3-9-15: The New Orleans Saints were supposed to compete for a Super Bowl in 2014, but instead they struggled throughout the year and missed the playoffs. That was largely thanks to one of the league’s worst defenses, as well as inconsistency on offense. The team is already hard at work to fix that inconsistency, as they’ve brought back running back Mark Ingram on a four-year deal. New Orleans also had wide receiver Marques Colston restructure his contract and cut loose Pierre Thomas to free up some cash. The key is the defense, however, which has prompted the Saints to shop linebacker Curtis Lofton and think of ways they can improve across the board. Most of that improvement should come via the draft, where they’ll be looking to add competition at basically every position.
12=29=14: The Saints continued to alternate wins and losses, as they defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 23-20. Drew Brees completed 24 of his 38 passing attempts for 281 yards and a touchdown, but was intercepted three times. Mark Ingram also got into the end zone with a rushing touchdown, as New Orleans scored the game’s final 16 points.
12-23-14: The NFL world was surprised to see the Saints be eliminated from the 2014 playoffs in Week 16. They continued to underperform, as they fell to the visiting Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, 30-14. Drew Brees threw for 313 yards and a touchdown, but New Orleans was shut out in the second and third quarters in the loss.
12-17-14: The Saints blew out the Bears in Chicago on Monday night to move to 6-8 on the season, as they took over sole possession of first place in the NFC South. Drew Brees completed 29 of his 36 passing attempts for 375 yards and three touchdowns. The New Orleans defense shut out the Bears in the first three quarters in the 31-15 win.
12-9-14: The Saints continued to struggle at home, as they dropped Sunday’s contest to the Panthers, 41-10. Sean Payton called his team’s fourth consecutive home loss embarrassing, as Mark Ingram struggled on the ground and Drew Brees could not get the offense going. In addition, Jimmy Graham’s shoulder injury is still bothering him
12-3-14: Drew Brees was very efficient on Sunday, as he led the Saints to the victory in Pittsburgh. The veteran quarterback completed 19 of his 27 passing attempts for 257 yards and five touchdowns in New Orleans’s 35-32 win. Brees connected with Kenny Stills for five receptions for 162 yards and a touchdown.
11-26-14: The Saints are no longer tasting that home success, as they have dropped three consecutive games at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Drew Brees threw for 420 yards and three touchdowns, but the Saints struggled in the red zone on Sunday. In addition, New Orleans’ defense allowed Justin Forsett to run for 182 yards and two touchdowns in the loss.
11-19-14: There was not much good news for the Saints on Sunday, as they fell to the Cincinnati Bengals, 27-10. Drew Brees completed a whopping 33 of his 41 passing attempts, but only threw for 255 yards and a touchdown. Mark Ingram ran for just 67 yards. In addition, Brandin Cooks is out four to six weeks due to a thumb injury.
11-12-14: The Saints fought back on Sunday as they outscored the San Francisco 49ers, 14-3, in the final 30 minutes of regulation. Unfortunately, it was not enough as New Orleans fell at home for the first time this season. In overtime, 49ers linebacker Ahmad Brooks sacked and stripped the ball from Drew Brees, which set up the 49ers’ game-winning field goal.
11-6-14: Maybe the Saints should play on Thursdays more often. They ended their seven-gameroad losing streak with a 28-10 victory over the Carolina Panthers. Mark Ingram continued to carry the rushing load. He rushed 30 times for 100 yards and two touchdowns. Drew Brees threw for 297 yards and a touchdown.
10-30-14: The Saints have played three games at home this season, and they have won them all. The third victory came on Sunday when they beat the visiting Green Bay Packers, 44-23. Although New Orleans was without Khiry Robinson and Pierre Thomas, Mark Ingram carried the load very well. He rushed 24 times for 172 yards and a touchdown.
10-21-14: The Saints cannot seem to get anything going on the road. They have now lost seven straight games away from home, dating back to last season. It was even more frustrating that New Orleans held a 13-point lead late in the fourth quarter at Detroit, but Drew Brees and the Saints could not hold on for the win. Unfortunately, also Pierre Thomas will miss two to three weeks due to a shoulder injury.
