Sean Payton retires: ranking the seven candidates to replace Payton

Ranking the best candidates to replace Payton

By: Jake Rajala

The bold and creative genius Sean Payton announced on Tuesday that he was stepping down as the New Orleans Saints head coach after 15 seasons. Payton elaborated in his infamous retirement press conference that he doesn’t know what’s next, but he still has a vision for doing things in football. It was a very emotional moment for Who Dat nation, Payton, and the whole NFL world.

The legendary Saints quarterback Drew Brees retired the last offseason and then made a switch to being a sports commentator for NBC. The former Saints HC could reunite with his former QB as a football analyst. Payton stated “I talked to Drew Brees about it a little bit last night” in the course of his retirement address. It would be poetic if Brees and Payton took another big stage together, but it’s unclear if we should expect the marriage to come to fruition in 2022.

As for the Saints head coaching seat, it’s ambiguous which lead face will replace Payton. According to Ian Rapport, the Saints defensive coordinator Dennis Allen is the favorite to land the Saints head coaching gig. Nonetheless, the Saints will have a massive question mark at head coach and it’s well known that it will be a challenge for any coach to replace Payton’s gifted coaching ability. With that said, I’m going to outline several coaches that would be the best choice to replace the “retired Sean Payton”.

  1. Eric Bieniemy – Kansas City Chiefs – Offensive Coordinator

I’m a huge fan of the Saints and Mickey Loomis inking an offensive-minded coach to replace the gritty offensive-minded Payton. The Chiefs offense looks like it’s programmed by the same team that controls “Zeus from Real Steel”. The Chiefs offensive design is simply the best in the NFL.

Bienemy took over as the Chiefs OC in 2018. In the past four seasons, Bieniemy’s offense has ranked Top 5 in points three times and Top 5 in yards three times. The Patrick Mahomes featured offensive ranked third in YPC in 2021 and it has ranked first in YPG in the 2022 playoffs thus far.

The Saints may need all the help they can get on the offensive side of the ball, as well. The QB situation is very murky and it would be a nightmare if the HC – QB combination isn’t positive in training camp. The Saints would ideally have a better chance of obtaining a talented QB via trade if they have a bright offensive mind like Bieniemy at HC, too.

A fun aspect of recruiting Bieniemy is that the Chiefs OC is actually from New Orleans, Louisiana. It may be time for him to come home. If the Saints sign Bieniemy to the HC position, the Saints might be able to still retain Dennis Allen for another season at least.

2. Dennis Allen – New Orleans Saints – Defensive Coordinator

It may be a tad boring if the Saints promote Dennis Allen to the head coaching role, but it would be a smart decision. Allen has a nice grasp of the culture in the Big Easy and he knows the right buttons for the Saints defense to click.

The Saints DC has been a titan-like coordinator in his time in NOLA. The Saints defense has ranked Top 5 in points allowed in each of the last two seasons. His defensive unit also carries a tremendous amount of chemistry and pride, as the unit has been strongly intact over the previous few seasons.

Allen had a head coaching stint before, but he was placed in a near mission impossible-like situation. He was once the youngest head coach in the NFL with the Raiders and he was awarded Terrelle Pryor at QB for half the duration of his tenure (two and a 1/4 seasons). It’s a bit understandable why Allen flamed out of the “Black Hole” and went to return to his roots in New Orleans (a Saints DB coach in 2009) to improve his skillset.

If the Saints offense can’t lift off in 2022 and the defense takes a step back without Allen, the 2022 season could be a bigger challenge than the 2021 season. So, the signing of Allen could be safe and beneficial to the success of the defense.

The “Goat of all coaches” Bill Belichick failed early on as a head coach just like Allen. The defensive guru Allen could have a stronger and more passionate comeback in a second potential head coaching gig.

3. Kellen Moore – Offensive Coordinator – Dallas Cowboys

The young Dallas Cowboys wizard would be a sharp addition, who carries unlimited potential. The 33-year-old Kellen Moore has been very elite as the Cowboys OC and it’s clear with the production under Moore.

In the past two seasons, the Cowboys have been the most explosive offense with Dak Prescott. In 2021, the Cowboys offense ranked first in YPG and PPG with a healthy Dak. Moore could incorporate passing schemes that would help the likes of Jameis Winston and Michael Thomas succeed deep down the field.

If Moores is the replacement for Payton, he could also help recruit talent from Dallas like WR Michael Gallup, DE Demarcus Lawrence, and potentially even QB Dak Prescott.

