As the second week of the NFL season concludes, the New Orleans Saints are continuing to look like their 7-9 selves.
Quarterback Drew Brees currently has the third-most passing yards of any NFL player this season. But compared to the other quarterbacks that round out the top-5 (Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Carson Wentz and Alex Smith), Brees is the only quarterback that has an 0-2 record.
Speaking of Brady, he and the New England Patriots came into the Superdome and absolutely walloped the Saints defense. After critics called him “washed” due to the disappointing outing he had against the Kansas City Chiefs, Brady responded by throwing for 447 yards and three touchdowns against the mismatched Saints defense.
That has pretty much been the narrative for the Saints over the last three seasons. The offense does its very best to help the team have a better chance at winning the game, while the defense is seemingly lagging behind. To a lot of critics, Brees is seen more of a stat padder than he is as a legitimate NFL quarterback. Brees has the ability to put up big numbers for his offense, but when it comes to winning championships, he can’t seem to get anything done.
But the offense this season has been just as shaky as the defense. For the majority of the time that the offense drove down the field in their first two games, they settled for field goals instead of touchdowns. They couldn’t even go toe-to-toe with Brady and the rest of the Patriots offense, which is something they did in their previous matchup back in 2013. While the Saints ended up losing that game as well, the offense still had a strong performance.
It’s already a given that this is a make-or-break year for Brees and head coach Sean Payton. From the very first moment that Brees and Payton arrived together in 2006, it was music to the ears of Saints fans. But Payton is also seen more of as a defensive coach than an offensive coach. The fact that the defense had significantly declined in the years following Super Bowl XLIV isn’t the biggest issue, but the biggest issue is that not a whole lot is being done to fix it.
Brees is also nearing 40 and is in the final year of his current contract. It would definitely be painful to see Brees’ final years in New Orleans be wasted on a supporting cast that’s not living up to its full potential. As a whole, Brees and Payton’s once rock-solid relationship is slowly coming apart at the seams, and they have definitely been hit with a major crossroads.
The Saints still have an opportunity to turn things around this season and play as a better unit, but as of right now, things are not looking very good. Their next game will be on the road against the Carolina Panthers, who has extra motivation from their previous 6-10 record. Bank of America Stadium has always been a tough place to play for the Saints, considering that they lost four of their last five matchups there. However, there could be a turning point for the Saints in Carolina, but it needs to happen sooner rather than later.
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