We can sugarcoat it, but the fact of the matter is that the Saints have not produced offensively as they anticipated to do so.
Currently, New Orleans ranks 16th in yards/play. If that stands, it will be their lowest-rated offense ever in the Sean Payton era.
Obviously, they have dealt with injuries. Star receiver Michael Thomas missed Weeks 2 through 8 with an ankle injury, while Emmanuel Sanders also missed multiple games after being diagnosed with COVID-19.
To top it off, they have been without their quarterback for the last two and a half games, which makes matters more complicated.
To be frank, there is a lot to suggest that Taysom Hill is not an acceptable option at the quarterback position. His rushing totals boost his fantasy production, yet his passing leaves a lot to be desired.
Against the Broncos, he averaged just 4.9 yards/attempt, threw a very ugly interception, and finished with just a 43.2 passer rating. To top it off, he even took three sacks, which stems from another issue:
A quarterback simply cannot hold onto the ball this long. The offensive line has been protected tremendously by Brees making quick decisions, and Hill’s inability to do the same requires them to make an enormous adjustment.
When you are starting a rookie interior offensive lineman and are dealing with injuries there, that adjustment is very difficult.
Hill’s supporters will be quick to mention that his overall statistics looked tremendous against the Falcons, but it is clear that he was assisted tremendously by the favorable situations he was placed in, per Kevin Cole of Pro Football Focus
It is nearly impossible for Payton to continue to put Hill in these easy situations, and it showed in Denver. There isn’t any reason to trust Hill’s ability to convert on obvious passing situations and perform well when he isn’t benefiting from success in unstable metrics.
It’s also worth noting that despite not losing either of them, the Saints did have two fumbles.
That’s the problem with relying on the running game, especially with Alvin Kamara clearly affected with a foot injury. Outside of receiver Michael Thomas, there isn’t much when it comes to stable production on this offense.