(Editor Note; I fully expect the Saints to make the playoffs, just writing this article playing devil advocate.)
The reason I wanted to write this article was I was reflecting back to when I was younger and always thinking before the season "Man, if we can just make the playoffs this could be a great year." Fast forward to today’s Saints its "Super Bowl or Bust" and it should be that way but you have to keep in the back of your mind stranger things have happen such as......
Reason 1- Schedule and Division
The first three games have the Saints playing at Packers, Bears and Texans. Two playoff teams and one team on the rise so it is possible they could start the season 0-3, then on top of that they start a three game road trip after those three games. Add that to the fact that the NFC South is getting tougher. Atlanta, the division champs last year, improved on both sides of the ball . While a game away from making the playoffs, Tampa Bay is young and improving with Josh Freeman at the quarterback position. Last year Carolina was the worst team in the NFL so with addition of a new head football coach and a new quarterback there is renewed optimism. The thing to keep in mind is any given Sunday a team can play their best game especially if your playing the Saints because the media has picked the them as one of the NFC best teams.
Reason 2- The Depth at Safety and the play of the Offensive Tackles
This reason is pretty simple: its all in the title. I guess you could pick out any position on the roster and say if this person goes down there goes the season but to me the Safety position is in trouble if Harper or Jenkins go down. I know they have capable backups but do remember the playoff game with Seattle, the defense seemed to miss Jenkins as the Seahawks passed all over them. The offensive line seems like this year's scapegoat. It has always been a unit the last couple of years that could use an upgrade. But the thing the tackles have going for them is the coaches know how to gameplan from week to week.
Reason 3 - Injuries?
I know this is something every team in the NFL goes through, the dreaded injury bug.
Its part of the game and the last couple of years the Saints have been lucky on the injury front. As a person that lives by the Gulf of Mexico you always worry about the next big hurricane, and as a football team you always worry about that one big injury. I think the thing that I’m most comfortable with as far as injuries are concerned is the way this roster is set up and the fact that if one player goes down the coaches will have the next man ready to step up.Like I said earlier this should be a great season for the Saints fans, I just want you all to take it one game at a time because not too long ago I remember the days where I was stocking up on brown paper bags.
My biggest concern is the O Line this year, three new starters is a lot to get on the same page when that is agrueably one of the most important parts of the teams. If the O-line can gel than I think we stand to have a great season. If things go slow, then the D is really going to have to work to keep us in game until things start clicking. The flip side of the coin is that I think we have the most complete team we have ever had. I agree with Dennis about expectations, but I can't help but be excited with the direction that the tema is headed
One thing that I have learned over the years of being a Saints fan is to keep your expectations as low as possible for two reasons.
1. If they do not make the playoffs it cushions the blow
2. If they do make it to the playoffs it makes that much sweeter