January 6, 2000

Issues at the end of the 1999 season

The postseason brings some interesting questions to the forefront. Here are some issues all Saints Fans should know about.



1) Is Jake Delhomme the Saints answer at QB? Probably not. Not yet, at least. Despite strong performances in his only two starts, Jake doesn't appear to be the clear-cut answer to the haunting quarterback nightmare. With time and experience, Jake should develop into a stalwart QB. Whether or not he will be the Saints' starter is unknown. The Saints will have to use their depleted draft and/or their large salary cap gap to bring in one, preferrably two new quarterbacks, one old and one young. Tolliver is the only one of the Saints 4 current quarterbacks under contract, and he and Delhomme should be the only two QB's left very, very soon.

2) Since Mike Ditka obviously isn't, who is the head coach for next year? That is a difficult task. With three teams, (New York Jets, New England Patriots, Green Bay Packers), already in the hunt, the Saints with have competition in finding their new head coach.

3) What will Tom Benson do with the front office? Well, he fired everybody but Charles Bailey. Bailey may take the GM job or he may stay at head of football operations. Benson plans to find his GM/President before he finds his coach, however, just like the 1986 plan that brought in Finks then Mora. That plan gave the Saints their only success to date. Other prospects are former Pittsburg man Tom Donahoe, former Washington guru Charles Casserly, and former Indianapolis man Bill Tobin.

4) Was Ricky worth it? Yes. Definitely yes. Despite popular opinion, Ricky was not brought in to instantly end the playoff drought. He was brought in, rather, to be the beginning of a new process of rebuilding. The trade for his selection may hurt us next year a bit, but I have a keen feeling that the Saints will manage to draft in the first round anyway.

5) Who to draft, then? That is a difficult question to answer on all 3-13 teams. The Quarterback has never been a stable position. The Saints need a dominant inside linebacker or lineman. The Saints need a big, tough, clutch receiver to compliment a speedy deep threat, who could perhaps pickup the non-existent return game. If the Saints do not draft in the first round and must rely on a second round and a fourth round pick to glean any talent in this upcoming draft, I feel the Saints will choose the best athelete available.

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