Oct 30, 2014; Charlotte, NC, USA; New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham (80) reacts after scoring a touchdown in the second quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
The New Orleans Saints have done a lot of things right, and in the same breath, they’ve had a few opportunities. However, the fact that the team was staring at a potential disaster after starting 1-3 and then battled back through hard work and determination to sit at 4-4 (.500) as we enter the second half of the season, is truly amazing. There’s so many players we can call out for their good performances (or bad players for their lack thereof performance). Here are my awards for the team at the midpoint of the season.
Offensive MVP: Mark Ingram
It’s so easy to scan over the New Orleans Saints’ array of offensive weapons and automatically choose Drew Brees and/or Jimmy Graham as the most potent players on the offense, but how about Mark Ingram? We’ve witnessed the true rebirth of Ingram as a running back, and we actually see that first round pick we drafted in 2011. Ingram’s performance has been nothing short of brilliant, and believe it or not, he’s on pace to be the first Saint to have a 1,000 yard rushing season since Deuce McAllister in 2006.
Honorable Mention: Drew Brees
Defensive MVP: Curtis Lofton
He’s been the most consistent defensive player for the black and gold since the opening game against Atlanta. I know much is made about linebackers like Luke Kuechly and Lavonte David, but Lofton is among the Top 10 in total tackles right now with 72 combined tackles. The next closest Saints player is Rafael Bush with 43 tackles. Lofton continues to be the anchor on the defense, and deserves a great deal of respect from everyone.
Honorable Mention: Keenan Lewis
Under Valued: Shayne Graham
I’ll be one of the first to admit that I wasn’t too keen on keeping Shayne Graham. I was longing for Derek Dimke to be the team’s starter, because he was a long-term plan. However, I have to tip my hat to Coach Sean Payton, who knows best. The reason he chose Graham was because of the veteran seasoning. Graham has been true on the season in terms of field goals at 13 of 14 this season, and even won the NFC Special Teams Player of the Month award for October for going 9 for 9.
Honorable Mention: Thomas Morstead (because Special Teams)
Most Impressive: Terron Armstead
I bet you didn’t see this one coming. How good has Terron Armstead been for the Saints? He’s been a player at dreaded position that the team hasn’t had to worry about, and that’s a relief. The Saints struggled heavily with Charles Brown taking the snaps last season, and Armstead overcame a shaky start last year in Week 16 of the season to play strong. Armstead, who protects Drew Brees’ blindside, has only allowed one sack and two hits this season.
Honorable Mention: Corey White
Most Disappointing: Joe Morgan
Arguably, whatever is going on with Joe Morgan affected his lack of time on the field. Saints fans were wondering where Morgan was, and when he was placed on the team’s Reserve/Suspended list last week, it put a lot of our speculation to rest. Morgan played in the opener against the Atlanta Falcons, but was never active again. Things can change for Morgan, but it seems highly unlikely at this point.
Honorable Mention: Patrick Robinson
True Grit: Jonathan Goodwin
Goody, a 35-year old and 11-year veteran, is likely playing the last football of his stellar career. Goodwin has been a true hero and inspiration to many, playing through a plethora of injuries to suit up on Sundays for the black and gold. Tim Lelito has been more than capable at answering the call, but the toughest guy on the Saints right now is Jonathan Goodwin.
Honorable Mention: Jimmy Graham
Worst Game: Loss to the Detroit Lions, 24-23
I could deal with the fact of losing a tough week one contest against Atlanta (some still can’t), and even understand the loss to the Browns. Dallas was a horrible loss, but when you think about the Saints coming fresh off of a bye week and then surrendering 14 points in the game’s final two minutes to lose to the Lions. That one stings.
Honorable Mention: Loss to the Dallas Cowboys 38-17
Best Game: Win versus Green Bay Packers, 44-23
One might automatically think the victory against the Panthers is the automatic vote, and one might also think that the comeback victory against the Bucs rightfully belongs in this spot. For me, it’s the primetime showdown against the Packers. The Saints’ season could have took a drastic turn for the worst had they lost at home to the Packers, and wound up 1-4. However, they played spectacular football, and defeated a red-hot team at home.
Honorable Mention: Win versus Tampa Bay Buccaneers in overtime, 37-31
Best Play: Galette sacks Glennon for the safety
This is debatable, but the Saints were suffering heavily at home against the Buccaneers. This play changed arguably changed the season for the Saints. Yes, they would go on to lose against the Lions, but this sack is the play that jumpstarted the Saints defensive unit.
Honorable Mention: Khiry wins it in Overtime (as called by Jim Henderson)
Who do you believe is the MVP of the team thus far, and why? Sound off below!