Did I mention this is ridiculous?
The 2007 team was bad. It wasn’t quite “slit your wrists” bad, but after the breakthrough of 2006, ’07 was like a slap in the face with a cold, dead fish. That fish was very cold, my friends, and it was very dead. The season began with a thud against the Indianapolis Colts, as the Saints lost 41-10 and Jason David became synonymous with bad cornerback play for every Saints fan who ever lived.
He maintained that lofty status the whole year.
But he had help, too. “Pass-rusher” Charles Grant logged 2.5 sacks in 14 games. Famed lineman Jamar Nesbit started 16 games at left guard. Reggie Bush was the top running back on the roster. The team didn’t have any defensive tackles or a middle linebacker. Olindo Mare was the kicker (58% on his kicks that year, in case you repressed it). Oh, and Drew Brees turned it over 27 times. In short, there were a LOT of problems. Yet that team still managed to win seven games. Still.
Just for craps and giggles, I took a look at the 2007 roster and decided to compare it to a 2012 roster that loses every single one of the players it could possibly lose (not at all likely, but this isn’t my theory so I’m running with it). I’ll even send Jonathan Vilma on his way (no sure thing either). The results are as you’d expect … they blow this stupid theory to pieces. (Props to pro-football-reference.com for making this easier.)
|Starters comparison (team with advantage is bolded)|
|QB||Drew Brees||Drew Brees|
|RB||Reggie Bush||Darren Sproles|
|WR||Marques Colston||Lance Moore|
|WR||Devery Henderson||Devery Henderson|
|WR||David Patten||Adrian Arrington|
|TE||Eric Johnson||Jimmy Graham|
|LT||Jammal Brown||Jermon Bushrod|
|LG||Jamar Nesbit||Brian De La Puente|
|C||Jeff Faine||Matt Tennant|
|RG||Jahri Evans||Jahri Evans|
|RT||Jon Stinchcomb||Zach Strief|
|DE||Charles Grant||Cameron Jordan|
|DT||Hollis Thomas||Sedrick Ellis|
|DT||Brian Young||Tom Johnson|
|DE||Will Smith||Will Smith|
|LB||Scott Fujita||Jo-Lonn Dunbar|
|LB||Mark Simoneau||Will Herring|
|LB||Scott Shanle||Scott Shanle|
|CB||Mike McKenzie||Jabari Greer|
|CB||Jason David||Patrick Robinson|
|SS||Roman Harper||Roman Harper|
|FS||Josh Bullocks||Malcolm Jenkins|
|K||Olindo Mare||Garrett Hartley|
|P||Steve Weatherford||Thomas Morstead|
Aubrayo Franklin would be a significant loss and would need to be replaced. The offensive line could use an influx of talent, as could the linebackers. But Drew Brees is better now than he was five years ago, the running back depth is insane, the defensive ends and secondary are better, and the special teams are much sounder.
I’m not saying the front office should play tiddlywinks for the next five months and ignore the roster. What I am saying is teams lose players all the time. Fans get emotionally attached to said players, and with a healthy fear of the unknown thrown in for good measure, it causes anxiety when there is roster turnover. I get that. But I also get that this team, even if mass defections occur, is set up for short-term success anyway.
I want Carl Nicks to re-sign. I would love for Marques Colston to finish his career in New Orleans. And getting Brees taken care of to free up the franchise tag is certainly better than the alternative.
Still, I’m not going to freak out if none of those things occur. The foundation is too solid.