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NEW ORLEANS, LA – NOVEMBER 4: Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints throws a pass against the Los Angeles Rams at the Mercedes Benz Superdome on November 4, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)

This is my third installment in my series of blueprints necessary for the New Orleans Saints return to a Super Bowl. This feature is focused on the protection upfront. For Drew Brees to have success, the offensive line must be able to keep Drew Brees from pressure. These are the guys that don’t get much notoriety in the newspapers. But the offensive line is crucial for the whole year to provide adequate protection. Also, lessening the hits on Brees could convince Brees to stay around a bit longer.

Good Teams Provide Protection

There is clear evidence that protecting the quarterback leads to wins. In fact, the correlation can be directly tied to wins and losses year after year. Looking at the last ten years can be good sample of statistics to provide a really good insight into the performance of an offensive line. And how that impacts the seasons’ success.

Take a look at just the 2018 stats for quarterback stats alone. The number of hits allowed so far by the New Orleans Saints is 26 through eight games. That is the lowest number for all NFL teams. Also, take a look at the sack numbers. The Saints sit at a total of nine so far. The number one team is none other than the New Orleans Saints. The other teams that are close behind are the Los Angeles Chargers, Pittsburgh Steelers, Kansas City Chiefs, and the New England Patriots. Coincidentally, all those teams fall in the AFC Conference. And those teams just happened to be atop of the AFC standings. 

Not far behind with 17 sacks allowed are a plethora of teams: Washington Redskins, Cincinnati Bengals, L.A. Rams, Chicago Bears, Carolina Panthers, and the Baltimore Ravens. Likewise, all these teams are playoff contenders in 2018. Also, the Saints have beaten three of these teams too. This weeks game against the Bengals will also be a test for the defensive line of the Saints. The pressure has to start being a part of attacking the quarterback. Pressure disrupts the offense and tend to force unwanted mistakes.

Keeping Brees Untouched

Sacks are not the only measure for the protection of the quarterback. Keeping the defense from touching the quarterback also leads to a direct link to successful teams. This is a just a snippet from Pro Football Focus on their assessment of the Saints from 2017 to coming into this season.

The stellar play of the offensive line also allows plenty of other options on offense. The trick plays take time to develop. Not to mention, having extra time in the pocket allows Drew Brees to look downfield for a receiver. Just having the defense guess is priceless. The corners may want to give a cushion. Guessing on whether or not Michael Thomas is going to go short or long will drive defensive coaches bonkers. On the other hand, if the cornerbacks are going to play tight coverage, then it’s bombs away for Drew Brees.

Having the luxury of putting the defense on edge is the ultimate guide to breaking it open under Sean Paytons offense. This play broken down by Brian Baldinger shows how dominant the Saints can be. The offensive line simply makes the Rams defensive line invisible.

This is the third blueprint of my series of the Saints making a Super Bowl run. So far so good. The Saints are checking off the boxes and succeeding through the first half of the season. That being said, the second half is like a new season altogether. Look for the fourth blueprint upcoming near the last quarter of the season.

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View the original article on Last Word On Pro Football: Five Blueprints to the Super Bowl for the 2018 New Orleans Saints, Part Three: Keeping Drew Brees Upright