Thin Ice

A month ago the New Orleans Saints were the epitome of a unit that?s talent was playing below par. In fact they?ve been doing it for four straight seasons (2001 (7-9), 2002 (9-7), 2003 (8-8), and 2004 (8-8), after showing promise in 2000 by going to the playoffs. It just seems like the Saints have been stagnant in developing in all facets of the game. Someway or another they manage to finish just around .500 and that alone keeps jobs protected and on hush for another off season. There comes a point in time though when maybe you have to further evaluate a need for change.

Obviously the Saints love their coach in Jim Haslett, but they?ve had many opportunities to showcase that. This team has had the same nucleus of players, and you?d expect that to lead to a serious title run or extended playoff experience. The building blocks have been there, but are never polished enough to maintain dirt free. The rubble they keep stumbling on, is going to keep happening and Tom Benson needs to realize that.

As a coach you don?t have to have a 2-14 season to be fired in the NFL. Benson and the Saints organization obviously feel being average is good enough, or they would have pulled the strings this time around. It?s tough when a team responds with a finish like the Saints did, but a lot of relationships end roughly.

We all know that Haslett is going into next season with a six game leeway in his future with the Saints. If they falter to a 2-4 start, he?ll be the first coach fired in the 2005 season. That has been the big problem for the Saints is managing to pull together on a consistent basis. Either the defense is giving up a million points, or the offense is back tracking with fumbles and Aaron Brooks highlight material bloopers.

If the Saints players really have their faith in Jim Haslett, they?ll come into the 2005 season on a mission to keep his job. That alone could catapult the Saints in the right direction and maybe finally get his team in the competitive state they should have been at three seasons ago.


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