Here is a flashback to what things looked like just over a year ago. Amazing how things can turnaround. Always good to put things in perspective. There are additional resource links at the end of the article. WHO DAT!
The saga of the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal continues. On July 23 a conference before Magistrate Judge Daniel Knowles of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana has been scheduled in an attempt to resolve the New Orleans Saints bounty suspensions.
Jonathan Vilma has filed a case that has been combined with the case filed on behalf of Saints defensive end Will Smith, Packers defensive end Anthony Hargrove, and Browns linebacker Scott Fujita who were also suspended.
The problem is there is little middle ground for negotiations. The NFL is not likely to dismiss the suspensions completely. The players on the other hand believe there is no ground for any suspensions.
The deadline for contract negotiations with Drew Brees are getting closer. July 16th is the day when Drew Brees will have to accept the franchise tender of $16.371 million. This would on the surface be a hard deadline however it is not.
Brees has options even after than date. Brees can hold out which he has said he will not do. He could also simply show up continue to negotiate and put pressure on the New Orleans Saints to come to some agreement before the season begins. Both Brees and owner Tom Benson have said a deal will get done. Time will tell
The second week of the 2013 – 2014 NFL season is in the books and the New Orleans Saints are 2 – 0. This post “Who Dat Do Dat – New Orleans Saints Update – Saints Beat The Bucs 16 – 14″ looks at the details of the New Orleans Saints win over the Tampa Bay Bucs.
The New Orleans Saints defeated the Tampa Bay Bucs in a nail biter this past Sunday September 15th. In the words of an avid New Orleans Saints fan, “an ugly win is better than an ugly loss”. Still the New Orleans Saints have some work to do if they plan to contend for a berth in the Big Game Feb. 2nd, 2014 at the New Meadowlands Stadium in Rutherford, NJ.
Who Dat Do Dat – New Orleans Saints Update – Saints Beat The Bucs 16 – 14 – A Look At The Offense
The offense could only muster 16 points and it took a last second field goal by placekicker Garrett Hartley to win the game. The offensive line gave up 4 sacks, Drew Brees was knocked on his butt several other times and his stats for the day were 26/46, 322 YDS, 1 TD, 2 INT and one of the interceptions was returned for a TD. Not very impressive except for the yardage. That puts Brees at 3 TDs, 3 Ints, 679 yds and a passer rating of 87.4 for the year. Some of this can be blamed on the lack of protection and the weather but Brees and the New Orleans Saints hope this is not a trend. Still Brees and the rest of the offense were able to shake all of the off to engineer a last minute drive to put Hartley in position to kick the winning field goal. Colston, Graham and Sproles made key catches to make it happen. So no matter how you say it Drew Brees and company find a way to win.
Another area of concern for the offense is a lack of running game. After game two the New Orleans Saints have just over 150 yards TOTAL in the two games. The New Orleans Saints currently rank 24th overall in the NFL. That is not a stat that will help the New Orleans Saints make it all the way in the 2013 – 2014 season. An example of what is lacking was the 4th and inches stop by the Tampa Bay Bucs on Mark Ingram. When you can’t rush the ball and gain less than a yard it is hard to have confidence in your running game. The New Orleans Saints have to step up and make the running game at least a viable option if they want to make it to and go pass the first round in the playoffs.
Time of Possession 32:36
Total net yards 371
Net yards rushing 75
Average yards per rush 3.8
Rushing TDs 0
Net yards passing 296
Average yards per pass 5.9
Passing TDs 1
Sacked-yards lost 4-26
Had intercepted 2
CP/AT YDS TD INT
D. Brees 26/46 322 1 2
ATT YDS AVG TD
P. Thomas 5 29 5.8 0
REC YDS AVG TD
J. Graham 10 179 17.9 1
Who Dat Do Dat – New Orleans Saints Update – Saints Beat The Bucs 16 – 14 – A Look At The Defense
While there are some stats that will not make Sean Payton or Rob Ryan happy they can’t say that the defense has not improved and was the better unit team wise this week.
