Mechanics. It’s one of the most important things a football player must possess. Catching the football is a fundamental necessity of playing the game at any level, especially as a professional. For the New Orleans Saints, they had their respective struggles with this basic concept in 2014.
It felt like the season had more drops than last year, but that’s simply not the case. The Saints finished fourth in the league with 30 drops collectively, which was an improvement over last year. However, that’s not saying much, as they finished second in the league in 2013 with 40 drops.
I, along with many fans of the New Orleans Saints, questioned the departures of wide receivers coach Henry Ellard and tight end coach Terry Malone. They were among the first firings for the team, and it wasn’t exactly the side of the ball we thought the team would start with.
In Malone’s case, it was hard to fathom his departure because of the emergence of Josh Hill, who performed extremely well in his second season with the black and gold. Hill finished with 14 receptions for 176 yards, and tied for second on the team with 5 touchdown receptions.
Looking back at these moves, both departures were needed. The inconsistencies in performance and development from one season to the next weren’t anything to celebrate. Just look at the Saints overall receiving performance since 2011.
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Out of 410 players, we call upon our friends at Sporting Charts to show you how the Saints individually performed in 2014.
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Jimmy Graham, who led the league in 2012 with 14 drops on 135 targets (10.4%), led the team again in the drops department for 2014. Obviously, he was bothered by another injury (shoulder) that hindered his performance. Some might say that he hurt more than he helped.
For 2015, the Saints’ receiving corp has a decent amount of uncertainty. The team may only have one unrestricted free agent to make a decision on (Robert Meachem), but they’ll face a tough decision on ‘Quiet Storm’, Marques Colston.
Colston is due $9.7 million in 2015 ($6.9 million base salary). He was rumored to be open to taking a pay cut to remain with the Saints. However, reports contradicted the story last month, saying that Colston had not discussed lowering his salary.
Whoever is tabbed to be the next wide receivers coach for the New Orleans Saints, they have an appealing mix of talent to work with to develop. For their future’s sake, we want the right guy to help them flourish, not just anyone. I completely believe and trust that head coach Sean Payton will find that specific someone soon.
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