New Orleans Saints
Ok the above is only partially true. The New Orleans Saints did lose to the Seattle Seahawks on Saturday. They are not going to cancel the Super Bowl, even though it is really is pointless since the New Orleans Saints are not going to be in it. This does however bring us to the point of WHAT HAPPENED?
First, if you look back this really was an amazing year for the New Orleans Saints after all they went through. During the season, we had numerous starters at the running back and defensive back positions out. This continued into the wildcard playoff game with the Seahawks. When you are not able to run the ball and have a hard time defending the pass well you end up losing 41-36 to the 7-9 Seahawks. This is not meant to be disparaging against the Seahawks. They won the game and took advantage of our weaknesses. Still the coaches and the team did a hell of a job all things considered.
Second, when you are the Super Bowl Champs you are in everyone’s crosshairs. Since 1967, only 8 times has a team repeated as champs in back to back years. When you look at those teams, they could arguably be ranked as some of the greatest of all time. The New Orleans Saints knew that at the start of this year and that just goes with the territory.
New Orleans Saints Roster Needs 2011
So now where does that leave the New Orleans Saints for next year? The New Orleans Saints ended the season with 12 players on Injured Reserve. Four of those were starters at some point in the season. They also had another 4 players that were out for the game against the Seahawks who would have had an impact had they been able to play. If all of the players on IR or who were injured come back the New Orleans Saints will be loaded at running back and defensive back positions. So even though those were the positions that hurt the New Orleans Saints as a result of injuries, they are probably not the most pressing areas of need. Here is a list of players who will be over 8 years experience when the season starts in 2011:
Kyle, Jason LS 16
Sharper, Darren FS 14
Prioleau, Pierson SS 12
Clark, Danny OLB 11
Evans, Heath FB 10
Brees, Drew QB 10
Shockey, Jeremy TE 9
Betts, Ladell RB 9
Brown, Alex DE 9
Goodwin, Jonathan C 9
Stinchcomb, Jonathan T 8
Shanle, Scott OLB 8
Wilkerson, Jimmy DE 8
Mitchell, Kawika OLB 8
When you look at this list it becomes obvious where the New Orleans Saints need to start looking. The areas of Long Snapper / Center, Quarterback and Defensive End stand out in my mind. These are areas that would need to be addressed via the draft or free agency.
No one is saying we need to replace Drew Brees today. However, we should have someone in the wings who is learning the offense and studying under him to step up in the event he gets hurt. Is Chase Daniel that person? I haven’t seen enough to say if he is or is not at this point. During the preseason, Daniels threw 4 TDs and 3 INTs. That is a concern for me. His rating of 89.7 is not bad, but again not enough info. His rating is 35th in rank but he did not throw enough passes to qualify, 14 per game, in the actual rankings.
The area of center and offensive line comes next. If Drew Brees is going to be able to continue as the QB for the New Orleans Saints he needs to be protected. Brees was sacked 25 times in 2010 which is 5 more times than in 2009. It is not good for a QB to get sacked more times as he ages. This could be as a result of the running game suffering; however the running game starts with the line. The old Denver Broncos are an example of a team that used to have a running game no matter who you had at running back. The New Orleans Saints should be in the same position.
Last but not least on the list is defensive line. We are going to need to look at someone to replace Alex Brown and down the road Will Smith. This is not something that is pressing today but if these guys went down where would we be. The other thing is if we are getting pressure then having a shortage of defensive backs, to a certain extent, is not as big a deal.
Having said all of the above, the New Orleans Saints had a good year. We got spoiled with last year’s success. The New Orleans Saints will be contenders again in 2011 and with just a few tweaks and breaks going their way will be right back in Super Bowl contention.