4. Aaron Glenn – Detroit Lions – Defensive Coordinator

Aaron Glenn was a superb defensive backs coach for the New Orleans Saints from 2016 until 2020. Glenn notably helped Marshon Lattimore win defensive rookie of the year and the Saints hold a Top 5 pass defense in 2020. That helped him earn a job as the defensive coordinator for the Detroit Lions in 2021. Glenn notably helped his squad unravel huge upsets against the Arizona Cardinals and Green Bay Packers.

Glenn’s familiarity with the Saints elite defense is very important and that will be a huge reason why he’s a key competitor for the HC gig. Per Ian Rappaport, the Saints are set to interview Dennis Allen and Aaron Glenn for the head coaching gig.

5. Jim Harbaugh – University of Michigan – head coach

The former 49ers and Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh has expressed his interest in returning to coaching professional football. The Michigan coach posted an incredible 12-2 record with a victory over Ohio State. Harbaugh is a smart fellow and he’s not scared to go against the status quo. It may seem like Chicago would be an ideal fit, but the opening with the Saints has to be dreamy for Harbaugh.

If Harbaugh went to the Saints and he was able to have Jameis Winston, Alvin Kamara, and Michael Thomas, he would surely put up at least a Top 10 offense next season. The Saints could really be a playoff contender with Harbaugh leading the charge, regardless of the starting QB. A QB like Russell Wilson may be fascinated by the brainy Michigan coach touching down in the Big Easy even.

6. Pete Carmichael – New Orleans Saints – offensive coordinator

Dennis Allen may be in charge of a sexy defense, but the introverted Pete Carmichael has been one of the best offensive coordinators and offensive assistants for a very long time. Carmichael may not have been calling the shots for the Saints offense, but he’s one of the most knowledgable offensive minds in the league.

Carmichael will have the perfect feel for the Saints scheme with the screens, play-action passes, and adjustments. Carmichael may even be less aggressive than Payton in key moments, which could be beneficial at times. He should remain the OC regardless of the HC role, but he could have solid control of the offense if an offensive-minded figure doesn’t take over HC duties. If Carmichael gets the gig, he would have a strong influence on a successful culture, as well. Carmichael could be third in line to get an interview after Allen and Glenn.

7. Joe Lombardi – Los Angeles Chargers – Offensive Coordinator

The Chargers offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi has been a quality apprentice under Sean Payton in New Orleans. Lombardi was the Saints QB coach from 2009 until 2013 and then the Saints QB coach from 2016 until 2020. Lombardi knows the Saints playbook in his sleep.

In 2021, the Chargers offense excelled under Lombardi, as well. The Chargers offense ranked fourth in YPG on offense and fifth in PPG scored. Justin Herbert was a flat out monster with 5,014 passing yards, 38 passing touchdowns, and 15 interceptions. The grandson to Vince Lombardi would make a ton of sense if the Saints don’t see the right fit with Allen, Glenn, or other talented candidates.

Saints 3-round mock draft: Sean Payton could make a surprise move

Sean Payton should go all offense in the Saints first 3-rounds

By: Jake Rajala

The New Orleans Saints are sitting at 8-8 with a playoff spot on the lines heading into Week 18. It’s unclear if fate will be on their side with their playoff aims. Although, it is safe to say that Sean Payton and the company have outplayed their expectations and have put together a quality season. They’ve been displaced, swamped with injuries (QB, WR, OL), and the COVID bug has taken its toll on the NFC south team. 

Needless to say, they have lots of reasons to be optimistic heading into the offseason. With that said, it still does appear to be a pivotal offseason and draft for the Drew Brees-less Saints. The Saints really need to capitalize off the plethora of talent they carry. The Saints don’t have a lot of cap space (as usual), so they will really need to strike gold with their 2022 draft selections. In this outlook, I’m going to outline which direction the Saints could most likely go in the upcoming draft. Let’s take a look. 

  1. Jalen Wydermyer – TE – Texas A & M

If there ever seems to be an obvious draft pick from Sean Payton, it would take place in the same world that the Buccaneers beat the Saints in the regular season. In other words, Sean Payton and Mickey Loomis get ultra creative and usually make a surprise pick in round one. I would love to see the Saints trade back a few spots and pick up more picks to select a position like RB or DT back in the draft and still get a playmaker late in the first round. 

The WR position is the most common choice of position, but I believe the Saints could get a better move with selecting Jalen Wydermyer to pair with the offensive weapons on the perimeter they yield. I’m assuming the Saints keep Michael Thomas and obtain a very talented QB via a trade. A big body playmaker in the best TE in the draft would be much needed for potentially Russell Wilson or even Jameis Winston. I love the growth of Deonte Harris at the WR spot to couple with the elite Cantguardmike. If they get MT back on the field, Alvin Kamara utilized near his previous receiving dosage with Brees, and Wydermyer, the Saints QB would have lots of mismatches in his favor. 

