How Sean Payton and Drew Brees Can Rekindle Their Magic for 2013

Brandon Holstein@@BHolsteinNFLDM3Featured ColumnistJune 13, 2013

Both Sean Payton and Drew Brees know what it takes to win a Super Bowl, and both similarly understand the level of dedication and commitment that must be present to forge a successful business relationship.

After all, this is the same duo that led the New Orleans Saints to a title in 2010—just a mere four seasons after Brees' and Payton's arrival in New Orleans and five years following one of the most deadly and powerful tropical storms to ever make landfall in Hurricane Katrina.

However, now basically three years removed from any semblance of a true NFL offseason of working together, how exactly will Brees and Payton relight that fire and rekindle some of that kinetic energy that made them one of the league’s most magical teams and unique player-coach relationships in the entire NFL?

Certainly it goes without saying that 2012 was a bust, but as most sports fans can attest, with a new season comes all new reasons to remain hopeful and optimistic.

The only question now is, will the Saints come back “marching in,” or will 2013 be yet another example of just how difficult it can be to reestablish your name among the NFL’s elite?


Panic Is Not in the Game Plan

Like any successful relationship, it takes a period of reflection and honesty to accurately pinpoint the exact problems that directly led up to the decline of what was once a rather prosperous and budding courtship.

After all, if there was one person who had the time to sit back and reflect during the Saints’ disappointing 7-9 season, it was Payton, who told Larry Holder of The Times‑Picayune that he sometimes even resorted to “talking to the TV during games” and would find himself “shouting on the couch” during his season-long suspension.

All things being considered, however, Payton believes that the biggest reason for the drop in production wasn't because of the drama surrounding the team, but, rather, because Brees' job description changed so much in 2012.

Providing this invaluable insight, courtesy of the aforementioned article in the The Times-Picayune:

"His two greatest allies {referring to Brees} are a good defense, one that can turn the ball over, and a decent or good running game. You wouldn't maybe necessarily guess that, but the point being is the ability to play defense and run the football are two great allies for good quarterback play. When you tell me a team is last in the league in defense and last in the running game, I'm telling you the quarterback's job description is entirely different. You get one-dimensional, you find yourself in these games where you're not controlling the game.”


From the sounds of this it would appear that not only did Payton probably watch every snap of every game from last year, but, better yet, he already has a deep understanding of where the team must improve if they're to get back to playing winning football in 2013.

Nearly any Saints fan will tell you that Payton's overall assessment is nearly spot on.

While some areas do need more tweaking than others, there is no sense in completely revamping an offense that performed admirably despite being put in some rather peculiar and otherwise desperate situations.

What Brees and the Saints offense needs now is stability—not some schematic shift or change in offensive philosophy that takes more time and energy to implement.That would be a sign of desperation and as the legendary coach Chuck Noll famously put it:

“Leaving the game plan is a sign of panic, and panic is not in our game plan.”

Those words surely ring true to this day and are far-reaching well beyond the game of football.

Coach Payton would be all the wiser to follow this old adage in resisting the urge to change something that was never all that broken to begin with.

While this is certainly not to say nothing can be fixed, it's not as if the old ball coach has been sitting on his hands all this time. In fact, he's already accomplished quite a bit, while keeping busy in both his professional and personal life over the past year and a half.

This offseason, Payton and the Saints brought in defensive coordinator Rob Ryan to install his new 3-4 defense. This decision that should mesh nicely with the current group of defensive players and personnel New Orleans currently has on its roster. 

On the other hand, Payton personally spent much of last offseason getting back in shape and focusing on his health—utilizing the benefits of Crossfit training to shed what defensive end Will Smith referred to as "baby fat," this hilarious quote coming courtesy of piece by Jeff Darlington.

But Payton hasn’t stopped there; he also recently took to Twitter, sending out this inaugural tweet on May 26th:

Certainly one can only glean so much from these most recent developments; however, it does offer us some valuable insight into Payton's revamped overall outlook and newly refreshed personal mind set.

After all, having something you love be taken away from brings with it opportunity for resentment or an opportunity for enlightenment.

By all it accounts it would appear coach Payton has chosen to take the high road. Focusing rather on the things he can change rather than the ones he cannot.

That is a key first step if Brees and the Saints are to rekindle some of the magic that made them one of the leagues most talented and genuinely likable teams not all that long ago.