(WVUE) - 7-9 is still 7-9. Regardless of how it's spun, the Saints still find themselves in the same position they've been in the last three years.
However, like all seasons there was a lot to like and dislike.
Here are our 2016 season awards:
Just another casual 5,000 yard passing season for Drew Brees. With the exception of the season finale, there really were no other games where Brees accumulated 'garbage yards' when the outcome of the game was already determined.
Brees' elite play and remarkable consistency was overshadowed by a third straight 7-9 season. It's gotten to the point now where the fan base has become numb to his play. Or, even worse, they at times point to Brees as part of the problem.
Still, there is no more valuable player to the franchise. Take him off the roster and the Saints are a 3-13 team.
In the seemingly endless flux the Saints' defense constantly finds themselves in, Jordan remains the one constant. 2016 was another rock solid season for Jordan who led the team with 7.5 sacks and 12 tackles for loss. But the stat that stood out most to me was Jordan was fourth on the team behind Sterling Moore, BW Webb and Ken Crawley on passes defensed with 6. His ability to bat down passes at the line of scrimmage is underrated part of his game.
Honorable Mention: Nick Fairley
Special Teams MVP
Another rock in what's been a bumpy three years for the Saints. Morstead was fourth in the NFL with 48.3 average and fifth with a 42.4 net average. The Saints special teams were horrendous at times this season but Morstead always came to play.
Rookie of the Year
He now owns franchise rookie records for receptions, yards and touchdowns. In any other season, he'd likely be the frontrunner for NFL Rookie of the year. Unfortunately, he won't come close with Dak Prescott and Ezekial Elliot in Dallas.
Coach of the Year
A coach on staff for six weeks shouldn't come close to winning 'coach of the year' but considering where the Saints special teams were before he came on board, it's not hard to see why he earned this distinction.
Before O'Dea, Wil Lutz was 16/22 on field goals with three blocked kicks, one returned for a touchdown against the Giants, one returned for a touchdown but called back against Carolina and an extra point returned for two points against Denver (we'll talk about below).
After O'Dea's arrival, Lutz was perfect. The swift turnaround likely cost special teams coordinator Greg McMahon his job, but there was no denying the instant progress at a crucial position. Had this addition been made sooner, there's a strong possibility this season would have looked a lot different.
Honorable Mention: Dennis Allen
The term 'sophomore slump' does Stephone Anthony no justice. After leading the Saints in tackles his rookie season, Anthony became MIA in year number two. Anthony's regression became such a big story that Sean Payton had to publically say that Anthony was having trouble with his instincts. He didn't just have problems defensively but on special teams as well.
I'll be very curious to see what the future holds for Anthony in New Orleans. Remember, he was the other half of the compensation in the Jimmy Graham trade.
Honorable Mention: James Laurinaitis
Originally drafted as the future at right tackle, there were times during his rookie season and even into training camp this year, that Andrus Peat had 'bust' written all over him. But after some major shuffling, Peat finally found a home at left guard, though he played most of the year at left tackle filling in for Terron Armstead. His versatile paly has been impressive, and Peat looks like he'll be a steady starter on the Saints' offensive line for a long time.
Honorable Mentions: Jahri Evans, Nick Fairley
Win of the Year
Week 8: 25-20 vs. Seattle
Sure, the Seahawks didn't have Kam Chancellor or Michael Bennett. Plus, Russell Wilson was severely limited. However, this win put the Saints at 3-4 and ended up being their only victory of the season against a playoff team.
Honorable Mention: LA Rams
Most Devastating Loss:
Week 10: 25-23 vs. Denver
In a season full of close losses, the defeat against Denver proved be devastating. The circumstances were truly unbelievable. Instead of kicking the go-ahead extra point with 1:28 to play, Lutz's attempt was blocked and returned for two-points by Will Parks.
A win would have made the Saints 5-4. Instead, they dropped to 4-5 and once again squandered an opportunity to get above .500 for the first time since the 2013 regular season finale.
Honorable Mention: Week 13 vs. Detroit