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Time to look ahead, now that it's all over

Rating: 1 votes, 5.00 average.
Posted 12-30-2007 at 03:57 PM by NarwhalHunter

Don't tell me you haven't been doing it since the Tampa Turnover, either.

Offense
I think our offense went through some growing pains all season but finally started to click again down the stretch. The number of drops has been atrocious, but much of that can be attributed to a very young wideout corps. The line is solid, despite Reggie. If we need anything on offense it's a good tight end, but Miller has shown good pass catching ability in a pinch so it's not pressing.

QB: Brees is the man, will be 29 in January and will be here as long as Payton is. There is no other position on the team as secure as his, unless you count Mark Simoneau's blackmail. A decent backup besides Martin would be great, but Tyler Palko's had a year to run the practice squad and Payton really liked him coming out last year, so I'll give him the benefit of a doubt.

RB: This looks like a mess on the outside, but I'm not too worried about it. Deuce is older and injury prone, but everyone said the same thing about him last year and he still pounded the rock for 1200 yards and 10 TDs, so I'm going to think he'll be able to come back and contribute. Reggie might have found out free flow do gets you in great shape but doesn't do jack when it comes to running a football, so hopefully he can put it together next year, which wlll be make or break for him. Stecker has shown why he's still around and Pierre Thomas is obviously hungry, and I mean that in the most literal sense; it's as if he thinks every yard he gains will get another grain of rice on his dinner table; look at him in the Chicago game and tell me otherwise. Again, another position I don't think needs much fiddling with.

WR: Colston is the real deal and got royally robbed out of a Pro Bowl spot this season. Torry Holt should be glad his name recognition got him in because nothing else did. Colston needs to get locked up long term, because the scary thing about him is that he's just going to keep getting better. Beyond that, it's a huge clusterfork; no one has stepped up to be a number 2 guy although we have like four slot receivers. Patten, Copper, and Henderson will all be free agents next year. Patten is the only guy I think we should keep, his veteran presence has helped out more than once and he's great in the slot. Copper can stay or go, he's a decent enough 4th receiver and special teams player but he's not vital. Henderson, I have a feeling, will get a contract way more than he's worth, because there's always a team willing throw tons of money at an underachiever with good upside like him. Meachem absolutely needs to play next year after redshirting this one; he has all the ability in the world to be the deep threat to replace Henderson. Moore has also shown flashes and is entering the crucial third year for wide outs, so we can evaluate him then. This is a position in flux, but I don't think a ton needs to happen here this season.

Tight End: Eric Johnson hasn't done much, and Billy Miller is good for catching passes but that's about it. There's going to be some intriguing free agents at the position. A guy I really like is L.J. Smith of the Eagles; quick, good hands, great instincts, he makes the perfect Tampa 2 Buster, which would be great since we play against Tampa two times a year. Another guy I'd be intrigued in is Ben Troupe from Tennessee; highly touted out of college, hampered by the fact that the Titans can't pass for crap, he might explode in the Bayou.

Offensive Line: Too many people on the boards are calling for an overhaul here but that is just mind-boggling to me; you don't give up less than 15 sacks just because of a QB's quick release. Run blocking hasn't always been consistent but I'm pretty sure it's Reggie more than anything. Jammal Brown has been hurt but still plays pretty mean and is one of the best left tackles in the league. Jeff Faine has also been hurt but came on later in the season, and Jahri Evans has absolutely been the MVP of the line, crushing his assignments all the way to the sidelines. On the downside, Jamar Nesbit is just a journeyman we can upgrade, and Jon Stinchcomb is too heavy footed to pass protect well. On the upside, Zach Strief has shown ability, and Andy Alleman and Jermon Bushrod will have a year in the system and all three of them should push the incumbents for starting time. I wouldn't mind a veteran like Pork Chop Womack or one of the guards the Colts are always letting go coming in and creating some competition, but I think our in-house talent should get their chance first.

Defense

One of the biggest problems on the Saints D is a glaring lack of athleticism at every position; there's two good defensive ends, an underrated linebacker and corner, and seven other scrubs who probably wouldn't make practice squads for half the league. There's problems at every level, so let's break it down.

Defensive Line: Smith and Grant are both good, but a complete lack of interior pressure means they've both been getting double teamed all year and have been neutralized. Hollis Fatty Roids Thomas is great at eating up space and everything else, but Brian Young has been hurt and Kendrick Clancy is just a situational guy at best. We desperately need someone in the middle who can take away some of the double teams and let Smith and Grant do their thing. I would have no problem running people over with my car to sign Albert Haynesworth, but so will 31 other teams and it's not like we're known for opening up the checkbook to free agents. A more realistic option might be Corey Williams out of Green Bay.

