Blood is thicker than water…..When Randy Mueller was brought on board as General Manager of the New Orleans Saints in 2000, his brother, Rick followed closely. Randy had come from the Seattle Seahawks while Rick arrived from the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Blood is thicker than water…..When Randy Mueller was brought on board
as General Manager of the New Orleans Saints in 2000, his brother, Rick
followed closely. Randy had come from the Seattle Seahawks while Rick
arrived from the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Following the 2001 season, Saints owner Tom Benson soured on Randy Mueller after a series of in-house differences. The last straw was Randy’s flirtation with the same position with arch-rival Atlanta. Benson fired the eldest Mueller.
Strangely, the blood of Rick Mueller proved thicker than Randy’s. Despite watching his brother get unceremoniously dismissed just one year removed from being named NFL Executive of the Year, Rick would stay on-board, even being promoted to the position of Vice President of Player Personnel in New Orleans. Clearly, Rick was still aligned with then-coach Jim Haslett and new General Manager Mickey Loomis.
Things would change with the arrival of Sean Payton. Following the magical 2006 season in which he was named NFL Coach of the Year, Payton gained enormous power within the structure of the Saints football operation. He wanted and received more say in personnel decisions. Ultimately, that would lead to the dismissal of Rick Mueller.
Mueller spent eight seasons in New Orleans. He did a very commendable job and was well-liked by those who dealt with him professionally. He was part of the acquisition of the likes of Deuce McAllister, Will Smith, Charles Grant, Jahri Evans, Marques Colston, and Roman Harper.
The drafting of Donte Stallworth was a mixed bag–he was a slow starter and was hampered by leg problems but would ascend to become a good player by the time he departed New Orleans at the end of the forgettable “Katrina season” of 2005.
On the flip side, the drafting of Jonathan Sullivan was a big mistake. He was a colossal flop. The jury remains out on Robert Meachem, who must stay healthy and step up in 2008 to prove worthy of his number one selection in 2007.
One of the areas that could have better while Mueller was here was the signing of free agents. Obviously, Drew Brees was a godsend though it is clear that he was Sean Payton’s guy. Jason David and Brian Simmons would be clear evidence of falling short in this area.
Without a doubt, Mueller is capable of landing on his feet elsewhere and faring well. Unlike his older brother, he won’t need four or five years to find his way back into the league.
These moves are part of the ever-changing NFL landscape. Loomis has formed a very close bond with Payton. The New Orleans Saints will succeed or fail under their total control. This is clear. This is how it should be. There must be clearly accountable persons at the top of each organization. With his great run and Coach of the Year honor in 2006 and with Loomis receiving NFL Executive of the Year in 2006, the pair have earned that right.
From this point forward, there can be no questioning “whose guy he was” when a player gets drafted or signed. With the New Orleans Saints, there is a team of two that rules the roost. From my perspective, Payton will have as much say (if not more) than Loomis will. Tom Benson is very pleased with both. Let us hope that is still the case after the 2008 season and beyond so that no more blood is shed and that no more water washes the franchise away from New Orleans.