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October 4, 2018
Many were eager to see how the New Orleans Saints responded this season after the unfortunate way their past season ended– by getting ousted from the postseason by the Minnesota Vikings on a play that only the Saints would allow. Already through a quarter of the season, the Saints seem to have responded well to that tragic loss. Sitting at an NFC South leading 3-1, the Saints, while it still may be early, have shown that they are ready to right last season’s wrongs…at least on offense.
Even at his “elderly” age, NOLA legend Drew Brees has shown that he’s still got game. The 39-year-old quarterback, who is top of the league in passing yards and leads the league in accuracy, continues to impress fans with his play each week. He even added new tricks to his arsenal this season, such as the spin move he put on an Atlanta Falcons defender on his way to a game-tying touchdown. It does help, however, that he has one of the top receivers in Michael Thomas, and arguably the best running back in the league in Alvin Kamara, to throw to.
To show how good of a season he’s having, Thomas messed around and broke an NFL record for catches in the first two games of the season with 28, which is a lot. He continues to catch everything thrown his general direction and runs some of the best routes in the league. Brees’s other pal on offense, Kamara, is like someone created a super-player on one of the old NCAA games (RIP). The second-year running back is quick, powerful and has great balance, causing defenders to slide off him on basically every run. Add to that the fact that Kamara can catch better than some wide receivers and you have a really good running back. His swag on and off the field, such as playing with his chains on and eating Airheads on the sideline, is infectious.
The Saints also have one of the best deep threats in Ted Ginn and one of the best offensive lines. Backup quarterback Taysom Hill is out here running the option successfully, and Pro Bowl running back Mark Ingram is returning from suspension this week. It’s going to get real spooky for the rest of the league real soon.
While the Saints’s defense has been another story, there are signs of life. Last week, they held the New York Giants to under 20 points, a far stretch from the debacles in Atlanta and against Tampa Bay, where they gave up 85 points combined. Cornerback Marshon Lattimore returned to last season’s form in holding Giants receiver Odell Beckham, Jr., to only 60 receiving yards and zero touchdowns. Defensive end Cameron Jordan is near the top of the league in sacks, and rookie defensive end Marcus Davenport has shown flashes of being a great player. While the defense is not elite by any standard, they are showing signs of improvement, and that provides hope.
One can only reason that the Saints, barring injuries, will only continue to better as a team as the season chugs along. This is an exciting year for NOLA football, and it will only get better as Drew Brees looks to become the NFL’s all-time leader in passing yards on Monday night against the Washington Redskins. It should be a thrilling offensive showcase at the least. Hopefully the defense can show up, too.