Aldous Huxley wrote the epic "Brave New World" in 1932. The book looked forward to new developments in technology, changes in the world to come in the name of progress.
The older we get, the more we have cause for pause about change. Simply put, people become set in their ways, their comfort zones.
The New Orleans Saints were a finely tuned vehicle, a purring engine, a consistent winning organization, an annual threat to win the Super Bowl under Sean Payton. Clearly one of the NFL's best strategists, the fiery Payton is the constructor, along with Mickey Loomis, of the Saints machinery.
If Drew Brees is the heart and Loomis is the mind, Payton is the soul of the Saints. If Brees is the driver and Loomis is the mechanic, Payton is the crew chief. NASCAR gets some love from sportsNOLA.com. That should make Emmanuel Pepis happy!
By ignoring the yellow caution flags from the league, Payton and Loomis have been red carded by the league but you knew that after getting penalty kicked into the net of the league's temporary prison. Soccer gets some love from sportsNOLA.com. That should make Alan DeRitter and Jude Young happy!
Reluctantly, Payton, Loomis and all who have been harshly disciplined by Roger Goodell have accepted their sentences. Reluctantly, those left to pick up the pieces are moving forward without the crew chief.
That said, they are moving forward.
Listening to and watching the words and actions of Loomis, Joe Vitt, Steve Spagnuolo, Pete Carmichael and Greg McMahon lends some positive feelings, a restoration of some degree of confidence to those who love the black and gold.
They clearly miss Payton. They clearly have the collective individual skills and abilities to carry on for their deposed king. I can assure you that Payton believes this.
While Payton languishes in the penalty box, the remaining coaches and front office leaders are left to effectively kill off the penalty before returning to full strength in 2013. Hockey gets some love from sportsNOLA.com. That should make Michael Green happy!
Payton has a superb coaching staff. The key to any successful business is to hire good people, give them responsibility and allow them to perform their jobs to the best of their abilities.
They have done so and the results are obvious.
The fact that Payton was injured in early in the loss at Tampa Bay last season serves as a positive moving forward into this Brave New World. Carmichael got an opportunity to effectively take over the offense, calling plays.
Carmichael is one with Brees. The pair has worked together since they were joined in 2002 with the San Diego Chargers. The Saints offense has finished No. 1 in the NFL in four of the six years Carmichael has been with Payton in New Orleans. He is an NFL head coach in waiting.
Spagnuolo is a proven defensive coordinator, having led a Super Bowl championship defense with the New York Giants. He has head coaching experience, serving as the leader of the St. Louis Rams from 2009-2011. He brings a wealth of experience, a new voice and a different perspective to a defensive unit in need of an infusion of new talent and a new approach.
McMahon's special teams were vastly improved a year ago. Coverage teams were better. Darren Sproles invigorated the return game. John Kasay was a solid replacement for Garrett Hartley. Both are here to compete now. Hartley and McMahon, along with Payton, will always be remembered for the onside kick to start the second half of Super Bowl XLIV.
Speaking of Super Bowl XLIV and bounties, the mere suggestion that the victory by the Saints on February 7, 2010 in south Florida is tainted is pure garbage. How is it tainted? The team earned the win on the field. There was no cheating involved.
Vitt has been there, done that in terms of serving as an interim head coach. He performed the difficult duty with the St. Louis Rams in 2005. He is Payton's most trusted assistant. If anyone will carry on the ways, the nuances, the styles of Payton, it is Vitt, at least until he departs for his own penalty box session to start the season.
Payton has set the bar high. Given the obstacles, Vitt and company will need a good pole plant and very high leap to clear the bar. Track and field gets some love from sportsNOLA.com.
Fortunately, they are capable of getting the job done. Naturally, the degree of difficulty will be extremely high. Not having Brees on board on the eve of Organized Team Activities (OTA's) starting simply provides another obstacle to overcome. Misery loves company. The Triple Toe Loop just became a quadruple Salchow. Ice skating gets some love from sportsNOLA.com. That may make Erin Cofiell happy! Perhaps I will dare her to perform a double axel!
Getting the players, getting the story back on the field is a welcome respite for the coaches, front office, players, fans and even the media, all of whom have become a degree of weary of the term bounty. Getting Brees signed will be a more welcome development.
While Payton chomps at the bit, doing the time for the alleged crime, unable to chime in as the Saints to climb out of a sizeable hole, gnawing away as he waits impatiently for his exile to end, Loomis and Payton's more than capable staff begin the continual pursuit of excellence, hoping to prove the pundits wrong about their abilities to overcome the tough Scorpion-style conditions the league has laid down for them. The Saints need to react as a porous Reactive Resin ball on extremely oily conditions. Bowling gets some love from sportsNOLA.com. That should make Lenny Vangilder happy!
The race to the finish line of the 2012 season is a long one. It involves strategy, rating and pacing the product before going into a final, finishing kick toward the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in February. With Brees in the saddle, the Saints have a good jockey. The likes of Jimmy Graham, Sproles, Marques Colston and company provide a good horse to ride. Horse racing gets love from sportsNOLA.com. That should make George Pepis happy!
Moving forward, Loomis, Vitt, Carmichael, Spagnuolo and McMahon need to bring the wood and wail away, going for distance, hitting it long, hard and straight down the fairway. Payton loves to have bats made for respective games, urging his team to bring the wood. Golf gets some love from sportsNOLA.com. That should make Jimmy Headrick and Rick Gaille happy!
What would make everyone happy is for the Saints to continue their winning ways in 2012, overcoming the obstacles of a Brave New World. Change is never easy.
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