This is what I often refer to as the "dead zone" for a blogger of an NFL football team. Things tend to pick up a little bit with OTAs underway and you often get little nuggets of news around now, but this period between the draft and training camp is often brutal for most bloggers and we all suffer from "writer's block". Coming up with interesting material to talk about is a daunting task. Interestingly as a Saints blogger, though, this hasn't been a "dead zone" period in years, but I'm honestly not complaining for once. This marks the first "normal" and relatively quiet offseason the Saints have had since prior to the 2009 season.
More than anyone, Drew Brees is the primary person that I view as getting a respit from the offseason madness. I like the idea that for once he has the headspace to focus on his actual job and not a bunch of outlier responsibilities. Consider the sequence of events:
2010 offseason: Saints win the Super Bowl. The city holds a parade for the players, Sean Payton and Drew Brees both go on an accelerated book plan, book tour and promotion saga. Winning a title is great, but incredibly high volume distractions come with that success. Payton called doing a book the most miserable and time consuming commitment of his life. Brees took it a step further by accepting any and all high profile opportunities that came his way, whether it was meeting with troops, Oprah, Ellen, Letterman, and any other sponsorships deals that came his way. Brees was up against it literally the entire time leading up to training camp. Of course this period was terrific as the blogger of a team that just won the Super Bowl. Web traffic was up, there was daily material on what players were up to, and tons of interview opportunities for even me.
2011 offseason: The NFL is in a lockout. Again, lots of material for a blogger during this period. With the amount of uncertainty that surrounded that period, different reports and rumors were surfacing daily. Of course Drew Brees was heavily implicated in the negotiations, and while the growing concern of no deal as time went on was heavily taxing on every NFL player's mind, including all Saints players, it was tenfold for Brees. I understood as a leader and heavily involved NFLPA rep that this was a responsibility for Brees once things really hit the fan, but to be blunt it kind of pissed me off that he was the one falling on the sword for the players. That's on him, of course, he fully embraced his role… but as a fan of the Saints I never liked how heavily wrapped into the discussions he was. Simply put, I wanted my team's quarterback taking it easy, not suffering a barrage of stress and criticism. This included weekly flights to New York and DC for extensive meetings, and obviously his headspace was very occupied during this time.
2012 offseason: Bountygate. There's no need to really re-hash what frankly came close to Katrina in terms of the black mark it left on the team's history. Obviously Katrina's impact on the city was one of the biggest disasters in our country's history, maybe the biggest. I'm not comparing them on that level so I hope no one is offended. I'm not talking about New Orleans here or loss of life. Obviously there is no comparison there. But as far as the impact it had on the Saints specifically, as a team, I think you could argue that the level of stress and distraction that the Katrina time period had vs. Bountygate is actually pretty close. Closer than it should be, really, but Bountygate was really that awful. It wasn't just the black eye. It was the heavy and unprecedented penalties levied by Goodell. It was the team trying to throw it together with a rotating cast of coaches and a sub GM. It was the players constantly being bugged about something many had nothing to do with (Brees for example) while trying to focus on direction from sub coaches. Again bountygate made for a flood of blogging material during the aforementioned "dead zone", so from my perspective as a blogger it was perfect. Endless material. As a Saints fan it was horrible beyond words. The worst offseason in team history. Going back to Drew Brees again, not only was this an issue, but he was entrenched in a contract dispute that lasted entirely too long.
So here we stand in the 2013 offseason and for the first time in four years I'm actually suffering from the "dead zone" like I should be. As a blogger, the dead zone sucks so it's unfortunate. As a fan, it really is amazing, just this once. I'm really just appreciating that the team and players can focus on football with minimal distractions, at least compared to the last three offseasons. So I'm not going to complain one bit with the lack of material because ultimately I want what's best for the team. We've heard very little from Drew Brees who might have actually gotten some rest, sleep and a mental respit this time.
Last time the Saints had what I viewed as a "relatively normal" offseason, where I suffered from "dead zone" lack of blogging material, the Saints went on to win the Super Bowl that year. Just saying. If nothing else, you know this is a welcome thing for the players, especially Drew Brees.