Opinion: What caused the Saints bad start and is there a solution?


Coming into the 2022 NFL season, experts picked the New Orleans Saints to be a team that would make a deep playoff run and rightfully so. 

The Saints front office made some splashes in the offseason acquiring the likes of Louisiana natives Tyrann Mathieu and Jarvis Landry. They also drafted a stud wide receiver in Chris Olave in this past year’s draft.

While they’ve added some key acquisitions to the roster, the team took the biggest loss when longtime head coach Sean Payton decided to retire following the 2021 season. 

All eyes shifted to former defensive coordinator Dennis Allen who became Payton’s successor. Fast forward to today’s time and the Saints are eight games into the season; here’s how they’ve stacked up against the rest of the league:

  • 3-5 record
  • 253.1 passing yards per game (Ranked 8th overall)
  • 141.3 rushing yards per game (Ranked 8th overall)
  • 394.4 yards per game (Ranked 5th overall)
  • 172 points allowed (Ranked 21st overall)

When you look at those stats, the Saints are doing well offensively so it might lead you to think, “Why is the team struggling?” Let me tell you why, and how they can turn it around.

In my opinion, the injury bug is the main reason the Saints have not met their expectations so far. The team expected some big production out of receivers Jarvis Landry and Michael Thomas, but the duo has only played three games together. 

Jameis Winston, who was the starting quarterback to start the season, played in only three games before Andy Dalton took over for him and has now claimed the role of starting quarterback. 

So, truth be told, the numbers look great for the Saints offensively, but they have yet to find the continuity needed to succeed in the league. They also don’t benefit from having Week 14 bye because they need healthy players now so they can string some wins together.

Injuries also help me highlight another problem for the Saints: Defense. 

Defensively, the Saints have not been the unit we expected. They have been one of the best in the league the last few years, but this year they rank towards the bottom of the league in all stat categories. I think the reason for that is because the depth at the cornerback position is relatively weak. 

With injuries to Marshon Lattimore, Bradley Roby, and Paulson Adebo throughout the season, no one has really risen from the pack to fill those voids, but the team has been getting some decent production from rookie Alontae Taylor and veteran Chris Harris, Jr. recently. 

I also think they are missing the presence of Marcus Williams at the safety position. Tyrann Mathieu and Marcus Maye were both great additions to help with the loss of Williams, but in my opinion, neither one has played at the level we’re used to seeing from them.

The Saints are not far off. They are tied for second in the division right now and are one game back from the division lead. 

If this team can get healthy and sure up the secondary, they can surely win a division that has underperformed so far this season.