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NFL: New Orleans Saints Season Review

New Orleans Saints (11-5)

The New Orleans Saints got their Head Coach Sean Payton back on the sidelines from his “Bountygate” suspnsion and started off the year hot winning the 1st 5 games to start the year. They were 9-2, leading the NFC South, with a good chance at getting the #1 seed in the NFC.  Then Seattle happened.

The eventual Superbowl Champions bombarded Saints star QB, Drew Brees, star TE Jimmy Graham, and the high flying offense, 34-3. It started a stretch of losing 3 of 4 with all 3 games being on the road.  More importantly, it cost the not only the #1 seed and a bye altogether.  This meant that for them to go to the Superbowl, they would have to win 3 road games — something that even the biggest Saints fan had to doubt. They surprisingly won their 1st playoff game in the cold weather of Philadelphia as they beat the Eagles 26-24 on a FG with no time left. However, they would be knocked out of the playoffs by the same team that started their downfall as the Seattle Seahawks put the nail in the coffin of the Saints season, 23-15, in a game that was not as close as the final score indicated.

The Saints offense finished 10th in the league in scoring at 25.9 points per game. Led by their 4th ranked passing offense, controlled by the arm of Brees, they finished 2nd in the league in passing and 4th in total yards with 399 yards per game. However, with all the attention going towards passing the ball, they desperately lacked a rushing game, gaining less than 100 rushing yards per game,  8th worst in the league. On defense, it was similar as they were 4th in points allowed, giving up only 19 points per game. The defense was below average against the run, giving up over 110 yards per game, but they made up for it with their terrific pass defense. Led by rookie Safety Kenny Vaccarro and Cornerback Keenan Lewis in the secondary, as well as the pass rush of DE Cameron Jordan and OLB Junior Gallette, they were 2nd best in the league vs. the pass, giving up only 194 yards per game. They were 1 of only 4 teams in the league to allow less than 315 total yards per game. The saying in football is if you have a team that can run the ball and stop the run, you have a contender, but the Saints missed that memo.

Since the Saints made the playoffs, they won’t have a top 10 pick to depend on to get an impact player like they did with Vaccarro last year. However, the draft can be a tricky little thing. Players fall that you don’t expect to for whatever reason. They will be picking 27th in this year’s draft and even though they got Vaccarro last year, they could easily go back to the secondary with said draft pick with Malcolm Jenkins being a free agent. I also think they need to let John Jenkins play more over Brodrick Bunkley, or they could get or draft a NT. This year is a very deep free agent class for defensive lineman. With that in mind, they could throw all of us for a loop and take a WR. More and more teams now in the NFL are less balanced and try to beat you with their strength instead of helping their own weakness. The Saints may feel the run and gun high scoring games will work, but so far, it hasn’t. Even in their Superbowl year, the defense created a bunch of turnovers and even sealed the Superbowl with a pick 6 off Peyton Manning.

Until the New Orleans Saints defense gets better at stopping the run, they will not be a serious contender. They will just be something fun to watch.  Next year they need to make it less fun to watch and more physical for opponents. Very similar to the Green Bay Packers, they know they can score with anyone, but the bigger question: Can they stop anybody?

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Ralph Garcia

CEO NGSC Sports


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