I'm going to write something everyone reading this article deep down already knows.
The Saints are a below average football team that isn't going anywhere this season. The shaky NFC South standings don't fool anyone.
It's now December, the time for 'finding their identity' and 'figuring themselves out' has long past. By this time the Saints know exactly who they are. After Sunday's 41-10 loss, it sure sounds like that harsh realization is making its way through the entire
“We're not that good, that's painfully obvious,” a brutally honest Sean Payton told the media afterward.
I'll take it one step further.
The Saints right now are a team with a bunch of aging veterans with big contracts that either don't have the hunger or talent they once had and too many immature kids that don't know how to handle the responsibilities of being a professional athlete.
It's a bad combination and it's a mix Sean Payton has never had to deal with before. It's become crystal clear with each passing week that he is struggling with that. When was the last time we ever had to question if a Payton-coached team quit on a game?
Never. Until Sunday.
That's how you end up with four consecutive home losses for the first time since the Mike Ditka era. That's how you end up with a team that doesn't bother to show up in front of their home crowd against a hated division rival. That's how you end up with an empty locker room after the most embarrassing loss of the Payton era when reporters show up, short of a few true pros. It's a lot easier for those guys to take the bullets while other players sneak out the back door when the tough questions come. That's how Jalen Saunders, a journeyman punt returner that no one ever heard of before a few weeks ago, becomes the lone bright spot of a game.
The 2014 Saints have been relegated to Drew Brees and his possible perfection. The only way the Saints seem to have a chance is if Brees plays perfect. And he wasn't perfect today and hasn't been perfect nearly enough this season.
When you add it all up, that's why this team is 5-8 and is going nowhere in 2014.