The New Orleans Saints have had a rough season so far. Their campaign began with a miserable series of defeats to the Cardinals, Buccaneers and Panthers. An unexpected win against the Cowboys was supposed to be a turning point for the team, but they encountered their fourth defeat of the season in a crushing loss to the Eagles. Their latest result, a solid win against the Atlanta Falcons, helps to cover up the holes in the Saints’ season so far, but some fans and analysts are starting to question the future of the team’s coach Sean Payton. In response to these discussions, Payton has allegedly revealed that he is open to the idea of changing things up and moving on to another team.
Payton is a hero in New Orleans, having led the team brilliantly since 2006. The highlight of his career so far is undoubtedly the 2009 season where the team enjoyed a fantastic 13-3 season and won the Super Bowl. He’s easily the best coach the Saints have ever had the pleasure of having and will go down as a hero, but it would probably be best for everyone concerned if Payton’s future could be resolved as soon as possible. Reports in the media are suggesting that other teams may be speaking with the 51-year old and it seems like the coach hasn’t really made up his mind one way or the other just yet.
It’s worth mentioning that Payton is tied to the Saints by a contract that lasts for another two years. If the team wants him to stay, they have the legal right to enforce their wishes, but that sort of situation could easily cause some difficulties. If the coach did decide to move on, New Orleans would almost certainly be entitled to some form of compensation thanks to the existence of the contract. The coach was recently asked about reports linking him to a switch to the Miami Dolphins, but his answer wasn’t too reassuring for Saints’ fans. Payton said that he hears these reports every year but that he loves New Orleans, without actually confirming or denying anything.
It’s clear that the coach does love the team he works with and the fans of New Orleans. He has brought plenty of good times to the city and, most importantly, helped the team to their first and only Super Bowl title. It’s doubtful that he would want any animosity to surround his decision to switch to another club, so fans will be hoping that a clear decision is made and firmly announced in the weeks to come. However, questions will continue to arise for as long as the coach demonstrates his indecisive attitude.
Why are these questions coming up in the first place? Well, because the Saints have been relatively poor for quite a while now. The 2014 campaign was a lowlight for the team; the Saints finished that season with a 7-9 record and didn’t make it to postseason competition. In 2015, things are looking even grimmer with a 2-4 record currently in place after six weeks of games. The Saints currently find themselves at the bottom of the NFC South division. The Panthers (5-0) and Falcons (5-1) are topping the table and the excellent performances of those two teams suggest that the Saints will struggle greatly to rise up the division in the weeks to come.
The latest victory against the Falcons is just enough to keep Saints fans’ hopes alive, but difficult games against the Colts and Giants are looming on the horizon. The team’s defense has been very poor so far, with no other team in the NFL giving up as many yards as the New Orleans squad. To make matters worse, the offensive players just aren’t performing to the right standard either. Marques Colston has lost some of his spark and Willie Snead is being asked to step up, but overall the team’s running game is one of the weakest in the league.
If this truly does turn out to be Payton’s last season in charge at New Orleans, some experts are predicting that the links with the Miami Dolphins might have some truth to them after all. Despite Payton’s dismissal of these claims, the coach does have some links with the Miami squad. He has a good relationship with Mike Tannenbaum, for example, who is currently the Executive Vice President of Football Operations with the Dolphins. After last season’s disappointments and this season’s terrible start, it’ll take a small miracle for Payton and the Saints to turn things around and get back to the same sort of form they showed back in the 2009, 10, 11 and 13 seasons. Simply put, Payton’s strategies just aren’t working anymore, and perhaps it would be better for the coach and team to part ways before things get too ugly.