Despite a multitude of players coming in and out of the organization, the New Orleans Saints offense has churned on.
Primarily led by Drew Brees and the offensive mind of head coach Sean Payton, the Saints have never had anything less than a Top 10 offense in yards since 2006. In fact, the lowest ranking the black and gold has put together was 6th in 2010.
Despite new faces like Coby Fleener and Michael Thomas and returning staples like Willie Snead, Mark Ingram, and Brandin Cooks, the New Orleans Saints didn’t get much love from Pro Football Focus.
The familiar website that focuses on player grading using a unique system on how a player performs on a particular play versus the actual outcome has been busy panning across all 32 teams and their positions to stack rank them.
Thus far, Pro Football Focus has handed out the following rankings for the Saints:
Of the rankings, the receiving corps is probably the most shocking. Here’s what they had to say in their assessment:
"This group has seen plenty of departures in recent years, with Kenny Stills traded to the Miami Dolphins and Jimmy Graham now catching passes from Russell Wilson in Seattle. The Saints have looked to replace them, though, with Brandin Cooks impressive in his second pro season. Dropping just six of the 143 passes thrown his way over the past two years, Cooks has proven to be a reliable option for Drew Brees, as well as a scoring threat, grabbing nine touchdowns a year ago. New Orleans drafted Ohio State’s Michael Thomas in the second round of this year’s NFL draft, and added tight end Coby Fleener through free agency. At 6-foot-6, and despite failing to meet expectations in Indianapolis, the Saints will be expecting Fleener to be the replacement for Jimmy Graham in the red zone in 2016."
The wide receivers for Payton’s 2015 offense gained 3,120 yards and 18 touchdowns on 232 receptions by a group of four primary weapons: Willie Snead, Brandin Cooks, Marques Colston, and Brandon Coleman.
As for the running back unit, it’s interesting that C.J. Spiller and Daniel Lasco are projected as backups. Where’s the Tim Hightower love? The low ranking figures to center around the Spiller factor from last season. Also, it’s hard to argue with a unit that only averaged 93.2 yards rushing per game, and finished 24th in the league with 1,491 yards on the ground.
"It’s sad how much injuries have turned C.J. Spiller from one of the most dynamic players in the NFL into an average third-down back. On 34 catches last season, Spiller broke just two tackles. Mark Ingram will likely see the bulk of the carries again, and his steadiness might be a tad underrated; 60 percent of his yards have come after contact the past four years."
While it’s entirely too early to tell how the team will do in 2016, one can argue that these particular ranks are modest.