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Drew Brees defends Emmanuel Sanders’ lack of production

Drew Brees Emmanuel Sanders Saints

When the New Orleans Saints signed wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders to a $16 million contract this offseason, it seemed like a nearly unfair addition to an already potent passing attack.

After all, Sanders was coming off back-to-back seasons accruing over 860 yards receiving (for the Denver Broncos and San Francisco 49ers), and has been targeted over 90 times in seven straight seasons.

Just another reliable, talented weapon to add to an offense that had the highest passer rating and seventh most passing yards per game in 2019.

So far, though, things haven’t gone exactly as planned.

Sanders and Brees have struggled to connect through the first two weeks. Sanders has four catches on eight targets for the season, totaling just 33 yards.

Clearly, the two veterans have a lot of work to do to establish the chemistry they envisioned, but the Saints aren’t discouraged about the slow start.

“We are [just] two weeks in,” head coach Sean Payton said, via Luke Johnson of the New Orleans Times-Picayune. “So, I see him being a big part of what we do offensively. We didn’t have enough snaps the other night…That time of possession was a big factor in it…His touches are going to come.”

Brees concurred with the notion that the opportunities haven’t been there for his new receiver, though he cited the coverage among the reasons why.

“I honestly don’t feel like there have been a ton of opportunities,” Brees said. “We’ve called some downfield shots…We called two in that game that were designed to go to him down the field, unfortunately, the coverage didn’t really dictate that, didn’t really allow that…There was a couple other opportunities that for whatever reason, just we didn’t have the time to get it to him or there was a breakdown elsewhere that did not allow it.”

The Saints duo of Brees and Sanders will get their next chance to find a rhythm against the Green Bay Packers (2-0) on Sunday.