Saints will not make playoffs without another quality wide receiver

Kenny Stills, New Orleans Saints (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
Kenny Stills, New Orleans Saints (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images) /

On Monday night, the New Orleans Saints won due to three factors: their defense (Demario Davis, mainly), Alvin Kamara, and special teams.

The Saints nearly lost due to one factor: their wide receiving corps.

Saying the Saints have one quality wide receiver is already pretty rich. Marquez Callaway seemingly fits into the WR1 role right now, having caught three of seven targets for 32 yards on Monday.

After two poor performances to start the season, Callaway has recorded 41, 74, 85, and 32 yards in his last four games, adding three touchdowns.

On any elite team, those numbers may be good enough for WR3, but on the Saints, he’s firmly No. 1 with the injured Deonte Harris trailing behind.

The other receiving targets may be best described as those members of a group project who don’t do any work whatsoever. Kenny Stills, Ty Montgomery, Kevin White, and Devine Ozigbo combined were targeted seven times, and Ozigbo was the only one who made it onto the stat sheet with one catch for seven yards.

And to save the most disappointing for last, Tre’Quan Smith played 55 percent of offensive snaps in his first game back from injury.

How did the Saints’ potential breakout candidate for 2021 play against Seattle, you ask? Read for yourself:

New Orleans Saints No. 1 priority before the trade deadline should be finding a new WR

The only heat Tre’Quan Smith generated against the Seahawks was in an argument with Jameis Winston on the sidelines. We all wanted to be Winston in that moment.

Smith finished the game with one catch for 11 yards, and there’s really nothing more to say about that.

New Orleans’ chances of winning their division remain low given Tampa Bay’s dominant form, but after a wholly pathetic offensive performance against the Seahawks, the Saints may not even make it to the postseason this year.

The Saints’ D can only do so much, and Jameis Winston is still a ticking time bomb. After Monday’s game, the Saints sit second to last in the league in passing yardage (averaging 176.2 yards per game) and last in passing attempts and completions.

It’s abundantly clear now that Sean Payton made the wrong decision in placing his faith in Smith in the offseason, and with limited cap space, trade options will be few and far between. But this is a path the Saints must take, no shortcuts allowed.

Aside from two pivotal matchups against the Buccaneers, New Orleans will face the Bills, the Cowboys, and the Panthers, all of whom have fortified secondary units this season. The Saints edged out the Seahawks on a rainy night at Lumen Field, but against better defenses with more prolific ballhawks, Winston and his ragtag unit of so-called receivers won’t stand a chance.

We have a theory that Chris Hogan retired from football just so that he didn’t have to play in this WR unit, and we don’t blame him.

Next. Winners and losers from Week 7 win over Seahawks. dark

Through seven weeks of the season and an early bye, the Saints offense still hasn’t found any semblance of an identity yet. Come trade deadline, it’s now or never for Payton to improve New Orleans’ WR room so he can put Smith back on the bench where he belongs.