The New Orleans Saints defense has played well in both of the first two games. The New Orleans Saints held the Atlanta Falcons to 17 points and the Tampa Bay Bucs to 1 TD which is a stark improvement from last year. Rob Ryan has made adjustments during the game in both games to take advantage of things that the offenses of the Falcons and the Bucs were doing. The New Orleans Saints have recorded 4 sacks but have not had to rely on the blitz to do so. The New Orleans Saints defense is ranked 10th overall, 8th against the pass, 27th against the run and 13th in takeaways. Our difficulty against the run and our lack of a running game on offense could hurt us down the road. Still the defense stepped up and made stops when they had to.
Still the New Orleans Saints did not come out without injuries to an already thing defensive unit. There were two players on the New Orleans Saints defensive side of the ball that were hurt. Tom Johnson and Patrick Robinson both went out with leg injuries. DE Tom Johnson had a right leg injury during the first half. This added to the injuries of Glenn Foster and Tyrunn Walker last week make a bad situation worse on the defensive line.
Patrick Robinson had to have an air cast put on his leg and was carted off the field probably for the last time in 2013. This meant that the New Orleans Saints had to shuffle around defensive backs during the game. The New Orleans Saints will probably look to make some moves this week to shore up both the defensive line and the defensive back positions.
TKL ASST SCK FF
R. Harper 6 0 0 0
C. Lofton 5 2 0 0
K. Vaccaro 5 0 0 0
J. Greer 5 0 0 0
C. Jordan 3 2 1 1.0
J. Jenkins 3 0 0 0
J. Galette 3 0 0 0
Who Dat Do Dat – New Orleans Saints Update – Saints Beat The Bucs 16 – 14 – A Look At The Special Teams
The New Orleans Saints Special Teams played a solid game and stepped up for the winning score. Garrett Hartley and Thomas Morstead both earned their money in the game against the Bucs. Hartley was 3 -4 including the winning field goal at the end of the game. Morstead booted 3 of the 4 kickoffs for touchbacks even in less than perfect weather conditions. On the punting side Morstead had 4 punts and had an average of 43.8 yards. The total combined return yards on those 4 punts was 0 yards. Add this to the fact that all the punts were inside the 20 and 2 were even inside the 6 and that speaks for itself.
Next up for the New Orleans Saints are the Arizona Cardinals on Sept 22 in the Super Dome. The Arizona Cardinals are 1 – 1
The New Orleans Saints start the 2013 regular season with a win against the Atlanta Falcons. Can the New Orleans Saints make it two in a row to get to 2 – 0? This article looks at that. There are additional links to resources to learn more about the New Orleans Saints below.
The New Orleans Saints started the season at home against their division rivals the Atlanta Falcons. The New Orleans Saints gave Sean Payton a win to welcome him back to the Mercedes Benz Dome to put the New Orleans Saints on top of the NFC South Division.
This week the New Orleans Saints take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Tampa Bay. The Bucs started the season with a loss to the New York Jets and are in a three way tie for last in the NFC South. The Saints and the Bucs kickoff at 3:05 CT on Sunday 09 15 2013. The New Orleans Saint have a chance to start the regular season 2 – 0 for the first time since they did so in 2010.
In this division rivalry, the New Orleans Saints lead the series 25 – 17. Last season the New Orleans Saints swept the Bucs with a 41 – 0 win at home and a 35 – 28 win in Tampa Bay.
The New Orleans Saints looked good on offense and improved on defense. The offense was able to overcome being down 17 – 13 in the 3rd quarter and the defense made a goal line stand to give the ball back to the offense with an interception in the end zone in Atlanta’s final drive of the game.
