Some people are fans of the New Orleans Saints. But many, many more people are NOT fans of the New Orleans Saints. This 2016 Deadspin NFL team preview is for those in the latter group. Read all the previews so far here. And buy Drew’s new book here.

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Your team: New Orleans Saints

Your 2015 record: 7-9. Pour one out for the swan song of Wolfman Rob. OWOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

I’m gonna miss those two bitching at each other on the sideline after watching the Saints defense give up seven 80-yard completions in a row. The Benson family has better internal relations than the team they own.

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Your coach: Still Sean Payton! I can’t believe it. This man has been hung over for seven straight years and, instead of trading him to the Cowboys or some other hard-up franchise, the Saints handed Payton $9 million a year to lord over a shit defense and sequester horny mistresses in West Virginia. Even the ’85 Bears think this man is dining out on a single championship more than he deserves.

Still, he perseveres. To salvage his reputation, Payton fired the Wolfman and replaced him with discarded Raiders head coach Dennis Allen, who presumably doesn’t have the courage to talk back when things go wrong. This defense ranked 31st in the league for two years running. And yet… you’re gonna miss the Wolfman, New Orleans. At least with Rob Ryan, you have fun while everything sucks. It’s like someone took a jazz funeral and made a defense out of it. By contrast, Dennis Allen is a dry handjob of a coach.

Your quarterback: Still Drew Brees! With Drew Brees, you’re always guaranteed the most electrifying 7-9 season in the league, thanks to a man who has all the personality of a bag of Scotts Turf Builder. The Saints seem determined to make life more difficult for Brees as his body begins to wear down. Marques Colston is gone. Jahri Evans is gone. The running back workload is still determined via prize wheel. All the signs of decay are there in plain sight, especially the fact that this team went without a touchdown in a game for the first time in a decade last year.

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But I wouldn’t blame the Saints for sticking with Brees and Payton well beyond their respective expiration dates, because deep down they must know that once those two men are gone, everything will be fucking terrible again. Forever. This whole franchise stands on the brink of eternal darkness, with some barefoot shithead Cajun Jed York poised to take over once the Benson estate is settled nine centuries from now. This is the final year of Brees’s contract, and GM Mickey Loomis still hasn’t extended him, which means the inevitable is coming very soon, sooner than it takes your average Saints fan to walk a flight of stairs.

One more thing about Brees: Once he retires, ESPN is gonna hire him to replace the 19 different anodyne talking heads they fired during the offseason. I’ve never seen a player more prepared to fully enunciate “National Football League” on television four hundred times a day.

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What’s new that sucks: This team barely lifted a finger during the offseason, likely because Benson was too busy disowning half the state. (This May, he left $0 for his kids in a trust and accused them of trying to kill his wife, proving to me that there is never any tidy way to die if you happen to be a billionaire.) However, the team did seize custody of Ohio State wideout Michael Thomas. They also brought back 78-year-old safety Roman Harper for reasons that escape me. Maybe they wanted to see if his hair would turn some new, heretofore undiscovered shade of grey. Also new in town is defensive assistant and man-always-ready-to-yell-at-you while-spotting-you Dan Campbell. Because if New Orleans is lacking in anything, it’s loud people. Christ. New Orleans is America’s barf bag.

Will Smith got shot to death.

What has always sucked: I think it’s time for the rest of us to break the news to you, New Orleans: No one gives a shit about the Saints/Falcons rivalry. At all. It’s the lamest rivalry in sports. I know you two think you’re blood rivals, but you are NOTHING. It’s heartbreaking to watch you guys pretend like you matter to the greater sports culture at large. Your supposed feud is little more than Thursday Night Football kitty litter.

