The New Orleans Saints' season seems inconsequential now in the wake of the destruction Hurricane Katrina inflicted on their home city. Players were insulated physically from the effects of one of the worst natural disasters in U.S. history, having flown to San Jose State to prepare for their final preseason game and then setting up operations out of a hotel in San Antonio. The mental toll, however, was great as many players spent the better part of the past week trying to get in touch with relatives and friends to make sure they were alive.
The Saints may not play a game at the Superdome this season after Katrina ravaged the roof of the stadium and left the inside in shambles. Team management has been trying to locate sites for home games, but so far nothing has been secured. The only certainty is that New Orleans will be at Carolina for its season opener, while its scheduled home opener -- in Week 2 against the Giants -- will be played in New York.
As for the defense, the Saints had talent last season; they just didn't get the job done. That's an all-too-familiar theme for a team that has been one of the league's annual underachievers.
Coach Jim Haslett saved his job with the club's four-game winning streak at the end of last season that nearly got the Saints into the playoffs in the forgiving NFC. But, again, the Saints were just good enough to be tantalizing, and just bad enough to fail.