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Key takeaways from the Saints 2022 season

key takeaways from the Saints 2023 season
Photo courtesy of Brett Duke/

The New Orleans Saints 2022 season is finally over. For some members of the Who Dat Nation, the closure of the 2022 campaign is a sign of relief. The product on the field needed to be better. New Orleans failed to qualify for a postseason berth for the second consecutive year. The team also snapped their five-year streak of finishing the season with a winning record.

New Orleans fell from a 9-8 record the previous year to 7-10 in 2022. Their 7-10 record placed them in third place in the NFC South. Despite playing in the worst division in football combined with a losing record, the Saints remained in playoff contention for a significant portion of the season. However, they needed to gain traction in controlling the division.

The final death blow came on Monday Night Football when the Saints had the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on the ropes but could not close the deal. New Orleans blew a 13-point lead in the final moments of the fourth quarter and would lose 16-13. The loss would put the Saints in a deeper hole regarding postseason contention. Here are a few takeaways from everything that occurred in the Saints 2022 campaign.

Played Not to Lose Instead of Winning Outright

One thing that separates Dennis Allen from the previous head coach Sean Payton is that he is not aggressive in many situations. Throughout the season, Allen wanted the offense to make only enough plays not to lose games. When it came to 4th and one scenario, Allen elected to punt rather than take a chance on a decision that would give the team an extra set of downs. Now that the season is over, we can only wonder how things could have turned out if those decisions had been made.

Offense Regressed Significantly 

The Saints have an offense with dynamic playmakers such as Alvin Kamara, Jarvis Landry, Taysom Hill, Juwan Johnson, and rookies Chris Olave and Rashid Shaheed. A roster with that type of personnel would be a top-five unit. However, looks can be deceiving. The Saints’ offense went through multiple changes to the identity that they wanted to become.

In the season’s early weeks, the Saints were ranked among teams such as the Kansas City Chiefs regarding the total offense. The unit fell from being a top-five group to 19th in the league. No one knows why Allen wanted to utilize a strictly conservative approach this season, but overall they did not get the results they were seeking.

Defense Remained A Dominant Force

Despite a few hiccups that occurred at the start of the season, the Saints defense emerged once again as a top five unit. They finished first in the league in points allowed (19.4), and passing yards (184.4). The New Orleans defense played a part in a vast majority of their seven wins this season. A lot of their success came without the presence of All-Pro corner Mashon Lattimore. The former Buckeye missed half of the season after suffering an abdominal injury against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 4.

New Cornerstone Pieces Were Discovered 

The Saints did not get the results they were looking for this season, but on a positive note, a few players emerged as building blocks on both sides of the football. Rookie Chris Olave became the Saints’ first wide receiver to record a 1,000-yard season since Michael Thomas’s record-breaking year in 2019. Undrafted free agent rookie Rashid Shaheed emerged as a weapon that could be used differently within the Saints’ offense. On the defensive side, Pete Warner and Kaden Ellis are making a solid case for becoming the team’s next great linebacker unit. Second-round pick Alontae Taylor could be a corner that eventually lines up opposite Marshon Lattimore in the foreseeable future.

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Meet Derrick Branch, the founder and chief wordsmith at Strike 7 Sports. With a sharp focus on the NFL and the NBA, Derrick's expertise in sports is matched only by his passion for sharing it with others. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communications from the prestigious University of Arizona Global. Let his insightful and engaging writing take you to the heart of the action.

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