We are nearly three months into the 2017 fiscal year for the National Football League. It’s safe to say we have seen plenty of player movement via free agency and trades. And in late April, a total of 253 players were selected in the NFL draft. So as teams get ready for mini-camps and OTAs, we figured it was a good time to have some fun looking (and learning) at the significant numbers – both in regards to the past and the present – for each of the 32 franchises. You can play catch-up by clicking here. Now it’s time to check out the New Orleans Saints.
There are a bunch of numbers in this ballpark that have haunted the team dating back to 2012. That was the year head coach Sean Payton suffered through a season-long suspension. It was also a 7-9 campaign in which the team not only finished dead last in the NFL in total defense but gave up the most yards in one season in league history. This past season, the Saints were 32nd in the league in pass defense – after being 31st in total defense each of the past two seasons. In 2015, the team allowed an NFL-record 45 scores through the air. All told, this unit never seems to get any better.
Talk about consistency? The Saints have finished with seven wins three straight years and four of the past five seasons. Unfortunately, after reaching the playoffs three consecutive seasons from 2009-11 and winning Super Bowl XLIV in ’09, Payton’s club has fallen short of the postseason four of the last five years. In 2016, the team rebounded from a 0-3 start to go 7-6 the rest of the season. And after throwing 30 TD passes and just eight interceptions in his first 11 outings this past year, quarterback Drew Brees managed just as many scores as interceptions (7) during his club’s 2-3 finish.
Dating back to 2006 and the arrival of Payton, the New Orleans Saints have finished in the Top 6 of offense each season. This past year, the club finished first in total yards and total passing yards. But the ground attack, while improved from the previous season, was still in the middle of the pack at 16th. Running back Mark Ingram continues to be somewhat underappreciated. And while Tim Hightower moved on via free agency, the team brought in veteran Adrian Peterson. Does that mean more of the ground game or just more carries for Peterson in place of Ingram? Stay tuned.