The Saints only have themselves to blame for their aimless 2022 campaign

You’d be forgiven for finding something else to do with your Monday night than watch the New Orleans Saints collapse in front of a national audience. They gave up an early double-digit lead to the visiting Baltimore Ravens and never rallied back to make it a competitive game. The defense that Dennis Allen was hired as head coach to maintain never really asserted itself against Lamar Jackson, one of the game’s best young quarterbacks. Now they’re 3-6 through the first nine weeks, matching the same win total Allen posted in his first two years with the Raiders way back when.

It’s one thing to be a bad team getting outplayed each week. It’s another if your team is boring but effective. It’s something else entirely if you’re losing twice as many games as you’re winning and fans are tuning out to catch up on their Netflix backlog instead of sitting through a lost cause.

But that’s the reality for this Saints team. They’re hard to watch. They aren’t consistently successful and they aren’t entertaining. Allen’s squad is playing a lot of uninspiring and unsuccessful football. There were more plays designed for third-string running back Dwayne Washington in the opening script against the Ravens than for Taysom Hill, who only touched the ball twice on Monday night (completing a 13-yard pass and gaining 6 yards on his lone rushing attempt; he was also targeted once as a receiver, though the pass fell incomplete).

That’s just one example, so here’s another: of Alvin Kamara’s 9 carries, 7 of them went between the tackles (and 4 of them ran between the guards). The Saints ran Kamara into the teeth of a stout Ravens defense and never even tried to challenge them out on the edge. They’ve got to get more creative with his usage or he’ll just get worn down like we’ve seen in each of the last two years. It’s a waste of his talents.

And the Saints have no one to blame but themselves. They hired Allen and chose to go all-in on this season with Jameis Winston and Andy Dalton at quarterback, neither of whom is fit to lead a team these days. They talked Pete Carmichael into staying on board as offensive coordinator after he asked for a lesser role in the organization. You could make excuses about injuries or a tough schedule, but almost every team in the league can complain about that. You’ve got to play with the hand you’re dealt, and the Saints had more input on their options than most. They chose to go with what’s familiar and comfortable and confused continuity for complacency.

Now they’re on track to miss the playoffs by a mile — and there isn’t much light at the end of the tunnel with their 2023 first-round draft pick conveying to the Philadelphia Eagles after went all-in on Allen’s vision. Even if Allen is let go at the end of the year and a new hiring cycle begins, the next head coach will have to navigate a very complicated salary cap situation after the Saints moved a lot of money around early this year to make room for Deshaun Watson’s contract; another ill-advised move made at Allen’s direction. It hasn’t taken long for the machine Sean Payton built to fall to pieces without him, but he deserves some blame too for ducking out once the Saints’ outlook started to dim. Let’s see how things develop as the season continues.

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Story originally appeared on Saints Wire