A late run at the NFC South title overshadowed what was a dismal season for the New Orleans Saints. They finished with a losing record (7-10) for the first time since 2016 and lacked stability at the most important positions. Question marks remain when it comes to quarterback and head coach in 2023.
No one person is to blame, though. This team was filled with coaches, front office personnel and players that failed to get the job done. Here's a look at three people that let the Saints down the most in 2022.
New Orleans Saints NFL
1. Jameis Winston, QB
Saints fans entered the 2022 NFL season with expectations that Jameis Winston could find regain the magic he had prior to his ACL injury in 2021. He posted a 5-2 record that season and threw 14 touchdowns compared to 3 interceptions. However, it quickly became clear that he was not going to. The 29-year-old threw 4 touchdowns compared to 5 interceptions across the first three games (1-2 record) before suffering a brutal back injury. Winston returned to practice later in the season, but was subsequently benched by head coach Dennis Allen in favor of veteran Andy Dalton. Winston is likely going to be cut or traded in the upcoming season despite having one more year left on his contract. That is about as bad as it gets.
2. Pete Carmichael Jr., OC
Pete Carmichael Jr. is currently the longest-tenured offensive coordinator in the NFL as he has been leading the Saints offense since 2009. His wealth of experience did little to help the team this past season, though. New Orleans averaged only 333.8 yards (No. 19 in NFL) and 19.4 points (No. 22 in NFL) per game. Carmichael failed to showcase the skills of running back Alvin Kamara as the Saints ran the fewest designed screen plays in the league. His system also lacked uniqueness as New Orleans constantly found itself running up the middle on second down after an incomplete pass on first down. Offense is evolving in the NFL and Carmicahel is not keeping up at the moment.
3. Michael Thomas, WR
Wide receiver Michael Thomas followed an eerily similar path to Winston this past season. He entered the year surrounded by hype after finally being deemed healthy and ready to go. Fans were seeing early glimpses of the player that logged 1,725 yards in 2019 considering Thomas found the end zone three times through the first two weeks. It all came crashing down in Week 3, though. The All-Pro talent suffered a toe injury and eventually needed to undergo surgery in early November. Thomas has now played in a grand total of 10 games over the last three seasons due to various injuries. Fans will likely not being getting their hopes up about Thomas anymore.
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