The New Orleans Saints offense looked like the offense of old with Drew as field general and Sean Payton calling the shots from the sidelines in his 7th season. Drew was an impressive 26 for 35 for 357 yards along with 2 TDs and 0 Ints to give Brees a passer rating of 113.6. Marques Colston quietly moved into first place as the New Orleans Saints all-time leading receiver and Darren Sproles had 140 all purpose yards. Here are the receiving stats for the New Orleans Saints:
New Orleans Receiving – D. Sproles – 6 rec 88 yds 14.7 avg 0 TDs, K. Stills – 2 rec 86 yds 43.0 avg 0 TDs, M. Colston - 5 rec 68 yds 13.6 avg 1 TD, J. Graham – 4 rec 45 yds 11.3 avg 1 TDs, B. Watson 3 rec 31 yds 10.3 avg 0 TDs, L. Moore 2 rec 23 yds 11.5 avg 0 TDs, P. Thomas 4 rec 16 yds 4.0 avg 0 TDS
New Orleans Rushing – P. Thomas 9 car 43 yds 4.8 avg 0 TDs, D. Sproles 8 car 22 yds 2.8 avg 0 TDS, M. Ingram 9 car 11 yds 1.2 avg 0 TDS, D. Brees 3 car 2 yds 0.7 avg 0 TDs
A couple of things jump out in those stats. The New Orleans Saints only rushed for 78 rushing yards and Mark Ingram struggled. While the passing game of the New Orleans Saints is their bread and butter, they have a greater degree of success when they rush for over 100 yards in a game. Time will tell if this gets better or will impact the success of the New Orleans Saints in the 2013 campaign.
The New Orleans Saints defense came off a record season that they would like to forget. The New Orleans Saints under Steve Spagnuolo had the worst season that any defense has had in the history of the NFL. The New Orleans Saints replaced Spagnuolo with former Dallas Cowboy defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, to switch to the 3-4 scheme. The New Orleans Saints had a much improved game even though they had a slow start. The Saints forced 2 turnovers, one of which led to 6 points and another which clinched the winning score. Roman Harper was the leader for the defense against Atlanta. Harper had an interception and a fumble recovery in the season opener. The New Orleans Saints defense held the Falcons 3 of 11 on 3rd down conversions. The goal line stand ending in a tipped ball by Kenny Vaccaro that was intercepted by Roman Harper won the game for the New Orleans Saints. Here is a summary of the defensive stats:
M. Jenkins 6 total tackles 4 Solo Tackles 0 sacks 0 tackle for loss 0 passes defended 0 QB Hits, K. Vaccaro 5 total tackles 5 Solo Tackles 0 sacks 0 tackle for loss 1 passes defended 0 QB Hits, C. Lofton 5 total tackles 3 Solo Tackles 0 sacks 0 tackle for loss 0 passes defended 0 QB Hits, D. Hawthorne 4 total tackles 2 Solo Tackles 0 sacks 1 tackle for loss 0 passes defended 0 QB Hits, P. Haralson 4 total tackles 1 Solo Tackles 1 sacks 1 tackle for loss 0 passes defended 1 QB Hits, A. Hicks 3 total tackles 3 Solo Tackles 1 sacks 1 tackle for loss 0 passes defended 1 QB Hits, R. Harper 3 total tackles 2 Solo Tackles 0 sacks 0 tackle for loss 1 passes defended 0 QB Hits, J. Greer 3 total tackles 2 Solo Tackles 0 sacks 0 tackle for loss 0 passes defended 0 QB Hits, C. Jordan 3 total tackles 0 Solo Tackles 0 sacks 0 tackle for loss 0 passes defended 1 QB Hits, C. White 2 total tackles 2 Solo Tackles 0 sacks 0 tackle for loss 0 passes defended 0 QB Hits, K. Lewis 2 total tackles 2 Solo Tackles 0 sacks 0 tackle for loss 0 passes defended 0 QB Hits, R. Bush 2 1 total tackles 0 Solo Tackles 0 sacks 0 tackle for loss 0 passes defended 0 QB Hits, P. Robinson 2 total tackles 1 Solo Tackles 0 sacks 0 tackle for loss 0 passes defended 0 QB Hits, J. Jenkins 2 total tackles 1 Solo Tackles 0 sacks 0 tackle for loss 0 passes defended 0 QB Hits, J. Galette 1 total tackles 1 Solo Tackles 1 sacks 1 tackle for loss 0 passes defended 1 QB hits, W. Herring 1 total tackles 1 Solo Tackles 0 sacks 0 tackle for loss 0 passes defended 0 QB Hits, K. Reddick 1 total tackles 1 Solo Tackles 0 sacks 0 tackle for loss 0 passes defended 0 QB Hits, M. Colston 1 total tackles 1 Solo Tackles 0 sacks 0 tackle for loss 0 passes defended 0 QB Hits, T. Johnson 1 total tackles 0 Solo Tackles 0 sacks 0 tackle for loss 0 passes defended 1 QB Hits, R. Humber 0 total tackles 0 Solo Tackles 0 sacks 0 tackle for loss 1 passes defended 0 QB Hits, T. Walker 0 total tackles 0 Solo Tackles 0 sacks 0 tackle for loss 0 passes defended 1 QB Hits
The special teams play did not hurt the New Orleans Saints. Kicker Garrett Hartley was good on three out of three field goal attempts. Punter Thomas Morstead averaged 49.3 yards with 3 punts, and all of his six kickoffs went into the end zone for touchbacks.