10-14-14: The Saints, who had their bye week this past weekend, look to be getting back one of their offensive weapons soon, but their star tight end could be on the shelf for a few weeks. Running back Mark Ingram is close to being recovered from his broken hand, but Jimmy Graham’s shoulder injury is now New Orleans’ chief concern.
10-8-14: Sean Payton’s Saints continue to win at home, as they beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in overtime, 37-31. New Orleans was in a tough spot on Sunday as it faced an 11-point fourth-quarter deficit. Although Drew Brees threw three interceptions, his running backs were very important in the comeback. Khiry Robinson, who continues to fill in for Mark Ingram, scored the game-winning touchdown.
10-1-14: Sunday night in Dallas was not fun for the Saints, as they failed to score in the first half and fell to 1-3 on the season. Although Drew Brees threw for 340 yards and two touchdowns, he could not get much going when it mattered in this game. On the bright side, running back Mark Ingram, who is recovering from hand surgery, is expected to return after the team’s bye in Week 6.
9-25-14: After losing their first two games of the season each by one possession, the Saints returned home and bounced back to beat the visiting Minnesota Vikings, 20-9. Drew Brees completed 27 of his 35 pass attempts for 293 yards and two touchdowns. With Sean Peyton on the sidelines, the Saints continue to play very well in front of their home fans.
9-17-14: The Saints came into this season as a championship contender, but they find themselves at 0-2 through Week 2. Their most recent loss was at Cleveland on Sunday when Billy Cundiff kicked the game-winning field goal with very little time remaining. On the bright side, Drew Brees moved into fourth place on the all-time passing yards list.
9-10-14: The Saints controlled Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Falcons in the first half, but Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons played a very strong second half to force overtime. Then, Marques Colston fumbled the football that led to Matt Bryant’s game-winning field goal in overtime. The Saints will look to rebound in Week 2 at Cleveland.
9-4-14: On Sunday, the Saints open their 2014 season as they face the Falcons in Atlanta. Cornerback Champ Bailey, who is 36 years old and a 12-time Pro Bowler, will not be playing in this game because the team released him over the weekend. In other Saints news, defensive tackle Akiem Hicks was fined $16,537 for body-slamming Andrew Luck in the team’s third preseason game.
8-26-14: Drew Brees was in midseason form in his preseason debut as he kept the Saints undefeated this preseason. He threw for 128 yards and two touchdowns as New Orleans defeated the Colts in Indianapolis, 23-17. On Friday, the NFL fined Jimmy Graham $30,000 for dunking footballs over the goalpost.
8-20-14: No Drew Brees, no problem. The Saints moved to 2-0 on the preseason without their starting quarterback, who continues to recover from a strained oblique. Brees returned to practice on Sunday. Rookie receiver Brandin Cooks had been looking very good thus far this preseason, but he only caught one of his four targets on Friday.
8-14-14: Both Drew Brees and Sam Bradford sat out Friday’s preseason opener with their respective injuries. After Brees said that he hopes to play when he is 40 years old this past offseason, he remains sidelined with a strained oblique. Quarterback Ryan Griffin entered the game late in the first quarter and looked very good, as he threw for 179 yards and a touchdown.
8-5-14: The Saints will be in St. Louis for their preseason opener on Friday to take on the Rams. Although Drew Brees sat out practice on Monday due to an oblique strain, he still should be set to light up the field for a few series in his first preseason game in 2014. He might be connecting with rookie receiver Brandin Cooks, who has been terrific thus far in camp.
7-30-14: Safety Jairus Byrd returned from the camp PUP list on Tuesday, giving the Saints a healthy and elite safety duo with Byrd and second-year safety, Kenny Vaccaro. Byrd signed a big six-year, $54 million deal with the Saints after spending all of his career with the Buffalo Bills. While things continue to look up for the Saints on defense, they’re hoping to not miss a beat on the offensive side of things. Quarterback Drew Brees suggested recently that rookie wide receiver Brandin Cooks could be a part of replacing departed running back Darren Sproles in the passing game. Cooks is slated to work out of the slot in his first season, but per Brees, could also see snaps as a receiver out of the backfield.
