Marshall Faulk (@marshallfaulk) December 24, 2014
I think it's pretty obvious to all of us that the Saints most certainly did not have a Professional Grade season. Some fans think the offense is to blame, while others are quick to point fingers at the defense. The real truth is that they're both to blame, along with special teams.
I already mentioned this in a comment on JR's article "Saints Offense Was Good Enough for Winning Season" but it definitely deserves highlighting with it's own post. The most telling stat from the 2014 Saints season is takeaway ratio. With one game remaining in the season the Saints are currently -11 in takeaway ratio. Take a look...
You can ignore all other stats. No team in the NFL has a snowball's chance in hell of success with a takeaway ratio this poor. You can't give the ball up as much as the Saints did, while at the same time fail to take the ball away.
Just look at the other teams in their company at the bottom of that list. Oakland? The Jets? Tampa Bay? Ugh. None of those bottom seven teams have more than 4 wins. The Saints are actually the outlier among them. It's amazing the Saints managed to earn 6 wins this season with that ratio, to be quite honest.
Forget blaming offense or defense. They are both to blame. The offense failed to hold onto the ball, while the defense failed to take it away.
If the Saints are hoping to improve at all next season, they absolutely, positively, without a shadow of a doubt, must improve their takeaway ratio. It doesn't matter who they sign, draft, whatever. I cannot stress this enough. Bettering their takeaway ratio should be their prime objective in all that they do.