The Saints and LSU are about to start heading in opposite directions.
Saints fans are quickly falling into two trains of thought. One group thinks while the Saints aren't looking very good the magic of 2009 will eventually return and 2010 will be 2009 all over again complete with 45 point beat downs, victory parades, and maybe even Garrett Hartley kicking a field goal or two. The other group accepts the 2010 Saints for what they are; a flawed team depleted at running back and average at best on defense. They'll struggle almost every week to win ball games.
I think whatever you want to call what LSU did Saturday was best described by my friend Christian. He just smiled, shook his head and said, 'LSU at the end of games is just lost.'
I want to say Les Miles is the worst clock management coach in football history but sometimes I'm not even sure Miles realizes football is a timed sport. LSU manages the game clock like a fish flopping around on the ground. Confused, disoriented, and waiting for everything to fade to black.
The Saints are going through their annual turnover binge on offense but there are two reasons when everything is said and done they'll be right in the mix to win the NFC while LSU will likely be in the Peach Bowl again. The Saints have Drew Brees and Sean Payton. LSU has Les Miles, Gary Crowton, Jordan Jefferson and Jarrett Lee.
The Saints are elite at quarterback and head coach. LSU fans would get on their knees in thanks for a C+ quarterback. By the way Les Miles, shame on you for not getting LSU to create a graduate program out of thin air so Jared Masoli could enroll at LSU. Ole Miss made up a graduate program that didn't exist until Masoli needed somewhere to play QB. Suddenly Ole Miss has an elite QB. Why couldn't LSU do that? We're Louisiana where laws are meant to be bent, folded, and twisted especially when the Tigers need a quarterback. Our politicians and educators have failed us yet again. If the Tigers had Masoli they would be a Top 5 team.
LSU fans have every right to be in full scale freak out mode. They still have Florida, Auburn, and Alabama to play and have no quarterback and an offense that has no idea what it wants to do every week. Hint; run Stevan Ridley and Russell Shepard in some form of the wildcat every play. LSU has created a hot plate of garbage from five star ingredients. The difference between the Saints and LSU at quarterback is the distance between New York and Los Angeles.
In comparison the Saints are sitting pretty. The Saints offense is struggling but I'd argue yesterday actually for the first time all year looked like themselves. The Saints had 383 yards of offense, 38 minutes of possession, and 121 yards rushing. The Saints every year under Sean Payton have a stretch where they turnover the ball in bunches. They apparently scheduled it early this year. Payton gets it corrected he always does.
If the difference between LSU and the Saints quarterback play is a continent then the difference between Miles and Payton is what Earth to Mars?
Did you notice the great coaching move Payton made yesterday? Saints trailed 14-10 at end of third quarter and face a fourth and one from the Carolina 9-yard line. Crowd is urging Payton to go for it. Payton always goes for it. He always seems to coach aggressive except this time he didn't and out went John Carney for the field goal. Payton understood field goals were good enough to win yesterday. He didn't need touchdowns. Payton always seems in complete control and has an understanding of how the game is going. Fans might not always agree with what he does but in five years not once have we ever said, 'Payton looks completely and totally unprepared, clueless and I want to punch him in the face.'
I yell that at Les Miles three times a week and I'm a huge Les Miles fan.
I said it Friday and I'll say it again, 'The Saints aren't nearly as good as they were in 2009 but they won't have to be to get back to the Super Bowl.' The NFC is pathetic and the Saints have Brees and Payton which this year is plenty.
LSU isn't so lucky.