In a season of ups and downs, highs and lows on Christmas Eve the Saints put it all together. Brees looked like Brees, pro bowl snub not withstanding. Ingram ran angry.
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The young stable of wide receivers continued to be the best three wideouts on one team under the age of 24. The cherry on top was that there even was a Jairus Byrd sighting. Who, by the way, is quietly having a good year.
The 2016 edition of the Saints may finish 8-8 or 7-9 again for the third-straight year. But like an onion, to think these Saints are the same as the 2015/2014 7-9 editions, you need to peel back the layers.
This team had some really unfortunate breaks this year. They are down to their 7th and 8th string corners. Yet nothing looks like Browner getting burned of the past. The Saints blew a big lead Week 1 vs Oakland. A pass interference call on Craig Robinson and a two-point conversion sent the Saints falling and the Raiders flying. Week 2 missing Breaux and losing P.J. Williams early, the defense played remarkable.
However a blocked kick returned for a touchdown did in the Saints before the half. Penalty filled sloppiness did them in at Kansas City and Carolina. And the Denver game crushed all the momentum as the blocked extra point ran back did them in again.
What’s the point of bring up all these bad memories? The talent is there. Yes, some offense line depth and a pass rusher opposite Jordan are needed. But this team is close. Coach Bill Parcells used to say you are what your record says you are. And that is true. The Saints are a 7-9 team.
But this 7-9 team with a little help, and if they clean up the sloppy mistakes is primed for a run in 2017. Remember the 2008 Saints were 8-8 the year before they won the Super Bowl.
It takes time and a little luck, but the skill level is close for the boys in black and gold.