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That’s especially true now that the Saints are years removed from championship form and exist as a kind of shitty, endless Pink Floyd reunion tour. All they can do is play the old hits out of tune. And their fans are all redneck shitburgers who never went to school because the state of Louisiana will only spend tax money on storm trooper uniforms for highway patrolmen. It’s a hot, miserable, hopeless state that remains horribly overcrowded with fat racists and liberal Northeast transplants in desperate search of soul cred. You can’t walk five feet in New Orleans without running into a wannabe David Simon toting around a vinyl collection in a fucking milk crate. GUMBO GUMBO GUMBO YOU PEOPLE DON’T UNDERSTAND THE TRUE SOUL OF JAZZ I’M ORIGINALLY FROM HARRISBURG GUMBO GUMBO GUMBO. Get the fuck outta my face. People who live in New Orleans are always trying to cover up the town’s suckiness in a proprietary blend of 18 different spices. I’m not having it.

What might not suck: They returned a two-pointer last year! That was awesome. Even when the Saints are lousy, they still try to give you your money’s worth.

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Let’s remember some Saints:

  • Eric Martin
  • Toi Cook
  • Winfred Tubbs
  • Alex Molden
  • Boo Williams

Hear it from Saints fans!

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Brett:

Drew Brees invested in Jimmy Johns, right in middle of the best native sandwich city in America. Asshole.

David:

Being a Saints fan is like running downstairs on Christmas morning, ripping into some presents expecting to find something awesome like a Playstation or five-pound gummy bear, but getting socks instead. Every year, this team looks loaded with talent, then immediately shits the field in the very first game.

They have fucked up free agency and the draft every year since 2007. Signing Brees and drafting Colston (who dropped at least three passes every single game, including the Super Bowl, but don’t you dare say that to Saints fans, they’ll call you names and tell you to go root for the Falcons) ten fucking years ago can only get you so much good will.

The defense sucks, has sucked, will always suck. It doesn’t matter how many Brandon Browners you bring in, they will find someone even worse to replace them. Want to win your fantasy league? Draft all the NFC South QB’s and just plug ‘em in when they play New Orleans. Championship guaranteed.

Fuck this team. And fuck Roger Goodell.

Jessica:

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If cap space and draft picks were mosquitoes and Mickey Loomis was the CDC, we would have eradicated Zika by now.

Becky:

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The fatter Ryan brother is gone, although the defense is still shit. At least Brandon Browner is gone too. The only blocking he can do is to people on Twitter.

Brees is another year older and his offensive line consists of a row of turnstiles. He’ll still throw for 5,000 yards just because he’s Drew Brees.

The defense is still shit.

My husband bought me a Jimmy Graham jersey for Christmas in 2014. Three months later, we traded him to Seattle.

The only good thing about going 7-9 again is that half of our bandwagon is now Panthers fans. Shit you not, I saw a disgusting amount of Saints “fans” root for Carolina in the Super Bowl because “they are in our division.”

Drew Brees and the Saints haven’t discussed his contract negotiations in over 3 months. It doesn’t surprise me though. The last time I heard, we have almost $30 million in dead money so there’s probably nothing left to pay him with.

My father raised my siblings and I on this team. Now, while my Broncos fan husband gets to ride the wave of a recent Super Bowl win, I will lie to myself and hope for a 10-6 season. Let’s be honest thought, we’ll be lucky if we go 7-9 again.

Bill:

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I watch owner after shitty owner bend their loyal fanbase over a municipal bond barrel and I know our time is coming. The Superdome opened in 1975 (despite being renovated not that long ago for reasons I can’t remember). The Bensons are eventually going to stop eating their own young long enough to remember that they too deserve to make more money with zero investment, and we will line up to sign the check using our handy Police and Fire pension fund checkbook. There is a 0% chance we won’t. Hell, I’d bring the pen.

Gumbo!

Nick:

We have three legitimately “better than just kinda good” players: a star young-ish defensive end; a left tackle with ridiculous talent; and an is-he-over-the-hill-yet Cheesemeister General quarterback. You can only buy a jersey for one of those players in our official team shop. Guess which one?

In fact, for most of the summer the shop was trying to foist Jimmy Graham and Champ Bailey jerseys on anyone who went there. This is the state of our team now: a fragile tight end we traded away for a center and draft pick (used on a “quarterback of the defense” linebacker who can’t read protections, and who we just signed James Sodding Laurinaitis to replace) and a future-HoF-er who never even played a snap for the team before getting cut in preseason.

