Well, it’s that time of the year again. The New Orleans Saints have missed the playoffs for the second consecutive season under head coach Sean Payton. With that said, that familiar phrase creeps up among Saints fan around the country.
The phrase “Wait Until Next Year” has been the battle cry for Saints fans since the team’s existence back in the late 1960s. The Saints record for the second consecutive season was 7-9. The 2015 season could have been a lot worse than what many football aficionados predicted it would be.
The Saints failed to take advantage of an easy schedule that featured a Dallas Cowboys team without Tony Romo and an Indianapolis Colts ball club that did not have quarterback Andrew Luck at full strength. In spite of the team’s lack of success this season, there were some bright spots on the Saints roster, especially on defense.
Believe it or not, the Saints defense did show some improvement in the last few ball games of the season. However, they are still missing those crucial pieces that elevate a defense to a championship caliber level.
On the offensive side of the ball, the Saints proved that they can survive without the tight end, and fan favorite Jimmy Graham. In 2015, the Saints offense ranked 2nd in the league in total offense by averaging 403.8 yards per game. We should all know by now that the driving force behind the Saints offense is quarterback Drew Brees.
No matter who is on the Saints roster on the offensive side of the ball, Drew Brees will not allow this team to wave the white flag no matter how bad the deficit is in a football game. The team’s receiving corps struggled a bit at the beginning of the season, but they finished strong at the end. Brandin Cooks had his first 1,000-yard season in his career by racking up 1,138 receiving yards and nine touchdown receptions.
Fellow wide receiver Willie Snead missed his first ever 1,000-yard season by only 26 yards. On top of that, tight end Benjamin Watson had his best season of his career when he caught 74 passes for 825 yards and six touchdown receptions. However, it does not matter how many yards a ball club could rack up on offense or certain individuals having their career best with the Saints when the team is not winning football games.
The saying “the National Football League is a results based business” is indeed a real statement and when you are not producing victories, you will find yourself in the unemployment line. In regards to the upcoming draft, the Saints must have another successful draft class like the one they had in 2015.
Hopefully, the Saints front office has learned their lessons in regards to signing over-hyped free agents in the offseason. Sometimes, franchises have to build their dynasties through the draft and not attempt to buy a Super Bowl championship with high priced free agents. The Saints endured a 7-9 season, but it was a different type of 7-9.
There were times when the team showed flashes of what it can become in the future and then there were those Sundays when they showed how inexperienced they were in games that they should have won. But I’ll tell you this, though, even if Sean Payton decides to stay as head coach of the New Orleans Saints, he must address those critical issues on defense. If not, fans will say “wait until next year” for the next six years.
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