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Barry Hirstius

Are Saints DOOMED Already, Without Playing a Single Game?

There's an old saying that we've heard throughout the course of our lives that fans of the New Orleans Saints are becoming far too familiar with the past few seasons: "If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have any luck at all".

For Saints fans and the Saints organization yesterday, the news that broke regarding the loss of starting offensive left tackle Terron Armstead was a stark reminder of a past era long ago in the early part of the team's 51-year history; when it seemed that NOTHING would go right --- and if you were expecting something "bad" to happen back in those days, it usually did.

Armstead suffered a torn labrum during this past Wednesday's Day #2 Mini-Camp practice, a source confirmed to NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune NFL columnist Larry Holder.

Armstead will miss 4-6 months with the injury. At the earliest, Holder notes that Armstead could possibly return as in mid-October. At the very latest, he could returns in mid-December if the team is in contention for the NFL Playoffs.

If the Saints end up not having a shot at making the Playoffs by that time for a 4th straight season, the team could decide to basically "write him off" for the entire year.

Photo courtesy of David Grunfeld, The New Orleans Times-Picayune

Now let's not even try to "sugar coat" this: Armstead, when healthy, is one of the best starting offensive left tackles in the entire sport of Pro Football.

So losing him is obviously is a big deal, and there's really no way to downplay it or try to find a "silver lining" over his loss. Only someone who has absolutely ZERO knowledge about about the Saints and the NFL would believe that.

But nevertheless, let's also not pretend that injuries don't happen for any of the other 32 teams throughout the League, either.

Injuries are a part of the game. They always have been, and they always will be.

This could on it's face, seem like a devastating injury that the Saints may not be able to overcome.

But should the Saints say "to hell with it" and just GIVE UP? Are they "doomed" before the upcoming 2017 season even starts, and before they've even had a chance to play a single game this year?

(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Predictably throughout Social Media after the Armstead news broke, both fans and even a few members of Saints Media that cover the team daily themselves, had what I'd refer to as a typical overreaction.

You would have thought by the total and completely over-the-top overreaction by some Saints fans, that an asteroid was heading for a collision course towards earth --- and that the major TV networks had just shown President Trump live in the Oval Office, cowering behind his desk as he waited for the asteroid's impact.

In a word: ridiculous. Just absolutely, ridiculous.

Sure losing Armstead hurts, but it's hardly the "end of the world" as we know it (to borrow a phrase from an old 1980's song by the band R.E.M.)

As New Orleans Advocate beat writer Nick Underhill reminded us yesterday evening after some Saints fans began losing their minds: the Saints DO have other options.

Assuming he is healthy and is ready to step in after off-season hip surgery, Underhill says that rookie tackle and 1st Round pick Ryan Ramczyk is one option.

Photo courtesy of Michael C. Hebert

Yet another option is that the Saints could also look to move 3rd year veteran Andrus Peat from left guard to left tackle if the rookie isn’t ready (Peat was an All-American left tackle at Stanford University before he got picked by the Saints in 2015).

A 3rd option even is that the Saints could also look to bring in a free agent; maybe not of starting caliber, but simply just a back-up behind Ramczyk or Peat for depth purposes.

Photo courtesy of Michael DeMocker, The New Orleans Times-Picayune

Underhill does caution that Ramczyk still remains a bit of an unknown, since he did not participate in team drills during Mini-Camp --- though he did take part in a walkthrough on Thursday, which is a sign of progress.

Underhill also says that moving Peat could also work. He notes that Peat's issues came from trying to "slide over" from the left side of the offensive line to the right, but he settled in last year at the left guard spot; and could benefit from remaining in that position.

Either way: the Saints aren't "doomed", and there's no logical reason to start panicking if you're a Saints fan.

Yes, losing Armstead hurts; especially when New Orleans has already lost starting center Max Unger to foot surgery (he's expected back at the start of the season) and could also be without starting defensive tackle Nick Fairley --- whose career might be in jeopardy due to a heart condition.

Let's not even try to pretend that those things didn't or aren't happening.

But the Saints CAN overcome this. 

Only time will tell if they actually WILL.

And by the way: Armstead was also hurt last year and missed 9 games -- games in which the Saints offense actually scored more points without him in the line-up, then they did when he was in there.

More often than not (but not always), it was usually either the overall poor performance of the defense or a freak play (like the blocked extra point return in the Denver game) that cost the Saints victories in 2016.

Still, there isn't any question that the Saints seem to be "snake-bitten" by injuries, and as Underhill noted in that same article: Saints players combined last year in the 2016 season, missed a whopping total of 301 games due to injury.

That made the Saints the 2nd most "injured team" in the NFL last season, behind only the San Diego Chargers, whose players missed 355 games.

Not surprisingly, neither team made the NFL Playoffs.

But --- there's still no crying in Pro Football.

And there shouldn't be any "quit" or panic by Saints fans, before they've even given the team a chance to get to Training Camp and the Pre-Season to sort all of this out.

How about we give them a CHANCE first before we declare the season "doomed", or over and done with?

Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

And since tomorrow is Father's Day, I'll leave those Saints fans who overreacted to the news with another old saying; this time from my Dad (who died in 2015) who  used to tell me this expression whenever things got tough or difficult: 

"Suck it up, Buttercup".

In other words, at least let them PLAY the games first --- before we declare the 2017 New Orleans Saints regular season, over before it even started................

Saints News Network Editor / Featured Columnist and Lead Analyst Barry Hirstius is a 50-year old semi-retired journalist and former New Orleans area sports editor and columnist previously with several sites that exclusively cover the New Orleans Saints NFL football team. Additionally, he is a frequent guest on a variety of Sports Talk Radio programs that cover the Saints. Barry is also a New Orleans native that dating all the way back to his childhood in the early 1970's, attended games at the old Tulane Stadium and grew up as a long-time Saints fan; following and now covering the team for a span of over 40 plus years. And perhaps most importantly of all: he is the Grandfather of two beautiful young girls, Jasmine and Serenity.......

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