The Buccaneers started the season losing to the New York Jets by a score of 18 to 17. The Bucs only gave up 304 total net yards. Josh Freeman was 15 out of 31 passes for 210 yards, 1 TD and 1 Int. Running back Doug Martin rushed for 65 yards and wide receiver Vincent Jackson had 7 receptions for 154 yards.
This is a game that the New Orleans Saints should win if they play the way they played in the season opener. The wildcard is Darrelle Revis who, when he is at full speed, limits where the New Orleans Saints will be able throw the ball. The New Orleans defense should be able to handle the Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense.
This is an update on the latest news for the New Orleans Saints at the start of free agency on 03 12 2013.
The free agency season for the New Orleans Saints started with some surprises. Some New Orleans Saint players stayed with the team by restructuring their contracts.
All Pro Bushrod goes to the Bears for more than most felt he was worth.
New Orleans Saint Backup QB Chase Daniels goes to KC to battle for a starting job. This could open the door for Luke McCown to return as the backup to Drew Brees.
It is still early in the free agency process. Some targets that have been mentioned for the New Orleans Saints are:
1. OLB VICTOR BUTLER, Dallas Cowboys
2. DL RICKY JEAN-FRANCOIS, San Francisco 49ers
3. OLB CONNOR BARWIN, Houston Texans
4. CB CARY WILLIAMS, Baltimore Ravens
5. CB MIKE JENKINS, Dallas Cowboys
6. OT Sam Baker, Atlanta Falcons
7. OLB Anthony Spencer, Dallas Cowboys
This is a story about of the many things that Coach Sean Payton has done for the people of the New Orleans area off the field. There are other resource links at the end of this article.
This great story was passed to me via e-mail. I wanted to share it with you. All the ”Bless you Boys!” have been answered. The New Orleans Saints and us Saints fans have a coach to be proud of . What a great guy!
New Orleans Saints’ Head Coach Sean Payton and his wife have two
children. The Paytons are members of our parish, Mary, Queen of Peace (MQP)
in Mandeville, LA., and the children attend Mary, Queen of Peace Catholic
Earlier in the year, on the Friday before the Monday Night Game (Nov.
2, 2009) in the Super Dome against the Atlanta Falcons, MQP School held a
fundraiser for our Youth Director’s family. Our Youth Director and her
husband have five children. The youngest, at 8-months, had been diagnosed
with cancer and had been hospitalized for several months. The fundraiser was
a flag football game between the students and faculty. The students had been
practicing and were more organized, having their own coaching staff and
having already played together in several games. The faculty was not as
organized and lacked the know-how of an experienced coaching staff.
Coach Payton, with the Saint’s six-game winning streak on the line and
poised to step onto the national spotlight on Monday night, spent Friday
afternoon at the MQP fundraiser coaching the faculty. When the game ended,
the students had prevailed and Coach Sean Payton’s MQP faculty team had lost
a closely contested gridiron battle, all in the best interest in giving.
Following the game, the faculty and student body at MQP gathered around
Coach Payton and let him know that this was the only game he could lose all
Even more amazing, the second grade children at MQP have a tradition
they practice regarding a statue of Mary, Mother of God. During the school
year, each second grade student has the opportunity to bring this statue
home from school for a week to share with their family.
