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Saints Retooled, Not Rebuilt
The New Orleans Saints went into 2014 looking like gangbusters and limped home licking their wounds. The biggest offender was a defense that was supposed to be even better than the earlier version which finished in the Top 10. This unit fell and fell hard, ending up in the 31st spot among NFL teams. Felling the need for change, Sean Payton and Mickey Loomis started to deal. Read More...
The biggest shock to hit the Saints fan base was the trading of Tight End Jimmy Graham to the Seattle Seahawks. While Graham was productive, he was often hampered by injury and his oversize contract didn’t add up. New Orleans used their top draft pick on an offensive lineman, Andrus Peat, got max Unger in the deal with Seattle to fill a badly needed Center position, and the Seahawks pick yielded Stephone Anthony , the linebacker out of Clemson.
Saints tickets will have a different feel in 2015 as New Orleans tries to ease their reliance on the passing game and move towards a solid running game behind Mark Ingram. C.J. Spiller comes into fill the position Reggie Bush used to hold, a dangerous speed merchant with shifty moves and good hands. On the receiving end, the Saints will bank on Marques Colston having one more good season in him and a host of younger players. Brandon Cooks comes back from his rookie season and he’ll be a dangerous weapon in the offense. Brandon Coleman could be the next coming of Colston and Tight End duties fall into the lap of Benjamin Watson and Josh Hill.
While the Saints can’t replace Graham they can make up for his loss by pounding the ball behind a better offensive line. The defense, beefed up with the addition of Brandon Browner and the return of Jairus Byrd at safety. Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan is also working with younger players to fit the mold of his defense. It’s an interesting experiment down in the Crescent City and it won’t work itself out right away. The good thing is that New Orleans is playing in the NFC South where the Buccaneers and Falcons are still in rebuilding mode. The competition will come from the Carolina Panthers, who won the NFC South with a 7-8-1 record in 2014.
Are the New Orleans Saints' Losing Seasons Over?
Only time will tell but this upcoming year should prove to be an exciting season for Saints fans. Since taking over as head coach , Sean Payton has built a high powered, weapon filled offense that strikes fear into the hearts of opposing defenses. Sure the Saints put up big point totals every week but it leads to mediocrity when you have a defense that allows big plays of its own week after week. Drew Brees is playing hall of fame caliber football and most of the other offensive weapons at his disposal are maturing around him. The offensive line ,barring any major injuries ,should continue doing a good job of protecting Drew Brees. If no pressure is getting to Brees then he will burn opposing safeties and corners with accurate deep route throws and could flirt with Tom Brady's single season touchdown record.
Reggie Bush needs to stay healthy and continue being the pass catching threat out of the backfield. It has been proven that Bush is not going to be a featured running back and the Saints should realize that and use him in the flat where his speed and agility allow him to make game changing plays. Deuce Mcallister is gone so Pierre Thomas should be the featured running back with Broncos outcast Mike Bell there to spell both Bush and Thomas. Fullback Heath Evans is a good veteran blocker and hopefully will be used for that purpose.
There is a lot of depth at wide receiver so Jeremy Shockey should be left one on one and if he stays healthy should become a favorite target of Drew Brees, especially in third down and goal line situations. Last season the Saints lost a couple of close games by missing field goals in the closing moments. Martin Gramatica didn't have anything left in his legs and proved it on too many occasions.
Two games that Gramatica missed chances at game winning field goals would have put the saints at 10 and 6 instead of 8 and 8. Garrett Hartley is a good young kicker but appears to be facing a drug related suspension for the first month or so of the regular season. Veteran kicker John Carney should fill in nicely for his second go around with the New Orleans franchise but he is getting older and may be near the end of his career. He just needs to make it through the first month of the season and then he
will more than likely be unemployed again. Punter Glenn Pakulak performed very well filling in for the last half of the '08 season but after drafting Thomas Morstead and signing him to a four year deal I
believe that Pakulak will be looking for work elsewhere this season.
Morstead has tremendous hang time and in college he had a knack for pinning opposing teams inside the 20 yard line. Most teams under estimate the importance of the punting game but a good punter can change the dynamics of the game by shifting the field position in his teams favor. The true weakness over the last 3 or 4 years has been in the defensive backfield. This problem was addressed on draft day when the Saints used their first two picks to fill that area of need.
Cornerback Malcolm Jenkins and Safety Chip Vaughn will join a secondary that has been abused in recent years. Not only did the saints draft for this sore spot but the also helped themselves out via
the free agent market by signing darren sharper from the minnesota Vikings and they are hoping that his his presence will be felt almost immediately. Cornerback Jason David , who was constantly being
burned like a doobie at a Greatful Dead concert, was sent packing and shouldn't be missed. The linebacking unit led by veteran Jonathan Vilma seems to be hungry and wants to change the reputation of this New Orleans defense. New Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams has fueled his players with an attitude that Saints fans have not seen since Jim Mora prowled the sidelines of the
Superdome. In my opinion , not even a hurricane can stop this team from at least making the playoffs this year.
Want to see the excitement in purpose? You're not alone! Witnessing history in the making is as easy as buying tickets. And as always, the best tickets at the best prices can be bought here:
Cowboys preparing for Saints, noise
IRVING, Texas – The Mercedes-Benz Superdome is a difficult place to play, even if the New Orleans Saints have lost six straight games there. It will be loud, especially early with the Saints fans feeding off the expected return of Drew Brees and the ...
Celebrity Cafe - Entertainment News (blog)
The New Orleans Saints have restructured Drew Brees' contract
Celebrity Cafe - Entertainment News (blog)
Drew Brees joined Bobby Hebert on Sports Talk for his weekly “QB To QB” segment Wednesday night, and the Saints' quarterback talked about the progress he has made in rehabbing the bruised rotator cuff that caused him to miss a game due to injury for ...
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New Orleans Saints - PlayerWatch
LB Dannell Ellerbe (toe) was able to practice limited Wednesday and may be on track to make his regular-season debut against the Cowboys. WR Brandin Cooks (ankle) was limited in Wednesday's practice, but should be ready for Sunday night's game with ...
Chat with Larry Holder at 1 p.m. as the Saints wheel and deal leading up to ...
Drew Brees seems to be healing. The New Orleans Saints have been dealing on the trade market. The team hopes to prevent itself from reeling to an 0-4 start. Just another week in Saintsland. On a brighter note, it appears players like cornerback Keenan ...
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Big Easy Believer
What Impact Will New TE Hoomanawanui Have With Saints?
Big Easy Believer
New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton gave a rare glimpse into a possible transaction in his press conference yesterday when he said the the team was “thin” at tight end. He spoke of it in a manner that showed concern which I had been preaching ...
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