In this little study I looked at the Saints’ record between 2006-2016, which is when Sean Payton and Drew Brees arrived on the scene, breaking that record down by pass attempts in the games.  All data, as usual, is from pfref.com.

pass attempts wins losses ties percentage
60 or more 0 1 0 .000
55 or more 1 4 0 .200
50 or more 3 12 0 .200
40 to 49 31 44 0 .413
30 to 39 56 14 0 .800
35 to 39 33 13 0 .717
30 to 34 23 1 0 .958
29 or less 11 5 0 .688

So, if you’re a Saints fan you want to see the Saints attempting between 30 and 39 passes, preferably on the lower end of that scale, between 30 and 34.  That’s when they’re at their best.  Brees’ career average yards per attempt is about 7.5.  Doing a little bit of math, then, we’re looking at between 30 * 7.5 = 225 and 34 * 7.5 = 255 yards per game as the optimal stats when it comes to winning games.  At the outside, 39 * 7.5 = 292.5 yards per game would be the upper limit of what you really want to see.  A season of between 3,600 and 4,000 passing yards would really be ideal, 4,700 yards tops.  As much as I’m sure we all like to see Brees pump out those 5,000+ yard seasons, the reality is, it’s just not a winning formula for the Saints.

The focus for the Saints, if they want to get back to winning games, is a renewed emphasis on the running game.  What does it take to be a good running team?  Good running backs and a good offensive line (and a coach who will call the running plays).  Sometimes (most times) this is easier said than done, when it comes to calling running plays.  Obviously, game situations will usually dictate game strategy.  If you’re up by 2 touchdowns it’s easier to call running plays than when you’re down by 2 touchdowns.  So, defense also plays into this, too.  Plus, running the ball effectively is a huge boon to your defense since it shortens the game and limits the number of possessions they have to go out and defend.

The bottom line, let’s reign in this pass happy offense and get more balance with the run-pass mixture and get back to winning games.  The records can wait.  It’s the record that really matters.

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