The New Orleans Saints offense immensely improved -- and it was already a very good unit -- with the addition of Emmanuel Sanders this offseason. Sanders found his way to New Orleans in free agency, confident he still has plenty of game left in him.
Why is Sanders so optimistic he can have a career resurgence in New Orleans? The answer doesn't rely solely on Drew Brees, as Sanders reminisced on a career year with the Denver Broncos in 2014.
"That offense was a pass-happy offense, and I put up big-time numbers because it was a pass-happy offense," Sanders said, via Katherine Terrell of The Athletic. "I think that the previous offenses that I've been in, the past like, four years, were more predicated on the run than the past. (The 2014 Broncos) was probably the only pass-happy offense I've been in … and I played a lot in the slot in that offense as well."
Sanders had his best season with the Broncos that 2014 season, his first one in Denver, catching a career-high 101 passes for 1,404 yards and nine touchdowns. The crazy aspect of those numbers: Sanders was the No. 2 wideout in Denver's offense, playing the majority of his snaps in the slot in place of Wes Welker (2014 was Welker's last season in Denver).
Only 33 years old, Sanders' best days aren't behind him. He will be catching passes from a Hall of Fame quarterback in Brees, not Paxton Lynch and Trevor Siemian like his final years in Denver. Just look at the 10 games Sanders played with the San Francisco 49ers last season, catching 36 passes for 502 yards and three touchdowns from Jimmy Garoppolo -- the best quarterback Sanders has caught balls from since Peyton Manning.
Playing the slot will also help Sanders catch a lot of passes, especially since New Orleans relies on a quick passing game and chases yards after the catch. Sanders thrives in a situation where he's the No. 2 option and the targets will come.
"I'm still trying to get acclimated with it and know how it's supposed to be and how they want me to run the route while trying to add my flavor to it," Sanders said. "But that's going to come. We've still got almost a month or so. I'm going to be digging in and hopefully within the next two weeks, I'll know it and we'll be rocking and rolling on a high level."