Saints QB Drew Brees (photo via Getty Images)
The New Orleans Saints have won seven games for the past three seasons. After Monday night’s loss to the Minnesota Vikings, it seems 2017 will be more of the same.
The horrendous defense is too much for future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees to overcome.
Brees should flex his muscles and ask to be traded. Realistically, Brees would never turn his back on the city of New Orleans, but it would actually make a lot of sense for the rest of his career and maybe even the Saints’ future.
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The Saints’ defense couldn’t be worse
During Brees’ 12 seasons in New Orleans, the team has only had a scoring defense ranked better than No. 20 three times. The Saints have had the No. 31, 32, and 28 scoring defense in the past three seasons respectively.
No matter who Brees is facing, he knows he will have to display turnover free football and light it up in the passing game if he just wants to keep the game close.
On Monday night, Minnesota Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford threw for 346 yards and three touchdowns while completing 84.3 % of his passes. At best, Bradford is an average quarterback. But against the New Orleans’ defense, Bradford looked to be a top 5 quarterback in the league.
Moreover, Vikings running back Dalvin Cook, who never played a down in the NFL until Monday night, had 137 yards from scrimmage and averaged over 5.7 yards per carry. It doesn’t matter who the Saints are playing, they find a way to make the opposing offense look like all-pros.
Even with the No. 2 ranked scoring offense from 2016, the Saints could only win seven games. Brees is doing everything he can, but a poor defensive group makes it impossible for him to ever dream of making the postseason again in New Orleans.
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GM Mickey Loomis can’t get it right
Saints general manager Mickey Loomis has not been able to do anything right since New Orleans won their first Super Bowl in 2010.
As mentioned above, the Saints’ defense has been pathetic. Even on offense, Loomis sent away the talented pieces that they drafted around Brees.
The lack of talent and success surrounding Brees falls squarely on the shoulders of Loomis. As such, here are the two main moves that display Loomis’ failures.
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Trading away Jimmy Graham
In 2015, New Orleans traded their star tight end Jimmy Graham and a fourth round pick to the Seattle Seahawks in exchange for center Max Unger and a first round pick in the 2015 NFL draft (No. 31 overall).
At the time, Graham and Brees were arguably the best quarterback-receiving duo in all of football. For example, Graham had 86 receptions for 1,215 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2013.
Despite the incredible success, Loomis thought it’d be smart to trade Graham away for Unger and the first-round pick.
Unger has been a solid player at center, but if the rest of the offensive line isn’t up to par, it doesn’t matter how good the center play is. All in all, Unger was a nice addition but was nowhere near as important to the team as Graham.
Unfortunately, that No. 31 overall selection turned in to linebacker Stephone Anthony who has just 128 tackles, one sack and one interception during his NFL career. He also acquired horrible Pro Football Focus player grades of 42.2 and 44.8 in his two seasons.
Overall, the trade did not do any favors for Brees and the Saints’ organization.
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New Orleans did acquire a lot of picks including a first and third round selection by sending wide receiver Brandin Cooks to the New England Patriots.
Cooks was a dominant weapon with Brees hauling in 162 receptions for 2,311 yards and 17 touchdowns over the last two seasons in New Orleans, however, they decided to trade away Brees’ No. 1 target again.
The Saints have shown a trend to trade away their best homegrown talent. Unfortunately, they haven’t been the best drafting team. Therefore, they should hold on to the great pieces they do get instead of trading their talent away for future draft picks that the front office will probably end up missing on.
Consequently, New Orleans now has a franchise quarterback surrounded by a historically bad defense, a poor offensive line and a lack of weapons at the skill positions. Not a sound recipe for playoff success.
It was great to get tackle Ryan Ramczyk as he will help solidify the left tackle position, but third round pick Trey Hendrickson will need to become a starter before the trade can claim to be a win.
Even if the trade turns out to be good for the Saints, they still have a poor precedent of moving their own talent. The best teams draft well and re-sign those draft picks to keep them in town for many years.
If Brees doesn’t request a change in New Orleans or a trade out of the Big Easy, then many more seven win seasons will be on the horizon.
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