The caution that the national media has had with examining the New Orleans Saints offense is easy to understand. A majority of observers still aren’t convinced Jameis Winston is the guy for the franchise, Sean Payton is gone, and offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael is left with the most responsibility he has ever had in his 22-year career in the NFL.
Those worries are conveyed in the recent CBS sports offensive rankings, where the Saints were placed in the third tier among NFL offenses. They are placed as the 16th best offense overall in the league, placing them directly in the middle.
About the teams in that third tier, Jared Dubin of CBS Sports said this:
“We can consider this tier the‘ above-average, but not quite great ’group. With one exception, they all have quarterbacks who are somewhere between pretty good and very good. They all have above-average or better offensive lines, play-callers, and pass-catchers. None of them has a hole at running back. But these teams also don’t necessarily have elite units, with the exception of the Colts (Jonathan Taylor), the Vikings (Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison), and the 49ers (Kyle Shanahan). “
I do agree that right now we can’t call the Saints a great offense, on paper they have the potential, but it has to play out before anyone can say definitively. I would also agree with not calling the running back room elite. Alvin Kamara is there, and he himself is an elite running back, but outside of him it is questionable. Mark Ingram will always be a fan favorite, but he will be 33 years old before the playoffs begin. The Saints could need another player near the bottom of the depth chart to show out this season.
Along the rest of the NFC South, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are listed as the best offense in the league while the Carolina Panthers and Atlanta falcons are placed in tier five. The Falcons have the slight edge, though, being ranked 28th while the Panthers are ranked 30th. Uncertain as things may seem in New Orleans, it’s better to be underrated than ruled out altogether.