drew Brees touchdown pass to Benjamin Watson.

That score along with the one by Anthony, staked you to a 14-0 lead after the first quarter. You had the NFL’s lone remaining undefeated team on its heels, and the Mercedes-Benz Superdome was rocking.

And then, the same-ol’, same-ol’ set in.

Your offense sputtered with a missed field goal followed by four straight punts with only three first downs in five possessions.

And your defense proved as incapable of stopping the Panthers as it has everyone else. A 27-point run by the visitors was interrupted only by Kevin Williams’ blocked extra point and Anthony’s return for the first defensive two-point conversion in NFL history.

That you wound up within a fourth-down stop of winning and a first-down conversion pass of a makeable attempt at a field goal that would have sent the game to overtime demonstrates how close most teams in the league are.

But there’s something missing from your previous teams that prevents them from closing the deal, as they could have Sunday, or sometimes even getting started, as they did the week before against Houston.

The reasons aren’t hard to figure out.

Obviously you’re paying the price for poor personnel decisions, both in the draft and in free agency.

And while it’s known that you’ve had the ultimate say in them, it would be nice to hear a little show of accountability from your boss/buddy Mickey Loomis.

But would anyone will take responsibility for Brandon Browner.

It’s been obvious that he’s incapable of playing in man coverage without holding,which somehow seemed to escape the notice of everyone involved in signing him. But can you consider his jaw-to-jaw confrontation with Dennis Allen acceptable behavior?

You seemed to dismiss it after the game as normal player-coach interaction.

There must be something about the guy.

His defensive peers elected him as one of their captains before he’d ever played a game with them. They still take up for him.

“He is a leader,” Vacarro said. “He’s a good presence for us.”

“It’s easy to point fingers at somebody when our record is what it is.”

But even if you were undefeated, it would still be easy to point fingers at No. 39.

To be fair, your injuries have been largely overlooked. Your secondary is so depleted that when just-signed Chris Owens was beaten for the game-winning touchdown Sunday, we press-box denizens had to look up who he was.

The injuries have led to many young players having to play important roles before they’re ready. There were 13 rookies and first-year players on Sunday’s 53-man roster.

That may pay off in the future. But it’s not winning games now.

Maybe that’s why on Monday, you seemed more upset about the three times Carolina got away from breaking the huddle with 12 men than the way your team performed.

We know it’s deeper than that. But it’s easier for you to rant about the zebras.

Either way, you’ve got four games left, starting with fast-rising Tampa Bay.

The Buccaneers’ tanking against you in the second half of last year’s finale gained the them the No. 1 pick in the draft, which they used to get quarterback Jameis Winston.

Winston got his first victory against you in the Dome back in September. And on Sunday, he led his team to a 23-19 victory against Atlanta that got the Buccaneers to 6-6 and just a game out of a wild-card berth.

The Bucs won’t be tanking this Sunday. We didn’t have to tell you that.

One last thing. The rumor that you’d be amenable to being traded — although the Saints, who have you under contract for two more years, would certainly want substantial compensation — resurfaced Sunday.

Such deals are rare. There hasn’t been one since 2006.

But given the way this franchise is trending, this is plausible.

The San Diego, perhaps soon to be the Los Angeles, Chargers would be a good fit.

If that’s what you want, Sean, you’ve earned that right.

Too bad it has to end like this though.


And Who Dat!