  1. Nicholas Petit-Frere – OT – Ohio State

Sean Payton loves Big 10 offensive linemen and he’s made that clear with the selections of Cesar Ruiz and Ryan Ramczyk. The Saints could and should keep Pro Bowl LT Terron Armstead on a short-term deal, but It may be a smart future move to draft an LT that can put together his talent and health in the same package. If a rookie OT like Petit-Frere steps up to the plate, the Saints could potentially ship Armstead out in a year. 

It’s been far from shell shocking how injuries have squandered the Saints OL and tackle position in 2021. The lack of depth on OL has hindered the Saints run game, pass game, and screen game notably. 

  1. David Bell – WR – Purdue (trade up)

It would be a special combination of early offensive draft choices and a Mickey Looms-like move to trade up early in the draft for the perfect draft day steal. Bell was first-team all-Big 10, academic Big 10, and a true pillar of consistency. He would provide dividends at the WR position and be a viable upgrade over Tre’Quan Smith. We’ve witnessed the Saints move up to select Alvin Kamara, Zack Baun, Brandin Cooks, and many others. It wouldn’t be a surprise in this day in age if the Saints pull the trigger to snag David Bell.

Sean Payton’s legacy is on the line tonight

Sean Payton has a big opportunity on Monday Night Football

The Saints head coach Sean Payton has gone 19-4 with Teddy Bridgewater, Jameis Winston, and Taysom Hill in the past three seasons. In comparison, the legendary Bill Belichick has gone 16-15 without Tom Brady in the past two years. I’m not saying that Payton deserves to be ranked ahead of the six-time Super Bowl champion Bill Belichick, but Payton clearly deserves more respect for the production he’s managed to pull off without his alter ego in Hall of Fame QB Drew Brees. 

It’s very impressive that Payton doesn’t need an elite QB in the building, but he can actually uplift a QB and offense’s ability with his own creative genius. The Saints QB whisperer turned Taysom Hill into a reliable QB2 and swiss army knife, Jameis Winston from the worst QB in the league to a Top 12 signal-caller, and he managed to rip off five straight victories with the game manager Teddy B when the Rams all-time great defensive tackle Aaron Donald broke Drew Brees’s thumb. 

In 2021, Payton has missed Jameis Winston for much of the season, Michael Thomas for the entire season coaches via COVID, multiple defenders injured (Davenport, Ceedy Duce, Kwon Alexander), but he’s fought hard and led his team to a 7-7 record. The Saints did have a rough streak with Trevor Siemian, where they lost games to the Titans, Bills, Cowboys, Eagles, and Falcons (all potential playoff teams). Still, Payton deserves a lot of credit for their monster victories and ability to be in the position they now sit. 

The Saints were displaced in Week 1 and had to play a home game in Jacksonville against the Green Bay Packers. Yet, the Saints blew the brakes of the Packers and came away with a 38-3 victory. On Halloween against the Bucs, Winston went down with a brutal season-ending injury. Nonetheless, the Saints pulled up an incredible upset victory with Siemian playing for three of the quarters. Payton also led his team to monster victories against the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks (both on the road). 

Payton’s scrappy team would of course win their biggest game of the year in Week 15 when the head coach himself was out of the building with COVID. Dennis Allen’s defense would shut down Tom Brady with a 9-0 victory in the Saints “Super Bowl” like matchup. Now the Saints find themselves sitting at 7-7, the playoffs on the line, and the biggest challenge of the season to date.

The Ian Book-led Saints offensive attack has to face off against the Miami Dolphins team that won an improbable six games straight after starting the season 1-7. The hottest team in football faces a Saints an already decimated team that will now be missing Taysom Hill, Trevor Siemian, Demario Davis, Ryan Ramczyk, Kwon Alexander, and Malcolm Jenkins via COVID. Still, If the dome can start rocking and the Saints can sneak away with a victory, the Saints will have a very realistic chance of conquering their pain and making the playoffs. Payton won’t get a coach of the year award if the team wins out, but this will be one of the most impressive, unique seasons of his legacy. 

I do believe that if Payton can march his Book/Hill-led team to the playoffs, his coaching rank should be closer to the cream of the crop. I’d say he and Mike Tomlin are interchangeable because of Tomlin’s Super Bowl count, but that should change if Payton can overcome his 2021 circumstances in the Brees-less era. He should surely be ahead of Tomlin, who has routinely seen the glass crumble below his feet without Big Ben. If Payton can bring his team to the playoffs with his circumstances, the combination of Payton’s offensive production, one Super Bowl ring, and current grittiness should place him ahead of Tomlin (even if he has two SB rings). Tomlin has enjoyed high-end success, but he’s been more on a roller coaster ride than Payton has over the past several years. 