LB: One of the biggest problems since the days of the Dome Patrol has been terrible linebacker play. Right now we have Scott Shanle, who is a slow white guy, Mark Simoneau, who is a really slow white guy, and Scott Fujita, who thinks he's Japanese so he doesn't play like a slow white guy. There's also a bunch of backups who can't do much besides play on special teams. We desperately need an infusion of talent here. Everyone is clamoring for Lance Briggs, but he's going to want a huge payday and if we are going to crack open the wallet, I'd rather it be for Haynesworth. Besides, a cheaper and similarly talented player is available in Karlos Dansby from Arizona, or possibly Boss Bailey from Detroit. There's also the draft, which we'll get to in a second.

DB: One of the biggest problems since the days of forever has been the fact the Saints can't ever seem to find a halfway competent corner. Mike McKenzie is pretty underrated, but playing across from Jason 'Highway 42' David is something even I could do. The lack of LB play means we have to bring our safeties down in the box and expose our terrible corners. Usama Young was raw in his playing time but should get better next season, and Jason Craft is a decent nickel, but the entire rest of the cast can go. And about those safeties: Roman Harper has played out of his mind lately and is the second coming of Sammy Knight, while Josh Bullocks is another in a long line of athletic safeties who can't make a play worth a damn (I'm looking at you Tebucky Jones). The shame of it all is that Kevin Kaesviharn has shined when he's gotten the chance, so hopefully the safety problem will have rectified itself. Plenty of guys are probably going to hit the open market: Asante Samuel is going to want a huge payday but is not a man-to-man guy, Marcus Trufant is a man-to-man corner but will want as much as Samuel. I would absolutely love to go for Nnamdi Asomghua. He's fast, plays man-to-man, has shutdown potential all over him; he's 27, originally from Lafayette and enjoys candlelit walks on the beach. Another guy we could look at is Drayton Florence from San Diego -- not a home run hitter by any stretch, but smart, makes plays and would be a solid CB, pretty much the exact opposite of David.

Draft
So it looks like we're locked into the 14th spot, which isn't a bad position to draft from or to trade out of; we could drop back a few spots and still pick up a linebacker in the 1st and a corner in the 2nd, since this is a deep draft for cornerback. This is my dream scenario anyway.

1st: Dan Connor, OLB Penn St
A better prospect than Posluszny was last year, has all the measurables and the intangibles to lead the defense for years.

2nd: Dwight Lowery, CB San Jose St
Has great triangle numbers and always a turnover waiting to happen; might have the best ball skills of all the corners in this draft.

2nd: Dre Moore, DT Maryland
Freak of nature at 6-4 and 300 lbs who notched a 34 inch vertical and 4.8 40, he plays both run and pass well and would solve the d-line woes overnight.

3rd: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, CB Tennessee St
A 6'1 corner that runs a 4.3 and picks off six passes in a season is like finding the Loch Ness Monster, or next Colston. Another small school wonder.

4th: Jeremy Leman, MLB Illinois
An absolute tackling machine, racking up 152 tackles last season.

5th: Brad Cottam, TE Tennessee
Monstrously big guy, possibly the best blocker at his position in the class, but has decent speed and hands over the middle.

6th: Art Carmody, K Louisville
Incredibly accurate kicker who has never missed from inside the 40.

7th: Jeff Cavendar, C Boise St
One of the cogs on the Smurfs oline, is versatile enough to also play guard.
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Comments

  1. Old Comment
    The coach has got to be solid first! We can't build on a sand foundation.
    permalink
    Posted 12-30-2007 at 05:19 PM by abutler abutler is offline

  2. Old Comment
    hagan714's Avatar
    Nice job. I agree with almost all of it. The defense was a bit harsh but understandable. They do need a big youth movement like GB did two years ago. Carmonte ? CB the thing I have noticed in watching tapes on him is lack of willingness to hit.
    permalink
    Posted 01-07-2008 at 06:09 AM by hagan714 hagan714 is offline
    Updated 01-07-2008 at 06:11 AM by hagan714
  3. Old Comment
    this was very good, in my opinion. i also agree that the o-line needs more recognition. they played very well this year. and we badly need lb's with speed. that alone would help both the d-line and the cb's
    permalink
    Posted 01-19-2008 at 11:08 AM by tbone547 tbone547 is offline
 
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