Prior to leaving for Miami and Super Bowl XLIV, Sean Payton’s son, a
third grade student at MQP, recalling the second grade tradition, requested
permission to take the second grade students’ statue of the Blessed Virgin
Mary with him and his family as they traveled to the Super Bowl. As soon as
he received the permission of the second grade teacher, Coach Payton’s son
obtained the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God. Coach Payton
placed it the Saints’ locker room at Sun Life Stadium in Miami during the
game, so the Blessed Mother was with them at the Super Bowl.
I hope you enjoyed reading these two stories about the Payton family as
much as I have enjoyed sharing them.
Written by Deacon Eddy Beckendorf of MQP parish with minor editing
*picture from Mary Queen of Peace website
Sharon Denise Talbot
The New Orleans Saints have been the target of an investigation by the National Football League. This article talks about Jonathan Vilma’s decision to sue Roger Goodell.
Just when you thought the season could not get any crazier for the NFL, Roger Goodell and The New Orleans Saints it does. Jonathan Vilma, New Orleans Saints linebacker, has decided to sue Roger Goodell, NFL Commissioner. This lawsuit is historic on many fronts.
Jonathan Vilma has what would seem to be a basis for his lawsuit. The punishment that Goodell has handed down to Vilma is based on facts received by third parties. Vilma did not provide any information since he was not interviewed in the investigation. Goodell says there are 50,000 pages of information but this information has not been made public. Goodell alleges that Vilma made an offer to give anyone who knocked Brett Favre out out of the 2010 playoff game $10,000 in cash.
How much Vilma will receive in damages in terms of how his career has been impacted will be difficult to determine. It does not have an impact on Vilma’s ability to perform on the field, if allowed to play whether for the New Orleans Saints or another NFL team. However, the statements made by Commissioner Goodell are very specific which will play in Vilma’s favor.
The most likely responses by the NFL are as follows:
1. It is frivolous suit and should be dismissed.
2. It can not move forward because it falls under the collective bargaining agreement. This means the suit should be dismissed.
3. Vilma is a public figure so actual malice must be proven if the suit goes forward.
4. The truth is not defamation and the statements regarding Vilma are true. The danger with this defense is that it will lead to discovery which the NFL wishes to avoid.
5. The NFL could also claim that it did not release any information to the media thus no real damage.
Vilma’s attorney’s could argue the following:
1. There is no language that allows the NFL or the commissioner to defame any player.
2. Goodell’s statements are so egregious that there would be no need to examine them any further and the court should rule in Vilma’s favor.
3. Vilma could say that the NFL impacted his ability to gain employment by releasing false information to potential employers, the other NFL teams.
This lawsuit is a challenge to a commissioner who has acted with more power than any other in U.S sports history. Goodell has wielded power to control the entire process when there has been any issue or complaint. The results will have a large impact on the sports industry whichever way it goes.
The New Orleans Saints 2011 Draft Update Defense Is Improved In Round 3
The New Orleans Saints continued its move to improve the defensive side the ball as the draft moved into the third round Friday night. The New Orleans Saints picked linebacker Martez Wilson and cornerback Johnny Patrick in the third round.
Martez Wilson was projected by some to go in the first or second rounds unless teams went for certain needs versus the best player available. The quarterback run in the first round created this opportunity for the New Orleans Saints although no mock drafts had Martez Wilson being available at this point. Martez Wilson was a first team All Big Ten linebacker in 2010 on the Illinois football team. At 6ft 4in and 250 lbs Martez Wilson will probably compete for a position at outside linebacker for the New Orleans Saints.
Martez Wilson may have dropped because he missed his junior year as a result of a herniated disc in his neck. This however did not slow Martez Wilson down and showing great work ethic he was quicker and more aggressive than he had been during his sophomore year. In 2010, Martez Wilson had 111 tackles and of those 46 were solos along with 4 sacks. Martez Wilson had a good combine and had the fastest time among linebackers, with a 4.49, who attended and was third in the broad jump hitting a mark of 10ft 6in.
If Wilson adds some weight he could even play some defensive end under certain situation. Still the more likely position will be at outside linebacker especially based on the New Orleans Saints current depth chart.
