|2008 - Drew Brees||16||96.2||413||635||65.0||5069||316.8||8.0||34||17||22||-1||-0.1||0.0||0||13||92|
He may have finished just shy of Dan Marino's single season passing record but that doesn't lower Brees' grade at all. If the offensive player of the year doesn't deserve the best grade possible than nobody does. After an entire season of grading Drew every week I am officially out of superlatives and I'm sick of the hyperbole. Unfortunately, it's impossible to avoid; Brees is the best player on the New Orleans Saints and the unequivocal leader of this team. The only downside of this situation at all is the fact that Drew's incredible performance was pretty much a waste. The Saints didn't even finish with a winning record. What concerns me more is how much Brees has left in the tank. Will the Saints get their defense up to snuff in time enough to combine it with our already great offense? That's for another post.
|2008 - Reggie Bush||10||106||404||40.4||3.8||43||2||52||440||44.0||8.5||42||4|
|2008 - Pierre Thomas||15||129||625||41.7||4.8||42||9||31||284||18.9||9.2||24||3|
|2008 - Deuce McAllister||13||107||418||32.2||3.9||19||5||18||128||9.8||7.1||20||1|
It's no secret that the running game was a hot button issue throughout the 2008 season, particularly in short yardage situations. When Payton and the Saints decided to actually stick with the run late in the season, it was actually sucessful and effective. Prior to that the run game was a non-factor to opponents. Pierre Thomas' 2008 performance, a bright spot this season, has now established himself as the number one running back on this team. An F for the first half of the season and a B for the second half gives the running backs and the running game an overall grade of C-.
|Marques Colston||Receiving||Kickoff Returns||Punt Returns|
|Lance Moore||Receiving||Kickoff Returns||Punt Returns|
|Devery Henderson||Receiving||Kickoff Returns||Punt Returns|
This one was tough. Wavering between an A and a B+ I decided to go with the lesser of the two. Like every other unit on the Saints this season, injuries were a problem. Shockey missed significant time and Colston wasn't his usual self until very late in the year. But because this unit is so deep and filled with talent the likes of Lance Moore and Billy Miller, these guys continued to roll as the top passing offense in the league. Oh yeah...Drew Brees helped too! Add to that the fact that Devery Henderson made us all eat our words and you've got yourself one hell of a receiving corp. Some key drops, the lack of Colston and the disappointment of Shockey kept them from getting the full blown A however.
These guys weren't perfect and drew some criticism this season but I certainly don't think they were one of the major parts of the overall problem. In fact, they set a new franchise record for fewest sacks allowed so how bad could it really be? The fact remains that Brees would not have been able to put up the incredible numbers he did this season if he had to spend a lot of time on the ground. Jammal Brown didn't have his best season ever but he's a pro-bowler yet again. The poor run game and short yardage woes early in the season were largely blamed on the guys up front. But with the improved running game late in the season I can't help but think the blame lies somewhere else.