"Do Your Job" ~ Giant Sean Payton Face

Let's get one thing out of the way right off the bat. If you're of the opinion that what we've been seeing from the 2012 Saints defense in any way even vaguely resembles acceptable, excusable or understandable, then we have nothing to discuss and you might as well go ahead and stop reading now. It is not acceptable. There is no excuse. And it's time we quit asking ourselves and one another whether it's more on the players or more on the coaches and scheme. Because the answer is clear, it's a metric fuckton of both. They've all but admitted as much.

We've been hearing it every week, all season, right out of their own mouths. It's never any one thing, but it's always something. It's not just one guy, but it's always somebody. They want us to believe that they're thiiiiiis close, it's just that one teeny tiny little thing doesn't go as planned and fucks the whole thing up. Just so happens that some teeny tiny little thing or another goes horribly wrong with incredible frequency.

That's a really nice way of sugarcoating the correct answer: It's everything and everybody.

I do give them credit for not pointing fingers and not throwing one another under the bus. But that's mostly because they're all under the bus already. And their fingers are too busy making fists to beat their chests over the handful of times that they "made the play when we really needed to."

By the way, can someone explain to me when that became a thing? And why? Because they sure seem awful proud of themselves while reminding us that they failed to make a play on about 80% of the snaps, but by golly, when it was really really important, they went ahead and mustered up the will to put together a few seconds of relative competence. That's supposed to make us feel better about them? That's supposed to make them feel better about themselves? Really?

Don't blame Spags though. Clearly this is everybody's fault but his.

Oh you don't have to take Duncan's word for it, just ask Spags himself. Because he seems pretty sure at this point that he just doesn't have jack shit to work with. And he damn sure doesn't have any kind of magic wand. He asked Joe Vitt if he could borrow some pixie dust, but for some reason Vitt no longer has a key to the meds locker. So much for Plan B.

We're not sure what Spags' Plan C is at this point, but we're pretty sure it involves somehow coming up with three Pro Bowl pass rushers, including one first-ballot Hall of Famer. And you've gotta admit, that right there is one hell of a plan. Why the hell wasn't that Plan A? But hey, good luck with that. I guess. Or something.

Meantime, while Spags is telling us out of one side of his mouth that he's in "uncharted territory" and that he's "not used to" having a roster full of players quite this mindbogglingly shitty, he's telling us out of the other side of his mouth that "I want to make sure I take my share of accountability" and that "The guys are amazing" because they have a shitload of heart. Which is true, you can clearly see it bleeding out through the gaping chest wound.

But Spags also wants us to know that it's really not as bad as it looks. You know, as long as you ignore the 475 yards and 31 points they're allowing per game, the 7 straight games allowing 400+, the 3 games allowing 500+ (including the most recent two) and pretty much every other statistical indicator of this defense's historical shittiness. Because stats don't tell the whole story, see. Just most of the story. But stats don't measure heart, and it's the heart that allows these guys to "make the plays when they really, really need to." So Spags figures you ought to do what he's been doing and just ignore trivial little stupid shit like stats. Because, see, the stats only tell you the bad stuff.

Guh.

Here's my question for Spags: If you don't have access to a magic wand or a dime bag of pixie dust, tell me, what exactly do you have?

Because it's pretty damn clear at this point that there's one other thing he doesn't have: Answers.

Seven months in, and he's telling us he still can't quite put his finger on it.

Which is why it's time to consider the Compassionate Option. When Coach George gets back in February, he needs to take Lennie out back and do what needs to be done. It'll be best for all concerned. Far better to acknowledge that this thing was a mistake right from the start and correct it, rather than compounding the issue by continuing to hope that somehow it'll magically end up working out eventually.

Now don't get me wrong here. I'm not saying that Spags is a bad defensive coordinator. To the contrary, I think he's probably a fine defensive coordinator. He seems like a smart guy, a good guy, and he was pretty doggone successful half a decade ago in New York. He obviously walked into a bad situation here, and it's perfectly reasonable to say that it's not his fault because he doesn't have a whole lot to work with. And after all, ultimately it's on the players to make the plays. Spags can't go out there and cover a wideout or tackle a tailback or pressure a quarterback. I'm not gonna argue with you if you want to say "it's not his fault!"

Thing is, I don't give a shit about any of that. Couldn't care less whether or not it's fair to blame him. Regardless of whether or not it's "his fault" the bottom line is that not only is it not working out, it's been a complete, unmitigated disaster.

