New Orleans, LA. At this point, anyone who follows the NFL knows the sanctions and penalties that came down on the New Orleans Saints. They bent the unwritten rules, crossed the line, and are in the process of paying heavily for that. Their franchise has been dragged through the mud for months now, and they are doing all they can to put this entire mess behind them. On of the biggest first steps to actually accomplish this begins on September 9th, when they host Washington at the Louisiana Superdome. Getting on the field and playing meaningful games is something that everyone involved with this organization and their fans have been eagerly anticipating. Eight months after breaking the record for most passing yards in a season, the unquestioned face of the franchise is back, Mr. Drew Brees. Although head coach Sean Payton will be M.I.A. for all of 2012, a team simply could not have a better man playing the quarterback position and leading this team through what will be a very trying, difficult season. Brees is a complete class act in every way possible, and is someone who has stayed strong throughout this entire offseason disaster. Most experts and NFL fans are expecting the New Orleans Saints to have a down year in 2012, as several obvious factors point in that direction. Missing coaches, a few player suspensions, and just the dark cloud that is over this franchise right now are plenty of reasons to think so. But if any team has a chance to turn this situation around and make it something to provide motivation, it could be this Saints team. Drew Brees has faced turmoil and adversity several times in the past, as he has proven he is the perfect guy to lead New Orleans out of this.
Drew Brees wasn’t big enough to get a lot of big-time offers coming out of high school. He is somewhere around 6’0″ tall, which years ago, put him behind the 8-ball playing the QB position. He ended up going to Purdue University, where he put up some truly outstanding numbers. Critics still wondered if he could make it in the NFL because he wasn’t 6’4″. With the San Diego Chargers, he was good, but not great, and the team went on to draft Philip Rivers. Rivers sat and learned for a while, and then the opening came when Drew got hurt. He tore up his shoulder against Denver, and his career was up in the air. Brees was a free agent, and really only two teams were interested, Miami and New Orleans. The Saints sold him on coming to Louisiana and being the face of the franchise. The issue of his shoulder being healthy was still a question mark, but he soon proved he was just fine. As we all now know, he has been absolutely tremendous as a Saint. A Super Bowl championship as well as a record-breaking 2011 season has now put him in elite status in the NFL. So as this team heads into the upcoming season, there are more questions than answers. How will the team react to missing key members, including its head coach? Will the constant questions about “Bounty-gate” distract them from being successful? These and so many other issues will be an ongoing narrative all year, and thus a potential headache each and every week. But on the other hand, what if the opposite happens? What if this team is so tired of hearing about how they won’t be as good as usual and they won’t even win the NFC South, that it makes them even more focused and motivated to prove everyone wrong? The stiff price that this franchise has had to pay would cripple an average organization for several years to come. But something tells me that the undisputed leader of this team, Drew Brees, will bring this squad together and inspire them to prove most everyone wrong. The “Us against the world” attitude has been overused in sports over the years, but it is something that may be perfectly suitable for the Saints in 2012.
Something that the New Orleans Saints will have to deal with this year is one difficult division. For all of their shortcomings in the playoffs, Atlanta is still a force to be dealt with. Carolina has the Offensive Rookie of the Year at QB, as he should just get better and better. The Bucs are rebuilding, but have all the makings of being dangerous at times this year. For a team who is so talented, the Saints will have a free pass this year if they want it. If they do underperform and miss this playoffs, they will have a very comfortable crutch to lean on to explain why they struggled. But if it’s up to Drew Brees and the kind of motivated player he has always been, this New Orleans Saints team could end up being the first team in NFL history to play in a Super Bowl in their home venue.
Denver Sports by J Simp