Time for the New Orleans Saints in today’s series of team-by-team mailbags.
James in New Orleans writes: How can you not say Carl Nicks is the best guard in the division? You didn't even mention him, and he's having the best season of any guard in the NFL.
Pat Yasinskas: I agree that Carl Nicks is a good player and he was considered for a spot on the midseason All-NFC South team. But, based on conversations I had with coaches, front-office guys and players, I felt it was automatic that Tampa Bay’s Davin Joseph got the first guard spot because he’s having an outstanding season. That left Nicks and Jahri Evans for the other guard spot. New Orleans’ offense line hasn’t been nearly as good as it was a year ago and Evans isn’t having the dominant season he did last year. But the people I rely on to help me make this decisions still think Evans has been a notch or two above Nicks.
Jason in Winston-Salem writes: Why is no one talking about how unbelievable the Saints defense is this year? For the second time in the last two weeks they held an NFL team under 210 yards of total offense.
Pat Yasinskas: Well, let’s keep in mind, one of those games was against the Panthers, who don’t have an offense. But I do agree New Orleans’ defense has become very good overall. It’s not the opportunistic defense of last season, but the Saints are more balanced on defense and are now capable of shutting down some offenses.
Worried Saints Fan in New Orleans writes: I know Sean Payton is close with Jerry Jones, with Dallas firing Wade Phillips please tell me that Jerry Jones is not going to go after Sean Payton. Is there any scenario where Sean Payton would want to leave New Orleans for Dallas? I know this might sound a little crazy but as a Saints fan I truly understand that anything is possible. Ease my mind and let me know that Sean Payton will be coaching the Saints for next 10 years.
Pat Yasinskas: Relax, Payton’s not going anywhere. He’s under contract to the Saints and has a good thing going there. He’d have a major building job in front of him in Dallas and he’s got a shot at a possible dynasty in New Orleans. It’s true that Payton and Jones are close. But, at most, the only thing that might emerge out of that friendship is for Payton to lobby Jones to hire his good friend, John Fox, to coach the Cowboys.