The New Orleans Saints entered the 2022 season with the highest of hopes, but three weeks in those hopes have been dashed. To describe the offense in one word: insufferable.
And sloppy, apparently.
This past summer, NOLA's offense looked like a work in progress having acquired several new additions in the offseason, but it has since devolved into one of the worst performing units in the league.
The Saints rank second in the NFL in total penalties (24) and also rank second-worst in special teams fouls (six). On top of that, the team has coughed up the most turnovers so far this season, leading the league with nine total (five interceptions and four fumbles).
What's going on in New Orleans?
NOLA currently holds a 1-2 record that really should be 0-3 if the Falcons hadn't choked in the fourth quarter, and the team has arguably produced just a single quarter of watchable offense.
Saints' sloppy offense is turning over the ball at a league-high rate in 2022
In truth, fumbles are hard to predict and control, and both Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram have to take better care of the ball. The interceptions are much more of a game-killer, and Jameis Winston needs to figure out a long-term fix to his turnover-prone play.
Winston threw three picks against the Bucs and two against the Panthers, killing the Saints' chances of coming back in the game. In both those games, it took him three whole quarters to drive into the end zone, which is simply unacceptable considering the defense's elite performances.
The Saints' defense has been doing its job: in Week 2, Tampa Bay had just three points after three quarters. In Week 3, the Carolina Panthers had just six offensive points after three quarters.
NOLA's opponents aren't scoring, but neither are the Saints.
Most of the blame for the team's painful offensive woes should be placed on Winston, but part of it should be placed on the regressing O-line. Other factors (poor playcalling, sloppy penalties) have also stunted the Saints' ability to sustain long drives.
And it's not like the Saints don't have talent: they have Alvin Kamara (who isn't being used enough as a pass-catcher, we might add), Michael Thomas, Chris Olave, Jarvis Landry, all players who can help lead NOLA to consistent wins.
Instead, after three weeks of the season, all the Saints have to show for their new-look offense is an egregious amount of interceptions and fumbles.
Back in 2017, the Saints were in a very similar situation: they held a 1-2 record ahead of their London fixture, won overseas, and then won six consecutive games afterward. Let's hope they can repeat the same narrative in Week 4 against the Vikings.