7-15-14: The Saints and tight end Jimmy Graham finally ending a contract dispute after an arbitrator ruled the star receiver to officially be a tight end. The two sides then agreed on a four-year pact worth $40 million, which contained $21 million in guaranteed cash. The move makes Graham the league’s highest paid tight end and keeps the team’s most important offensive weapon happy. Graham will join the rest of his teammates when camp opens on July 24th for the veterans. Saints fans will take interest four days before that, though, as Brandin Cooks and the rookies arrive on July 20th to get things rolling.
6-5-14: The New Orleans Saints have yet to make steady progress on the contract situation with star tight end Jimmy Graham. The team handed him a franchise tag earlier in the offseason, but the two sides are still no closer to a long-term pact. While Graham’s situation is a minor dark cloud hanging over the offseason, New Orleans did beef up their offensive line by signing veteran center Jonathan Goodwin. Goodwin is 35 years old but provides a stable presence and competition for young center Tim Lelito. Newly acquired safety Jairus Byrd underwent minor back surgery on May 29th, but is fully expected to be ready for camp.
5-19-14: The New Orleans Saints were expected to continue to add to their still transitioning 3-4 defense early in the 2014 NFL Draft. Instead, they got Drew Brees a shiny new toy in round one. Let’s take a look at Brees’ newest weapon, and break down the Saints’ 2014 draft class:
Round 1. Pick 20 Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon St.
Round 2. Pick 26 Stanley Jean-Baptiste, CB, Nebraska
Round 4. Pick 26 Khairi Fortt, LB, California
Round 5. Pick 27 Vinnie Sunseri, DB, Alabama
Round 5. Pick 29 Ronald Powell, LB, Florida
Round 6. Pick 26 Tavon Rooks, OL, Kansas St.
Just when you thought the high-flying Saints were looking to get a little more “grounded” they go and draft a stud receiver with their first round pick. Cooks didn’t have the name of some of the other receivers, but he surely has the talent. He joins a rather crowded New Orleans receiving corps, but he should be able to make an immediate impact.
New Orleans went right back to piecing together their defense after an offensive splurge, as they added long and rangy corner, Stanley Jean-Baptiste. He has the build and skill-set of a modern day shutdown cornerback, and at worst give the Saints some much needed depth at the position.
The Saints didn’t make any other splash picks in this year’s draft, but still did well to shore up their linebacker depth, while also adding another defensive back to the mix.
5-9-14: Much was made about the New Orleans Saints needing to keep adding defensive pieces for their 3-4 scheme throughout draft season. When it came time for them to make their pick, though, few could have been all that surprised that the offensive-minded Saints went for - you guessed it - an offensive player. With Lance Moore and Darren Sproles gone and Marques Colston aging quickly, New Orleans wisely added an offensive spark in the form of Oklahoma State wide receiver Brandin Cooks. Cook gives them a legit down field threat, as well as a guy who can help move the chains on a regular basis.
4-28-14: The New Orleans Saints have never had any real trouble scoring points, so it’s unlikely they’ll suddenly overreact and go after offense early in the 2014 NFL Draft. Their new 3-4 defensive scheme is still a work in progress despite making huge strides in 2013, so they will almost certainly add more talent on that side of the ball. Missouri pass rusher Kony Ealy seems to be the consensus pick for them in round one, as he fills a major need and he seems to have the ideal size and athleticism to play outside linebacker. New Orleans signed on veteran corner Champ Bailey, but they’ll also want to add another corner or two to keep their secondary deep and fresh. Going back to the offensive side, the Saints could still add a new wide receiver with Marques Colston aging and Lance Moore released. A replacement for the traded Darren Sproles could be in order too, with Oregon product De’Anthony Thomas being the ideal option in the middle rounds.
