Jarvis Landry’s homecoming fuels playoff hopes for New Orleans Saints

The New Orleans Saints sign Jarvis Landry to a one-year deal. The receiver room is bulging with Jameis Winston returning from a long injury. In the second year after the Brees era, playoff hopes are already spreading again in the Big Easy.

Munich/New Orleans – Within a week, the New Orleans Saints are making a splash in Free Agency for the second time.

After signing safety Tyrann Mathieu, receiver Jarvis Landry also joins the Saints. Not only do both fill holes at each of the team’s positions, but they return to their homeland in the process. Mathieu is straight out of New Orleans, Landry also grew up in southern Louisiana.

Both played one season together at LSU in 2011. More than a decade later, they will once again play together for a team in their hometown. Fans in the area will be especially pleased, as they have complained for years that the Saints do not draft enough talent from their home university. The franchise’s front office has heeded that call.

More importantly, despite some departures, including that of Heach coach Sean Payton, the Saints suddenly have a squad that should be considered a playoff contender. “We knew we had to do something about our offence. We were thinking, what do we have to do to win games?” new head coach Dennis Allen admitted the obvious.

Never the less, the Saints managed a record of nine wins and eight losses with three receivers, Tre’Quan Smith, Marquez Callaway, Deonte Harty and a total of 58 different starters. The playoffs were narrowly missed despite four different quarterbacks. That was thanks to the outstanding defence of former defensive coordinator Dennis Allen, who has been promoted to head coach for the coming season. In 2022, he may even work with a restored offense.

Saints Offense for 2022

Still, there are question marks over the Saints’ future as well. Thomas has struggled with injuries more often than not, playing in just eight total games since his record-setting year in 2019. Allen, however, was positive about his development, saying, “We feel good about what Mike’s done in rehab.” Landry just had his weakest season of his career with the Browns, also missing four games with an injury. He finished with 52 pass catches, 570 yards and just two touchdowns.

But if both are fit, Winston has two experienced and catchable targets. In addition, rookie Olave adds another glimmer of hope to the Saints’ offence who can learn from the two veterans. The new head coach spoke highly of the new addition after the draft: “It feels just like getting Mike back. It’s like we had two first-round picks at wide receiver.”

Now it just needs to click between the quarterback and his kickoffs. Because only with Thomas has Winston even been on the turf together for a few snaps. In theory, however, a great future lies ahead of the team. If the O-line remains consistent and gives the 28-year-old enough time to throw, opposing defenses will have legitimate concerns. On the ground, the Saints additionally have Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram II for the running game.

Winston will have to deliver

Most importantly, the former No. 1 pick himself must finally rise above the status of a max-average quarterback next season. In five years with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers he never reached the playoffs, in 2020 he went to New Orleans as Drew Brees’ backup. Above all, his susceptibility to interceptions always caused discussions about him. 91 balls he threw into opposing hands in his career – in contrast, there are only 135 touchdowns.

2021, however, Winston’s tendency showed an upward trend. In his seven games, he led the Saints to five wins and threw 14 touchdowns to just three interceptions – with significantly worse receivers.

The factors are in place for the Saints to become the secret favourite next season.

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Published
2 months ago
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NFC
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