Love Emmanuel Sanders To New Orleans

Sleep on this team at your peril.

Jim Rome
March 24, 2020 - 10:48 am
Emmanuel Sanders

USA Today

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Lost in all the hype about Tom Brady going to the Bucs is the fact that Drew Brees is coming back to the Saints and the fact that they just added Emmanuel Sanders. Damn, that is a nice addition for New Orleans.

On one hand, you could make the argument that New Orleans didn’t exactly need to make the offense more explosive, but on the other hand, check the numbers.

Michael Thomas had an NFL-record 149 receptions last season. The Saints receiver with the second most catches? Ted Ginn Jr with 30.

I didn’t misspeak. The Saints second-most productive receiver had 30 receptions. Thirty. As in one more than twenty-nine. Less than two catches per game. In that offense. How is that possible?

That is a massive drop off from your number one to your number two receiver. A 119 reception difference.

Of course having Alvin Kamara and his 81 receptions helps, but they needed something else at receiver. And the answer wasn’t just running it back again with Ted Ginn Jr who’s about to turn 35 and is a free agent.

Enter Emmanuel Sanders. And how did the Saints get him? With a little help from his grandmother.

Sanders said that when free agency started, “One of the first people I talked to was my grandmother. She called me and my aunt was on the phone, it was free agency which had started. She said, we're praying you go to New Orleans. The Texans had an opportunity, the Cowboys maybe, but she loves that team (Saints). She loves Drew Brees, she loves Sean Payton, she loves the offense and she loves to watch them play.”

And I’m here to tell you that Emmanuel’s grandmother has great taste. She knows her football. If she likes Drew Brees, and Sean Payton, and that offense, she knows what she’s talking about. And she probably knew that Michael Thomas really could benefit from having someone on the opposite side to take some attention away from him. And she’s probably got some route trees that she wants Emmanuel to look at.

Sanders went on to say that after he had made his decision, he gave his grandmother a call. “When I called her and told her she was so excited, not only that but she was excited because of that they can drive to the game if they want. I don't know how much of a distance it is, but I know last year when we played against San Fran, we had 15 family members drive up, so it can't be that long of a drive. That's pretty cool to be back down South and be close to my family as well."

Definitely cool. Really cool. And you know the Saints are pumped about it because it addresses a serious need for them. Now they have a little more flexibility in terms of what they do in the draft because getting a receiver isn’t as urgent now.

And it was really urgent before.

I’m not sure what’s more incredible about those numbers – the fact that Michael Thomas had 149 receptions or the fact that the second-most by a receiver was 30. Why were teams even covering the other receivers? And how was Thomas still able to get nearly a buck and a half for the season?

But Sanders is a great addition.

He gave Kyle Shanahan a number of different ways to use him. He gives you space and he made everyone else in that offense even more dangerous. He causes problems for a defense. You think Sean Payton is going to like working with a receiver who can do all that and throw the occasional touchdown pass, too? I’m going to go ahead and say yes, he will enjoy that. And so will Brees.

Because as Sanders was telling everyone when it was official, he’s in New Orleans to do whatever is needed.

“At the end of the day, I’m here to do whatever I’ve got to do. I’m a player that if you tell me to go block, I’ll go block. If you tell me to run this route, I’m going to run it and I feel like I’ll have success in doing it because I put a lot of work in, and I’ll stand on my work ethic alone. If I don’t know how to do it, I’m going to work at it and work at it until I get it. …

That is what you want to hear from a new signing. That is leadership. And speaking of leadership, for everyone who was falling all over themselves to hype Tom Brady for asking for his teammates phone numbers, Drew Brees texted Emmanuel Sanders as soon as he signed, so there’s yet another reason not to overhype Brady for doing what just about every other quarterback does.

There is no point in trying to declare a Super Bowl favorite in March, especially this March. But that is a really nice addition for the Saints and they already had a really nice roster. Sleep on this team at your peril. Just know I’m not.