Literally the best thing about the Saints’ offseason has been Junior Galette tearing his Achilles again.

Christopher:

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Only six years ago, the Saints won the Super Bowl, but this year they’ll be back to the 7-9 or 8-8 records that I grew up with. A lot of the Saints’ failings came from their own hubris, as well as a misguided trust in Sean Payton’s System. When Reggie Bush became expendable, we got Darren Sproles. When Darren Sproles became expendable, we got no one to replace his role in the offense. Pierre Thomas? They found him off the scrap heap, so they could release him and find some other running back almost as good, right? Lance Moore, one of the biggest fan favorites, was expendable as well. Ben Grubbs, Kenny Stills, Jahri Evans? The front office cut them because it believed so much in the System. Jimmy Graham, an all-pro? Trade him because Ben Watson, a thirty-five-year-old underachiever, could probably give you 70% of his production. (And because you spread all kinds of rumors about Graham as a “bad locker room” guy when really it was a “wants to be paid more than the league minimum for being the best player at his position” guy.)

Then, when Ben Watson gets too expensive, after improbably hitting those numbers, you can cut him for any other tight end. Who isn’t coming back this year? Why, all-time Saints leader in receptions and touchdowns Marques Colston. Before realizing it, the Saints have downgraded at almost every position because they think Drew Brees can make anyone, literally anyone, better. And because they don’t understand the salary cap. Most fans make jokes about their owner’s insanity. Ours actually went to trial to prove that he was mentally competent.

About that salary cap: The only player the Saints have given any priority to is Drew Brees, but even that loyalty is about to end. They’ve already slapped him with the franchise tag once, and rather than extend him to make his salary a little more manageable this year—his $30 million cap number is by far the biggest in the league—they’ve done…nothing. According to Brees, they haven’t even begun to negotiate with inarguably the best player they’ve ever had. A model of civic responsibility. A pillar of the community. They’ll let him walk like they let everyone else walk. He’ll probably be playing for the Vikings next season.

Brees’s outsized contract, which they had to give him, is part of the reason that the Saints’ salary cap is in disarray. As Bill Barnwell tweeted, 7.8% of the Saints’ cap ($12.1 million) is going to Junior Galette, who is in his second year of not even being on the team and accusing the coach of being a pill-popper on Twitter. The Saints have $29 million in dead money, which is almost 30% more than any other team. We actually traded picks away last year because we didn’t have enough money to sign them.

One bright side of the Saints’ cap problems? They won’t be bringing back Brandon Browner, who boasted a single-season record 24 penalties last year. At times in the middle of the season, he had more penalties than Brees had touchdown passes. The safeties this year will be Roman Harper, who has already been run out of town once, and Jairus Byrd, who saw career lows as soon as he signed with the Saints. The only recent signing worse than Byrd was C.J. Spiller, who carried the ball a whopping 112 times last year—$35,000 and change per touch. That’s Sean Payton’s System for you.

Every team has to cut players for salary cap reasons though. Surely the Saints are drafting cost-controlled players to correct for the future, right? The smart teams are all trading down for second and third round selections. Not the Saints. If we have seven picks, can we leave with five? If we have a defense that gave up 413.8 yards per game and 29.8 points per game (the most), can we take yet another receiver in the second round? Can we wash that down with a running back in the seventh? Sean Payton cannot help himself.

There are a lot of Drew Brees jerseys and fedoras in this town, worn by people who have been drinking enough to think that the Saints are still contenders.

Marshall:

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The smart decisions to fire Rob Ryan and release Brandon Browner were negated by resigning Roman Harper who should have retired after being run down by Sam Bradford of all people and needing an oxygen tank after the play.

Evan:

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As soon as I saw this shirt, I was amazed and ordered it. Upon closer examination I realized it contained a tight end currently starting for the Seahawks, TWO kickers, and a convicted serial rapist.