I believe that Payton is ahead of Andy Reid at this moment because of the juggernaut offense he’s yielded for years and the talent he showed without number 9 in the huddle. Payton has broken countless records with Brees throughout the years. Don’t let the Patrick Mahomes/Tyreek Hill/ Travis Kelce show fool you from forgetting how many 5,000 yard seasons Brees and company registered. The Saints head coach has also been nearly as efficient with a QB not named Drew as Reid was with Alex Smith in Kansas City. It may be easy to have a bias by recognizing the Chiefs potential and automatically assuming number 15 will win a second Super Bowl soon and the team is a true dynasty squad in the AFC. But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves just yet. We saw the Seahawks take a 180-degree turn with Caroll and Russell Wilson. Even the Saints didn’t reach their full potential with Brees and Payton in the postseason. All in all, Payton appears to be the second most impressive coach at this moment.

Payton, also known as Kevin James, will have a lot of work to do to catch the best mind in the league: Bill Belichick. But, Payton does have youth on his side. The Saints HC is a whopping 12 years younger than Belichick. If the Saints can find a franchise QB with the insanely talented roster they have around the QB position, the slightly underappreciated leader of the Saints may be able to acquire a couple more Lombardi trophies. Perhaps the Saints have their future with the hidden gem in Ian Book? We will soon find out.

Odell Beckham Jr. will come to New Orleans when the time is ready

Odell Beckham Jr. should return home

By: Jake Rajala

Odell Beckham Jr. hasn’t quite found his true home in the National Football League. OBJ reached the Pro Bowl in each of his first three seasons, but he’s actually failed to return to the Pro Bowl since he found the door in his early New York Giants tenure. The polarizing 29-year-old may not have the same All-Star capability or intrigue that he once had, but he’s still a Top 8 WR that will be looking for a new home in free agency this offseason. 

It’s not clear if the Rams bold head coach Sean McVay will work out a contract for the savvy wideout to return, but it’s certainly a comfortable fit and potential option for OBJ in 2022. Although, I do believe that the Rams plan was to rent the former Browns playmaker, and it won’t be the best route for both sides when the free agency period kicks off. In particular, the Rams have many young studs who will need to be handed a golden ark in the next couple of years. With that said, I truly believe that the most appropriate road for OBJ to take is one that he’s been on before. 

From my perspective, I believe that OBJ and New Orleans are a match made in heaven. It also helps that there’s an emotional bonus for OBJ to return to the city where he played in college (LSU). 

There is no secret that OBJ has praised Sean Payton’s WR-friendly system and that he would love to return to the Big Easy at the same time. Matter, in fact, the Rams popular WR was almost a Saint as Sean Payton tried to lure him in when he was cut by the Browns. The Saints were a heavy favorite, but he ultimately chose to take the shiny and safe pick with the LA Rams. 

One of the big reasons why the Saints weren’t deemed attractive enough to ink OBJ was the fact that Jameis Winston was out for the season when OBJ was a free agent. It might have been smart that OBJ (just like Drew Brees) opted to stay away from the Saints aching offensive attack. Still, it’s a straight-up fact that the Saints will look to resign Winston or make a move for the likes of Russell Wilson come this offseason. 

Sean Payton has been aggressive with OBJ numerous times (first at the draft) and he’s made an effort to sign big-name free agents in the past like Josh Norman, Jadeveon Clowney, and Jarius Byrd (sigh). Payton knows that OBJ will likely be the best short-term fit at their badly needed WR position. Michael Thomas’s future also seems as uncertain as it ever has been, as he’s had injury issues and off-the-field problems. If Thomas isn’t in the building, It would seem almost obvious that the Saints would heavily target OBJ on a short-term deal and not overpay for a long-term contract with the likes of Michael Gallup.

Saints Week 1 showdown: what exactly happened?

What was behind Saints Week 1 big victory?

By: Courtney Burrows

Week 1 is in the books and what a wild one it was to start off the 2021-22 NFL season.  There have been many off-season stories that have left us scratching our heads and others that have us jumping in anticipation.  (Or wait, is it only me jumping!)  All I can say is Week 1 delivered highs and lows for me and others in the fantasy community, and I am very happy that football is back. There were crazy games and players who shined and crashed, but the best game in my opinion of the week was New Orleans Saints versus Green Bay where the Saints came marching in and roasted the Packers 38-3.

