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Saints Team Report

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Posted: June 9, 2006 Mike Triplett New Orleans Times-Picayune PERSONNEL ANALYSIS: The team continued to clean house last week, trading former first-round draft pick Johnathan Sullivan and second-round pick Courtney Watson. At 25 years old, Sullivan still has a chance ...

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Old 06-09-2006, 03:34 PM   #1
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Saints Team Report

Posted: June 9, 2006

Mike Triplett
New Orleans Times-Picayune

PERSONNEL ANALYSIS: The team continued to clean house last week, trading former first-round draft pick Johnathan Sullivan and second-round pick Courtney Watson. At 25 years old, Sullivan still has a chance to revive his career, but he leaves New Orleans as one of the biggest draft busts in the team history. The sixth overall pick in 2003, Sullivan struggled to keep his weight down and was criticized for his lethargic attitude. He showed signs of improvement in 2005, but the new coaching staff was unimpressed. The team has shown a willingness to cut ties with former veterans under new coach Sean Payton, while trying to build a new attitude and identity in New Orleans. . . .

The Saints acquired WR Bethel Johnson from the Patriots in exchange for Sullivan. They received TE Tim Euhus from Buffalo in the Watson deal. Both players are seldom-used backups -- and the Saints are fairly well-stocked at both positions -- but they are young and still have the potential to bring something to the team. Payton has said repeatedly that he isn't trying to plug in holes here and there, but rather he is looking for the kind of players he can build around. Johnson has been a disappointment in New England since being drafted in the second round in 2003. He is one of the NFL's fastest players and he brings value as a kick returner, but he has never cracked the regular rotation at receiver and has been criticized in the past for not showing enough dedication to learning the playbook. Euhus is a decent blocker with good hands. The Bills rarely featured the tight end in their offense, so he hasn't done much since being drafted in the fourth round in 2004. But the Saints figure to make heavy use of the tight end position, so he could be a handy backup. . . .

The Saints also added a pair of free agent linebackers, Tommy Polley and Jay Foreman, to address their lack of depth at the position. Both Polley and Foreman have extensive starting experience, so they could immediately work their way into the mix during training camp -- especially since they both have the ability to play at all three linebacker positions. The Saints have been using unproven second-year ILB Alfred Fincher as their starter in the middle. They had tried using third-year ILB Colby Bockwoldt there, but they moved Bockwoldt back to his natural position of weakside linebacker.


SCOUTING REPORT: In order for the linebackers to take shape, the team is counting on weakside OLB Anthony Simmons to revive his career. Simmons, 30, was once considered one of the fastest linebackers in the league, and the former first-round draft pick led the Seattle Seahawks in tackles three times. But his career was stalled by a series of injuries and a dispute with his position coach, then he took the year off last year to heal a wrist injury and recharge mentally. The Saints were convinced that he was hungry when they signed him a week into free agency, and they've been pleased with his offseason progress so far. Simmons (6-0, 240) is still very fast and athletic with good strength and tackling ability. The Saints need that kind of playmaker to complement their slow-but-steady linebackers. Simmons has been covering rookie RB Reggie Bush in practices, and he might be the only player on the Saints equipped for such a matchup.

INSIDE DISH: The Saints don't appear likely to trade FS Dwight Smith unless a decent offer comes along. They identified him as someone to dangle in trade talks early this offseason, but the team has been pleased with his work ethic and attitude throughout the offseason despite the trade rumors and the fact that he's mostly lined up with the second string. WR Donte' Stallworth was also discussed in trade talks. He'll probably stick around but he's already tested the patience of his new coaches. Stallworth was late for a minicamp meeting and was held out of practices for two days. Those kind of minor incidents have plagued Stallworth's career. He has terrific talent and potential, but he has never consistently put it together. He'll be a free agent at the end of this year, so he has plenty of incentive to do so this season.

GUARDS/CENTERS ANALYSIS: C-plus. The Saints could be very solid here, depending on new additions C Jeff Faine and G Jonathan Goodwin. They also need G Jermane Mayberry to bounce back after a disappointing 2005

http://www.sportingnews.com/yourturn...ic.php?t=98969
not bad eval
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Old 06-09-2006, 03:53 PM   #2
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RE: Saints Team Report

Good to hear Simmons is getting it taken care of.
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Old 06-09-2006, 03:54 PM   #3
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RE: Saints Team Report

Why would the Saints try and trade Dwight Smith.
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Old 06-09-2006, 03:58 PM   #4
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Some of us are still trying to figure that out. If he stays though, that Roman Harper pick just got a whole lot better huh?
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Old 06-09-2006, 04:43 PM   #5
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Not if Smith moves to corner.
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Old 06-09-2006, 04:59 PM   #6
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I think it may be realistic for Smith to play safety in our base defense, but when the nickle back comes in, it would be Smith who would be the nickle corner and move Harper in to play centerfield.
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