Ross’s All-Time Saints Offense – (All Saints Considered)
So, I’ve been wanting to do this for a while and I finally have the time to construct it. Below is my all-time Saints offense. I chose these based on who I think was best at the position throughout the Saints 50-year history with some influence from my own personal biases and favorite players. The one thing I did try to avoid though, is current players. Though there were just a few I couldn’t go without mentioning. I hope you all enjoy! Keep an eye out for my all-time defense next week.Hit us up and let us know if your thoughts on the players below and if you think there’s another name you’d put up here.
QB – Drew Brees (2006 – )
Drew Brees is arguably the greatest Saint ever and he’s one of the few players still active on this list. Since arriving with the Saints in 2006 along with coach Sean Payton, the team holds a 112-78 win-loss record. Brees holds seemingly uncountable records for both the Black and Gold and NFL. Some of those include most 5,000 yard passing seasons (5), most consecutive 4,000 yard passing season (12), highest completion percentage in a single season (72.0%), is tied for most touchdowns thrown in a single game (7), and the highest career completion percentage (66.9%), among other accolades. That 5,000 yard single-season passing number is incredible considering it’s only happened nine times in the NFL and no one else has ever done it more than once. He’s also well on his way to claiming the top spot in career passing yardage and career completions this year. Drew Brees has lead the surge that thrust the Saints into competitive relevancy over the course of his 12 years with the team. Brees is an 11x Pro Bowler, going 10 times as a Saint. He’s also won several season awards including Walter Payton Man of the Year, 2x NFL Offensive Player of the Year (2006 & 2011), and Super Bowl MVP to name a few. His legacy will live on forever in the city of New Orleans as he helped to breathe new life into a city that had been unimaginably devastated in 2005. I know from personal experience, having lived through Hurricane Katrina, how much what Brees has accomplished in the world’s most amazing city has meant to the community and its livelihood. When all is said and done on the field, Brees and his family will continue to be forever engrained into the city of New Orleans.
HB – Deuce McAllister (2001-2008)
Deuce is the Saints’ #1 running back in the history of the franchise. Though mark Ingram is quickly pulling up on his heels, Deuce will forever be loved by the Saints fanbase. He’s the current leader for rushing yards in Saints history (6,096), rushing touchdowns (49), and second in total touchdowns (55). Drafted in 2001 from Ole Miss, Deuce assumed lead-back responsibilities when Ricky Williams was traded in 2002. He then went on too rush for over 1,000 yards in 2002, 2003, and 2004 then again in 2006 after returning from a 2005 injury. McAllister was inducted into the New Orleans Saints Hall of Fame in 2012 beside late Saints owner Tom Benson. He was nominated to two Pro Bowls in 2002 and 2003 and is now the color commentator for WWL.
HB – Mark Ingram (2011 – )
I almost put Reggie Bush here but it’s hard to deny this guy. Mark Ingram is the final active player I’ve included on this list, though it’s tempting to include some of our explosive younger talent below. Despite facing a four-game suspension in violation of league’s substance-abuse policy, Ingram is quickly becoming the best running back in Saints history. He currently sits behind Deuce in career rushing yards by only 734 yards and only trails him in rushing touchdowns by a mere five. Though Ingram will only play 12 games this season, he’s well on his way to breaking both of those marks this season. The former Crimson Tide Heisman Trophy winner and 2x Pro Bowler sits atop the running back depth in New Orleans despite a rocky start to his NFL career. A couple years ago, the questions were about whether or not Mark Ingram would ever live up to his college hype. However, in 2016 Ingram became the first Saints running back to rush for 1,000+ yards in a single season since Deuce did it last in 2006. Not only that, he went on to repeat another thousand-yard season in 2017, going back-to-back. The latter of which he managed while sharing time with explosive Offensive Rookie of the Year winner Alvin Kamara. Ingram has the chance to replicate Deuce’s three-peat of 1,000 yard seasons this year, but will have to make up for lost time in order to pull it off.
