It’s easy to take the New Orleans Saints’ offense for granted. Over the years, we’ve grown accustomed to seeing the Saints churn out yards and points seemingly at will against even the league’s best defenses. The Saints matriculate the ball up and down the field so routinely you sometimes forget just how difficult the task is.
The stereotypical “diva” receiver just won’t make it in New Orleans’ offense. Drew Brees spreads the ball around too much and often throws to tight ends and running backs as well. Having been together for five years, the Saints’ top four wide receivers know the drill and accept it. And Brees is on record-breaking pace because of it.
In the following two seasons, New Orleans went a combined 15-17, missing the playoffs both years. Now, as the Saints prepare for today’s noon game against the Vikings, it’s easy to look back at Payton’s initial three-year period as an educational one.
The New Orleans Saints and Minnesota Vikings couldn’t have been much closer in their epic NFC title game showdown on Jan. 24, 2010, an overtime thriller that Drew Breesand the Saints barely survived on their way to the franchise’s first Super Bowl title. Less than two years later, the two franchises could hardly be further apart.
The NFL is a game known for huge, strong men battling in the trenches and imposing their will on others. But, as the New Orleans Saints invade the Metrodome Sunday, it may be one of the smallest men on the field that makes the biggest difference, as the battle between the Vikings linebackers and running back Darren Sproles will be this week’s key matchup.