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End of Preseason

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Posted 09-05-2013 at 01:48 AM by BoudinSandwich

I want to start off by giving thanks to everyone who's read my first few blogs. I didn't realize they would get that much attention. I also want to say that I've been absent the last couple of weeks and that's partly due to Summer vacation and celebrating my 1-year anniversary with my wife. My wife didn't really watch football or any sports when we first met. She quickly realized that, if she was to date me, she had to at least learn a little football. She made a push on all fronts, but the girl has really become obsessed with the NFL. In less than a season, she's managed to accumulate nearly as much football knowledge as I have - which, took me from birth to learn. Nowadays, the girl knows her stuff. Not only does she have an extensive knowledge on the history of the league, but she actually thinks for herself. She doesn't like Tim Tebow 'because he's cute', like other women who watch football. In fact, she doesn't like him at all and she'll tell you why by critiquing his QB mechanics. But, let's now move on to football...

The last few preseason games still have me feeling the same way I've felt since the beginning. I believe our defense is going to be in the top 20, if not just outside of the top 10. I've still have a lot of people try to temper down my enthusiasm by saying, "it's just preseason," but I'm simply not buying it. If I told you SF, WASH, SEA, and HOU were the league's top defenses, you more than likely wouldn't argue with me. It's the same case if I told you the league's worst is MIN, NE, JAX, and TEN. The thing is, if you look at team statistics for this preseason, it'll tell you the same thing. ( ) Trust me, I fully understand how varied a team's performance can be in the preseason versus regular season. However, I can't get over how seemingly accurate these statistics are.

Now, keep in mind, I'm not just concerning myself with the rankings based on yards given up. I agree that it doesn't tell the whole story in terms of defensive performance. Points Given is also a category to consider, but also doesn't tell the whole story. If a QB throws a Pick 6, the D gets blamed for it even though they're not even on the field. If we use an average of Yards & Points Allotted, the Saints end up at 8 and 14, respectively - averaging to 11.5. Now, allow me to be completely arbitrary, pull a random number out of my butt, and say that 'it's just preseason' accounts for a -5 position ranking. That would put the Saints around the 17th ranked defense. It seems pretty accurate to me, although I think we can and will be slightly better. Anyways, the general consensus is that's all that's needed from the D with the high-powered offense the Saints possess.

A few other quick notes about the defense:
- There's no doubt that we have more depth than most of the teams we've played.
- It stinks that Will Smith is injured, and I love him as a Saint, but I think it may work out to benefit the team. I still don't believe he's suited for his role and he's getting older now. I'm not sure if he has much of a future with this team considering his contribution and how much he's getting paid. Also, there are tons of guys under him who are showing tremendous talent and it's now their time to shine.
- I'd love to see Vilma come back in a Ray Lewis-style role and lead us to the Superbowl, but let's be honest, the man is breaking down. This, guys, is the beginning of 'the window closing'. Like Will Smith, I don't know if I can see Vilma being around after this season.
- Kenny Vaccaro is looking more and more like an excellent pick. It definitely looks like this guy has a future in the NFL.

When it comes to the offense, again, I believe that we've simply reloaded. There's not much else to say other than the Saints are loaded with guys that can catch the football. I can't seem to figure out the return of Robert Meachem, but I guess we'll just have to wait and see. The report out of San Diego was that he was flat-out done. I'm skeptical as to if he'll contribute to our team at all.

The one thing that does worry me is the offensive line. The game against Houston definitely showed us something to be concerned about. While I don't think protection is going to be terrible, it's going to get exposed every now and then. And, it's the every now and then that has me really worried. It only takes once to get Brees injured. On that note, when did Luke McCown get good? Obviously, I hope Brees never misses one snap this year, but I actually feel that McCown filling in for a hurt Brees may not actually be the end of our season. He's shocked me. I think he's a very good backup.

Overall, I think the Saints have a legitimate shot at making the playoffs. They'll need some luck on their side to take it any further... but that's happened once before! Expect the D to start slow, then adjust. Expect to see the D to get plenty of pressure and stuff the run, but not so many turnovers. That said, I expect an increase of 3-and-outs by our D - and, to me, that is a turnover (considering confidence, momentum, and field position). The O will once again be one of the bests in the league. Sean Payton will commit more towards the running game and we'll be better at it, but we'll also wow the league with our new talent at WR. The O-line will be a bit messy at times, though. If they can keep Brees clean and the D does what I think it can do, all we'll need is a little luck.

It's going to be a fun season.

I'll soon blog my season predictions for the league. Also, I hope to post once more before the 1st game against Atlanta and do a little pregame analysis. We'll see if I can find the time.
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