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Team Report: Strategy and Personnel

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Team Report: Strategy and Personnel Inside Slant | Notes and Quotes | Strategy and Personnel With the Combine workouts behind them, the Saints will continue working toward the start of the veteran free agency period next week. In addition to ...

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Old 03-02-2006, 07:40 PM   #1
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Team Report: Strategy and Personnel

Team Report: Strategy and Personnel

Inside Slant | Notes and Quotes | Strategy and Personnel
With the Combine workouts behind them, the Saints will continue working toward the start of the veteran free agency period next week.

In addition to trying to retain some of their 15 unrestricted free agents, the Saints' football operations staff will begin identifying the players they hope can fill some of the holes in the roster prior to the April 29-30 draft.
TEAM NEEDS/OFF-SEASON STRATEGY:

The Saints got off to a slow start in their postseason evaluations because of a coaching change, but it's apparent that at least two, maybe three, of their top players from the Jim Haslett era won't be around this fall.

Pro Bowl center LeCharles Bentley was not franchised, which will allow him to test the open market. Defensive end Darren Howard, who was their franchise player for the last two seasons but has been slowed by several injuries, said recently there is no chance that he will return.

Still to be decided as well is the status of quarterback Aaron Brooks, who was scheduled to make $6.5 million in 2006 and $7.5 million in '07. But he is expected to be traded or released since his erratic play finally landed him a spot on the bench for the final three games of the 2005 season.

1. Quarterback: If the Saints decide to jettison Aaron Brooks, the logical move would be to pick a franchise quarterback with the second overall pick in the draft - likely Southern Cal's Matt Leinart. Todd Bouman finished the 2005 season as the starter after Brooks was benched, but he didn't distinguish himself and third-stringer Adrian McPherson isn't ready to play.

2. Linebacker: The Saints have been desperately thin at this position for several years, which was quite evident when you consider veteran castoffs Ronald McKinnon and T.J. Slaughter were their best linebackers at the end of the season. Colby Bockwoldt, a seventh-round draft pick in 2004, has started for the past 1 1/2 years at the weak side spot. Middle linebacker Courtney Watson has potential, but has had knee problems.

3. Offensive line: With center LeCharles Bentley's return uncertain, this area of the team will likely receive a major overhaul - especially for the creaky left side. Tackle Wayne Gandy recently turned 35 and guard Kendyl Jacox has had knee problems the last couple of years. The right side of the line is solid with two youngsters - guard Montrae Holland and tackle Jammal Brown - holding things down.

FRANCHISE PLAYER: None.

TRANSITION PLAYER: None.

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: SLB James Allen; C LeCharles Bentley; CB Fakhir Brown; WR Az-Zahir Hakim; TE Lamont Hall; SLB Sedrick Hodge; DE Darren Howard; WR/KR Michael Lewis; RB Fred McAfee; MLB Ronald McKinnon; SS Mel Mitchell; SLB T.J. Slaughter; RB Antowain Smith; RB Anthony Thomas; DT Willie Whitehead.

RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: TE Zach Hilton; OG Montrae Holland.

EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS: SLB Terrence Melton.

PLAYERS LOST: TE Boo Williams.

MEDICAL WATCH: No updates.

http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/teamRep...gyAndPersonnel
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