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The 2018 Saints won't fly under the radar

Deke Bellavia
February 09, 2018 - 11:14 am
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2018 Saints can’t fly under the radar

@dekebigchief

No element of surprise.  Where’s the ability to sneak up on teams?  A team not highly thought of.  That team has too many question marks to be a threat.  Not close to being a complete team.

Do those descriptions sound familiar?  Well, those phrases were used quite often before and during the 2014-17 NFL seasons, when projecting the outlook for the New Orleans Saints.

Last season the Black & Gold put doubters in check, when the Saints not only got back to the NFC playoffs for the first time since 2013, but won the NFC South for the first time since 2011.  And, we can all still feel that final moment of post-season, when New Orleans was less than 10 seconds away from playing in the NFC Title Game.  Yep, those phrases often used to describe the New Orleans Saints the previous four seasons, no longer apply. 

The Saints have gone from being a team that always has a shot because of their QB, to being one of the most complete teams in the National Football League.  Hey, those aren’t the words and thoughts of Deke Bellavia, that’s what coaches, players and top brass on the inside of the NFL think and what national experts and analysts are saying.

In the last two off-seasons the Saints have gotten a lot younger, more athletic, a lot faster and a lot better.  Good draft classes, adjustments to the coaching staff, a refreshed front office and the right mixture of trades and free agent acquisitions have allowed the Saints to inch closer to becoming one of the more complete teams in the NFL.

Back to back draft classes that have seen major contributions from key rookie players and the addition of good free agents have boosted the Saints stock and moved the Saints from a team pegged as middle of the pack by the boys in Vegas to an 18-1 favorite to win Super Bowl LIII.  That’s 4th best in the NFC & 5TH best overall.

Folks, simply put, the Saints are a hot commodity and everybody knows what this revamped team is made of, including the national sports media, who recognize the Black & Gold as legit.  How could they not?  The Saints became the second team in league history to sweep both offensive and defensive “rookie of the year” awards (RB Alvin Kamara & CB Marshon Lattimore).  Also, two other rookies were recognized as the best of 17 (tackle Ryan Ramczyk and safety Marcus Williams).  A quick youth movement combined with the most accurate QB in the history of the game, New Orleans is without question a Super Bowl favorite.

Like life, football is funny and hard to predict.  The Saints are a much better team right now than 12 months ago, but that in no way, shape or form leads me to believe that the 2018 Saints will be 10 seconds away from the NFC Title game.

Hey, it’s February.  The Super Bowl coffee pot has not even cooled down yet, and I’m already talking next year.  So is everyone else who covers and follows this game.  Truth is - there is not much to dislike about the Saints.

Sure, New Orleans has kinks to iron out, they have some things to address and clean up in phases of their game, but this team has no true weakness that can be characterized by comments like:  “the Saints are terrible at” or “the Saints aren’t very good in the” and “New Orleans has a long way to go before.”  Squash dat!  Because none of that is true.  The Saints are for real!  Just look at the body of work via the draft and free agency, the volume of exciting, young contributors and the quarterback every team envies.

Since the Eagles won Super Bowl LII and the talk about “who’s going to win it all next season” began, the Saints are mentioned as legitimate contenders. 

So today let’s celebrate the Saints.  It’s a good day, and a good time for card-carrying members of the Who Dat Nation.  We can all be proud of the respect and honor given to our hometown team.  The future of the Saints is as bright as it has been in quite some time.

Another simple truth.  With success comes the pressure to equal or surpass last season’s records and milestones.  Unlike the 2017 season, the Saints can’t fly below the radar.  The secret is out.   New Orleans is for real!  WHO DAT!

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