                The Packers came to Jacksonville to play the Saints who were displaced by Hurricane Ida. The Saints were led by QB Jameis Winston who won the starting job from Taysom Hill in the pre-season. This was the first game the team played without their leader Drew Brees under center. No one knew what to expect or what to feel, but this die-hard Saints fan knew Winston would be our guy and have been rooting for him. 

In Winston’s last season with the Bucs, he threw for 5,109 yards, 33 touchdowns, and 30 interceptions. He was released by the team, and no one wanted to give the once 1st round draft pick a starting chance. So, he became the 3rd string behind Brees and under Coach Payton’s regime and began to study quietly with his head down, determined, and focused. This is a new Winston under center, a leader in the locker room determined to prove he is the right QB to once again lead a team, and prove he did in Jacksonville Saturday afternoon.

                The Saints defensive attack led by Zack Baun who had five tackles made Rodgers scramble and throw erratically which is not the steady hand we are used to seeing.  Rodgers ended with two interceptions, 15 completions on 28 attempts, and a passer rating of 36.8%.  He could not get anything done in the red zone with his star wideout Adams and star RB Jones was unable to go anywhere on the ground.  The Saints defense came to play, and with them making stop upon the stop, the offensive had ample opportunity to carve up plays. The time of possession was almost a full 10 minutes over the Pack.  Kamara led the rushing attack with 83 out of 171 total yards. Winston only had 148 yards in the air, but they were calculated and precise with zero interceptions, five total touchdowns to four different receivers, and a passer rating of 130.8%. The most surprising was 2nd year TE Juwan Johnson he hauled in two touchdowns and will be another hot wavier wire this week. Though fellow TE Trautman led the team in targets, Johnson is only owned in 1.8% of ESPN leagues. 

The one injury of note is star pass-rusher Marcus Davenport, who ended Sunday with three tackles and one sack, underwent an MRI to see the extent of an apparent pectoral muscle injury which was deemed a strain not a tear.  This is fantastic news for the defensive as he should return sooner than later.  In the meantime, Carl Granderson and rookie Payton Turner will have to step up in a big way. 

For a guy that no one had much faith in besides the WHODAT nation, Winston did well and proved many doubters wrong.  He and the Saints decimated and embarrassed the Packers in the Sunshine State.  It won’t be a walk in the park in every contest for the Saints, but this is a confidence builder. All the parts fit together to make one cohesive, strong unified team under one of the best coaches in the game today. I am proud of Winston and his character today. I look forward to this season, and can’t wait for Sunday Funday.

#WHODAT

Find me on twitter at luvtractor3 for any questions and just for everyday football fun. 

Why the Saints are still Super Bowl contenders

Saints roster is still very talented

By: Reese Nasser

The New Orleans Saints could be one of the most intriguing teams heading into this upcoming season. The team returning will be very similar to the team that won the NFC South for the past four seasons and finished 2020 with a 12-4 record. 

There is just one glaring difference for this team heading into 2021; longtime quarterback Drew Brees is now retired. After leading the Saints since 2006, the QB1 decided to call it a career. The 13-time pro bowl quarterback had a career that will cement him among some of the greatest ever. But the Saints may be ready for life post-Brees. 

In the past two seasons, Brees missed nine games. In those nine games, New Orleans had a record of 8-1. They have proved that they are capable of still winning games without Brees and this upcoming season will be where they fully get to showcase that. 

The Saints will be a competitive team in 2021. The culture that they have created within the team will allow for nothing less. New Orleans could be a super bowl contender this season. Here’s why. 

Talented Defense

The Saints have a defense with veterans at every level. With Cameron Jordan leading the defensive line, Demario Davis leading the linebackers, and Malcolm Jenkins leading the secondary, this defense has capable playmakers at every point. 

The group that they have assembled is proven and will be nearly identical in 2021. They finished last season allowing 310 yards per game and 21.06 points per game, ranking fourth and fifth in both categories. They held opponents to less than 20 points on six occasions last season. 

If the defense is able to play at the same level as they did last season, this team will have a fighting chance in any game that they play in. An above average defense can also be enough to get a team to a SuperBowl appearance. That has been seen throughout NFL history. 

Top Offensive-Line

The New Orleans offensive line is one of the best in the NFL. Led by Terron Armstead and Ryan Ramcyzk, the Saints have put out a group that has been consistent for years. 

When running on all gears, this is arguably the NFL’s best group in the trenches. An elite offensive line can take a team far. And it can help diminish the other problems that the offense may have. 

Star wide receiver Michael Thomas may miss significant time due to off-season surgery. If Thomas is out for sometime, this offense could struggle in the beginning. Losing a player of Thomas’s caliber and having younger wideouts in a position where they have to make a play could be an issue for this offense. The o-line being able to hold blocks and let plays develop could keep this offensive unit alive at points. 

