Entering training camp this season, there is a sense of uncertainty surrounding the New Orleans’ Saints and what the future holds for them. Aside from the fact that Brees is sure to play for the Saints this offseason, there is really not much that is known for sure. Yet, the Saints are constantly full of surprises, both good and bad.
Take 2014, for instance. Many NFL commentators and analysts believed the Saints could not only go to the Super Bowl, but win it. Many thought their 2014 roster was the best collection of talent on a Saints roster in recent memory. Their 7-9 record points to the contrary.
2015 was a bit more predictable. Recently suffering the loss of Junior Galette, the Saints were clearly poised for a rebuilding year, and this time their record agrees: they went 7-9, again, a kind of cold reinforcement of the year before. This year, however, could go a number of different ways, and the Saints’ staff agrees. Payton, Looms, and the remainder of the team and staff all agree that there is a murky haze pulled over what this season has in store.
Questioned if there were more questions surrounding this upcoming year than seasons past, Payton conceded, “Look there are certain areas we’re paying attention to, nut I don’t know if we’d sit down and list specifically [areas of concern].” More to the point, Payton and particular was cited saying “Obviously we’ve had teams that were better than what we thought we’d have at this point and then teams that we felt real good about that underachieved or weren’t as good as we expected. So we’ll kind of get started and get a chance to see what we’ve got. There’s a process involved with that, but I think that’s the exciting part of training camp.”
Honestly, it sounds like Payton is picturing the 2014 season as he said his answer. If I had to guess, I would think that he is happy with what they’ve put together so far but is hesitant to make any bold proclamations considering the disappointing result of a couple years ago. Loomis said something interesting as well.
“I think there’s always jobs available; and jobs sometimes mean roster spots, sometimes they mean more roster spots and sometimes it means, ‘Hey, who’s going to be the starter? Or who’s going to be the contributor?” He went on in much the same fairly ambiguous tone.
It largely seems like Loomis is alluding that there may more open positions on the team this training camp, open positions in the sense of role players, who’s going to step up and who may fall off. The opportunities are certainly available, and now is the time, if any, for a perhaps unexpected player to make a statement, to take control and take their game to the next level.
While I understand this idea is a perpetual notion in sports, that there is always an opportunity for unknown players to make themselves known, I am saying that this season, in particular, and the shrouded atmosphere of obscurity enveloping it, presents an especially conducive environment for such a development. In fact, the last time the Saints missed the postseason two consecutive years, they returned to claim the championship in 2009.
Only time will tell; but the indiscernible undercurrents of this training season may just provide the perfect chance for an unexpected, though highly welcome, player to emerge.