To replace either your starting placekicker or your starting left tackle in the 15th game of the season with a division championship on the line...to replace either of them with a player who has never taken a snap for you at the position would have to be considered a gamble.
To replace both is truly "doubling down."
Desperate times call for desperate measures.
That saying can be traced all the way back to Hippocrates. Such deep thinkers as Voltaire, Thomas Jefferson, and William Shakespeare have weighed in on being bold. Whether Sean Payton has been courageously bold or outrageously impetuous we will not know until Sunday evening.
Garrett Hartley hit a 45-yard field goal in the second quarter against the Rams last Sunday. That gave him six straight successful attempts in a season that had produced his career long field goal and a pair of game-winners. Two misses later and he's now on the street in favor of Shayne Graham who's been on the rosters of 14 NFL teams and hasn't attempted a field goal for anyone, any time, anywhere this season.
Left tackle Charles Brown gave up two sacks and two hits on Drew Brees to the Rams' Robert Quinn in 33 dropbacks. He drew two costly penalties. Brown was benched with 8:39 remaining in the third quarter. In his previous three games combined against the Falcons, Seahawks, and Panthers (Sunday's opponent) Brown hadn't given up a sack or a hit on Drew Brees.
His replacement, rookie Terron Armstead, has not put his hand on the ground for a single snap at left tackle in his NFL career.
Sunday night, Sean Payton's legacy in New Orleans will quite likely be greatly enhanced or severely damaged by his unprecedented risk-taking.
One philosopher once said, "Boldness is a mask for fear, however great."
Another once said, "Those who take bold chances don't think failure is the opposite of success. They believe complacency is."
Sean Payton refuses to rely on a pat hand. He draws two. Sunday night we'll know if the hand he chooses to play is a winning one.
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