Larry Holder: ‘Crossroads Year For The Saints’

The New Orleans Saints are 0-2, they’ve mustered just 19 points in each of their first two games, and Drew Brees (shoulder) is hurt.

Things could be worse, but not by much.

“Whenever the Saints lose their opening game of a season under the Payton/Brees era, they’ve only gone to the playoffs once,” NOLA.com Saints columnist Larry Holder said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “So 0-1 is a bad start for them; 0-2, this is the third (time) in four years they’ve gone 0-2 and they’ve never made the postseason in the previous two years. But as far as Drew Brees’ shoulder, it’s . . . shrouded in mystery. I guess it depends on which reporter is reporting and where they’re getting their information from is kind of the code of the injury. To me, when he was hurt, he was not the same guy. He wasn’t even close – and that was very evident.”

Brees bruised his rotator cuff in a 26-19 loss to the Buccaneers this past weekend. He finished 24-of-38 for 255 yards, one touchdown and one interception.

The Saints, known for their high-powered offense, have scored just four touchdowns through two games and faced double-digit, fourth-quarter deficits each week. In fact, they trailed Tampa Bay 23-7 through three quarters.

“Even if Drew Brees if healthy, this team is having issues,” Holder said. “On offense, they’re not getting in the end zone. They don’t have the same skill weapons, protection was brutal, which was why he got hurt against Tampa Bay. Tampa Bay’s no good, either. They’re Triple-A compared to the rest of the league. But yeah, it’s across the board. I don’t know if there’s a fix for this team and one way or the other. Whether Brees plays or not, I’m not sure they’re going to get this thing right this year.”

How bad is it? Luke McCown might start for the Saints this Sunday in Carolina.

Scott Ferrall said that if he were a Saints fan, he would “basically want to drink scalding hot jambalaya and kill myself if he’s my quarterback.”

Holder said most fans would just go straight to warm bourbon.

“Forget the food, just go for the booze,” Holder joked. “But yeah, Luke McCown, he’s your short-term guy. That’s why he’s one the roster – to play in case Brees has to miss one or two games, and I think that’s kind of what they’re banking on because it’s a bruised rotator cuff. If it was torn, he’d be on IR. But I think the fact is, Brees, they feel like it’s not some long-term thing. But still, if you’re 0-2 and you got Luke McCown coming in potentially to be the quarterback and you’re going on the road at Carolina, you’re really staring 0-3 in the face – and your offense isn’t being productive before Drew Brees took the shot to the arm.

“It’s a troubling time,” Holder continued. “I deemed this a crossroad year for the Saints before the year even started because of Drew Brees’ age, Drew Brees’ contract. You can’t go under .500 with Brees on your roster for three of the last four years. This just compounds the fact that it’s a potential crossroad year. If the Saints struggle this year, they got to think long and hard about in ’16 having to kind of do a complete rebuild if they can’t get it right by the end of this year.”

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