The New Orleans Saints’ offense might carry more questions than answers in 2022 despite the stacked potential on their roster. Who will break out and who will crumble?
Heading into the new season, the Saints’ offensive core includes quarterback Jameis Winston, wide receiver Michael Thomas, and running back Alvin Kamara. Those three pieces will heavily influence the outcome of NOLA’s division-winning hopes, and each player brings with him plenty of doubts about whether he can put together a healthy and productive season.
Winston, coming off a season-ending injury, doesn’t have the experienced coaching of Sean Payton this year and may struggle in the pocket. Thomas, who hasn’t played a game for the last two years, may need more time to be able to compete at a high level. And Kamara has a looming suspension hanging over his head and could miss a significant stretch of the season.
CBS Sports’ Jared Dubin recently ranked the league’s best QB-RB-WR/TE trios and placed the Saints just slightly below average:
"Winston was all high-risk, high-reward in Tampa, but was extremely low-risk, high-efficiency (on ridiculously low volume) prior to his injury last year. Will he be able to maintain that style without Sean Payton calling plays? That’s an open question. Will Kamara be suspended? Will Thomas get back on the field? If not, can Chris Olave be a No. 1 receiver right away?"
New Orleans Saints don’t have a particularly strong or consistent offensive core
Given the extreme boom-bust potential each of the three Saints’ players have, Dubin’s argument makes sense for the most part.
Winston and Thomas enter high-stakes prove-it years in 2022, so those two will have their work cut out for them as they spearhead a revamped passing attack.
Despite being ranked just below average, the Saints’ offense already looks better than it did last year, and fans can rightfully expect an upgrade in efficiency and production with an upgraded offensive squad.
Along with the anticipation of Winston’s and Thomas’ returns, NOLA brought on Jarvis Landry and Chris Olave in the receiving corps and Andy Dalton as a durable backup quarterback. If Alvin Kamara does end up missing time, the Saints have decent ball-carrying options in Mark Ingram, Tony Jones, Devine Ozigbo, and the undrafted rookie Abram Smith.
All in all, even if the Saints’ offensive trio pales in comparison to, say, that of the Bucs, they should enjoy a much improved season in which Winston, Thomas, and Kamara re-assert their dominance in 2022.
Here’s hoping for the best.