The entire city of New Orleans is breathing a huge collective sigh of relief this morning. As everyone from these parts is painfully aware, the residents of the Crescent City live and die every Monday morning depending how their beloved Saints fare the day before. And last year there was a whole lot of pain.Back in the 70's, a 7-9 record was a cause for celebration, or at the very least, a parade down Canal Street. In fact, that very thing happened in 1978 when the Saints posted that exact record, which was the best in its then 12-year existence. Flash forward nearly 40 years to 2015 after several playoff appearances and a Super Bowl victory. These days, a 7-9 record not only gets you wholesale changes in the front office and coaching staff, but nearly an entire roster fighting for their jobs.
The Saints brought in several veteran free agents to help turn around the 31st ranked defense in the NFL. Names like Kevin Williams, Anthony Spencer and Dannell Ellerbe are just a few of them, in addition to high draft picks Stephone Anthony & Hau'oli Kikaha, who are expected to contribute immediately.
Those players are all solid, but none is expected to have the immediate impact of cornerback Brandon Browner, who also happens to own Super Bowl rings from each of the last 2 seasons with Seattle and New England. Call Browner a hired gun if you will, but the Saints are calling him a player who not only upgrades their position, but also provides much needed attitude and leadership to the entire team.
Every team needs leaders, someone who is not afraid to call out his teammates when necessary. In years past, the Saints had plenty of those type players on the defense....Jonathan Vilma, Will Smith, Roman Harper and Malcolm Jenkins immediately come to mind. Unfortunately, all of them were gone last year. Enter the loquacious always-in-your-face Brandon Browner. It became evident immediately in Saints Training Camp that Browner brings a certain kind of swagger with him wherever he goes. A swagger this Saints defense badly needs.
So you can imagine the horror in Saints fans faces when Browner was carted off the field in the very first series of the very first preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens last night. What added insult to injury was the fact that the lower leg injury appeared to come as a result of his own teammate, LB Hau'oli Kikaha slamming into his knee.
"Nevermore" quoth the Raven. "Just relax" quoth Brandon Browner....or something similar to that.
Soon after the game, sheer terror turned to slight worry when Browner tweeted out 'Small thing to a Giant' and then followed that up with the always refreshing winkie-face emoji. And just like that, everything seemed to be good again in the Saints world. Now on to fixing that 31st ranked defense....