As the Saints look for their second season-opening win of the season since 2011 Monday night in Minnesota, FOX 8 Saints Analyst Jim Henderson senses apprehension about the 2017 season and its ramifications.
"I think everybody in the organization, whether you're on the business side or the football side, knows that another 7-9 season, or worse...maybe this thing all gets blown up. I think everybody is uncertain at every level of the Saints organization, based on the way they finished the last three years and four out of the last five so yes, there's a great area of apprehension about this football team.
How many coaches in the NFL can survive three losing seasons in a row? Not many. And four of the last five so I think the reservoir of trust and goodwill about this coaching staff and whole organization based on the Super Bowl of 2009 has worn thin."
Sean Payton notched his 100th career win as a head coach in Week 16 of the 2016 campaign but fell to the Falcons in the finale, ensuring another 7-9 record.
But the 2-2 preseason mark has led to a more positive mindset among the fan base, according to Henderson.
"I've encountered more optimism among Saints fans this preseason than in a long time," Henderson .said. "I think it's because they finally did something in preseason. I think they feel like this team won in preseason, even though it's only two games. They're sick of another 0-4 preseason and here we go with another slow start so I think they're encouraged by that. I think they see that all of this investment in defense year after year is finally perhaps going to pay off.
"Maybe the Saints will catch a break as far as injuries go and they don't completely decimate one area of the team as they did last year in the defensive backfield so I see a lot of apprehension in some parts of the Saints fandom but in others, a lot of excitement. Some people are picking them as a dark horse to go the Super Bowl from the NFC, other people think they might win three or four games," Henderson said.
Jim Henderson provides analysis of the Saints on FOX 8 each week on Thursday during FOX 8 News at 10 PM. The day after games, he calls into FOX 8 News at 8 AM for the Black & Gold Rewind, then joins FOX 8 News at 5 PM for his Commentary and finishes the day with his Black & Gold Review Show at 10:35 PM. He also contributes to the 14 editions of FOX 8 Live Tailgate, which typically airs at 10 a.m. on Sundays before Saints noon games.
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