Thursday, October 08, 2015

Developmental season

Probably the biggest takeaway from the Hicks trade is that it demonstrates the Saints have planned to spend this entire season in developmental mode.  They know they aren't going to compete this year so they're treating 2015 as one long preseason. This is why the roster seems like it's always in flux and why the team is fine with playing so many rookies. They're taking this year off and using the time to learn what they can about themselves.  See this Q & A with Sean Payton after the Dallas game, for example.
You have used a lot of young players, especially on defense, this season; can you talk about the patience that you need to have with guys like that? Is there a point in the season where everything starts to slow down for them?

"It is a progression. I think, to your point with the younger guys, they are learning through reps. I thought (Tyeler) Davison and those guys stepped up and made a lot of plays for us last night. You're hoping that when we put a plan together, we can give them the best chance to be successful. That is the key. I thought a number of young guys really stepped up last night."

After some of the personnel disappointments you have had over the last three or four years, how satisfying is it to see that, collectively as a group, your decisions this year are paying off for you?

"We're in year one so we are not ready to send these guys to Canton just yet. It is good to see that they are playing (and) they're improving. I thought they were active last night, a number of them. Bobby Richardson, Damian Swann and a number of young guys are all receiving a ton of playing time and are helping us."
Don't expect all of those players to play quite that well every week.  Instead, expect more of the volatile trend line of ups and downs we've already seen so far but hopefully one that trends more upward in the aggregate.  Every now and then, they'll even win a game during this process. 

Mostly these wins will look a lot like the Dallas game; messy, penalty-ridden, probably involving somebody's backup quarterback. I started to get a real good feeling the Saints might win Sunday night when I realized just how stupid the game was overall. 

Anyway, that's still the story with these Saints. We're basically just watching some guys go through kindergarten right now.  The year will be a success if we get the vague feeling they might have improved their basic skills a little bit by the end. Along the way they might do one really impressive thing.  Let's hope they save that for next Thursday.

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