It's been a strange, strange ride for the New Orleans Saints in 2014: the team went from preseason darling and favorite to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl to a 4-7 record and what amounts to a very disappointing season even with five games yet to be played.
It could be doom and gloom at this point for Saints fans, but it shouldn't be. Let's count our blessings as fans of the New Orleans Saints, because we have numerous reasons to be thankful in this otherwise uneven year. Here, I'll give you the three main reasons why I'm thankful as both a fan of the Saints and a member of Canal Street Chronicles.
Yup, We're Still In It
Alright, at 4-7 the Saints simply aren't very good this year. It doesn't really matter that they've lost a bunch of close games and have had the lead in several of their losses with only a few minutes left to play. Good teams close the door and find a way to win close games, not to lose them.
However, it isn't news to any of you that the NFC South is a CFL division masquerading as an NFL one. The Saints at 4-7 are tied record-wise with division leader Atlanta Falcons (4-7) who is first only by virtue of the head-to-head tiebreaker and a better division and conference record.
Well guess what? New Orleans plays Atlanta in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on December 21 in the season's penultimate game. It is conceivable that this game will decide who wins the division and I for one am thankful that it happens in New Orleans.
I hear a lot of people say: "I wouldn't want to win the division with a losing record." It's like saying: I wouldn't want to pick up this 20 dollars bill I just found on the ground because I don't deserve it. Pick up the damn 20 dollars bill, buy yourself a Po'Boy and an Abita beer with it and enjoy!
Drew Brees Is Still The Man
Brees has seemingly single-handedly lost games for the Saints this year and many would like you to believe that at age 35, he is nearly done. He isn't.
Brees has been uncharacteristically careless with the ball this year. He threw 12 interceptions all of last year and already has 11 picks in 2014. Decline!!! Decline? Hmmm, I need to see him play this badly for more than one season before I go there. Take a ook at the chart below that details Brees' career completion percentage (CMP%) and interceptions (INTs).
Note: This is a cool visual that comes to us from FindTheBest. You can hover over the visual with your mouse cursor to see detailed info on the numbers or select specific values that you want to isolate. We'll be using more of these visuals in our pieces in the future.
So what exactly do we see?
- In 2007, 2008 and 2012, Brees had 18, 17 and 19 interceptions respectively. Those were years the Saints finished the season under .500, fielded pretty bad defenses and Brees and the offense had to carry the load, mostly all by themselves (sounds familiar?).
- Oh wait, look at 2010: Brees had 22 interceptions that year. But what you may not remember is that the Saints defense that year was still pretty good and actually did its part in helping carry the team to an 11-5 record.
- Brees is on pace for 16 interceptions this year. If that is the number he ends up with in 2014, it'll be the fifth highest number in his very successful New Orleans tenure. Hardly a disaster.
- What has truly plagued Brees and New Orleans this year is that seemingly every pick he has thrown has been at the worst possible time and has resulted in the worst possible outcome for the Saints. He now has three pick-sixes in the NFL this year, which ranks third in the NFL. Yikes!
- I will not tarry on Brees' outstanding completion percentage, the chart speaks for itself. At this point, his CMP% is his highest in the past three years.
My conclusion: I'm extremely thankful to have Drew Brees as the quarterback of the New Orleans Saints. He is bound to have, if not a better end to the season, a very good 2015 year. Great quarterbacks don't just become awful in the blink of an eye, as we've seen over the years with the likes of John Elway, Joe Montana and more recently Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. Brees will seriously decline someday, but that day isn't close yet. Not even remotely.
You Guys Rock!
June 18, 2013 was the day my very first article on Canal Street Chronicles was published. At the time, I was already going to bat for Drew Brees it seems. I hope he realizes how much he owes me. :-)
Dave Cariello, our Managing Editor here at Canal Street Chronicles had thought it would be a good idea to give a "moderator hammer" to this loudmouth member who was complaining about some people not truncating profane words properly enough. I then became "Stilljreming," he of the swift "delete" trigger on gamethreads.
Later, "Don" Cariello as I like to call him, made a decision that I'd bet he has secretly regretted a few times: he gave me a virtual pen to kill you all with things like "The Bodybuilding Incident," DVOA, Kumbaya (let's all love each other every now and then, why not?) and a weird, weird mind (for those who follow me on Twitter). Don, I want to say thank you again for the opportunity.
Since then y'all have been awesome. You were awesome before I joined the blog or even started writing on it, and you still are. So many different and rich personalities, the "loud" ones, the "quiet storms," the "gamethreaders," the "doomsdayers" the Mr. Sunshines of the canine variety and other kinds, the ones that think that JR stands for Jasper Redbone. Oh and the lurkers! The lurkers are my favorites, because I know they're reading this right now and they probably think that I won't acknowledge them: I love you guys. Because there are pieces that have all of 5 comments, yet the poll has 454 votes. I see you guys! I am thankful for you all.
This is what I'm thankful for as a Saints fan in 2014. How about you guys? tell us. Oh and there's a poll for you Who Dat Ninjas behind the curtain. :-)
Happy Thanksgiving and Who Dat! - Signed: Jumpbone Redblood