First of all let me say, I’ve done all the math. Of course some out there will check me and if anything doesn’t average to 100%, I only went 2 decimals. Also, since TOP (oh yes I did), will be likely discussed in the comments, no names but the initials CP and DK come to mind, I’ll show how seemingly irrelevant it actually is. The TO or turnover stats are more telling.
In an earlier post: New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees Odds-On Favorite to Lead NFL in Passing, a popular betting site has Saints QB Drew Brees as the odds on favorite to lead the NFL. I’m going to argue I would be better for the Saints if he didn’t.
I’m arguing for a more balanced offensive approach. Yes, I know coach Payton seems to have a genetic tendency against this, but we can only hope. The main advantage to less yards for Drew Brees would mean a balanced approach and likely mean we are not desperately playing from behind. Also it would give some indication that the defense is playing better and more importantly, limiting their time on the field and thus the stamina to last 4 quarters. I’m going to list the seasons since both Drew and Sean Payton joined the Saints, and point out some interesting stats. These will cover both winning and losing seasons, showing the need for balance. Of course there are exceptions which prove the rule.
Another important reason to hope it isn’t necessary for Mr. Brees to throw for 5000 yard will be evident in his yearly INT amounts. Like any other gunslinger, and yes Drew is one, when he is forced to try to carry the team takes a lot of risk with the ball. Also this O-line appears to be better geared to the running game, Tim Lelito as guard comes to mind. While the LT spot seems solidly covered to most of us, again no names, the questions are an aging Zach Streif at RT, and the unproven growth of Andrus Peat.
Providing Mark Ingram and C.J. Spiller, as well as the rest of our running back committee can stay healthy, committing to the running game will be important. It’s will keep defenses from keying on the pass, called keeping the defense honest, and thus more likely to protect our future HOF QB.
So let’s get started with the winning seasons.
2006: Balanced, 580 passing attempts to be called PA for the rest of the post, 55%. Running Attempts, you guess it, to be called RA, 472, 45%. Slight advantage with the TOP. Saints 32 (minutes of course), Opponents, to be represented as Opp, 28. All totals are for the season not specific games. Our TO number was -4. Due to the balanced approach, Drew only threw a respectable 13 INTs. I’m not going to get into specifics on the defensive side of the ball, but will make some general comments from time to time. Mostly in losing seasons. Results, a 10-6 season and ultimately a trip to the NFCCG with the Chicago Bears. Unfortunately we lost that one on a terrible field in snowy conditions.
2009: Balanced, and by this I mean 60/40 or less. 544 PA, 54%, RA 468, 46%. TOP 31 Saints, 29 Opp. The TO numbers were the ultimate advantage in the win/loss column. TO, +11. The 25th ranked defense was very opportunistic. Some proof we don’t need a top 10 defense with the balanced approach, though the bottom of the pile surely doesn’t work. INTs 12. 13-3 season and a Super Bowl Ring. Home field advantage in the playoffs certainly helped as opposed to the ‘06 season.
2010: Not Balanced, 661 PA, 64%, RA, 380, 36%. The success of the screen game helped this deficiency. TOP, Saints 32, Opp 28. TO, -6. A hobbled Drew Brees threw an astounding 22 INTs that year, so while we were -6 the defense must have held up their part. Until the play offs anyway. An embarrassing loss to the 7-9 Seahawks followed an 11-5 season.
Dropping the passing and running abbreviations here as well as attempts, surely you get the gist by now, and just listing the stats. For Top the Saints will be first then opponents.
2011: Balanced, 60/40, TOP, 32/28, TO, -3. Drew threw only 14 INTs that year and the Saints went 13-3. Unfortunately the defense couldn’t hold up against the 49ers.
2013: Not Balanced, 63/37, but a 4th ranked defense helped carry the load. TOP, 33-27, a bit of a help there. TO, even. INT 12. An 11-5 season followed by our first non-SB road playoff win. Then once again a loss to the a much improved Seahawks who went on to win the Super Bowl.
The losing seasons were all unbalanced. I’ll just list the stats and let you draw your own conclusions. Generally though, Drew’s INTs were up in the losing seasons, with 2014 and 2015 being the exceptions to the rule. In both of those seasons an awful defense bears most of the responsibility. Oh Rob you fell so far!
2007 and 2008 defenses lead by Gary Gibbs had a great deal to do with the poor records, but being unbalanced didn’t help.
2007: 62/38, TOP, 31-29, TO, -7. Drew threw 18 INTs. Record 7-9
2008: 62/38, TOP, 30/30, TO, -4. Again Drew threw 18 INTs. A 50/50 record, the Saints went 8-8. Gary Gibbs was fired after the 2008 season.
2012: The season that didn’t really happen did it. The most infamous record set that season was the worst defense in NFL history. (2014 and 2015 did it’s best to beat that record.)
2012: 65/35, TOP, 29-31, TO a surprising +2. Drew threw 19 INTs and the Saints went 7-9. Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo was fired after only one season. You almost had to feel sorry for him, but the players apparently weren’t very fond of the man.
2014: 62/38, TOP, 30,30, TO, -13. Drew threw only 13 INTs. Record 7-9. Drew was sacked and pressured more this season than any I can remember. Again Balance had a lot to do with that in my opinion.
2015: 63/37, TOP, 31-29, TO, +2. Once again Drew only threw 12 INTs. While not taking as much of a beating Drew did miss his first game as a Saint when he suffered a shoulder injury from a sack. Balance may be the key to keeping Drew Brees healthy this season.
So there you have the facts I’ve gathered and my reasons for hoping Drew’s passing yards are kept to 4500 or less. Read it or skim it, and give your opinions to my sanity in the comments.