The New Orleans Saints had another pick in the third round and they continued the approach of improving the defense. The New Orleans Saints took Johnny Patrick with the 88th overall pick. The 5-11, 191 lb Johnny Patrick is a cornerback from Louisville. Johnny Patrick has some work to do after a disappointing 40 time at the combine. There were other cornerbacks who had been rated higher by many pundits. There must be something that excited the New Orleans Saints and Jon Gruden seem to agree because he said that Johnny Patrick had the smoothest back peddle he had ever seen. Still Johnny Patrick was an All Big Ten Selection in his senior year with 49 tackles and 5 interceptions.
There were some questions regarding an arrest in 2010 for misdemeanor assault New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton said the team had investigated the incident and was satisfied that Johnny Patrick did not have a character issue.
The New Orleans Saints have two picks remaining in the 7th round of the draft on Saturday.
The New Orleans Saints 2011 Draft Update
The New Orleans Saints 2011 Draft Update Defense And Offense Addressed In Round 1
The New Orleans Saints may have had two gems fall in their lap in the first round of the draft Thursday night. When the New Orleans Saints looked up a quality defensive lineman in Cameron Jordan was available and they were able to trade up to get a bruising running back.
When the 24th came up the New Orleans Saints saw a run stopping defensive end named Cameron Jordan staring them in the face. Some had expected Cameron Jordan to be chosen in the top 10 picks and certainly in the top 20. Cameron Jordan being available at the 24th spot could not have been expected. The New Orleans Saints had problems with the run in the 2010 – 2011 year and Cameron Jordan is a player who could help in that area. While the New Orleans Saints could not have afforded teams to allow Cameron Jordan to fall to the 24th spot they certainly did not complain when he did.
Cameron Jordan is a physical specimen at 6ft 4in and 287 lbs. This will give the New Orleans Saints something to work with. Cameron Jordan is considered a quality run stopper and could play a strong side defensive end or possibly move to defensive tackle if he grows into that position. Either way Cameron Jordan is a quality pick for the New Orleans Saints. Cameron Jordan’s father, Steve Jordan, played in the NFL so this should help him with some experience about what it takes to be a true professional. The New Orleans Saints chose an elite athlete with plenty of upside.
Then again the New Orleans Saints saw an opportunity four picks later. The New Orleans Saints traded into the first round again by giving up their 2011 2nd round pick and their 2012 1st round pick to get Mark Ingram from Alabama.
Although many people expected that Mark Ingram would be the first running back taken few expected him to last this long. Some had Mark Ingram being picked by the New Orleans Saints but when the opportunity to pick Cameron Jordan came up that seemed improbable if not impossible. So for the New Orleans Saints to be able to address two problem areas was amazing.
Mark Ingram has often been compared to Hall of Fame running back Emmitt Smith. Mark Ingram’s ability to be effective both in the running and passing games will fit right into the offensive scheme of the New Orleans Saints. Mark Ingram was the first Heisman trophy winner in the storied history of the Crimson Tide.
Mark Ingram set the Alabama single season rushing record in 2009 and helped lead the Alabama football team to a national title. Mark Ingram became the first Alabama running back to be taken in the first round since Shaun Alexander in 2000.
Mark Ingram will certainly fit into the New Orleans Saints offensive scheme as an every down running back. Mark Ingram is considered one of the most polished running backs to come out of the college game in recent history. Mark Ingram has great vision and can run either between the tackles or make defenders miss in the open field. He has the power to run over tacklers and the speed to run away from them. The other important aspect to Mark Ingram’s game is he is an excellent pass blocker.
The addition of Cameron Jordan is not likely to cause anyone on the defensive side of the ball for the New Orleans Saints to be cut. Cameron Jordan will be an addition that will probably not cause a subtraction. Mark Ingram is likely to have a different effect on the New Orleans Saints offensive team.
Pierre Thomas has already signed a long term deal so Reggie Bush has now become an expensive odd man out. While Reggie could stay it would take a reworking of his contract that he will probably not agree to. The best evidence of this is the words of Reggie Bush on his twitter account “It’s been fun New Orleans.”
New Orleans Saints Draft Cameron Jordan and Mark Ingram in the first round.
