NEW ORLEANS I have no idea how this season ultimately is going to play out for the winless New Orleans Saints, although they certainly are going down a slippery slope.
Unfortunately, the season could slip-slide away before Halloween if they aren’t careful, beginning Sunday at noon against the Carolina Panthers (2-0) in Charlotte, N.C.
But I am relatively confident of one thing — Coach Sean Payton, who has a minimum 62 regular-season games remaining on a five-year, $45 million contract through 2020, will survive this season, no matter how far the defense declines under coordinator Dennis Allen.
Payton will not be fired, nor will he resign, not as long as owner Tom Benson remains engaged at age 90 and Mickey Loomis remains the team’s general manager. I suspect that if a coaching change occurs, it would come by mutual agreement after the season and only if Payton listens to his yearnings.
I raise this issue because the media noise is growing louder with regards to the fates of Payton and quarterback Drew Brees in New Orleans in the wake of Sunday’s lopsided 36-20 loss to ageless quarterback Tom Brady and the New England Patriots at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
The national noise jumped several decibels this week largely because a sizable media contingent from the Northeast and CBS TV’s No.1 broadcast team of Jim Nantz and Tony Romo witnessed the walkover.
It’s the nature of the beast. When reporters and news outlets based in and around the nation’s media capital of New York City weigh in on a subject, people tend to give more credence to their words, right or wrong, including those worshipful fans who comprise Who Dat Nation and view the Saints through rose-colored glasses.
Maybe the time has come to break up Batman & Robin in the Big Easy, for Payton and Brees to move on and for the Saints organization to go in a different direction. Even Brees seems to be in an early season funk. Don’t be fooled by his current stats. In losses to Minnesota and New England, his closing flurry is reminiscent of all the garbage yards and points piled on by former Saints quarterback Jim Everett during his three-year run in New Orleans from 1994-’96.
Now is not the time to evaluate Payton and Brees, perhaps, not two games into a season, anyway. But if this season continues on its current track, it might be time for Tom and Gayle Benson to blow the whole thing up.
Brian Allee-Walsh is a long-time Saints reporter based in New Orleans. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.