Goodbye, Goodbye, Welcome Home!

Sep 8, 2013 by

Saints LogoThis morning the New Orleans Saints kick off their 46th season against longtime rivals the Atlanta Falcons! The teams have met 87 times in the regular season and Atlanta currently leads the series 46-41. In recent years, however, the Saints lead the series 11-3 under Sean Payton. (Yes, including last years miserable season.) But since we all know who’s winning todays game, let’s get down to the good stuff!

Goodbye Chris!
Chris Ivory was a 2010 undrafted rookie out of Tiffin and led the Saints in rushing in his rookie season. Despite heart, injuries kept Ivory sidelined for 10 games last year and he fell behind Mark Ingram, Darren Sproles and Pierre Thomas on the depth chart. With a salary of $2-million dollars, management opted to trade Ivory to the NY Jets for a fourth-round draft pick. Considering the train wreck that is the Jets passing attack, Ivory should do well if he can get some field time. We all wish him well!

In three seasons Ivory played in only 24 (394th) of a possible 48 games yet still managed to rush into the top 25 in a few categories:
Scoring: 48 pts (67th/304 – tied with Andy Livingston and Bob Newland)
Touchdowns: 8 (53rd/269)
Rush Attempts: 256 (22nd/219)
Rush Yards: 1307 (19th/219)
Rush TDs: 8 (20th/94 – tied with Buford Jordan)
Receptions: 3 (206/278 – tied with eleven others)
Rec Yards: 32 (203/277)

Goodbye Devery!
Devery Henderson, on the other hand, had been a Saint for nine years; three times longer than Ivory. A 2004 R2 (50th overall) pick under Jim Haslett, Henderson joined the team from LSU where his college highlight was most certainly the ‘Bluegrass Miracle‘ on Nov 9, 2002. Henderson briefly joined the Washington Redskins during this years pre-season where he reunited with Jim Haslett who is currently the ‘Skins defensive co-ordinator but was cut before the regular season began. He is currently the NFLs most valuable free agent…

In his 123 (21st) games in New Orleans, Henderson compiled an impressive set of numbers including a league leading 17.96 yards/catch among active receivers with 200 catches or more:
Scoring: 126 pts (28th/304 – tied with Hoby Brenner and Mario Bates)
Touchdowns: 21 (20th/269 – tied with Hoby Brenner and Mario Bates)
Rush Attempts: 18 (100th/219 – tied with Edd Hargett and Larry Cipa)
Rush Yards: 119 (77th/219)
Rush TDs: 1 (64th/94 – technically 94th, tied with thirty-one others)
Receptions: 245 (11th/278 – 1.9% of all Saints receptions)
Rec Yards: 4377 (5th/277 – 2.85% of all Saints receiving yards)
Rec TDs: 20 (12th/139 – 2.13% of all Saints receiving yards)

Despite high rankings in the Saints All-Time lists, Henderson was a coronary-in-waiting to many fans. His ability to hold onto the ball was often erroneously questioned, but fumbles were not Henderson’s problem. In his entire career Devery Henderson fumbled only three times in 245 receptions! However, he was targeted 442 times hauling in only 55.4% of the balls thrown his way. While that’s low compared to Marques Colston (63.9%) and Lance Moore (66.7%), what many fans seem to forget is that Henderson was essentialy the team Deep Threat and 89 of those incomplete targets were well over 20 yards. And, of course, his first 50 passes came from Aaron Brooks and Todd Bouman…

Welcome Home Robert!
Yes, fans, please join me in welcoming back Robert Meachem! After a prodigal stop with the San Diego Chargers for a year, the Meach is back in Black and Gold! Of course, for your humble statistician it’s a little more work, but fun work as Meachem was climbing quickly up the Saints All-Time lists when he departed.

