It looks to me as if Saints could struggle for a while before things get much better. I can't see any improvement in them from Brown's coaching - if anything their old problems have remained and new ones have been introduced. Their backs are nothing special, they have some average forwards and they seem to have no clue as to who to play where in their spine.
I think that you could put together a very good pack from Roby - TP - Meli - Walmsley - Clough (or alternative hard worker) - and another prop, with one of Wilkin or Flannagan interchanging, but I cannot see how you turn that back line into one to match the top 4 (plus any injuries to those forwards leaves mediocre players in their place).
In retrospect Rush and KC did a terrific job to get them as far as he did.
How things change - didn't someone predict Saints for top and Wigan to miss out on the 8?
Rush was as successful as he was last year in part because he got Saints playing the most boring brand of rugby I remember watching them play. I gave up watching Saints when the Olympics and Paralympics were on because I was that bored at matches. It was sleep inducing stuff.
Saints have suffered in part from a lack of forward planning, letting all our halfbacks go (even to the point of packing the last one standing off to Salford) and not recruiting sufficient props, then trying to fit square pegs in round holes now that it has all gone pear shaped.
But aside from all that, what disappoints me most this year about Saints as a Saints fan is their lack of enthusiasm on the pitch. I remember 2011 when we had a much worse injury crisis but back then we developed a real backs to the wall mentality that saw us fight back in every game and play until the last second but then in those days we still had James Graham in the team and he was our last leader. Nobody is either willing or able to take on the mantle of leader now.
In addition, I've yet to even starting being convinced about Brown's coaching ability.