Who Dat?

By Brielle Minnefield

These past few weeks have not been the easiest for the Saints organization. Though they have improved to 4-4 this season, the New Orleans Saints are still showing signs of struggling.

This is an entirely different team from last year. During the 2014-2015 season, the Saints led the NFL in yards, first downs, completion percentage and third down conversion percentage but still finished 7-9. This year they have managed to obtain an NFL worst of 409 yards per game, and they are tied for 29th in points allowed at 28.6 points per game. The team as a whole has certainly decreased in performance from previous seasons, in which they were once threats to their opponents.

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Granted, the Saints have had their fair share of let downs this season with injuries severely affecting their players, specifically their offensive line. Left tackle Terron Armstead suffered a knee injury; Tim Lelito, left guard, endured a back injury; and right guard, Jahri Evans, began recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery at the start of the season. Not to mention one of the major driving forces for the New Orleans offense, wide receiver, Marques Colston, has been on and off this season due to complications with his arm and shoulder.

Quarterback, Drew Brees, went through a minor setback (mild shoulder injury) earlier this season and has been struggling ever since, even though he has picked up the pace in the last couple of team wins. At the start of the season, Brees made himself vulnerable to sacks while waiting for plays to develop down the field. A prime example of this is when the Saints loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. Brees was sacked five times, and allowed the Eagles defense to pressure him into forcing plays that ultimately got the Saints nowhere. Drew Brees is a deep passer; that is his specific style of how he prefers to operate on offense. He is extremely impressive when he throws deep down the field, but this season he has not done a lot of that and the Saints offense has suffered from it.

The Saints offense and defense collectively is under reconstruction. Right now, they have three rookies starting and eight rookies total in defensive rotation. The rookies are still getting acclimated with how the Saints operate as a team, so that is definitely a factor in why the season is not going as well as it should.

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Sean Payton, the head coach, and Rob Ryan, the defensive coordinator, are both in agreement that a breakthrough is soon to come for the team. Ryan mentioned in an interview that, “stats are not important to this team. A breakthrough is coming, we know it is.”

The Saints feel that they have the potential to turn their rocky season around. If they can manage to revamp their lifeless defense and put the thrill back into their offense, then they may be able to go farther than anyone expects now in the middle of the season. Until that happens, we will just have to wait for the breakthrough that the Saints are expecting.

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