New Orleans Saints: Season Recap – Part 2 Grading the Offense

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Dec 18, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; New Orleans Saints wide receiver

Brandin Cooks

(10) carries the ball after a catch for a touchdown in the first half against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

B. . Wide Receivers, Tight Ends. New Orleans Saints.

The Saints three “Young Guns” are the headliners here. Brandin Cooks, Willie Snead and rookie Michael Thomas are all younger than 24, with the 23yr old Cooks being the “elder statesman” in NFL experience, having only completed his 3rd season as a professional.

Thomas, a second-round draft choice this past spring, showed signs of a future all-pro and led the team with 92 receptions for 1137yds and 9 touchdowns. Cooks added 78 catches for 1173yds and 8 scores as he showed himself to be one of the most dangerous big-play threats in the league.

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Snead, a fan favorite and perhaps Brees’ most trusted target; had 72 receptions for 895yards, four touchdowns and included a 50yd touchdown pass to running back Tim Hightower against the LA Rams. This talented trio did struggle with consistency at times, but those could be attributed to their youth and inexperience.

Tight end Coby Fleener was signed away from the Indianapolis Colts this past offseason to hopefully bring a downfield presence back to the passing game. Fleener’s numbers–50 receptions for a career-high 631yds– weren’t bad when compared to the league’s other tight ends; but his inability to fully grasp the Saints offense was evident. It will be a vital offseason for Fleener to better incorporate himself into the team’s plans.

Backup Josh Hill was on his way to a career year when a broken leg derailed his season, and the 24yr old Brandon Coleman showed himself to be a capable number 4 wideout. If the Saints front office can keep this corps together, both Snead and Cooks have contracts upcoming, then the future is filled with excitement.