The music is over.
The smoke is clear.
The strobe lights are off, replaced by a spotlight illuminating an issue no one saw coming. What once appeared to be one of the league's strongest locker rooms is now being tested after Drew Brees' comments on Wednesday about players peacefully protesting during the national anthem set off a firestorm.
Maybe this is something that the team overcomes, and it becomes a footnote on the season. But with the way both current and former teammates spoke out against Brees' comments publicly throughout the day Wednesday, it appears as if New Orleans is entering unprecedented territory. At least for now, the biggest challenge of the 2020 season isn't the depth at cornerback, the third wide receiver, or health on the defensive line. It is figuring out a way to work through an issue that – for the moment – appears to threaten the strong locker-room culture the Saints have cultivated the last few years.
People on all sides of this say things are a little rough, a little raw right now. A team having issues is not new, but there is no script for this particular situation.