FB – Tony Galbreath (1976 – 1980)
I know, I did two running backs and fullback, but it’s the only way I could make myself completely happy with the selections here. Younger Saints fans look at the role of John Kuhn and Zach Line in the Saints offense as a lead blocker and short-yardage bruiser. But way before that, the Fullback position was much more involved in the motion of the offense in New Orleans. Galbreath played in the heat of the baghead “‘Aints” days of the late 1970’s. Galbreath ran for 570 yards and seven touchdowns his rookie year while also adding an additional receiving touchdown on 420 yards. He went on to rush for over 600 yards the next three years topping 700 in 1979. In the first four of his five seasons with the Saints he compiled over 900 scrimmage yards, going for over 1,000 in two. Before being traded to Minnesota in 1981, Galbreath was the second leading all-time rusher in Saints history.
C – John Hill (1975 – 1984)
John Hill played his entire Saints career as the center and stalwart of his offensive line. The rushing achievements of the aforementioned Tony Galbreath all came from behind Hill. Hill played 10 years in New Orleans and 138 games over that time. Upon his release in 1985, after losing the starting role to Steve Korte, Hill said “I’ve spent 10 years trying to make the team a winner. That’s a big investment. It’s going to be tough to leave.” During the 10 years that Hill had played, the Saints had never had a record above .500.Hill was inducted into the Saints Hall of Fame in 1992.
OG – Jahri Evans (2006 – 2016)
Jahri is one of the more recent players on this list, but he deserves to be here. He is one of the most successful linemen in franchise history. He spent 11 seasons in New Orleans, all at RG. He was named to the Pro Bowl six times in a row from 2009 – 2014. Evans was a salary cap casualty that ended up being re-signed to the team in 2016. He played last season with the Green Bay Packers, starting another 14 games. Though he’s no longer active in the Black and Gold, he’s still going strong and is one of, if not the best Guard the Saints have ever had on the field.
OG – Jim Dombrowski (1986 – 1996)
Jim Dombrowski probably held the title “best guard in franchise history” until Jahri Evans came long. Though he did play both Guard and Tackle in his 11 seasons in New Orleans. He was the sixth-overall pick in the 1986 draft by the Big Easy. He started his first three season as a Tackle before finding his groove at Left Guard for the remainder of his career. Dombrowski was inducted in the the Saints Hall of Fame in 2002 and was a starter on the line for the teams’ first ever four playoff appearances in 1987, 1990-1992 all of which were lost in the Wildcard round.
OT – Willie Roaf (1993 – 2001)
Wille Roaf, friend of ASC and Saints friggin’ legend. Roaf played his first nine seasons in New Orleans before continuing his career in Kansas City. He played his career in two of the most energetic and supportive home fields and he’s always been a fan favorite for both team’s fanbases. Roaf was inducted into the Saints Hall of Fame in 2008, only two years after finishing his final 2005-2006 season in KC. He started all 16 games his rookie year after being selected in the first-round. Roaf was dominant in New Orleans heading to seven straight Pro Bowls during his nine years in NOLA. He was also named All-Pro in 1994 and 1995. He was also inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2012 and, get this, was named to both the 1990’s and 2000’s Pro Football Hall of Fame NFL Team of the Decade.
OT – Zach Strief (2006 – 2017)
The recently retired Zach Strief will be remembered as a lifelong Saint. he spent every year of his 12 season career in New Orleans and was a part of the reformative 2006 draft class that came in with Coach Sean Payton and QB Drew Brees. Thought being the seventh-round pick of that class, he went on to become a team leader and starter in the organization. He was a part of the 2009 Saints Super Bowl winning team and is rumored to be considered as a replacement for Jim Henderson, Voice of the Saints. Which would insure his lifelong commitment to the Saints organization and further concrete himself as a fan favorite throughout Saints history.
WR – Marques Colston (2006 – 2015)
Marques Colston is the stuff dreams are made off. Colston was also a part of the Saints historic 2006 draft class, selected 42 picks after Zach Strief in the seventh round. Coslton went on to become the best Saints receiver to hit the field. He is currently the franchise leader in most career receptions (711), most receiving yards (9,756), most scrimmage yards (9,766), most career receiving touchdowns (72), most total touchdown (72), and most 1,000-yard receiving seasons (6- including his rookie year) to name a few. Coslton is undoubtably the most underrated receiver in NFL history having never been selected to a Pro Bowl or given a single All-Pro nod. However, as his nickname “Quiet Storm” suggests, he never made a peep about it. He just showed up on Sundays and did his thing. He was a large part of the 2009 13-3 team’s success which went on to win Super Bowl XLIV.
