Both New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton and defensive coordinator Gregg Williams said Friday they do not believe the team’s reputation for physical play has made it a target of scrutiny by NFL officials. The topic arose this week after Saints safety Roman Harper was fined $15,000 by the league for a late hit on Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith in the end zone, and the Saints also drew two roughing-the-passer penalties that kept alive Carolina touchdown drives
There’s probably not a team in the NFL that would be opposed to flying under the radar and not have to deal with national attention on a weekly basis. The consideration the New Orleans Saints are receiving right now is that they’re in first place in the NFC South and one of the top teams in the conference. And that’s mainly it. Unlike teams in the NFC East and those such as the New York Jets, the Saints don’t have to fret about lack of media absorption or what was said about another loss.
Brees has been nothing short of terrific on third down this season, completing 42 of 54 passes for 566 yards, with seven touchdowns and zero interceptions. His third-down completion percentage of 77.8 is the best in the NFL, as is the Saints’ overall third-down conversion percentage of 58.6.
Tight end Jimmy Graham, however, has emerged as New Orleans’ biggest offensive weapon. Graham leads New Orleans with 32 receptions for 496 yards and three touchdowns. He enters Sunday’s game against Tampa Bay at Raymond James Stadium with three consecutive games of 100 or more receiving yards.