The New Orleans Saints offense has been one of the most prolific and consistent unit in the NFL since Drew Brees and Sean Payton took over in 2006. There have been many players who have come and gone which isn’t unusual in today’s NFL with free agency. However, other than Brees and Payton, the one constant has been Marques Colston.
Colston, a model of consistency, has vanished, posting a total of 26 yards in the Saints’ last two games. On the season, he has only reached the end zone one time and has had only one game where he has posted over 75 yards. The nature of the wide receiver position lends itself to inconsistency, but over the past two games, Colston has not been heavily targeted like he usually is. It is puzzling why one of Brees’ favorite targets has had his looks and production decline lately.
With the year Jimmy Graham and Darren Sproles are having, defenses have been diverting all their attention to the middle of the field where they reside. All the diverted attention has led to more single coverage towards Colston which means more favorable matchups for the 6-foot-5 Hofstra product. Despite this, Colston hasn’t been able create the separation needed to get the ball. This is unacceptable from a veteran receiver of Colston’s caliber.
Though there has been a lack of overall production from all the receivers, it is Colston who is the most experienced and should be setting an example for the younger Kenny Stills and Nick Toon. The Saints will need their production to meet their goals this season: the Patriots showed that the Saints have a tough time getting production from the other guys if Graham and Sproles are taken away.
It is a copycat league, so one can expect that when the Saints play the NFC’s elite teams they will try to lock up Graham with their top corner whether it be Seattle’s Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner or San Francisco’s Carlos Rogers. When this happens, Colston, as well as the other receivers, must win their matchups. Though the Patriots’ Alfonzo Dennard is a fine player, he should not be shutting down someone like Marques Colston.
Whatever the reason for Colston’s disappearance, it needs to be remedied immediately. The Saints’ offense is at its most dangerous when Colston is productive since the defense can’t overload one part of the field. Colston is a veteran and needs to step up, especially with a possibly hobbled Graham. You can expect that this will be an area of focus as the Saints try to improve over the bye week because without Mr. Colston the Saints have no chance of beating the NFL’s elite.
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