WR – Joe Horn (2000-2006)
Up until Marques Colston came into New Orleans, Hollywood Joe Horn was the guy. He had set the franchise record for most receiving touchdowns by a Saints player at 50, before Colston shattered that with his new mark of 72- Jimmy Graham also brought in 51 in his time in New Orleans. Upon signing with the Saints in 2000 from Kansas City, Horn brought in 94 catches for 1,340 yards and eight touchdowns. That’s after never compiling more than 586 yards and six touchdowns in a single season throughout his four years with the Chiefs. Horn then went on to total more than 1,000 receiving yards in four of his seven years in New Orleans including the single-season franchise mark of 1,399. In Drew Brees-like fashion, Horn currently holds four of the top five spots in franchise single-season receiving yards records with 1,399, 1,340, 1,312, and 1,265. That’s spots 1-3 and #5 respectively. Joe Horn will also be remembered by most for his incredible antics and outspoken nature. We all remember his cell phone touchdown celebration, but he was also a huge advocate for the city of New Orleans following hurricane Katrina and players who are experiencing long-term effects from head trauma. He’s still an active participant working with the community and was inducted into the Saints Hall of Fame in 2010, signing and retiring with the Saints a month later.
TE – Jimmy Graham (2010 – 2014)
I was actually tempted to list Hoby Brenner here because of his 13 years of loyalty to the club, but there’s no denying that Jimmy Graham is the most dominant Tight End that New Orleans has ever seen. In less than half of the season Brenner played, Graham surpassed all of the receiving stats he’d compiled. But beyond the stats, Graham’s effect on opposing defenses sometimes couldn’t be tracked in numbers. Graham drew double-teams and sometimes even triple-teams- tons of attention by opponents which opened up some of the other explosive options Drew Brees had to choose from all over the field. Though in his final year Jimmy started to build a sliding reputation with injuries and a lessening overpowering style, it was still a shock to all when he was traded in 2015 for Seattle Center and now New Orleans offensive line stalwart Max Unger. Graham holds the franchise record for most single-season touchdown catches with 16, but is also tied for second and third place. There was an exciting amount of progress being made toward reuniting Jimmy Graham with New Orleans this past offseason, but he had received a better offer from the Green Bay Packers. Jimmy catches a lot of flack from the Saints fanbase from time to to time. But the fact of the matter is, every time those same fans say “we need a pass-catching Tight End”, it’s because of how incredible Jimmy Graham was in a Saints uniform.
K – Morten Andersen (1982 – 1994)
This one was probably the easiest to select aside from Drew Brees. Morten Andersen is one of the best players to ever wear a Saints uniform. Recently selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2017, Andersen has been enshrined in the Saints Hall of Fame since 2009. He’s the franchise leader in points scored, and it’s not even close. His mark of 1,318 is seconded by John Carney with only 768 points. Aside from Drew Brees and Rickey Jackson, when people things of the Saints franchise and it’s long history of outstanding players, Morten Andersen is early to the table. He spent 13 seasons with the Saints knocking through 389 of 502 field goal attempts and only having missed six PATs in that time. Mr. Automatic was selected to the Pro Bowl 6 times while in New Orleans and also selected to two All-Pro teams. He was named to both the 1980 and 1990 NFL All-Decade teams and still holds records for most games played (382), Most points scored in a career (2,544), and most field goals made in a career (565).
KR/PR – Michael Lewis (2001 – 2006)
While Tyrone Hughes is a close second here, Michael “Beerman” Lewis takes the cake. He’s also one of my favorite players to ever watch (as title now shared by many Saints players). Michael Lewis was an electrifying kick and punt return specialist for the Saints that began his journey on a tryout. He lived not far away from the Superdome and was often invited to training camps on a tryout basis. He was finally given a shot by his hometown Saints in 2001, and he made sure they’d never regret it. In 2002, Lewis was selected to the Pro Bowl and given a First Team All-Pro distinction after amassing 625 punts return yards, an NFL record 1,807 kick return yards and three touchdowns. Which also set an NFL record for single-season combined kick and punt return yardage with 2,647. Lewis was quickly a local favorite and inspiration to the city being a locally raised prospect who went on to set NFL records for his home team. He played six unforgettable seasons with the Saints before being released after some injuries began his decline. But not before setting franchise marks in punt return yardage (1,482), kick return yardage (5,903), and tying with Tyrone Hughes for most career kick return touchdowns with three.
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