Payton re-evaluates all aspects of the Saints’ stagnant offensive

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton watches from the sideline during the first half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills in New Orleans, on Thursday, November 25, 2021 (AP Photo / Derick Hingle)

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton watches from the sideline during the first half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills in New Orleans, on Thursday, November 25, 2021 (AP Photo / Derick Hingle)

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When Saints coach Sean Payton was asked about his team’s inability to convert one of the five 2-point downs attempted this season, his answer focused on a more general issue for the Nova offense. -Orléans.

“If you’re a good enough offensive team that’s probably not a problem,” Payton said. “If you’re not a good offensive team that’s what I would say, that’s where we are now, that’s probably a problem.”

Payton added that in a 31-6 loss to Buffalo on Thursday night, gaining “2 yards on a handful of downs tonight was a struggle.”

New Orleans, which won four straight NFC South titles, have now lost four straight games for the first time since the 2015 season. The Saints missed the playoffs that year and are at risk of retiring from the race. into the NFC playoffs this season if they can’t figure out how to move the ball consistently soon.

Getting their best offensive player back would certainly help. Dynamic running back Alvin Kamara has missed three straight games. Without him, their losses became more unbalanced every week.

When Kamara was healthy, and now injured, Jameis Winston started at quarterback, the Saints (5-6) seemed to overcome injuries more easily. They started 5-2 and looked ready for another playoff innings.

Taysom Hill, who was Drew Brees’ main replacement last season, had just suffered a concussion when Winston came out of the season with a knee injury against Tampa Bay on October 31. Trevor Siemian took over in this game and helped the Saints come together. for a win, but is 0-4 as a starter.

Hill is active again, although he has been limited in recent times by a foot injury. But Hill, a powerful runner experienced in running the play option, may have another chance to start soon.

The Saints need to do something different, as Payton conceded after the Bills loss.

“We’ll see,” Payton said. “We’re going to look at everything now. Obviously, we have to do it. “

WHAT WORKS

The Saints continue to be tough against conventional racing games in which the quarterback goes hand in hand. While Buffalo had 113 net rushing yards, 43 of those came from scrimmages or runs designed by Allen.

WHAT NEEDS HELP

The offense struggled to run, pitch and score against the Bills. Difficulty gaining yards in the opening downs with the rush or pass put the Saints in many third and long situations. New Orleans converted just 5 of 14 third downs – and only converted after the Saints were down 24-0 in the third quarter.

“When you come off the field on the third down, three outs and outs, you get nothing,” Saints center Erik McCoy said. “You don’t start the running game. Nobody is touching it, and it’s just difficult.”

STORE

Tight end Nick Vannett scored the Saints ‘lone touchdown against Buffalo on an 11-yard reception in what was his first game as New Orleans’ No.1 tight end. Vannett returned from a preseason injury last week and was propelled into a bigger role this week due to an injury to compatriot Adam Trautman.

SOLD OUT

Running back Tony Jones Jr., who was recently activated from the injury reserve and was part of the squad with a strong preseason, struggled with his first chance to serve as the team’s primary running back. Saints – albeit behind a rutted offensive line. Jones gained 27 yards on 16 carries for an average of 1.7 yards per carry.

INJURED

Linebacker Kaden Ellis left the game with a hamstring injury and rookie cornerback Paulson Adebo was sidelined after a heavy collision in the fourth quarter. Starting right tackle Ryan Ramczyk (knee) missed two straight games. Defensive end Marcus Davenport (shoulder) was selected against Buffalo. Reserve defensive end Tanoh Kpassagnon (ankle), who had four sacks this season before retiring, has missed three straight games.

KEY NUMBER

13 – number of first-half points the Saints have scored in their last four combined games, a stint that includes four consecutive scoreless first quarters.

“It’s just hard,” Siemian said. “We just don’t get things done at the start of games. “

NEXT STEPS

The Saints host the Dallas Cowboys in another game Thursday night next week before heading to the road for two straight games against the New York Jets on December 12 and Tampa Bay on December 19.

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