Willie Snead suspension: Saints offense takes a hit

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 01: Willie Snead
ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 01: Willie Snead /
  1. New Orleans Saints WR Willie Snead will serve a three-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.  But those three games could make or break the Saints season.

When the New Orleans Saints traded wide receiver Brandin Cooks to the New England Patriots, they did so with a plan.  The Saints saw the development of receivers Michael Thomas and Willie Snead and felt the talent was there behind Cooks to make a move.

Thomas takes over as the number one receiver and Snead gets more targets in the wake of Cooks’ departure.  The New Orleans Saints also signed veteran Ted Ginn Jr. to take up some of the slack as well.  A nice plan of succession.

Quarterback Drew Brees commands a passing attack that spreads the ball around to a number of receivers, tight ends and running backs.  So while talented, trading Brandin Cooks isn’t enough to halt the Saints potent passing game.

However, add Willie Sneads’ three-game suspension to the equation and the loss of Brandin Cooks is greater.  Snead is in line for a big season.  He is very versatile and lines up in the slot and out wide as well.  Over his first two seasons Snead has collected 141 catches for 1,879 yards and 7 TD’s.

That’s a lot of production to make up for and the Saints will miss it in their first three games.  Contests against the Minnesota Vikings on the road, the New England Patriots at home and the Carolina Panthers on the road are tough games with Willie Snead in the lineup.

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The Saints could have used Willie Snead in those games but are now forced to make do without him.  The Saints are still capable of winning a few of those games but the prospect is now a bit harder.  And starting 0-3 is a distinct possibility.