0 And 3

Sep 30, 2012 by

Saints LogoAt 1-2, the Redskins, Panthers and Chiefs each have a better record than the 0-3 Saints, and the sad fact is that New Orleans gave them each of those solitary wins.

An 0-1 start is nothing new for the New Orleans Saints as we’ve started thirty seasons that way. Nineteen seasons started at 0-2 and now we’ve had twelve 0-3 starts. Based on record and points for and against, the Saints 2012 season ranks 31st out of 46 seasons. Only eight Saints teams have started 0-4 including Sean Payton’s  sophmore 2007 squad which finished 7-9.

Dick Nolan’s 1979 squad finished 8-8, our best record for an 0-3 start, but the spectre of 1980’s 1-15 squad lurks in the shadows of all our minds. That was Nolan too, for the first twelve games, until he was replaced by Dick Stanfel who managed our only win that year in W15 against the (then) 3-12 New York Jets.

And management might just be what Aaron Kromer’s problem is. In each of our losses, Kromer looks more and more like he’s “managing” the team rather than actually coaching, which I’m certain is what he’s been told to do. There’s been nothing in Kromer’s tenure to show he’s qualified to run an NFL franchise, much less a Championship team. Poor play-calling, abysmal clock management and most notably, a lackluster performance that recalls the days of Jim Mora’s Think-And-Dink teams filled with turf-passes and one-yard carries regardless of down and distance. It’s become evident that Kromer is working from a script which succeeds only as long as the other team is willing to play by it, and once off-script, Kromer’s actors forget their lines and blocking, the sets fall apart, someone yells fire and the audience demands their money back.

Take a look at Drew Brees on the sidelines for proof. The Saints have been in losing situations before, but generally Brees is a a sideline cheerleader for the defense; an inspiration in times of stress. In our first three games this season, Brees has been riding the bench with a mopey look on his face that you usually only see on people who’ve been handcuffed. And that’s exactly what’s happened. Brees knows what he could do, but Kromer’s script demands that the players follow it no matter the outcome, and what it’s doing to Drew and the rest of the team is simply heartbreaking.

Of course, you can’t put all the blame on Kromer. If you were the interim-interim coach, would you dare to cross the two-headed control-freak tandem that is Sean Payton and Mickey Loomis? Kromer is in a no-win situation. Disobey orders and you’re out of the Black-N-Gold Club. Follow orders and your career is essentially over because those orders are making you look like a fool. Unfortunately for Kromer, it may already be too late to fix his future.

The Numbers:
The Saints trail the series against the Packers 7-15 and after the Monday Night officiating farce Green Bay was forced to endure, they’re going to be a true test as to whether the Saints are headed in the right direction under Kromer. And now that the NFL’s Official Boneheads are back, the team won’t be able to blame the replacement boneheads anymore. All future bad calls are Official from this point on.

Drew Brees (5616) displaced Dan Fouts (5604) from 10th place on the NFL’s all-time passing attempt list. Brees (3688) also passed Fran Tarkenton on the NFL’s passing completion list landing in 8th place. This week Brees (288) is knocking on the door of another NFL legend, Johnny Unitas’ (290) on the all-time TD list. One TD will keep his streak alive. Also, with four sacks last week, Drew Brees (123) has taken 3rd place from Bobby Hebert (119) on the Saints all-time sack list.

Pierre Thomas (1463) caught 4 passes for 55 yards taking 33rd place from Jeremy Shockey (1460) on the Saint all-time receiving yards list. Going three-for-three on extra points, Garret Hartley (87) moved into a 4th place tie with Charlie Durkee. He now needs 58 extra points to pass Doug Brien (144) in 2nd place. We’ll get back to you sometime next year when this happens.

In a game where the defense looked, at times, invisible, Junior Galette (6.5) notched two sacks moving him from 53rd place on the Saints all-time sack list (tied with six other players) to 41st, tied with Darren Mickell, Troy Wilson and Hollis Thomas. This puts him half-a-sack behind current Saints Scott Shanle, Jeff Charleston and Jonathan Vilma, and former Saints Gene Atkins and Richard Harvey, all tied at 36th place with seven.

-M Styborski

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