The Chargers cast Meachem to the wind as a failure, a has-been and a do-nothing much like they did to Drew Brees and Darren Sproles. And we all know how those decisions turned out! The Saints receiving corps has a wide gulf between experience and youth and Meachem could very well be the bridge in the middle, not to mention his ability as a return man! Let’s pick up Meachem’s numbers where he left off with 62 games (132nd) under his belt:
Scoring: 150 (21st/304 – tied with Jimmy Graham)
Touchdowns: 25 (14th/269 – tied with Jimmy Graham)
Rush Attempts: 15 (106th/219 – tied with Jake Delhomme)
Rush Yards: 134 (73rd/219)
Rush TDs: 1 (64th/94 – technically 94th, tied with thirty-one others)
Receptions: 141 (25th/278 – 20 behind D Sproles in 21st place with John Tice, Dave Parks and Jeff Groth in-between)
Rec Yards: 2269 (14th/277 – 99 yards behind Michael Haynes, 379 behind J Graham)
Rec TDs: 23 (9th/139 – tied with Donte Stallworth and 2 TDs behind Jimmy Graham in 8th)

Odds and Ends:
Garrett Hartley:
Like every other Saints kicker Garrett Hartley lives in the shadow of Morton Andersen. Hartley’s 43 (228th) games are just a fifth of Andersen’s 196 (1st) Hartley’s 60 FGs (4th) are, again, a fifth of Morten’s 302 (1st – 32.26% of all Saints FGs!), but his 135 XPs (4th) are just a third of Morten’s 412 (27.32% of all Saints XPs). But keep in mind Morten was here for thirteen years compared to Hartley’s four. (Not including his year on IR.) And unlike Mr Guess-I’ll-Go-Kick-For-The-Enemy, Garret has bling…!


Marques Colston:
Colston is currently tied on the Saints All-Time list with Eric Martin for 1st place with 532 receptions. The next one gives him sole possession of the top spot! Be nice if it came on the first play against the Falcons, wouldn’t it? He’s also just 228 yards behind Joe Horn on the receiving yards list (7394 – 3rd). He nailed down the top receiving TD spot last year ending the season with 58 total scores, 6.18% of all Saints receiving TDs. By seasons end, Colston may rival Horn (50 – 2nd) and Martin (48 – 3rd) combined at 10.43%


Drew Brees:
Are we still talking about this guy? Damn right we are! I mean, he owns every Saints record except sacks and interceptions, and he’s a long way off from either. Still, I thought I’d start this season reminding everyone just what this broken-shouldered has-been has done since he donned the Black and Gold.

78 players have thrown at least one pass for the Saints. Not all have been QBs, (Someday I’ll run the numbers down on that!) but that means Drew Brees represents just 1.28% of our passers. And in just six seasons (13% of the Saints existence) he’s made 19.27% of all Saints passing attempts (4340 – 1st), 22.59% of our completions (2910 – 1st), 21.83% of our passing yards (33,571 – 1st), and 26.64% of our passing TDs (244 – 1st). That one little guy is single-armedly responsible for 22.5% of the Saints total passing attack! Beast!

And so, since he can’t move higher than first place on the Saints All-Time lists we’ll track some of his league totals this year:
Passing Attempts: 6149 (10th – 112 behind Kerry Collins, 191 ahead of Tom Brady)
Passing Completions: 4035 (5th – 88 behind John Elway)
Passing Yards: 45919 (8th – 314 behind Vinnie Testaverde, 1113 ahead of Tom Brady)
Passing TDs: 324 (6th – 10 behind Tom Brady)

If Brees remains true to past form, by seasons end he could take 5th place from Warren Moon in both attempts and yards, 4th from Elway (a certainty) in completions, and depending on his and Tom Brady’s TD output, they should both muscle past Fran Tarkenton (4th) and Dan Marino (3rd) with their totals deciding who gets what place at seasons end.

Brett Favre’s 20-year career has him firmly atop all four categories and Peyton Manning’s 17th year in the league should find him entrenched in 2nd by mid-season. (Especially if his season is anything like the Thursday night kickoff game!) This is Brady’s 15th season compared to Brees’ 14th yet Brady lags behind Drew in all categories but TDs. (And, of course, rings…)

So, to the yammering Nellies who get paid to talk football on “tee-vee”, the next time you put your two cents in on the “Elite QBs” in the league, I recommend you mention Drew Brees at the start of your drivel instead of as an afterthought you half-caff mochacino sucking twerps! Oh… did I say that out loud…?

(###/###) = all-time saints ranking out of total players in each category.

-M Styborski

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