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In the 2015 Offseason, the Saints Addressed What Doomed 2014 Before It Even Started

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; A fun and stupid thing about football is fans like me cling to many of the same silly ideas as the coaches and players who actually perform the game.1 I came to believe, like most other fans, that one problem ...

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Old 05-29-2015, 08:22 PM   #1
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In the 2015 Offseason, the Saints Addressed What Doomed 2014 Before It Even Started

A fun and stupid thing about football is fans like me cling to many of the same silly ideas as the coaches and players who actually perform the game.1 I came to believe, like most other fans, that one problem with the team, maybe the problem with the team, was the makeup of its locker room, dominated by unlikable “lightweights” like Junior Galette. The Saints, we said, agreeing with Drew Brees and Sean Payton, lacked leadership and/or the guts to succeed.

Maybe. But I think, after a few months of personal sports peace and quiet, the 2014 Saints really just lacked a second cornerback and a good interior offensive line.

The 2014 Season Was Doomed Before It Started

Even when the hype from the Greenbrier was at its peak, we saw the signs. We just didn’t let ourselves interpret them accurately. On August 19, 2014, I wrote:


The problem is cornerback, where the Saints have only one good football player. Beyond Keenan Lewis the Saints’ depth chart is a mess of has-beens, wannabes, and Patrick Robinson — and Robinson is the one who matters.

Even before he settled into a daily routine of not being present, Champ Bailey was inspiring he-won’t-make-the-roster rumors. Robinson, however, has had a good camp, and seems to have played his way into the role of — my next phrase can vary depending on my mood — either cornerback who is always getting burned, or Comeback Player of the Year.

The point is, in two first halves of preseason football combined, the Saints’ defense has given up 412 yards and 34 points. Those numbers are not good, and most of the damage has been due to what is, right now, a terrible situation at cornerback.

These were prescient words undercut a few paragraphs later when I still predicted 13 regular season wins. In the same post, I wrote that Akiem Hicks was probably too technically unsound to make a leap in his third year — the quote was he may “always be the guy who shoves bad offensive linemen into Matt Ryan’s face on one play, thrilling us all, only to shortly thereafter allow a fat, sixty year-old running back to lumber free through the gap he was supposed to be responsible for.”

I even picked on Junior Galette.

Saying all the above and still believing 2014 would go well was a special kind of blindness, self-inflicted by not just me and not just my fellows fans but also by the team and the associated sports media. To compensate for our mass delusion, we had to piece moments like Junior Galette’s various Twitter meltdowns together into a coherent story of internal turmoil. We felt betrayed, so we had to produce a story that included betrayal.

The truth is, the 2014 Saints never had a chance. On defense, they were doomed as soon as they decided the 2012 cornerback depth chart, the one that helped to give up the most yards in NFL history, would be fine for 2014. (They had Keenan Lewis in Jabari Greer’s spot, and Terrence Frederick’s in Elbert Mack’s — but since Greer was arguably a better player than Lewis, if anything the 2014 cornerbacks were even worse than the 2012 ones.)

Take a look at the Saints’ opening day pair of cornerbacks, along with their regular season record, since the 2009 season:

2009: Jabari Greer, Tracy Porter (13-3)
2010: Jabari Greer, Tracy Porter (11-5)
2011: Jabari Greer, Tracy Porter (13-3)
2012: Jabari Greer, Patrick Robinson (7-9)
2013: Jabari Greer, Keenan Lewis (11-5)
2014: Keenan Lewis, Patrick Robinson (7-9)

The 2012 and 2014 seasons weren’t just Patrick Robinson’s fault. Many other factors led to those failures. But don’t obfuscate the results: In the four years the Saints have had a decent pair of starting cornerbacks, they’ve averaged 12 wins. In each of the years they haven’t, they won 7.

You know losing Jabari Greer to injury in 2013 enormously weakened the Saints. The difference was drastic: When Greer went down, the Saints were an 8-2 football team with a defense that had allowed a superb 72.6 passer rating to opposing quarterbacks up to that point. Without Greer, the Saints went 3-3 and allowed a passer rating of 95. That’s the difference between being 2013’s second-best pass defense or its eighth-worst.

In 2012, the Saints gave up a 93.8 rating. Their 2014 number, 92.9, was exactly what it should have been given the players the Saints chose to put on the field.

The 2014 Saints Were Doomed, but 2015 Looks Good | B&G
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Old 05-29-2015, 10:05 PM   #2
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Re: In the 2015 Offseason, the Saints Addressed What Doomed 2014 Before It Even Started

Nice write up. I enjoyed the read!
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Old 05-30-2015, 10:56 AM   #3
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Re: In the 2015 Offseason, the Saints Addressed What Doomed 2014 Before It Even Started

100% agree. Several of us have said the primary problems in 2014 were that 2nd CB disaster and the interior of the O-line.

I had high hopes for PRob and White, and to a lesser extent Bailey and SJB.

All 4 were a disaster and it showed with poor play and even worse on-field communication.

Add to that the injury to Byrd and Vaccaro and we were doomed.
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Old 06-03-2015, 02:30 PM   #4
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Re: In the 2015 Offseason, the Saints Addressed What Doomed 2014 Before It Even Started

Originally Posted by Danno View Post
100% agree. Several of us have said the primary problems in 2014 were that 2nd CB disaster and the interior of the O-line.

I had high hopes for PRob and White, and to a lesser extent Bailey and SJB.

All 4 were a disaster and it showed with poor play and even worse on-field communication.

Add to that the injury to Byrd and Vaccaro and we were doomed.
True, but let's not forget the sub par LB'ers we fielded too.
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Old 06-03-2015, 03:20 PM   #5
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Re: In the 2015 Offseason, the Saints Addressed What Doomed 2014 Before It Even Started

I wonder if I was one those who "agreed"...
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Old 06-03-2015, 03:39 PM   #6
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Re: In the 2015 Offseason, the Saints Addressed What Doomed 2014 Before It Even Started

Inability to cover both at CB and LB ,combined with poor tackling.Lack of pass rush.Couldn't cover tackle or rush the Qb.That's the definition of terrible defense. Factor in poor interior line play on offense and it is a wonder that we won any games.
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Old 06-03-2015, 04:21 PM   #7
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Re: In the 2015 Offseason, the Saints Addressed What Doomed 2014 Before It Even Started

Nice article. I like the writing style. I think he nails the two issues that doomed us.

Losing Jabari Greer was a major blow that we still have not overcome. Maybe this year we can.

Fielding an aging OLine being the second area he covers.

The focus is on fixing both of those but why did it have to break before being addressed? No sense worrying now...just hope efforts this offseason fix it.
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Old 06-03-2015, 04:37 PM   #8
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Re: In the 2015 Offseason, the Saints Addressed What Doomed 2014 Before It Even Started

Yep. If Greer never breaks his leg, he plays at least one more season in New Orleans as our #2 CB.

O line was a mess all year.

Kool Aid, injuries and poor depth killed our chances.
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