4-18-14: The New Orleans Saints have head coach Sean Payton back in the saddle for the second year in a row, and will aim to get further in the playoffs than they did a year ago. The process will begin in August, where the New Orleans Saints preseason schedule has them taking on the Rams in St. Louis in week one. Drew Brees and co. should take the field much longer in week two, though, where they should have little difficulty picking apart a fairly weak Tennessee Titans team at home. Dominating won’t come quite as easy on the road against the Indianapolis Colts in week three, but the Saints starters should at least play through the first half in a potentially explosive game. New Orleans then wraps up their 2014 preseason with a tough test in the Baltimore Ravens one week later at home.
New Orleans headed into the 2014 offseason trying to get even better on defense after a successful transition to a 3-4 scheme in 2013. That led to the landing of stud safety Jairus Byrd, while the Saints were also able to bring on veteran corner Champ Bailey. The rest of the offseason was mostly spent unloading talent, as the Saints let wide receiver Lance Moore go and traded away aging running back Darren Sproles. The key move was franchise tagging tight end Jimmy Graham, however, who the Saints still hope to lock up in a long-term deal.
3-21-14: The story of the offseason in New Orleans has been the status of tight end Jimmy Graham and what his future might hold. For now, all we know for sure is that he’s sticking with the Saints thanks to the franchise tag. It’s not just about Graham, though, as the Saints also traded away running back Darren Sproles, cut wide receiver Lance Moore and even lost safety Malcolm Jenkins. It wasn’t all bad for the Saints, though, as they were able to re-sign explosive receiving threat Joseph Morgan and also kept their offensive line stable by holding onto right tackle Zach Strief. Losing Jenkins ended up being okay in the end with the huge addition of former Bills safety Jairus Byrd, and as long as New Orleans can avoid a holdout with their star tight end, they could be looking at a brighter 2014.
1-15-14: A week ago the New Orleans Saints proved they could go on the road and beat a team outdoors in the playoffs. In round two, they had to prove they could do it again. That proved to be extra difficult, though, as the stage was in Seattle against a tough Seahawks team that smothered Drew Brees and co. in a 34-7 loss earlier in the year. It ended up being about as hard as many felt it’d be, as Brees and the Saints found ways to move the ball, but couldn’t score their first points until the final quarter, down 16-0.
Despite Brees putting up over 300 passing yards and the Saints rushing for 100+ total yards, New Orleans kept coming up empty in scoring position. Part of that came from continued woes in the kicking game, as Shayne Graham shanked two field goals that ended up playing a huge hand in a 23-15 loss.
1-7-14: Who says the Saints can’t win on the road out outdoors? New Orleans did both in the wild card round of the playoffs this past Saturday, as Drew Brees drove his team down the field and new kicker Shayne Graham nailed a field goal late to get the 26-24 win. Drew Brees wasn’t on the top of his game throughout, as he failed to hit 300 yards passing and tossed two interceptions, but he hit the mark when it mattered. Mark Ingram was actually the surprise hero on this one, as the Saints leaned on the ground game and he produced 97 rushing yards and a touchdown.
Nick Foles was prepared for battle on the other side, completing over 69% of his passes and throwing two touchdowns, but it wasn’t enough as the Eagles were eliminated from the playoffs. New Orleans earned a return trip to Seattle to take on the Seahawks, who the lost to just six weeks ago, 34-7.
12-31-13: The playoffs were so close,
Drew Brees could smell it. Brees wasted no time early, carving up the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for four first half touchdowns and adding one more on the ground in the second half to get the Saints a 42-17 win. The win got the Saints to 11-5 on the year and snuck them into post-season play.
12-24-13: Drew Brees and the Saints looked to be in control of a season sweep of the Carolina Panthers in week 16, as Brees fired in a touchdown to tight end Jimmy Graham for a 13-10 lead late in the game. Cam Newton drove the Panthers down the field and scored with just 23 seconds remaining, however, putting the NFC South division title up in the air entering week 17.
12-17-13: Drew Brees and the Saints’ high-flying offense got off to a horribly slow start and couldn’t make up for lost ground, falling to the Rams in St. Louis in week 15, 27-16. Brees threw for nearly 400 yards, but also tossed two picks and was sacked four times in a game where New Orleans just simply wasn’t themselves.
