3 Saints the Cleveland Browns should watch out for in Week 16

Oct 20, 2022; Glendale, Arizona, USA; New Orleans Saints safety Tyrann Mathieu (32) against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 20, 2022; Glendale, Arizona, USA; New Orleans Saints safety Tyrann Mathieu (32) against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /
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Nov 20, 2022; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Andy Dalton (14) sits on the bench in the second half against the Los Angeles Rams at the Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports /

Is there anyone on the Saints’ offense worth worrying about?

No doubt some fans will be disappointed if this article does not address the Saints’ offense in some way, even though the consensus view is that the game will probably be a defensive struggle for both teams.

Significant offensive stars on both sides are not practicing as of midweek, including Nick Chubb for the Browns and star receiver Chris Olave of the Saints. Olave has 940 receiving yards, 14.8 yards per reception, and 9.2 yards per target. However, he’s not practicing, which is the main reason why he isn’t featured in this article.

Andy Dalton is quarterbacking the Saints. Yes, that is the same Andy Dalton that used to quarterback the Bengals back in the leather helmet days. So how good is Dalton?

Like many quarterbacks, he’s probably good enough to win with a good team. But, the Saints aren’t a good team, which means he will get blamed for their losing ways.

Dalton iss accurate if he has someone to throw to. If he doesn’t have Chris Olave, is he going to be a top-tier threat?

Running back Alvin Kamara already has over 1,000 yards from scrimmage on 641 yards rushing (but only 3.91 yards per carry, which is not outstanding) and 446 receiving yards on 53 receptions from 70 targets (75.7% catch percentage) and 6.4 yards per target. He may be the No. 1 offensive threat, especially if Olave is unavailable or limited.

Our old friend Jarvis Landry, culture changer extraordinaire, didn’t practice on Wednesday due to an ankle injury. Is he a threat? Landry has missed five games this season, and overall has only 272 receiving yards on 25 catches from 39 targets (64.1% catch percentage and 6.97 yards per target).

Landry is a possession receiver, which means he is supposed to get first downs when targeted. In 2020, Landry’s percentage was 45.5% on 46 first downs and 101 targets. In 2021, he started catching Baker Mayfield passes short of the first down yardsticks (only 34.5% first down probability when targeted).

This season, the downward trend has continued. Landry has made only 12 first downs in 39 targets (30.8% first-down probability when targeted). Thus, sadly for those in the Dawg Pound who are still fans, Landry doesn’t seem to be a threat now. He doesn’t make yards and he doesn’t make first downs.

The most interesting offensive player may be Rashid Shaheed, the rookie speedster from little Weber State, which plays in the Big Sky Conference. Shaheed returns punts and kickoffs and has gradually expanded his route tree.

In a small data sample, he has compiled gaudy stats, including 22.3 yards per reception, 17.6 yards per target, and a catch percentage of 78.9%. Somebody has to cool this kid off. However, they have only thrown at him 19 times this season (thank goodness).

In his last game, versus Atlanta, he had 95 receiving yards and a touchdown. He may be starting to figure things out.

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