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2008 Will Be The BIGGEST Offensive Year Yet

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Posted 06-11-2008 at 09:42 AM by hagan714
Updated 06-16-2008 at 04:06 AM by hagan714

2008 could be the BIGGEST year yet

This is Sean Peyton’s third year of building a team for the city of New Orleans. The 2006 draft and FA period that may go down as one of the best in NFL history. Sure 2006 was an emotional year that may have led to an additional victory or two. The 2007 season was a year that left most of us wondering. What happened? Well 2008 is going to be the year that the saints and their fans will put the horse back in front of the cart. We, the fans, had the super bowl cart in front of the horse in 2007. To be honest so did the team. Let us look realistically were we are at in regards to year three of the rebuilding under the direction of Sean.

2006 Greatest off season I have ever seen. I will refer to it plenty.

2007 Saint Super Bowl? Words I prayed to hear since the bitter beginning. I could hear it echoing through out the national media. It was fun. We got all caught up in it. The funerals and all were silly fun. Let’s take a look at the situation now that the rose color glasses are off. The saints did not spend a fortune on the high priced free agents. In stead they kept the cap space and kept as many of its own FA as possible. Why not, NFC Championship game last year. FA was quite, except for Jason David. Lets all pray 2008 is a better year for him. A promise I am holding the Saints to. The draft was not near as exciting. Picking 27th does that. Of all the picks only two saw the field with any regularity, Young and Mitchell. Most fans were screaming bust. Two small school players, Alleman and Bushrod had to compete for time on an OL that is one of the best in the NFL. So I hand out a flyer here. A WR knees are also getting a flyer. The saints knew ahead of time that was an issue. Pittman was a major disappointment once we got to see a UDFA named Pierre Thomas. David was a cut. I never understood this move. I guess the Saints showed some loyalty to Thomas in final year.

The Saints start off with a 0-4 whimper. Let’s face facts here gang, the NFL is not loaded with dummies. After an appearance in the NFC Championship game teams around the NFL spent a lot of time looking at the saints’ game plan and were mapping out ways to stop it. Now the Saints had to counter punch the moves without Duce for the rest of the year. The results were 7-5 from that point on. Not too bad for a club faced with a lot more injuries across the board than the previous year. Then to do it with a defensive secondary that was every fantasy football player’s wet dream come true. I find it amazing we pulled off a 7-5 mark off at all. What this proves to us, the fans, is the saints have heart and also have good enough depth to be a very special team. My biggest disappointment was the more than evident lack of depth at WR. This was supposed to be a position of strength. Well it was not. Why beat up on the secondary any more than it already has.

2008 – The Saints can no longer ignore the defense and expect to get bye with their rent a defense philosophy. Do not take that in the wrong way. The Saints have added some very good players to the defense but most are up there in age and really are not to be considered nothing more than excellent rotational players on an elite defense. So what do the Saints do to improve the unit? They pull another 2006 Drew move. They go out and gamble on another teams damage goods to be the leader in the middle of the defense. Vilma is the teams choice and I love the gamble ( I know Joesam loves it to). The Saints then go an add quality to the secondary by signing Gay from the Patriots. While he may not be an elite shut down CB, he is one of the best multi purpose CB in the NFL. You can plug this guy in any where on the field and he will produce. Bobby McCray at DE is a gamble that can pay off big time for the Saints. He has the speed off the edge to force the QB back up into the pocket. Smith should benefit greatly from this move. Wow CB, DE and MLB all addressed before the draft. Nice.

The draft was also defensive in mind. The saints need on the DL was obvious. So they picked two DTs (Ellis and Pressley) in the 1st and 5th rounds. Now with Smith and McCray forcing QB up into the pocket, the Saints are hoping the DT can push the pocket enough to increase the sack totals and give the beleaguered secondary a break. To help the secondary out the saints drafted Tracy Porter in the second. A pick that I like. We did not reach on him nor did he fall into our laps. As usual the saints added some good depth on the OL with pick of T/G Carl Nicks. The next pick maybe my second favorite of the draft, Kicker Taylor Mehlhaff. If he can help us out by carrying just one kicker over the next 5 years I will be very happy. Then to trade back into the draft in the 7th for Arrington seems to be a steal. Adding to it we did it in front of Tampa. LOL in your face.

We could be looking at the same kind of off season impact in 2008 on defense that we saw on offense in 2006. Time will tell but on paper it looks good. So I will wait for this to play itself out first.

That brings me to where the offense stands in 2008. The saints have been building the OL for three years now and 2008 is a pivotal time to say the least. OC is the biggest area of concern. Faine was good but in no way was he worth being paid as the #1 center in the NFL. The Saints did the smart thing and let him walk and will collect a decent comp pick for him. Can Goodwin step in and handle the Job? If not the Saints signed C/G Matt Lehr as a safety net. Sean is very familiar with him from his days as a Cowboy. The signing of Lehr maybe an under the radar signing by the Saints that pays off big time. Especially now that his troubles seem to be dead and buried.

