New Orleans Saints: Grading the offense through the first half of the season
Nov 1, 2015; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) reacts after throwing his seventh touchdown pass of the game during the fourth quarter against the New York Giants at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Saints defeated the Giants 52-49. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Considering that the Saints start a Hall of Fame quarterback giving an A on a scale where grades are relative to expectations is difficult. To be honest I would give Drew Brees himself a B for this season (the game against the New York Giants obviously boosts things a bit), however what bumps this group up to an A- was actually the play of backup quarterback Luke McCown. McCown played a game, on the road, against a very strong defense, and was one slightly off-target pass away from winning. All it takes to understand how great it is for the Saints to have a backup actually capable of playing at a fairly high level is to take a look at what’s happening in Dallas right now. The Dallas Cowboys backup quarterback situation has been a disaster, and while Brees only missed a single game, McCown’s performance showed why the Saints keep him around.
It is a tendency in the NFL to give undue credit to quarterbacks for wins and for losses (see Cam Newton being discussed as an MVP candidate). I’m not grading the position on the results garnered by the whole team, I’ll leave that to others. Drew Brees incredible performance against the Giants balances out a relatively poor one against the Colts, but also complements some incredible toughness displayed against Dallas and Tampa Bay. If you look at the lack of experience and top end talent in the passing game, and compare that to the performance of Brees despite having very poor protection at times. It is easy for me to give the group an A- grade even though from a historical context the numbers would say the position has been far worse than we are used to.
Next: Running back