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Barry Hirstius

Saints Philosophy Going Forward: “If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It”

A large portion of Saints fans were upset yesterday, when the NFL Trade Deadline came and went with New Orleans deciding to "stand pat" with what they have, with regard to the current players on their roster; which drew some notable criticism and even some rather boisterous "rebuke" from their most loyal of supporters.

That was because that segment of fans feel that the team remains deficient at several positions on the roster, perhaps most notably at defensive tackle where they've missed the contributions (especially for their run defense) of former DT Nick Fairley, who was forced to sit out this season and possibly longer, due to a life-threatening heart condition.

The Saints arguably could also use some more depth at linebacker and even at the tight end position, given the struggles of current starter Coby Fleener (1 catch for minus -1 yard against Chicago last week); whom some fans are labeling on Social Media as another recent Saints free agent "bust".

In any event, since I cover the team daily here at the Saints News Network, invariably I was asked about my thoughts on the Saints deciding NOT to make any moves with regard to yesterday's Trade Deadline, and here's what I can tell you unequivocally:

The Saints are going with a simple and decades-old philosophy that applies to life just as much as it does to the sport of Pro Football, which is: "if it ain't broke, don't fix it".

Photo courtesy of Michael C. Hebert

I probably don't have to tell you if you consider yourself to be a "true" Saints fan, that sometimes things are better off left just the way that they are.

This year's 2017 Saints team so far, appears to be something TRULY SPECIAL.

They've reeled off 5 straight wins in a row, and now are in sole possession of 1st Place in the NFC South Division for the first time in over 4 years (2013).

But perhaps more importantly: they're playing with a great degree of confidence, and they've developed quite a chemistry with each other since they first initially started out of the gate at (0-2) to begin the season.

Since those opening 2 losses, this football team has played and performed at a level on par with ANY of the League's other 32 teams at the moment, and it's a HUGE improvement over the Saints teams of the past 3 seasons that finished (7-9) and missed the NFL Playoffs in all of those years.

So in essence, you're going to just have to go ahead and forgive the Saints organization and particularly front office team management (a.k.a. Mickey Loomis and Sean Payton), if they're a bit hesitant to "tweak" or possibly alter to some extent, a formula that as of right now is clearly yielding some very positive results.

Could the Saints maybe have used a veteran wide receiver for their offense like Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald, whom was the subject of more than one rumor that had the Saints looking to acquire his services?

Photo courtesy pf The Arizona Republic


You can't ever have too much talent on one team in that regard, and it's more than a reasonable idea to try and upgrade your roster; and fortify areas of weakness that you believe in the long run could potentially come back to bite you right on the ass — and usually at the most inopportune time (like during the Playoffs).

But if you bring someone in, then you also have to know how to properly utilize that talent; (as the Saints found out the hard way themselves with former RB Adrian Peterson, whom they traded to that same Arizona team a few weeks ago) and make it work to your advantage.

But maybe the reason why the Saints didn't go after anyone is because they are CONFIDENT that they can continue to win games with the players that they already have.

There isn't any need for a Larry Fitzgerald, when you already have a Brandon Coleman.

Photo courtesy of Scott Threlkeld, New Orleans Advocate

And sure: while Fleener has struggled, there's always someone like a Josh Hill to step in and make sure that the team's performance doesn't skip a single beat. (No, Josh Hill isn't Rob Gronkowski, but who else is?)

It's the same principle that has allowed veteran linebacker Craig Robertson to step in at the "Will" / weak side position in place of the injured rookie Alex Anzalone, and make an immediate impact with his outstanding abilities.

And it's why 2nd year defensive tackle David Onyemata has admirably been able to fill the role formerly held by Fairley, because the coaching staff believes that he is capable of doing it.

(As New Orleans Advocate beat writer Nick Underhill noted last night: Onyemta has shined at times against the run, by eating up blocks that have allowed his teammates to flow to the ball and make plays).

Photo courtesy of Michael C. Hebert

In short, the Saints know what they already have — and they're unwilling to mess up something that has worked, and for the majority of the past 5 games has worked very well.

Will they eventually regret not making a move?

They might, depending on how these next 9 remaining games turn out.

But one thing they won't regret:

Trusting the process that got them to this point, and allowing this eclectic mix of mostly young players and a select few wily old veterans — along with a head coach who appears to be reinvigorated by his team's "swagger" and confident demeanor — to thrive in the current environment of their own making.

Photo courtesy of Matthew Hinton, New Orleans Advocate

It's an environment that has been fostered by allowing a talented mix of rookies and 2nd year players, to GROW TOGETHER as a core group for the future of the franchise.

And now 7 games into the 2017 NFL season, the New Orleans Saints are playing well; and good enough to compete among the best of the League's very best.

If you're a fan of the New Orleans Saints, how on Earth can you possibly be unhappy with anything as good as this has been?

The answer is a simple one.

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it"..............


Big Easy Magazine contributing writer and Saints News Network columnist Barry Hirstius is a 51-year old semi-retired journalist, former New Orleans-area sports editor, and writer previously with several sites that exclusively cover the New Orleans Saints football team. Additionally, he is a recurring guest on a variety of local Sports Talk Radio programs. Barry is also a New Orleans native who grew up as a fan of the team while attending games as a young boy at the old Tulane Stadium in the early 1970’s, originally 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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