Alvin Kamara

Running back Alvin Kamara could be the x-factor for this team. His offensive presence alongside the elite offensive line could take this team far. 

Kamara has proven to be one of the most versatile players in the NFL. He reached the end zone 16 times on the ground and another five times through the air. His 21 touchdowns led the NFL. 

It would come at no shock if Kamara has a similar workload in 2021. This Saints team could go as far as their veteran running back takes them. If he is able to play at a high level, as he has for most of his career, he could be the leagues best running back this season. 

While a Super Bowl appearance could be slim to none, this team could still be competitive and at least have a fighting chance. Having a reliable defense, a top offensive line, and a star running back, paired with a veteran quarterback in Jameis Winston, this team will always have a fighting chance. Don’t count the Saints out in 2021. 

Why Sean Payton is One of the Best Play Callers in NFL History

Saints head coach Sean Payton is one of the best offensive play callers

By: Adam Hulse (@AdamHulseSports)

Sean Payton is one of the best play-callers in NFL history for his effectiveness, creativity, and adaptability. His sustained success and many examples of designing an effective offense put him right in the mix with some of the legendary offensive minds like Bill Walsh and Air Coryell. Payton has been revolutionary with his schemes and has consistently had one of the top offenses in the NFL for his entire 15-year career as the head coach and play caller for the New Orleans Saints. His genius offensive mind is a big reason why he has an extremely impressive .631 career winning percentage.

Sustained Success

Payton has been the head coach of the New Orleans Saints since 2006 and has been the offensive play caller the entire time. His innovative designs and schemes have been the main reason why the Saints offense has consistently ranked towards the top of the NFL every season. In order from 2006 through 2020 their offense has ranked 1st, 4th, 1st, 1st, 6th, 1st, 2nd, 4th, 1st, 2nd, 1st, 2nd, 8th, 9th, and 12th. That is an insanely consistent and impressive run that really speaks for itself. Besides being ranked 1st overall in offense for 6 of the 15 seasons, they have also never been outside of the top half including being in the top 10 in 14 seasons and the top 5 in 11 of them.

Maximizing Potential

One of the signatures to the success of Payton has been his ability to get the most out of the weapons that he has available to him. What makes him such an offensive genius is the fact that he can design an offense around the strengths of his roster rather than trying to get his players to fit his scheme. This is where he has been able to show off his creativity by designing a new offense not just from year to year, but sometimes even from week to week when necessary.

One of the many gifts Payton has been getting the most out of his players. He has been great at maximizing the potential out of the players available to him. The most recent example of this has been the unique ways that he has been able to utilize Taysom Hill. He has lined him up everywhere including quarterback, running back, wide receiver, tight end, and even special teams. Over the last three seasons, Hill has accumulated 22 touchdowns including 4 passing, 11 rushing, and 7 receiving.

Hill is an extremely unique talent and the type of player that can’t just be plugged into any offense and be effective. Payton has masterfully unlocked his potential into a solid contributor by specifically designing plays to fit his skillset. It’s highly unlikely that many other coaches, if any, would have been able to do that considering Hill was mostly viewed as a bust until Payton transformed him into what he is today. There have been other examples of this concept as well.

Darren Sproles is another player who Payton made into the best version of himself. Sproles spent 14 solid years in the NFL spread out between the Chargers, Saints, and Eagles but his 3 seasons with Payton in New Orleans was by far the best stretch of his career. His 3 best receiving seasons of his career were the 3 years he spent with the Saints from 2011 to 2013 when he recorded receiving yard totals of 710, 667, and 604 respectively. His career high in rushing yards of 603 also came in 2011 and 21 of his 55 career offensive touchdowns came during that 3 year stay in New Orleans. Payton is a master of maximizing potential and Sproles is an excellent example of that.

New Opportunity

Now that Drew Brees has retired, for the first time in his head coaching career Payton will enter the 2021 NFL season with a new starting quarterback. Those big shoes will be filled by either Taysom Hill or Jameis Winston. Brees is of course a legend of the NFL and will easily be a first-ballot Hall of Famer, so it is going to be very interesting to see the brand new offensive design by Payton without him. He does have strong weapons to work with, such as superstars Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas, so this is a new opportunity for his creativity to shine once again. If Payton was to lose one of the best quarterbacks of all time this season, but still come up with one of the best offense in the league as he always has, it would just further solidify the fact that he is one of the greatest offensive minds in NFL history.

Should the Saints consider trading Taysom Hill?

Should the Saints trade Taysom Hill before the season?