New Orleans Saints 2011 Draft Update
New Orleans Saints
The NFL draft is fast approaching and less than 1 week away and the excitement is building. The New Orleans Saints had a respectable season in the 2010 – 2011 campaign but are looking to improve and get back to the Super Bowl. So what is the plan to accomplish a Super Bowl run and place the New Orleans Saints in the discussions of the NFL’s dynasty teams?
The New Orleans Saints were upset in the wild card round of the NFL Playoffs at the end of the season. There were several weaknesses that were evident during the game against the Seahawks. These are some of the things that will need to be addressed in the 2011 NFL draft.
New Orleans Saints 2011 Draft April Update Summary
When you look at the offensive side of the ball the New Orleans Saints are a very talented team. Drew Brees can make any team look good. Still there are some weaknesses, depth at running back, fullback and offensive line that came to light with injuries during last year’s season.
On the defensive side of the ball the New Orleans Saints did not live up to their Super Bowl standards. The way the Seattle Seahawks were able to run against the New Orleans Saints was just a continuation of what teams could have done almost all season. The area of linebackers and defensive line is lacking.
Still the New Orleans Saints have a very strong core of experienced players and with a few tweaks could challenge for the title again in the 2011 – 2012 season.
New Orleans Saints 2011 Draft Update: Offensive Line
The New Orleans Saints probably would have been better off had they been able to pick up a free agent or two in free agency. Still right now that option is up in the air. Still if the New Orleans Saints are able to pick up a player in the draft that has the ability to play multiple positions that could be an option. Players like Gabe Carimi, Nate Solder and Derek Sherrod are possibilities, if they are the best available at the 24th slot or in later spots if the New Orleans Saints pick for a different position at 24. The more likely scenario is for the New Orleans Saints to bring their entire line back and draft for depth in the later rounds. Finding a long snapper is something that is necessary and could be taken care of with this pick. Jason Kyle will probably be allowed to move on. This is a position that is often overlooked but can be a game changer. As Drew Brees ages, making sure the offensive line is able to provide the protection needed becomes more important.
New Orleans Saints 2011 Draft Update: Defensive Line
The defensive line was an area of weakness in 2010. There are some talented players on the defensive line but age is a factor for some. Defensive ends Will Smith and Alex Brown have both been solid players. Brown lacks pass rushing ability and as a result he could be replaced. Sedrick Ellis is the solid anchor on the inside of the defensive line, and Remi Ayodele played pretty decent in 2010.
The New Orleans Saints added a big body to the defensive line with the addition of Shaun Rogers. Rogers is coming off his worst statistical year during his career. Still he is a big body and alongside the athletic Sedrick Ellis. Ellis is considered by most experts to be one of the most underrated defensive tackles in the NFL. Ellis is locked in at the number one spot in the interior of the D line. So in the short term the interior of the line could be ok. Names like Phil Taylor and Muhammad Wilkerson have been mentioned if the New Orleans Saints to the route of an early draft pick. There is a bigger question however, at the defensive end position.
The New Orleans Saints could use the 24th pick to get an elite pass rusher who overtime could develop into and every down player. Some names that have been tossed around are Cameron Heyward, DE, Ohio State; Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa; Aldon Smith, DE/OLB, Missouri; Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue.
New Orleans Saints 2011 Draft Update: Linebackers
The linebacker corps was once the strength of the New Orleans Saints defense. That group took a step backwards when Scott Fujita left the team after the 2009 season. Scott Shanle did and adequate job while Danny Clark is not a starter. This means the New Orleans Saints need to upgrade to replace Fujita even if both Shanle and Clark return which is not likely.
In the middle, Jonathan Vilma is still the man. Vilma is a more than reliable playmaker who would be hard to replace. The more likely approach would be to draft or find at least one free agent who could be a starter and then grab more depth at the linebacker spot.
Here are some names who have been brought up as possibilities. The ones that are inside linebackers show promise on the outside. Possible draft choices: Nate Irving, ILB North Carolina State; Casey Matthews, ILB, Oregon; Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA; Justin Houston, OLB, Georgia.