12-10-13: New Orleans rebounded from a crushing week 13 blowout loss to wipe the floor with the division rival Carolina Panthers in week 14, winning 31-13 at home. Drew Brees put up over 300 passing yards and scored four times as the Saints all but locked up first place atop the NFC South division.
The Saints’ week 13 battle with the Seattle Seahawks was supposed to be reveal who the best team in the NFC truly is. It may have done much more than that. Despite coming in as one of the league’s better teams, the Saints fell apart at the seams in week 13, as Seattle dominated them in every facet of the game in a 34-7 blowout loss.
11-26-13: New Orleans wasn’t terrible on either side of the ball on Thursday night in week 12. They just couldn’t shake a pesky Atlanta Falcons team that kept hanging around. Despite fairly efficient play across the play, New Orleans could only muster 17 points and needed their defense to finish the job in Atlanta to earn the 17-13 road win.
11-19-13: Drew Brees wasn’t perfect against the San Francisco 49ers in week 11, but he didn’t have to be. The Saints used a beneficial late penalty and two late field goals from kicker Garrett Hartley (the last as time expired) to earn a close 23-20 win at home.
11-12-13: The Saints were expecting a tough matchup in week 10 from the Dallas Cowboys, and possibly even a passing shootout with Tony Romo. That didn’t even come close to happening. New Orleans turned a 14-10 game into a 28-10 blowout at the half, and never took the foot off the gas from there. Drew Brees launched four touchdowns and was at the top of his game all night as the Saints embarrassed Dallas, 49-17.
11-5-13: Drew Brees and Jimmy Graham connected for two scores early for a 14-6 lead that had the Saints looking like they were on their way to their seventh win of 2013. The New York Jets buckled down on defense however, as Brees tossed two interceptions and took two sacks and New York went on a 20-6 run and held on late for the 26-20 win at home.
10-30-13: Drew Brees started off the week after New Orleans’ bye week the right way, as he picked apart the Buffalo Bills for five touchdowns and zero turnovers in a 35-17 home win. The Saints were explosive and efficient across the board, while even racking up four sacks and three turnovers on defense. The win vaulted the Saints to 6-1 on the year through eight weeks.
10-15-13: The New Orleans Saints had the New England Patriots beat. Twice. Bill Belichick opted to go for it with just over two minutes remaining on fourth down on his own side of the field. The Patriots failed, and all it would take is a touchdown or running out the clock for a win. The Saints could only muster up a field goal. After a Tom Brady interception on the next possession, New Orleans had a chance to end the game, but again couldn’t get it done. That gave Brady one last chance. With five seconds left, the third time proved to be the charm, as Brady hit the game-winning scoring strike to Kenbrell Thompkins, giving the Pats the 30-27 home win and handing the Saints their first loss of 2013. It was a heart-breaking loss, to say the least; one that cheapens an otherwise solid performance by the New Orleans defense.
10-8-13: Drew Brees normally struggles against the Chicago Bears, but that certainly wasn’t the case in week five, as Brees simply took what the Bears gave him in a 26-18 road win. Brees completed over 80% of his passes and hooked up with tight end Jimmy Graham at will, but the real story of this week five battle arguably lies with the Saints defense. New Orleans sacked Jay Cutler three times and forced a fumble that helped them hold their opponent to 18 or less points for the fifth straight time to help them start 2013 at 5-0.
10-1-13: The New Orleans Saints continued to prove they’re a legit Super Bowl contender with head coach Sean Payton back on the sidelines, as they took a briefly close game and ran it into a 38-17 blowout win at home. Drew Brees was unstoppable through the air in this one, as he took advantage of four Ryan Tannehill turnovers to top 400 yards passing and throw four touchdown passes. Darren Sproles and Jimmy Graham were the notable benefactors to Brees’ big night, as both found the end-zone at least once and combined for 214 receiving yards on just 11 catches. The defense also showed up big in this prime time showdown, forcing Tannehill into poor decisions and holding a normally solid Miami offense to just 10 points through the first three quarters.
