Brian Allee-Walsh

Another season of mediocrity suggests Saints’ problems aren’t going away

New Orleans Saints running back Travaris Cadet (38) runs against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday in Tampa, Fla.
New Orleans Saints running back Travaris Cadet (38) runs against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday in Tampa, Fla. AP

I’m not an employee of the New Orleans Saints, not the general manager, not the head coach. I’m merely an opinionated sportswriter who monitors the local NFL organization on a weekly basis in and out of season.

I only notify fans if there is a problem.

There’s a problem.

And I can’t fix it. Neither can you.

Is the problem fixable? Yes.

That said, in order to fix problems, one has to first acknowledge that there are problems. And I’m not sure the powers that are inside the Saints organization believe anything is broken, beginning with owners Tom and Gayle Benson and moving down the food chain with club president Dennis Lauscha, general manager Mickey Loomis and coach Sean Payton.

Hence, it if ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

I will let the numbers speak for themselves.

I won’t insult anyone’s intelligence and suggest that the Saints remain alive for a playoff berth in the NFC. They are 5-8 and will finish with their third consecutive non-winning season and fourth in the last five years under the Loomis-Payton regime —regardless what happens against Arizona (5-7-1), Tampa Bay (8-5) and Atlanta (8-5) in the coming days.

More importantly, the Black and Gold will fail to make the playoffs for the fourth time in the last five years.

They are 9-13 in their last 22 road games, with upcoming tilts at Arizona on Sunday and at Atlanta in Jan. 1 to close out the regular season.

They are 10-13 in their last 23 home games, with the season finale at 3:25 p.m. Christmas Eve against Tampa Bay. The game was flexed from a noon kickoff to a late afternoon time slot to accommodate FOX. Can’t imagine many fans being happy with that decision. I also suspect there will be a lot of empty seats inside the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

So I ask: How much lagniappe does a coach/GM team earn for winning a Super Bowl? In other words, when does the “free pass’’ end for Payton and Loomis? They won Super Bowl XLIV ... seven seasons ago ... seemingly light years ago. That Lombardi Trophy is collecting dust.

The answer is when fans demand more than a mediocre product for their money, stop going to games and quit renewing their season tickets. That declining bottom line will get the undivided attention of their dollars-and-sense owner.

Again, I’m merely a sportswriter who monitors the Saints organization.

I only notify fans where there is a problem.

There’s a problem.

Brian Allee-Walsh is a long-time Saints reporter based in New Orleans. He can be reached at pochs@sunherald.com.

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