UA-59049186-1 NFL Team Preview: New Orleans Saints - Good if it Goes

NFL Team Preview: New Orleans Saints

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Last Year: 

Record: 7-9

Offense: 403.8 YPG (2nd), 25.5 PPG (8th)

Defense: 413.8 YPG (31st), 29.8 (32nd)

The Saints were a very explosive offensive team in 2015. They averaged over 400 yards per game and over 25 points. The skill players for the Saints were pretty good, led by Brandin Cooks, who was the team’s top receiver and Mark Ingram, the teams top rusher. Tight end Ben Watson and receiver Willie Snead both had breakout years and exceeded expectations. The driving force of the Saints offense, as he has been for years now, was Drew Brees, who quietly had 1 of the best seasons of any QB in the ,yet it went relatively un-talked about because the Saints were never really in playoff contention. As well as the Saints played offensively, it’s hard to have a winning season when you score over 25 a game and still average more points allowed per game on defense or when you accumulate 403 yards, but opposing teams are averaging over 413 yards. Most weeks, the Saints’ biggest obstacle was their horrific all-time bad defense that the Saints offense simply could not overcome. Outside of defensive end Cameron Jordan, not a single other player on the Saints defense could be relied on to be a difference maker consistently week in and week out.

Offseason: 

Key Acquisitions: TE. Coby Fleener, DT. Nick Fairley

Key Loses: WR. Marques Colston, OG. Jahri Evans, LB. David Hawthorne

RD(PK) PLAYER POS SCHOOL
1(12) Sheldon Rankins DT Louisville
2(16) Michael Thomas WR Ohio State
2(30) Vonn Bell S Ohio State
4(22) David Onyemata DT Manitoba
7(16) Daniel Lasco RB California

2016 Outlook

Coaching Staff

 

HC: Sean Payton

OC: Pete Carmichael

DC: Dennis Allen

ST: Greg McMahon

Projected Depth Chart

Offense

QB. Drew Brees, Luke McCown

RB. Mark Ingram, Tim Hightower

FB. Austin Johnson

WR. Brandin Cooks, Brandon Coleman

WR. Michael Thomas, Reggie Bell

WR. Willie Snead

TE. Coby Fleener, Josh Hill

LT. Terron Armstead, Tyrus Thompsonn

LG. Senio Kelemete, Tim Lelito

C. Max Unger, Jack Allen

RG. Andrus Peat, Cyril Lemon

RT. Zach Strieff, Avery Young

Defense

DE. Darryl Tapp, Bobby Richardson

DT. Sheldon Rankins, Tyler Davison

DT. Nick Fairley, John Jenkins

DE. Cameron Jordon, Obum Gwacham

OLB. Stephone Anthony, Kasim Edebali

MLB. James Laurinaitis, Michael Mauti

OLB. Dannell Ellerbe, Craig Robertson

CB. Delvin Breaux, Brandon Dixon

SS. Kenny Vaccaro, Roman Harper

FS. Jarius Byrd, Alden Darby

CB. Kennan Allen, P.J. Williams

NB. Vonn Bell

Special Teams

K. Kai Forbath

P. Thomas Morstead

Breakdown

Offense: 

The Saints should be just fine offensively in 2016. Their only losses from last year team were Colston, who’s washed up, and Ben Watson, who played well but also has never played that well before. I believe they upgraded in replacing both, so they actually could be better. It all starts up front, where the Saints boast 1 of the best offensive lines in the NFL. Led by stud LT Terron Armstead, who is top 5 in the league at his position and without question the most athletic tackle in the NFL and maybe ever. Veteran pro powl caliber Center Max Unger and 2nd-year tackle turned guard Andrus Peat are the other top guys on this unit. I expect the Saints to have another good year up front. The receiving corps got stronger with the additions of free agent TE Fleener and 2nd-round pick Thomas who should both be better than they players they’re replacing. Combine them with Cooks, who could potentially become a true star this year and Snead, who took everybody by surprise last season, Hill who is 1 of the better backup TEs with starting potential, and Coleman, who is a huge target with the potential to do more than he’s shown so far in his young career, and you have 1 of the game’s best groups of receiving options. If all those weapons weren’t enough, the Saints also have plenty of talent in the backfield that stars Mark Ingram, who thrived last year averaging an impressive 4.6 yards per carry. Backing him up are capable veterans in Tim Hightower and C.J. Spiller. And then there’s the man that makes everything go at QB, Drew Brees. He could retire right now and be a 1st-ballot Hall-of-Famer and go down as 1 of the greatest QBs in NFL history. Yet despite his age, he’s still going strong and unless father time strikes, I expect another good year from Brees. With an elite QB, elite offensive mind at head coach in Sean Payton and plenty of weapons for them to work with there’s no reason to believe the Saints can’t average 400 yards and 25 points per game again.

Defense: 

Just like I expect the offense to be on par with what they did last year, I expect that the Saints defense will stink yet again. Drafting Rankins was a step in the right direction, but I’m afraid the Saints just didn’t do enough to improve this defense. The best of the 3 groups on this defense will most likely be the defensive line. Their best player, Cameron Jordan, is still around and he should have more help this year with the additions of Fairley and Rankins. But the Saints lack of depth and overall talent at DE after Jordan is frighting. They literally have nothing if something happens to him. The worst of the position groups on this defense is no doubt the linebackers. They have a group that can easily rival the Giants as the worst in the league. Anthony, the 31st overall pick in 2015, is the best of the group and though he has talent and potential, he’s still very young and needs to continue to grow. Laurinaitis is the 2nd-best of the bunch at MLB and he’s just a castaway that the Rams no longer had use for. And then there’s Ellerbe who has been underachieving for years and is probably on his last legs. The Secondary has the most promise of any group but there are some uncertainties. Kenny Vaccaro had a bounce back year in 2015 after a very disappointing season in 2014. But for the Saints to really improve they need Jarius Byrd to start resembling the pro bowl safety he was in Buffalo. At corner, Breaux was very up and down a year ago, but the highs were high. If he can get more consistency to his game, the Saints will at least have 1 corner they can count on, which they desperately need because they definitely don’t have any others. Kennan Lewis can play, but he’s 30 now and not healthy. The Saints could have some major issues containing teams with talented receiving corps.  Overall, I don’t expect the Saints to give up 30 points a game but I still expect them to be 1 of the worst defensive teams in the NFL. But hey, they literally have no where to go but up.

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