Can Drew Brees And The Saints Return to Form in 2015?
The New Orleans Saints have lived by the mantra of “In Brees We Trust” since No. 9 signed a contract with the team in 2006. Many passing records broken and a Super Bowl title later, Brees is still the main man in the Crescent City, but last season proved that the 36-year old with a gunslinger’s mentality could have an “off” season.
If you call 4,900 yards and 33 touchdowns and off season, so be it. But there were chinks in the Saints offensive armor. There were many missed opportunities and plenty of losses to talk about. As Mike Triplett of ESPN.com wrote “The Saints' 44-23 rout of the Green Bay Packers in Week 8 on a Sunday night was one of those vintage moments when they looked unbeatable in a night game in the Superdome. Brees outdueled Aaron Rodgers, Mark Ingram ran for 172 yards, the defense came up with two interceptions, Graham and Brandin Cooks had big games, and at 3-4, it seemed the Saints had finally started to turn their season around. Instead, they never won another home game all year -- the biggest stunner of all.”
But at the same time, for such an exciting display of New Orleans voodoo and moxie, there low lights as well.
“What a strange year for the Saints, who led the NFL in total yards, first downs and third-down percentage, ranked third in passing yards and ran the ball very well at times. But they couldn't score consistently, couldn't get the ball downfield consistently and turned it over too much. They needed more greatness from Drew Brees and Jimmy Graham.”
What will 2015 bring to the table and can Brees help right the ship that looked to have sunk in the Gulf of Mexico.
It wasn’t that Brees had a bad season. He had a good season, but not a great season by his standards. The six-foot signal caller was again the team’s NFL, but he was jilted by offensive weapons that could not find rhyme or reason as to why the offensive unit sputtered at times. The Saints felt that kind of pinch when Sean Payton was suspended for the season following “Bountygate” and even with their fearless leader on the sidelines, New Orleans did its best Humpty Dumpty impersonation.
The defense was the biggest culprit, even before big-ticket free agent Jairus Byrd went down with a season-ending knee injury. But the offense was just as disappointing, with top stars Drew Brees and Jimmy Graham coming up small in too many big moments, Triplett explained. As the team’s undisputed leader, Brees will work to correct the issues with the offense, work harder to reconnect with Jimmy Graham and hope and pray Mark Ingram re-signs with the team in the offseason.
Every team goes through some “down” time. Every team knows what the Saints are going through. But not every team has Brees in their hip pocket to make things right. If any quarterback in the league can fix this problem, it’s Brees. After all, over 4,900 yards in a “down” season means success looks pretty good in Louisiana.