By: Reese Nasser

New Orleans Saints quarterback Taysom Hill has had an interesting career up to this point. He has been an anomaly on the football field, not being stuck in the mold of any one particular position. He has spent time all over the field, from quarterback and tight end to special teams standout. 

Until the 2020 season, Hill had never been really utilized as a quarterback. Over two seasons he threw 13 passes for just over 100 yards. Over those same two seasons, he was utilized in more of a running role. He had 64 carries and 352 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns. 

Hill hit his stride this past season. The 30-year old stepped into a true quarterback role for part of the season. In the four games that Hill started, the Saints went 3-1. Hill played well in his four starts, throwing four touchdowns and adding another four on the ground. He finished the season with 13 touchdowns and 1438 yards from scrimmage. 

After the end of the 2020 season and the retirement of longtime quarterback Drew Brees, the Saints restructured Hill’s contract. 

The deal could lock Hill in with the Saints for some time, or they could be out of it at the end of the season. The Saints could find themselves in an odd situation with Hill, especially when looking at how they can get themselves out of his contract. 

At nearly 31-years old, it is hard to envision Hill as the future quarterback of this team. The Saints also have a six-year veteran and former number one pick, Jameis Winston. It is assumed that Winston will be the QB1 heading into this upcoming season. A decision that puts Hill as the number one would shock the NFL. 

New Orleans also added Notre Dame quarterback Ian Book in the fourth round of this year’s draft. Book could be the eventual long-term quarterback for the Saints but won’t be ready to go in his rookie season. 

With the quarterback situation in New Orleans, it begs to ask the question of what should the Saints do with Taysom Hill? After showing that he can play the quarterback position at an at least average level, should they trade him? Or, do they keep him as a backup to be there in case Winston struggles in his role? Both options are possible and the Saints could entertain the idea of a trade. Let’s take a look at both options. 

Why Hill could be traded

Hill could be the perfect option for a team that loses their QB1. Unexpected injuries happen every season and not every team has a backup that can step up and still win them games. That is where Hill could step in and play a role. 

Hill’s duality on the field could make teams want to add him to their roster as well. His impact on the field could help teams expand their offensive game plans, much like New Orleans has been able to do up to this point. He could expand a team’s run game and influence things all over the offensive side of the ball. He could an impressive TE2 and a dual-threat QB on a team that wants more explosion out of the backfield. Teams like the Las Vegas Raiders, Minnesota Vikings, Pittsburgh Steelers would make intriguing landing spots.

Why the Saints could keep Hill

The Saints quarterback room outside of Winston and Hill is one of the weakest in the NFL. As previously noted, rookie quarterback Ian Book will more than likely be brought along slowly. The fourth quarterback on the roster is Trevor Siemian. Siemian has had difficulties in the NFL and the Saints may see him as the backup they would like to have. 

At 30 years old, New Orleans may not get a return in a trade that makes it worth it to move Hill, especially with the role that he plays for the team. He will be 31 by the time the regular season starts and it could make sense for both sides for Hill to just stay with the Saints. 

After weighing both options, the Saints would be better off having Hill on their roster. He is a proven security blanket, a player that can step in when called upon, which he proved that last season. Most teams would like to have a player with his talent on their roster, and the Saints could make a big mistake by moving him. There is also an inspirational factor in which many Saints fans adhere to his underdog story.

Why the New Orleans Saints may currently not have a long term QB option

Who is the Saints QB of the future?

By: Jeremy Trottier

The New Orleans Saints are tasked with something they have not had to deal with since 2006, in that they have to figure out who their starting QB is.  With four quarterbacks on the roster currently, they have to see how training camps and preseason plays out to make that decision.  With that said, there is the chance that none of these quarterbacks are their long term starter, and they could be drafting one early on come next NFL draft season.  In this article, I will be going over why each of the Saints rostered QBs is not a long term option as of right now.

Jameis Winston

The QB most Saints fans at this point believe to be the starter for 2021, and rationally that should be the case.  The potential Jameis has is sky high, however as many have mentioned to this point, we also know the lows of Jameis as a QB too.  The most blatantly obvious being his decision making.  Throwing 30 interceptions in a season does not solely happen because you are in an Air Raid offensive scheme, nor does it just happen because your eyesight is not up to par. 

His decision making is one of the faults of his type of playing style, we saw it when he was at Florida State too.  With Sean Payton as your head coach, a coach who likes consistency and playing the short “dink and dunk” type offense where short to intermediate passing is key, interceptions kill that thinking in seconds.  If Jameis has not changed his ways and truly learned what throws NOT to make, his tenure could be short lived.

