LA Chargers: Getting to know the New Orleans Saints
By Devon Auriemma
While the status of Michael Thomas is uncertain at the moment, the Saints have shown that they can put points on the board with or without him. Alvin Kamara has arguably been the best non-quarterback so far this season.
Through four games he has carried the ball 50 times for 236 yards and four touchdowns while bringing in 30 receptions for 321 yards and three touchdowns. He has averaged 139 total yards and almost two touchdowns per game. Kamara and Latavius Murray split carries for the most part as Murray only has six fewer carries than Kamara with two touchdowns on the season.
Everyone knows what Michael Thomas is capable of, but if he were to miss this matchup, the Saints offense has plenty of options to fill in for him. The Saints signed wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders to a two-year, $16 million deal back in March.
The Saints also have third-year receiver Tre’Quan Smith and tight end Jared Cook, who missed last week’s game and could be back for this matchup. Thomas definitely makes this offense better, but with Kamara, Sanders, Smith and Cook the Saints have numerous receiving options for Brees.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Saints have allowed the sixth-fewest yards per game to opponents however, they have allowed 30.8 points per game which is the eighth-most in the NFL through four weeks. T
he defense is led by five-time Pro Bowler Cameron Jordan. Even though he only has one sack on the year, he has been one of the NFL’s best pass rushers over the last few years racking up at least 12 sacks in each of the last three seasons.
The Saints’ defense has been decent against the run. They have limited opposing running backs to 3.6 yards per carry, which is good enough for fifth-fewest in the league and have allowed four rushing touchdowns. They also rank in the top half of the league in sacks. Where the Saints defense struggles is in pass coverage.
They have allowed 11 passing touchdowns to go along with a quarterback rating of 104.6, both of which puts them in the bottom ten in the league in those categories. Both of their starting safeties, Malcolm Jenkins and Marcus Williams, along with two cornerbacks Marshon Lattimore and P.J. Williams have a coverage grade that is less the 54 according to Pro Football Focus.