Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Forecast: Sean Payton's worth will show next off season

(Editor's note: My buddy Ralph Malbrough, aka "The Forecast," has graciously agreed to start contributing to this site. You may have read his work on Actually, this is kind of a double-dip, but since he gave me permission to post his work, I don't have to link to anybody. Sweet. He'll chime in with columns and stuff from here on out on a semi-regular basis.)

In 2006, the Saints hit a grand slam in the off-season. Sean Payton and Mickey Loomis brought in Drew Brees, Reggie Bush, Marcus Colston, Hollis Thomas and Jahri Evans just to name a few, and presto, the Saints were a win away from a Super Bowl appearance.

The 2007 off-season might as well be called "The Lost Boys" because all of the players brought in are either contributing to losses (Jason David, Olinda Mare) or have done nothing at all and are hard to find while watching games (Robert Meachem, Kevin Kaesviharn).

So what does it mean besides the Saints have been on both ends of the talent evaluating scale? It means we'll see how Sean Payton reacts to mistakes in personnel.

When a coach gets hired it's easy to clean house because those players aren't ones he drafted or signed. But what happens when players brought in on his watch struggle? Will Sean Payton admit his mistakes and move on, or will he be like Jim Haslett and Mike Ditka and let his bad personal decisions sink him?

Many fans would say he won't admit his mistakes because Jason David is still playing, but right now, the Saints don't have a better option. Though at this point we all want to see anybody but Jason David on the field. I will give David his due for not hiding from the media. He takes the pounding after his horrible games, so give him credit for that.

If Jason David is still the starting corner next preseason, then we'll know Sean Payton doesn't admit mistakes. Right now we don't have an answer, but it will be the off-season's biggest question…perhaps the only one we need answered.

Last week: 4-0-1
Season 26-29-1

New Orleans (-3) at Carolina: My first instinct was to pick the Panthers because Steve Smith owns the Saints and even 900-year-old Vinny Testaverde can light up the Saints secondary. But the Panthers aren't any better than the Saints and I think Drew Brees is due for another 375 yard, 4 touchdown game.

I'm totally okay with Sean Payton going run and shoot with the offense. In fact, the Saints are like the Hawaii Rainbows under June Jones: all pass, all the time. It's cool, but Sean Payton should wear a lei on the sidelines just to make it official. It could even be black and gold if he likes.

On a negative note, if Jason David doesn't stop looking into the back field while receivers run wild and free, I may have to start getting sedated during these games. Saints 27-21

New England (-23) over Philadelphia: I'm cool with Bill Belichick running up the score, but I'd also be okay if a defensive lineman planted Tom Brady into the turf on a late hit after he completes a fourth down pass with the Cheatriots up 45-7. There, I said it. Patriots 56-7

Green Bay (-3.5) at Detroit: This game seems to set up perfect for the Lions because they are usually good on Thanksgiving and they are decent this year. Except they have the look of a team headed for a second half collapse. The good news is if they finish 8-8, Matt Millen will get a lifetime contract. Packers 34-27

Cleveland (-3.5) vs. Houston: If you don’t think the Browns are going 10-6, winning a playoff game, and then getting hammered by the Patriots in January, you didn't see last week's game. The Browns had a missed field goal overturned (even though the referees got the call right). Good Lord, has that ever happened?

The Browns have all that good karma the Saints had last year. I like watching them. Teams with great offense and bad defense are always fun. Every week is a shoot out. The Browns are my second favorite team to watch this season behind the Saints. The good times roll. Browns 34-31

Baltimore (+9.5) at San Diego: This battle of ineptitude between Norv Turner and Brian Billick has me excited. Turner has destroyed a Super Bowl contender and Billick has continued his quest to put offensive football back into the 1920’s. It will be so bad it’s good. Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Chargers 6-5

Ralph Malbrough is a Saints fan living in Oakland, California. He co-hosts an internet radio show every week with WWLTV.coms Kevin Held (Sunday post-game show at 5 p.m.). You can listen live or download archived versions of the show at Or if you want it on your iPod, search Forecast Radio on iTunes. Ralph Malbrough can be emailed at

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