Can New Orleans Saints Come Back from Bounty-Gate Nonsense?

By Mark Donatiello
Tim Heitman – US PRESSWIRE

Suspensions were overturned, liability was lifted and all the players involved in the New Orleans Saints Bounty-Gate nonsense were eventually let off the hook. Unfortunately, the coaches were not, and the latest Roger Goodell power trip completely derailed the 2012 New Orleans Saints season.

There were flashes of brilliance last season, particularly near the end. Drew Brees had another solid year, but the defense was completely lost all year long. The New Orleans Saints certainly learned the value of their head coach Sean Payton as they failed to adjust to his absence.

Coming off a terrible season where they missed the playoffs, can the New Orleans Saints recover from Bounty-Gate next season?

Their spectacular offense is still intact. The New Orleans Saints have one of the best quarterbacks in football throwing to a plethora of talented receiving options. The wideouts are deep and Jimmy Graham may be the best tight end in the conference. Still, the running game always seems to leave something to be desired and much of its success stems from the scarcity of surprise running plays. Mark Ingram had 602 yards last season, which led the team by a large margin.  The Saints have an extremely one-dimension, pass-heavy offense that relies almost exclusively on Brees, but it works when in the hands of an effective coach. Expect more of the same next season.

Still, last year’s struggles may have been more than just coaching issues. Though the sudden suspension of Payton for the entire season left the Saints without a plan, New Orleans’ problems stemmed from their roster at least as much as coaching. The defense is in shambles, allowing more than 7,000 yards last season. Perhaps more troubling is that no one dimension of the defense is much weaker than the other: the Saints allowed 2,361 rushing yards and 4,681 passing yards.

A new system, or perhaps additions to the roster, are likely required if the Saints are going to compete at a Super Bowl level. The offense is good enough to win a championship, and the coaching is among the best in football, but without a defense, the New Orleans Saints will again be beatable again in 2013–but not as beatable as last year.

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