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5 Takeaways From the Saints' First 5 Games

Five important takeaways from the New Orleans Saints team performance in the first five games of 2021.

Five important takeaways from the New Orleans Saints team performance in the first five games of 2021.

New Orleans Saints wide receiver Marquez Callaway (1) celebrates with New Orleans Saints quarterback Jameis Winston (2)

Jameis Winston

The notion that Jameis Winston is the primary problem for the "yo-yo" like performances from the New Orleans offense is not accurate.   

  • Jameis Winston has passed for 12 touchdowns, 3 interceptions, and a 108.1 passer rating.  In comparison, Drew Brees' 2020 record was 3-2. He registered 9 touchdowns with 3 interceptions and a passer rating of 102.7.
  • Jameis Winston leads the NFL with 8 passing TDs under pressure, according to PFF.
  • Winston is throwing 2.4 Pass TD per game (career-high).
New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton

Play Calling

Sean Payton's genius is game planning and positioning the players to succeed in-game.  Although, he confirmed the offense's erratic pace was on him as the coach.  Remember he's getting comfortable with a new starting quarterback and understanding what makes him tick are being worked out.

Here are the questions after the bye week: 

Would Coach Payton...

  • Modify his offensive approach to become more aggressive downfield?
  • Could he relinquish the play-calling duties and help manage the overall team aspects on the sidelines?
  • Have a Tre'Quan Smith and Michael Thomas fulfilling their old roles or changing them to fit with Winston?
  • Have more targets for Juwan Johnson, Adam Trautman?
Saints Defense Celebrates

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The Good and Bad of the Saints Defense


  • Before Week 6, the Saints, Broncos, Patriots, and Bills had the only defenses without allowing double-digit touchdowns, according to PFF.
  • 1st  in preventing red zone touchdowns at 35.7%.  The NFL average is 61.8%.
  • 3rd in allowing 79.0 yards/game.  The NFL average is 112.7 yards/game.
  • 3rd in defensive points allowed at 18.2 pts/game.  The NFL average is 23.8 points/game.
  • New Flash!  Pete Werner is a good player.


  • 15th in allowing 354 yards per game.
  • 24th in allowing 275 passing yards per game.
  • 30th in the NFL with 8 sacks.  The NFL average is 13 sacks per team.

*Stats from Sports Radar

Payton Pete, Paulson

Rookie Contribution

  • Payton Turner: New Orleans' young edge rusher is strong, fast, and shifty while registering one sack, nine tackles, three TFL, five hurries, and three QB Hits.
  • Pete Werner: The former Buckeye has played in 45% of the defensive snaps and 12% of the special teams' snaps. His 25 tackles (15 solo, ten assists) are fourth on the defensive unit behind Davis, Jenkins, and Adebo.
  • Paulson Adebo: The Stanford product is third in tackles with 23 (20 solo, two assisted) and two passes defended.

Cam Jordan & Problems on the Edge

  1. The Saints are tied second to last in the NFL with the Texans, Jaguars, and Giants at eight sacks.
  2. Oddly enough, New Orleans is 3rd in quarterback hits/knockdowns at 36 behind Miami and Tampa Bay, but the sack totals are not being registered. Are the team's rushers are a tad behind? Did the secondary provide adequate coverage to get the rushers extra time to sack the quarterback?  Is it technique?
  3. Dennis Allen's group recorded 55 pressures (tied at 6th with Dallas) and 55 blitzes (tied with Los Angeles Rams and Kansas City at 9th). 

Cam Jordan

  1. Jordan has played on 82% of the defensive snaps versus 78% of the snaps in 2020.
  2. No sacks since Week 15 against Minnesota on Christmas Day.
  3. Could Cam be more effective as a defensive tackle in passing situations at this point in his career?  

The Other Edge Guys

  • 8 Sacks as a unit is troubling with an area considered as team strength.
  • The early injuries to Payton Turner and Marcus Davenport contributed to the lower numbers.
  • Tanoh Kpassagnon leads the squad with 2 sacks. 
  • Payton Turner is definitely a beast!   Look for him to have more an impact the remaining 12 games.
  • Carl Granderson has had flashes with pressures, hits, and tackles, but hasn't translated into sacks.


NFL Top 5 Power Rankings For Week 6

Saints All-Time Record After a Bye Week

Fantasy Football: 3 Options for Saints' Alvin Kamara in Week 6

Saints Bye Report: Special Teams

Saints Bye Report: Defensive Performance

Saints Bye Report: Offensive Statistics

Saints' 3 Ps: Payton, Pete, and Paulson