The offense finished with another solid season, ranking among the Top 10 in a host of categories. We’ll look at the different pieces of the offense, see where Who Dat Nation ranked them, and I’ll let you know my thoughts and give them my grade.
We start with a category that wasn’t voted on by Who Dat Nation. Why did I forget it? I have no idea, maybe assumption. Maybe because it seems like each year Brees would automatically be given a grade of A- to A+. Brees put up identical numbers from 2012, as I mentioned in the previous article. Here’s where we see the good stuff shine. Brees followed up a career season high in interceptions last season (19) with only 12 this season. There were at least half of those that he’d love to have back. However, for this reason, the ‘smarter play’ of Brees is a direct reflection of Sean Payton returning.
Editor’s Grade: A
Running Backs – B- to B+ (51%)
I can’t stress enough how the versatility of the running backs plays to the benefit of the Saints offense. While you don’t see a flashy stat in terms of rushing attack (25th in NFL at 92.1 yards/game), the team improved, and at times showed how they don’t have to have Drew Brees throw the ball to beat you. The absence of Pierre Thomas in the two postseason meetings is overlooked perhaps, but that’s where your depth comes into play. The running backs also were heavily involved in the passing game, and while there weren’t as many big games from the backs, they still did an adequate job for the 2013 Saints.
Editor’s Grade: B
Receivers – B- to B+ (62%)
It’s easier to just group the tight ends and wide receivers into just one, because let’s face it, Jimmy Graham isn’t exactly a tight end other than title – and maybe for the franchise tag sake. The Saints got their most production from Graham, who put up stellar numbers to lead the Saints in receiving yardage for the second time in the past three seasons. As far as the other wideouts, Marques Colston put together a quietly good season, but then that’s where there’s a huge gap. Rookie Kenny Stills was the next on the list with 641 yards receiving, and then Darren Sproles with 604 yards. Arguably, the Saints didn’t get the production they needed out of all of their receivers.
Editor’s Grade: B-
Offensive Line - B- to B+ (48%)
The offensive line continued to show brilliance, much like past seasons. The line surrendered 37 sacks on Drew Brees this season, which was tied for 9th least in the NFL, and a sack percentage of 7th with 5.4% on 651 attempts. We aren’t exactly thrilled with how many times Brees went down in 2013, and the late fiasco with Charles Brown came at horrible time. The team did send their two guards, Jahri Evans and Ben Grubbs, to the Pro Bowl.
Editor’s Grade: B-
Overall Offense – B- to B+ (68%)
The team finished 4th in Total Offense (2nd in 2012), and 10th in Total Points (3rd in 2012). The main concerns for the offense were mostly on the road, where they saw various struggles. The Panthers and Seahawks were two teams that were able to solve for the Saints passing attack this season, and as we saw, the team had their lowest output in quite some time in that Seahawks game. Though fiery and fierce the majority of the times, they proved they can be stopped.
Editor’s Grade: B+