The New Orleans Saints are missing the postseason for the first time in years but it could end up being a blessing in disguise for the team.
Missing the postseason isn’t something NFL teams look forward to and especially not the New Orleans Saints. The Saints began the 2021 season as one of the most promising NFC teams and things quickly fell apart. From that point, the team never managed to get back up on the horse and finish what was started.
Sadly, it also meant that team didn’t end up making the playoffs and thus, the season ended with Week 18. Even though it was a win against the Atlanta Falcons, the Saints didn’t end up making a playoff berth as we’d hoped for. While it’s sad to deal with now, all hope isn’t lost for the future.
Heading into the 2022 regular season, it’s unlikely we’ll see the same Saints team we saw during this last year. The team dealt with many challenges during the 2021 season and hopefully, they’ll be on the mend from those. Most notably, the team dealt with losing starters, multiple injuries to impact players, and generally, dealing with COVID on all sides.
However heading into the 2022 offseason and then regular season, there are some silver linings to the Saints not making the postseason. As mentioned, it’s frustrating and annoying as the team has so much potential. Nevertheless, there’s no reason to give up on the team just yet as 2022 should be a bright year for the Saints.
The first pro has to be related to the Saints finally being healthy in 2022.
In 2021, the team as a whole dealt with a lot of health issues including injures and COVID. In particular, Jameis Winston went down in Week 8 with a knee injury and his season was taken away. It was especially frustrating as it seemed like Winston was finally hitting his stride and hopefully, leading the Saints to an eventual run in the playoffs.
From that point on, the team couldn’t catch a break with others dealing with injury and eventually, COVID being spread within the ranks of the team. Heading into the 2022 season, all of the players who had COVID should be back to 100% before the upcoming season starts. Additionally, we should be seeing Winston hopefully back to playing at the caliber he was before.
Even though it’s unclear what’s going on with Michael Thomas, the Saints could bring him back in 2022 as well. Either way, a healthy New Orleans team is a major plus in 2022 as it was a struggle during the previous season.
The second pro is the potential for the defense in 2022.
Despite the injuries plaguing the team, the Saints had a major bright spot in 2022 and that’s the team’s defense. The Saints defense managed to shut out Tom Brady which is no easy feat as Brady rarely gets bested.
However, the likes of Cameron Jordan, Malcolm Jenkins, Marshon Lattimore, and Chauncey Gardner-Johnson made sure that Brady knew their names.
The team relying on the defense worked out during the latter half of the 2021 season. What the team lacked on offense, they made up for in defensive plays. Honestly, the Saints’ defense could be considered elite.
However, the offense is really what’s standing in the way so the Saints front office must get it together in 2022 and build around the defense so the Saints don’t miss the postseason next year, too.
The final pro is exactly what the New Orleans Saints need after this year.
This could be a cop-out answer for the final pro but it’s that the New Orleans Saints need a chance to regroup and figure out what’s going on for 2022. While the defense played spectacularly, the offense didn’t.
Both the coaching staff and the front office need to figure out a plan to make the offense as elite as the defense. It’s not going to be easy, but Sean Payton has worked miracles before so hopefully, he can do it this offseason.
With the draft coming up at the end of April, New Orleans has the potential to find some guys who can come in and make an immediate impact. Additionally, the Saints always manage to find some hidden gems during free agency. Despite missing the playoffs, the team has a chance to really work out the kinks from 2021 and make 2022 a successful season if they can manage to fix what’s broken and not try to change what worked for them.