9-20-13: So much for big offensive game this was expected to be. In what surprisingly turned into a defensive showdown, the Saints were able to hold off the Bucs for a 16-14 win. Drew Brees completed 26 of 46 passes for 322 yards and a TD, but also threw two picks. However, Brees did lead a final drive late in the game that was capped by kicker Garrett Hartley’s 27-yard field goal to steal the 16-14 win as time expired. Next week, the Saints return home to take on the Arizona Cardinals.
9-10-13: Looking to put last year's struggles firmly behind them, the Saints opened up the 2013 campaign with an impressive 23-17 win over the Atlanta Falcons. Drew Brees lead the way offensively with over 350 passing yards but it was the Saints’ defense was the unlikely hero. In week 2, the Saints head to Tampa to take on the Bucs who are coming off a bad loss to the Jets.
9-3-13: Here are the Saints final roster cuts of the preseason: NT Isaako Aaitui, OLB Baraka Atkins, DB Chris Carr, QB Ryan Griffin, WR Saalim Hakim, TE Michael Higgins, S Jim Leonhard, FB Austin Johnson, OLB Rufus Johnson, OT Marcel Jones, CB Korey Lindsey, G Elliott Mealer, TE Keavon Milton, S Jerico Nelson, WR Preston Parker, DE Jay Richardson, WR Courtney Roby, CB Jumal Rolle, ILB Ray Shipman, OG Andrew Tiller, C Jeremiah Warren.
8-20-13: The Saints improved to 2-0 on the preseason with their 28-20 win over the Raiders. Drew Brees had a great game, especially for the preseason, completing 14 of 18 (78%) passes for 202 yards and a touchdown--a 16 yard strike to rookie Kenny Stills. Rookie running back Khiry Robinson pitched in with 10 rushing attempts for 50 yards. The Saints defense was also very good early on, sacking Matt Flynn five times in the 1st half as the Saints opened up a 23-0 lead. The Saints head to Houston to take on the Texans next Sunday afternoon.
8-11-13: The Saints defeated the Chiefs 17-13 to open their preseason schedule. Drew Brees was 7 for 10 for 65 yards in limited action. Backup Luke McCown was 18 of 28 for 216 yards, 2 TDs and 1 interception. Rookie running back Khiry Robinson carried the ball 12 times for 52 yards.
7-10-13: The Saints’ best addition heading into 2013 is easily the return of suspended head coach, Sean Payton. However, they’re also getting more creative on defense, as they shift to a 3-4 lead by Rob Ryan, and will move rookie safety Kenny Vaccaro around to help defend the run and cover slot receivers. The Saints are mostly the same on an offense still lead by Drew Brees, but should be better with a healthier Mark Ingram and Jimmy Graham.
6-25-13: The New Orleans Saints went from potential Super Bowl contender to a dreary 0-4 start in 2012, but with the return of head coach Sean Payton, TiqIQ.com senses loads of value in their 2013 home game schedule.
Without Payton last year, the Saints struggled to find balance all year long, and too often relied on quarterback Drew Brees. That lead to another 5,000+ yard season for Brees, as well as a boatload of points for the offense, but it also lead to 19 interceptions and far too many losses.
This season, Payton is back at the wheel and has already vowed to have a more balanced offense on the field, as well as a more consistent defense.
2013 Saints Draft Overview:
Round 1, Pick 15: Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
Round 3, Pick 13: Terron Armstead, OT, Arkansas-Pine Bluff
Round 3, Pick 20 (from Chicago through Miami) (82): John Jenkins, DT, Georgia
Round 5, Pick 11: Kenny Stills, WR, Oklahoma
Round 6, Pick 15: Rufus Johnson, DE, Tarleton State
12-4-12: The Saints are 5-7 and really shot themselves in the foot last week by losing to Atlanta. Despite the high-powered offense, the Saints have been unble to put up a winning record due to a weak defense. One can also question whether the suspensions and controversy surrounding the team all season has anything to do with their up and down play. However with four games left, the Saints are not dead yet. Up next is a tough game against the New York Giants which could either seal their fate or propel a magical run.