Jonathan:

Because Ronnie Lamarque, local Ford dealer, Tom Benson ball-licker, and self-anointed Saints super fan, buys up the local ad slot between the 3rd and 4th quarter of every game to give the fanbase a completely unnecessary pep talk before the defense commits 400 defensive holding penalties to blow whatever lead Brees and the offense might have earned by that point.

Prior to ripping off ‘who dat’ from the Bengals, our team’s catch phrase was “cha-Ching” in reference to an early 90's Rally’s commercial featuring Seth effing Green. Youtubing the rally’s commercial and the Lamarque pep talks will be my miserable solace when we are bottom of the NFC South, our defense is breaking records for most everything allowed, and Brees has given up winning another SB and is completely focused on chasing Philip Rivers’ fertility record.

Liz:

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I was pregnant last season and I vomited more from watching this defense than I did from morning sickness. They’re so awful it feels like the Super Bowl win was decades ago. You could tell me that Baylen Brees is 43 years old and I would believe you.

Will:

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A summary of how every Saints season since 2011 has gone.

September- Lose our first 3 games in heartbreaking fashion and realize the defense is still god-awful. A 4-12 season is coming.

October- Start playing better to crawl back to .500 and inexplicably blow out a really good team. Fans look at the November schedule and notice it is considerably easier. Hope begins to arise.

November- Shit the bed at home against the worst team in the league. Proceed to get blown out every game for the rest of the month because the defense is allowing Kirk Cousins to put up 47 points. Winter is coming and all hope is gone.

December- Win our final 3 games after being eliminated from playoff contention to finish 7-9. As a result, we drop down to 13th in the draft and move the Falcons and Buccaneers up as a result.

In 2015 I was excited that the Saints signed Brandon Browner. I’m a fucking idiot.

John:

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I started mentally composing this in September last year when I found out that something like 20% of the Saints payroll was dead money. With Brees injured in week 3, half the Saints money was going to players who were injured or playing for other teams. I used to think Mickey Loomis was some kind of financial wizard for constantly back loading contracts because they won a Super Bowl and I don’t understand how finance works. Now I’m pretty sure M.C. Hammer got more value for his dollar by putting half of Oakland on his payroll.

And in no particular order:

Fuck Brandon Browner. You weren’t paid a king’s ransom to come here and collect penalty flags while making plans to retire in Seattle.

Fuck Jarius Byrd. Sasquatch is sighted more frequently.

Fuck Sean Payton. We didn’t build you a multimillion dollar training facility here so you could chase tail in West Virginia.

Fuck Rob Ryan. You fell ass backwards into a competent defense. Assigning everyone a spirit animal was not a component of that success.

Fuck the Benson family. Of course Tom Benson is senile. If he knew what year it was he’d realize the Superdome is over 40 years old and he could have had the state pay for two new stadiums by now.

Fuck Drew Brees. “Hey, nice waterfront park you got there New Orleans. You wouldn’t mind if I snagged a piece of it to build a practice field for a lacrosse academy would you?” Three things New Orleans doesn’t need: Jimmy Johns sandwiches, generic-brand Hooters and a breeding ground for lax bros. Brees has given us two out of three so far.

Fuck Saints Fans. There was a memorial second-line for Will Smith that passed in front of my house so I joined in. I managed to get two blocks before someone mentioned Bountygate and how Goodell has it in for us.

Fuck me. I know how stupid and bad “WHO DAT” is but I say it anyway. I also made my wife put a Saints t-shirt on my 8-month-old daughter. She cried as soon as it was over her head.

PJ:

Over the last two seasons, we are 0-2 against Brian Hoyer. Brian fucking Hoyer.

Also, we lost to the fucking Titans last year.

Fuck Brandon Browner.

Roy:

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A team made up from Deadspin writers and led by a quarterback from Gizmodo could hang 35 points on our defense.

Submissions for the Deadspin NFL previews are now closed. Next up: Philadephia Eagles.