New Orleans Saints 2011 Draft Update: Fullback
The New Orleans Style of play requires a true fullback. When the New Orleans Saints released Mike Karney and then picked up Heath Evans many fans were left wondering what the reasoning was. Evans to this point has not produced as expected and the New Orleans Saints have used tight end Dave Thomas in many running situations. The New Orleans Saints could look to improve at this position in the draft. The New Orleans Saints can wait until after the draft to make a decision on Evans. Here are some possible draft choices: Stanley Havili, FB, USC. Really Havili is the best choice otherwise they should resign Evans.
New Orleans Saints 2011 Draft Update: Safety
It is not likely that the New Orleans Saints are going to retain both Roman Harper and Darren Sharper so the New Orleans Saints are going to need to look at adding both depth and talent to the safety position. Jenkins has done a great job and is maturing into the position. Short term the New Orleans Saints need depth and long term a side kick for Jenkins.
Two names jump out at this position, DeAndre McDaniel and UCLA S Rahim Moore.
DeAndre McDaniel would be the best fit but Moore could be a development project. They are both going to be second round picks.
New Orleans Saints 2011 Draft Update: Running Back
The New Orleans Saints are set at running back if certain things happen. First, Pierre Thomas comes back and is healthy. Second, Reggie Bush renegotiates his contract to an acceptable level. Reggie creates some mismatches that are hard for defenses to adjust to but right now he is too expensive. Third, Chris Ivory comes back at 100%. Chris Ivory had a great season but is coming off of foot surgery. If the New Orleans Saints have all three of these players back then they are fine at running back unless a gem falls in their lap. If not then they will have to adjust based on the missing pieces.
Some possible running back choices for the New Orleans Saints could be John Clay of Wisconsin, Charles Clay of Tulsa a multiple position player, and Alex Green of Hawaii have all been mentioned.
New Orleans Saints 2011 Draft Update: Cornerback
The cornerback position for the New Orleans Saints was one that was plagued with injuries. Still having said that are still in pretty good position. It is likely that Randall Gay will retire and Malcolm Jenkins will continue to play safety. So who does that leave as starters? Both Jabari Greer and Tracy Porter are able to do a good job as starters and Patrick Robinson is showing lots of promise. So this means that if the New Orleans Saints have another impact player they may make a move early but more than likely they will pick a player in the late rounds if at all or wait for free agency. Possible names mentioned at this position are Chimdi Chekwa, CB, Ohio State.
New Orleans Saints 2011 Draft Update: Tight End
Jeremy Shockey has departed from the New Orleans Saints and so now they are down to two tight ends and Dave Thomas. Jimmy Graham is the most likely choice for the starting tight end position. Thomas is a very good backup who could start of many teams. Still the New Orleans Saints will probably pickup a third player via the draft or free agency. USC tight end Jordan Cameron has been named as a possibility.
New Orleans Saints 2011 Draft Update: Wide Receiver
The strongest part of the New Orleans Saints team is probably the wide receiver position. This has a lot to do with the talent and the quarterback. Marques Colston is the undisputed number one wide receiver but the way Drew Brees distributes the ball, Devery Henderson, Robert Meachem, and Lance Moore could all be number one. This is a position where it would really take an unbelievable talent to fall into the New Orleans Saints lap for them to spend a pick on a wide receiver.
New Orleans Saints 2011 Draft Update: Kicker / Punter
Really no need at this point because Punter – Thomas Morstead and Kicker – Garrett Hartley are in place.
New Orleans Saints 2011 Draft Update: Quarterback
When the New Orleans Saints are on offense, Drew Brees is the unquestionable leader of the team. Drew Brees runs the offense like a well oiled machine. Still if the New Orleans Saints are going to continue their winning ways they have to begin training a replacement. Chase Daniel is the current backup for the New Orleans Saints. The New Orleans Saints should consider drafting someone to push Daniel to develop.
Chase Daniel was going to be the backup to Brees next season, but I think the Saints could draft a quarterback at some point to compete with Daniel for the backup position or elevate Sean Canfield to do so. Some possible choices are Pat Devlin, QB, Delaware; Greg McElroy, QB, Alabama; Colin Kaepernick, QB, Nevada.
That is our rundown of the New Orleans Saints 2011 Draft Update. We will be back after draft to review how the picks affect the New Orleans Saints going forward.