Texans Saints Football

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) passes in the first half of an NFL football game against the Houston Texans in New Orleans, Monday, Sept. 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

Walking down a dark path can be scary. There is no light in sight and there seems to be no end to the darkness.

Yet, you keep walking down the narrow path in the hopes of finding the way home.

The key word is hope. Using hope when there seems to be no positives in any situation.

Darkness is exactly where every Saints fan sits, waiting for the light to return to the team.

Drew Brees dropped back as he has done thousands of times before in Sunday’s matchup against the Los Angeles Rams, except this encounter turned out differently.

As Brees attempted to connect with tight end Jared Cook down the seam, he hit his hand against the pursuing Aaron Donald. Brees walked off the field and kept looking down at his throwing hand in disgust as trainers on either side stretched out his thumb.

The darkness finally descended once he tried to pick up a football with his right hand and he simply couldn’t.

Sighs could be heard from 1,500 miles away in downtown New Orleans as Teddy Bridgewater stepped onto the field.

Bridgewater gave his best effort, but the Saints ended up losing a winnable game on the road to the defending NFC champion Rams without first ballot hall of famer Drew Brees.

So, what is next? Does the tanking begin?

The answer, Saints fans, is hope.

New Orleans has been here as the franchise has not been the most successful since its founding in 1967.

Some of these seasons include years with one win and plenty with three, but the fans kept walking that path until a light shined so bright they forgot about the darkness behind them with names such as Aaron Brooks and Jason David.

That luminous grace was the 2009 Super Bowl win led by no other than the man in question: Drew Brees.

Yes, the path has no clear direction or ending, but hope continues to live on.

The offensive guru Sean Payton will not stand down, especially with a week to prepare for another tough road matchup against Seattle.

He is the leader down this path, and he has guides to help the team and the fans escape into the shining paradise of the playoffs.

His guides start on the offensive side of the ball with two of the best young stars in the game today: Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara.

Both are more than ready to carry the load of an offense that has been captained by Brees since 2006. They are young, but can handle the pressure of big games and big touches, especially with an offensive line as solid as the Saints.

Secondly, Payton has talent on the defensive side that can lead the way when the route gets tough.

Playmakers like Defensive Player of the Year candidate Cameron Jordan always seem to be around the quarterback when it matters most and has the instinctual ability to stop the run as well.

If other teams try to pass the ball, Marshon Lattimore will be waiting for the pick six and Marcus Williams will not be far behind.

These are just some of the names that can and will fill the void left by Brees’ absence for the next six to eight weeks.

Payton has even said he will approach the next game with two quarterbacks, which should be interesting if Bridgewater and Taysom Hill can handle the pressure of coming in on a moment’s notice.

Both have shown signs of greatness through practice and training camp. Bridgewater received more time with the first team, but Hill adds the added dynamic of the run to mix up defenses.

All in all, playoffs and beyond are not out of the question because the Saints are a team — not one man.

In six to eight weeks, the hope will pay off. The Saints will be led out of the darkness due to their supporting cast and welcomed back to the light with nothing but shining Super Bowl aspirations ahead.

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