Taking a look at the OG position we are all very comfortable with Jahri Evans at RG. He has been playing at a pro bowl level since day 1. At LG we have the serviceable Jamar Nesbit. Talk about a pleasant surprise but he is in his 10th year and a youthful upgrade is due. Alleman and Nicks appear to be the candidates to replace him. They will slug it out in camp and on the field in 2008. It is going to be a battle worth watching. Oh yeah, don't forget Lehr is in this mix to.

Another player to watch is Bushrod in 2008. If he can prove his worth in 2008 he may step in at LT by 2009 or maybe earlier. If Bushrod can take over at LT look for Brown to go back to the RT position. The wild card here is Zach Strief. Zach has been one of the best 7th round picks ever made by the Saints. Man o man the 2006 draft will forever haunt Sean. Any ways, every year he has gotten better so do not count him out. John Stinchcomb is more than serviceable out there at RT but I think he is going to be the odd man out in 2009 if all goes as planned. He will be an UFA
in 2009 and I really think the saints will let him walk. But if the rookies and 2nd year players are not ready the saints will sign him ASAP. His services will be wanted by more than one club I am sure. So like Faine the Saints will not get into a bidding war. Just take your comp pick and go on with business.

Now that brings us to the glamor positions on offense. Drew, Colston and Patten are all set. Duce, we are lighting candles for you and your knees. Bush will have to prove is worth. How about 1000 yards rushing and receiving. Nothing like putting the pressure on a guy, huh. At the number three spot I like the combination of Stecker and Thomas. Stecker will teach this kid as much as he is willing to learn and Thomas seems to be a good student. He is in good hands. I think we will see PT and Stecker in the same backfield together this year. PT for the between the tackles stuff and Stecker for the scat back material. This will allow the Saints to keep Bush on the field more.

At the #3/#2 WR position I have Meachem penciled in already. This year we have been promised we will see why he was drafted in the first round. I am holding the Saints to that promise because Moore, Copper and Henderson have amounted to little or nothing.
They have their moments but I would not call them dependable or irreplaceable. The saints have signed a lot of players that are capable PR and KR so they not happy with the play they have gotten on ST. This is where Adrian comes into play and maybe one or two other UDFA/FA we have signed.

Our TE are more than serviceable. Sorry we have not had enough picks in a draft or fewer needs elsewhere on the field to put a higher needs rating on the position. We flirted with Shockey but I never thought the Saints would pay the kings ransom for the guy that NYG wanted. Maybe next year in FA, trade or the 2009 draft will we look to upgrade the position. Till then we will once again pray for more pleasant surprises from this group. They are not bad, not bad at all.

So 2008 is a big year to see if the Saints rebuilding project over the past 3 years on the OL pays off. We all will be waiting to see if this is indeed the year the saints have, in one year, put the main pieces on the field for the defense that can play in the top 16 for the first time in years. I am telling you this will be fun to watch. It is a Saints football freaks dream come true. Everyone is going to play and everyone’s play is going to be key as to the future of this club. Every one should be watching an evaluating more than ever.
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  1. Old Comment
    watched a lot of gaints football and saw how eli struggled and what a difference the giants defense made. if our defense gets better, we should have a great season because honestly (not to take anything away from eli) drew had a better season last year.
    Posted 06-12-2008 at 10:04 PM by Kelli Garner Kelli Garner is offline

  2. Old Comment
    beagreenE's Avatar
    Thanks HAGAN714:
    That was an excellent write up on the Saints. Clear, to the point and quite unbiased. I really must admit that I too had the Saints in the Super Bowl before the season ever started. Not only are my glasses rose colored they are also magnifiers. Your comments about Reggie are right on. In my opinion he still doesn't have enough yards rushing if you added both seasons together. He has got to have a banner year for us to justify paying him the kind of money.
    Thanks again for the write up
    Posted 06-16-2008 at 02:11 PM by beagreenE beagreenE is offline
  3. Old Comment
    iceshack149's Avatar
    Good article hagan. I appreciate your efforts on this site.

    "The signing of Lehr maybe an under the radar signing by the Saints that pays off big time. Especially now that his troubles seem to be dead and buried."

    Posted 06-19-2008 at 04:14 PM by iceshack149 iceshack149 is offline
  4. Old Comment
    CantonLegend's Avatar
    i loved this read....i agree it was completely was very accurate while also portraying some opinions based on fans thoughts....i think maybe there was an unintentional pun in the lehr comment "especially now that his troubles seem to be dead and buried"....death isnt something to joke about but it fit in nicely....i agree that lehr is one of the biggest secrets of this offseason....i thought he was brought in to start after we let faine go....apparently he is being looked at as more of a replacement for nesbit and a backup for goodwin...either way he will do what we brought him in to do....

    overrall great gonna hafta start reading these things now
    Posted 07-14-2008 at 03:29 AM by CantonLegend CantonLegend is offline
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