It's not just that we're disappointed that the improvement hasn't come as quickly as we had hoped it would, or that it hasn't been as significant as we'd have liked. It's much, much worse than that. And it certainly isn't that the expectations were in any way unrealistic. Hell, all any of us were hoping for was any improvement at all. Which was by no means unreasonable, given that most of us were of the opinion that "it couldn't possibly get any worse" in the first place.

On one hand, Spags took on one hell of a difficult task. Surely he knew that going in, and we all freely acknowledged that too. But on the other hand, it's not like we were asking for much. Just get them from the bottom third of the league to the middle third, or something along those lines. Just turn them from unbelievably-shitty to believably-shitty. Hard to set the bar much lower than that.

But not only has it not gotten any better, against all odds, it's actually gotten worse. And if that weren't enough, it's still getting worse.

Somewhere between "among the worst in the league" and "the single shittiest defense in NFL history" there's a line beyond which it really doesn't matter anymore whether or not the scheme was successful half a decade ago with a whole other set of (better) players, or even that it'd work great right now this very minute with a whole different set of players. I don't give a fuck what your résumé looks like or who your mentor was or what kind of success you had for two seasons half a decade ago with three Pro Bowl defensive ends at your disposal.

What matters is that the Saints defense is bleeding out. And it's becoming more and more apparent by the week that Spags ain't got no tourniquet. 

He's not only not helping, all indications are that he's doing the opposite of helping. The Job ain't getting done, simple as that. Which doesn't necessarily mean he's a bad DC, but it does strongly indicate that it was just the wrong fit in the first place. No shame in everyone involved acknowledging that and moving on sooner rather than later. Better that than suffering through another 3-4 years waiting around for Spags to "build this defense in his image" or whatever. The Saints don't have that luxury. There's no time for waiting and building. We're bleeding out over here.

"For the love of fuck, Wang. Overreact much?"

No. Or at least I'd like to think not. Not under normal circumstances, that is. But there's nothing normal about these here circumstances. We're watching the single worst goddamn defense in the history of the National Football League, for crying out loud. That's about as abnormal as it gets. I don't think it's even possible to "overreact" to that.

Desperate times, desperate measures. And make no mistake about it, these are desperate times. Drew Brees is 33 years old and in his 12th season. The window is closing. But for as long as it remains open, anything less than selling out for this year, every year, is a waste.

To hell with patience. To hell with the cap. To hell with "building." There will be plenty of time for "building" later when Zach Mettenberger is under center. (ZACHY FOOTBALL, BITCHES!)

Until then, you cobble together whatever you can on defense, and if it doesn't work, you cobble together something else the next year.

There's nothing "smart" about flushing the waning years of your All Time Great quarterback right down the toilet for the sake of being "patient" during the 19th consecutive rebuilding effort on the other side of the ball. There's no wisdom in "staying the course" when you're on the wrong damn course to begin with.

Meantime, what's happening right now is simply unacceptable. Full stop. There's just no excuse for this defense being worse than 2011's. None.

The bar was set about as low as it could have possibly been set for Spags. And for as often as people have been throwing out "Nothing to work with!" here lately, I don't recall too many people claiming that the cupboard was bare back when Spags was hired. To the contrary, the general consensus at the time was that the roster was chock full of gems for Spags to polish up. That his scheme would be a hell of a lot better for these current players than Gregggg's had been. And then they went out and got him three new linebackers and two new defensive tackles.

Where are the results? Show me one fucking positive result and I'll shut up about it. Just one.

*crickets*

@angrywhodat: Ha! Fuck you, Wang! I just crunched me up some numbers, and I turned up 2 or 3 ways in which this isn't actually the worst defense in NFL history after all! So how about you shove that right up your ass? DEE-FENSE! DEE-FENSE! DEE-FENSE!

STATS ARE FOR LOSERS, ASSHOLE! How about you watch the GAME FILM and then get back to me? *drops mic*

Because all I see is failure. Abject failure. Historic failure. A complete inability to do anything positive. (Well, you know, except for the one or two times per win when it's really, really important to make a play. And to their credit, I suppose they're like 2 for 2 on the season as far as that goes. Or something. High five?)

And it ain't "growing pains" because there isn't the slightest indication that there's any growing going on here. Not a single one.

No, this is just regression. Big regression. Regression from last year's baseline, for crying out loud. And it's getting worse.

The correction has failed. Miserably.

Spags isn't "the problem" per se, but there damn sure isn't any indication whatsoever that he's "the solution" or any part thereof. Square peg, round hole. I'm not sure what else we need to see to make it any more obvious.

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