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Sean Payton will lead Drew Brees to MVP; more bold predictions

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; As a man coming off a season-long banishment that sent his franchise into an extended patch of turbulence, Sean Payton wouldn't seem to be a likely candidate for a Wanna Get Away? experience. Trust him, or anyone else in The ...

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Old 08-27-2013, 06:03 PM   #1
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As a man coming off a season-long banishment that sent his franchise into an extended patch of turbulence, Sean Payton wouldn't seem to be a likely candidate for a Wanna Get Away? experience.

Trust him, or anyone else in The Crescent City: He was away far too long.

Yet there was Payton on Sunday afternoon in Houston, in his third preseason game since resuming his role as the New Orleans Saints' head coach, wishing he could cut a hole through the Reliant Stadium turf and disappear after an uncharacteristic time-management gaffe.

Upon misinterpreting a hand signal from rookie quarterback Ryan Griffin, Payton burned the Saints' final timeout with eight seconds left on the play clock -- and two seconds remaining in the third quarter of a 31-23 victory over the Houston Texans.

"That's one of those 'senior moments,' I guess," Payton said Monday evening, shortly before completing a trade with the San Francisco 49ers for linebacker Parys Haralson. "Shoot, I had the play clock down pat with the Liberty Christian sixth graders last year, when the ref would give you 30 seconds that you'd count in your head."

That was a reference to the Dallas-area team on which his son, Connor, played last fall. Payton, suspended by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for his role in the Saints' pay-for-injure scandal, served as an "offensive assistant" for the Liberty Christian Warriors while New Orleans fell from the ranks of the NFL's elite and staggered to a 7-9 season. It was a collapse I saw coming, largely because of my estimation of Payton's prodigious presence, or lack thereof.

Now Payton is back in the cockpit, and many expect to see a return to the audacious aerial attack that helped the Saints soar to unprecedented heights from 2009 through 2011, a run that included a 41-13 record, three playoff appearances and a Super Bowl XLIV victory over the Indianapolis Colts.

I could easily play devil's advocate and bring up the team's historically bad defense in 2012, its rash of significant training-camp injuries and the Atlanta Falcons' emergence as an NFC South power.

However, as Payton prepares for the team's preseason finale against the Miami Dolphins on Thursday -- and I prepare to set myself up for ridicule by kicking off "Prediction Week" at NFL.com with a bunch of educated guesses about the 2013 campaign, right up there with last September's declaration that "Aaron Hernandez will have a better year than Rob Gronkowski" (oops) -- I'm forecasting a robust revival in the Big Easy.

Yes, coaching matters, particularly to an organization whose fortunes were transformed largely by one man's vision and tone-setting direction. To say the Saints missed Payton last season is like proclaiming that The Office missed Steve Carell.

For all of Payton's obvious brilliance as a game planner and play caller, it was the absence of his attitude and leadership style which left an even bigger void. As several players told me last season, without Payton, the Saints' edge was gone -- and that manifest itself in sloppy play and poor attention to detail. If you think I'm overstating the scope of Payton's involvement, consider one example of "being on top of all aspects of the program" that he shared with me Monday.

"On Saturday, we had our (45th annual Meet the Saints Luncheon) downtown, and then we got on a bus and went straight to the airport to fly to Houston," Payton said. "As the speeches went on and on and I realized we'd been sitting there for two hours, I thought, 'We've never been here this long.' "

Here's one fairly safe prediction: At the 46th annual luncheon, Payton's (and the Saints') appearance will be short and sweet.

And a year from now, I expect the Saints to march into that luncheon with their swagger restored. I believe that new coordinator Rob Ryan will help stabilize a defensive unit that floundered under predecessor Steve Spagnuolo, and I think Payton will crank up his offensive approach to excel in an era that now includes a slew of read-option-based innovation.

For one thing, look for Payton to experiment with the use of a no-huddle attack and to try to control the tempo by varying the length of snap counts, much the way Tom Brady did for the New England Patriots in 2012. Similarly, look for the Saints to have more balance -- at the very least, an ability to run the ball effectively when protecting a lead. Look for football's best tight end, Jimmy Graham, to shake off a subpar season and become an absolute monster in a contract year.

And look for Payton's alter ego, Drew Brees, to be a huge beneficiary of these changes.

Though Brees piled up 43 touchdown passes and 5,117 yards (the third-highest total in NFL history, and only 299 fewer than in his record-setting season of 2011), he also served up 19 interceptions, and his completion percentage plummeted from 71.2 in '11 to 63.0 during Payton's absence.

This year, even with some untested receivers in the mix, I think Brees will blow it up. I'm picking him to lead the Saints back to the playoffs, and in the process, earn his first regular-season MVP award -- the first of eight timely predictions for the 2013 campaign.

In a nod to the post-traumatic stress Payton and his players might still be experiencing in the wake of their lengthy luncheon, I'll try to keep the other seven relatively brief:

Sean Payton will lead Drew Brees to MVP; more bold predictions - NFL.com

Last edited by papz; 08-27-2013 at 06:52 PM..
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Old 08-27-2013, 06:11 PM   #2
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Re: Sean Payton will lead Drew Brees to MVP; more bold predictions

Drew has had the numbers to win it a couple times already. Payton's back. Offense is relatively healthy.
If you had to pick somebody to win MVP, Drew's got as good a chance as any and better than most.
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Old 08-27-2013, 08:03 PM   #3
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Re: Sean Payton will lead Drew Brees to MVP; more bold predictions

Drew Brees !
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Old 08-27-2013, 08:36 PM   #4
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Re: Sean Payton will lead Drew Brees to MVP; more bold predictions

Cut down on the Ints. Team has a winning record & goes to the playoffs. Should be a no brainer. But he won't get it even with all that. Best he can for is a second Super Bowl MVP
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Old 08-27-2013, 08:41 PM   #5
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Re: Sean Payton will lead Drew Brees to MVP; more bold predictions

Drew with a more potent running attack will put up moster numbers to make it i.e. the play action pass. But i kno the manning and brady homers at the a.p. will give them it instead drew anyways, total disrespect.


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Old 08-28-2013, 04:14 AM   #6
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Re: Sean Payton will lead Drew Brees to MVP; more bold predictions

Yea Brees should already have a MVP trophy to add to his achievements. I read somewhere were they are predicting P Manning will have his best year and win MVP. What are they gonna do when P Manning retires. Who will they give the MVP to then.
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Old 08-28-2013, 02:08 PM   #7
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Re: Sean Payton will lead Drew Brees to MVP; more bold predictions

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Old 08-29-2013, 12:52 PM   #8
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Re: Sean Payton will lead Drew Brees to MVP; more bold predictions

Superbowl MVP. He won't get league MVP........too much love for Peyton and Brady.
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