That was literally my thought when I heard Andy Dalton will replace Jameis Winston as starting quarterback for the New Orleans Saints Sunday against the Raiders.
It’s news, don’t get me wrong. But the quarterback can’t fix this team’s pitiful turnovers and self-destruction all on his own.
The Saints were borderline unwatchable last Thursday night in a loss at Arizona. My friend and columnist Jeff Duncan eloquently wrote that the Saints are everyone’s “get-right” team.
I don’t know how it got this bad this fast, but I do know one thing. Somehow, the Saints could still snag a playoff berth.
But the pressure is on. If they want it bad enough, we need to see passion. Fire. Fundamentals.
EXHIBIT A – PASSION
With a win Sunday at Atlanta, the Panthers will be in first place in an unimpressive NFC South.
Need I remind you they fired coach Matt Rhule three weeks ago and have benched Baker Mayfield for P.J. Walker.
Everything the Saints want in the division is still in front of them, remarkably, because doors have been opened by other teams (Tampa Bay Bucs, we’re looking at you).
But the Panthers are no joke. They were 13.5-point underdogs to the Bucs after trading away Robbie Anderson and Christian McCaffrey and still pulled a 21-3 upset. They’re not just a team that’s looking to “keep doing what we’re doing.”
I despise coach-speak.
“I stood in front of these guys at the beginning when I first took over here, and I said, ‘you know, in order for us to go forward, we are going to have to surrender their individual me for the greater we.’ That’s what it’s all about.”
Wouldn’t it be nice to see a little fire from Dennis Allen? I bet it would translate to the rest of the Saints.
They have born leaders like Demario Davis, who admitted that the team “had to get back to our swagger.”
I know they’re hurt. Michael Thomas is about to miss his fifth game and Jarvis Landry his fourth. I’m sorry – health is no excuse. every NFL team battles injuries.
The Saints have no time to waste.
EXHIBIT B – FUNDAMENTALS
One more thing: the Saints must correct self-inflicted mistakes.
I’m talking basic fundamentals.
I’ve said it all year – I love the Saints, but they’re simply not good enough to make even one mistake, let alone throw three interceptions if they want to win a game.
Let’s look at their two wins this season.
- at Atlanta: turnover margin +1 (1 fumble lost, 2 fumbles recovered)
- vs. Seattle: turnover margin -1 (1 fumble lost, 1 Dalton interception, 1 fumble recovered)
How were they able to win vs. Seattle with a negative turnover margin? It wasn’t easy – the Seahawks scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter. But the Saints won time of possession by 15 minutes (37:35-22:25), went 3-for-3 in the red zone and rushed for 235 yards (4.9 yards per rush).
We all know red zone efficiency went out the window in Week 6 against the Bengals (1-for-5), when the Saints were +1 in turnover margin but crumbled late.
Turnovers win and lose games. The Saints are dead last in the NFL at -10 total turnover margin and 16 giveaways.
But what’s most striking of all? The giveaways directly led to 28 opponent points. The Saints have been outscored by 25 so far this season.
Until the Saints win a game, my thoughts will be consistent on the quarterback situation.
Whether it’s Andy Dalton or Jameis Winston, the Saints just need a starter who can take care of the football, stick to the fundamentals and execute, especially in the red zone.
Their season depends on it.
Let me know in the comments below:
- What’s your prediction for Sunday against the Raiders?
- What about the rest of the NFC South? Are you surprised it’s so mediocre?