Taysom Hill

To start, he is going to be 31 by the time the 2021-2022 season starts up, which automatically puts him out of the “long term” category.  Taysom also has issues with turnovers, however in the opposite way Jameis does.  That being fumbles.  Last season Taysom had a horrible time trying to hold onto the ball, fumbling 10 times (Tied for 3rd among NFL players in 2020 behind Derek Carr and Daniel Jones both at 11).  The other thing to note is he only started four games at QB for New Orleans, and still ended up with more fumbles than passing TDs.  

Taysom also does not really have the consistency as a passer to perform as a starting QB full time.  He has accuracy on short passing, which is good for the scheme, however his intermediate to long range passing is extremely inconsistent.

Ian Book 

To be fair, as a Saints fan, I am intrigued by Ian Book to say the least.  He has traits to make it at the NFL level, potentially as a starter someday.  With that said, he is not nearly ready to take on a starting role yet at this level, and likely will not be for another two to three seasons.  He is an extremely raw prospect, with the traits to make it but he needs to learn more regarding the NFL landscape and how to play at the next level.  

He will need a few seasons to learn from Sean Payton and the rest of the coaching staff on how to build up some arm strength, as that is his heaviest weakness at the moment.  

Trevor Siemian

Trevor Siemian is somewhat relegated to career backup at this point.  When you start in 25 games over three seasons and throw a 30 touchdown to 24 interception ratio and have issues getting your completion percentage above 60% each season, you really need to take a step back and learn from someone.  Odds are Siemian is a camp arm and will stick around on the roster as a backup, provided Ian Book does not take that spot away. 

Why Sean Payton Will Prove Again Why He is the Best Offensive Mind Without Drew Brees

Saints Sean Payton is a genius offensive play caller

By: Adam Hulse (@AdamHulseSports)

Sean Payton has consistently shown that he is the best offensive mind in the NFL since taking over as the head coach of the New Orleans Saints in 2006. Now entering his 15th full season in this role, he will face a brand new challenge. For the first time since getting the job, he will not have the luxury of Drew Brees at the quarterback position. That is of course because Brees officially retired this offseason.

This new situation provides Payton with an excellent opportunity to remind everyone around the league just how much of an offensive genius he is. Brees is a lock to be a first-ballot hall of famer, but Payton is ready to show that he can still run a highly productive offensive scheme without him. This will certainly be a challenge, especially considering the options on the current roster at quarterback including the swiss army knife Taysom Hill, the big arm but turnover machine Jameis Winston, journeyman backup Trevor Siemian, and newly drafted rookie Ian Book.

If anyone is up for the task of losing a legend at quarterback but not missing a beat on offense, it’s Sean Payton. His track record speaks for itself and his offensive rankings are beyond impressive. Here is why he will prove it again this year.

Offensive Production

The Saints have been an absolute offensive juggernaut since Payton took over as head coach. It may be easy to forget that Brees spent the first five years of his career with the Chargers, where he was a good quarterback but by no means the legendary one that he became with the Saints. The head coach and quarterback relationship is a very important one in the NFL, and few have been on the level of Payton and Brees. It was a match made in heaven, and their offensive rankings since becoming a tandem verify that.

In their 14 season run, the Saints offense ranked first in the NFL in total yards six times, was ten times in the top five, and only once finished outside of the top ten. Their scoring rankings are just as impressive, leading the NFL twice, including nine top fives and only twice finishing outside of the top ten. They were in the top five for passing yards in eleven straight seasons including being ranked first five times. Passing touchdown rankings are a similar story, leading the league twice and finishing in the top ten in all but two seasons. The list of offensive accomplishments goes on, but they have obviously been a powerhouse in the Payton era.

No Brees, No Problem?

That is the massive question that Payton will be looking to answer this season. He will be excited to embrace this new challenge and show off his brilliance. It’s an opportunity to quiet the doubters that may believe that the success of the Saints offensive has solely been due to the greatness of Drew Brees, rather than the collaborative efforts of the pair. Payton is an extremely creative schemer and play-caller, which he has demonstrated in the way he has utilized a unique player like Taysom Hill recently and Darren Sproles in the past, as well as unlocking the true weapon that Alvin Kamara has become and setting receiving records with Michael Thomas.

Do not sleep on the Saints offense no matter who is playing quarterback. They will certainly look different than they did with Brees, but different does not necessarily mean worse. This new set of circumstances will really get the creative juices flowing again for Payton, and it will be exciting to watch what he comes up with. If there were any doubt about the genius of Sean Payton before this upcoming season, it’s highly unlikely that there still will be when it’s over. Expect to see the new Saints offense towards the top of the league once again.

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