New Orleans Saints Preview

The Saints have been consistent, give them that. The last three seasons have resulted in 7-9 finishes in New Orleans. It looks like 7-9 might be the peak of Saints fans’ expectations this year. If New Orleans finishes ahead of either of their strong NFC South counterparts, it will be a huge upset. This, however, will be the most intriguing team of the Saints’ 7-9 years. Names such as Adrian Peterson, Manti Te’o, and Ted Ginn Jr. highlight the list of off-season acquisitions. So, if nothing else, this team will be fun to watch. New Orleans has a nice mix of veteran and youth talent, and could make some noise flying under the radar.

Offseason Addition/Losses

There are some huge names on the list. As we already said Adrian Peterson, Manti Te’o and Ted Ginn are the key additions, but they bolster an impressive list of losses, including. Some of those losses include Brandin Cooks, Jahri Evans and Jairus Byrd.

On paper it looks like the Saints came out with a profit after free agency. I really like the Adrian Peterson signing. I honestly believe AP still has some left in the tank. He will not be the player we saw in Minnesota, but he can still put up some numbers. Add Mark Ingram and rookie Alvin Kamara in the backfield, and this could be the most dangerous rushing attack in the NFL.

Ted Ginn provides Drew Brees another option to compliment Michael Thomas (Marques Colston Jr ). Ginn also helps fill the void left by Brandin Cooks due to the fact that they are similar recievers.

I also felt like the Saints gained some ground in the draft. New Orleans has had arguably one of the worst pass defenses in the league for the last few seasons. They helped beef up the secondary with the first round pick of CB Marshon Lattimore out of Ohio State. In the next two rounds the Saints filled a hole at offensive tackle with Wisconsin’s Ryan Ramczyk, got more secondary help with Utah’s Marcus Williams, and added a skilled running back in Alvin Kamara out of Tennessee.

Strengths/Weaknesses

Going back to the consistency point I made earlier; Saints fans can always count on the offense to be solid. A lot of that is thanks in part to having one of the all time greats under center, Drew Brees. Brees has more weapons to work with this year, than in the last three 7-9 seasons, so expect to see the Saints put up a lot of points. It will be that defense that keeps them as a mid-tier team. The line is improved with the return Hau’oli Kikaha at the end slot, and some added depth in Alex Okafor. The linebacker corps is still a little thin, and although the secondary has improved, it still has a long way to go. Their division does them no favors either, having to go up against Matt Ryan, Jameis Winston, and Cam Newton with a weak secondary puts them at a disadvantage.

Conclusion

This team is better than the last three 7-9 teams, and with Drew Brees nearing his last leg, this may be one of the last chances for a playoff run.  However, I do not see them getting there. The NFC South is at its best in years, and it seems pretty apparent that there is a power gap between the other three teams and New Orleans. I see the Saints winning some big games this season, and showing some flashes of brilliance, but ultimately disappointing with another 7-9 season.

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