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DblBogey 06-26-2006 07:28 AM

NFC South Preview
Sporting News . . .


New Orleans Saints — The team tried desperately this offseason to repair the damages left both mentally and physically the team experienced a year ago. After their debacle left them with the 2nd overall pick, they got busy in the offseason.

Their major signing was of former San Diego quarterback Drew Brees. Brees is a proven winner, though no one is sure if it is mainly due to the fact he played behind a great offensive line and had weapons like LaDainian Tomlinson and Antonio Gates at his disposal.

Either way, he enters a new city and a team with weapons like Deuce McAllister and uber-hyped Reggie Bush at his disposal. His receivers are also above average with Joe Horn playing second-fiddle to Donte Stallworth. However, he lost a quarterback’s best friend when he left for Saint-land: an offensive line.

The team took a hit when LeCharles Benltey left and Wayne Gandy’s trade.

But that wasn’t even the biggest story in New Orleans. Not by a long shot.

The pick of Reggie Bush after Houston let him slide (foolish by the Texans? We’ll see) was on everyone’s lips. No one didn’t hear of it, especially with analysts hyping him as a once-in-a-lifetime player and the next Gale Sayers. Those are difficult expectations to live up to, especially on a team with an already proven back in McAllister.

But Bush wound up putting on a Saints cap and holding up the jersey in front of a ton of viewers who questioned him. Putting up Q’s in hope of A’s like “How’s he going to handle a full load? He didn’t even do that in college,� and “How do we know he was that great... I mean, he played for college football’s best team with its best quarterback. How will he do with the Ain’ts?

Bush hopes to answer those questions in the ensuing seasons, but we may have to wait a year first. He’s still second to Deuce, but if an injury would occur, all eyes will be on New Orleans and watching the Promised One.

Quarterbacks — Drew Brees was the big acquisition and many wonder how he will handle his situation. He currently lacks sufficient protection, but the running game should help. His numbers could come near those he posted with San Diego, but if they do, it should be a few season’s time. After all, Aaron Brooks put up huge numbers, but was a different type of quarterback. Only time will tell, but until then expect a season with 3400 yards and 18-20 TD’s with 14+ INTs as well.

Running Backs — Deuce is proven but his injury last season questions durability issues. Will he make a complete season? If not, Bush is prepared to fill in but he himself wasn’t a full time back in college, so there are questions there as well. At some point in the season, expect Reggie to take the majority of the offense’s carries, due to either A: Incompetence by Deuce, B: Fan’s cheers (or jeers), C: Injury.

Wide Receivers — Joe Horn is declining but is still a good complementary receiver to Donte Stallworth. TE Zach Hilton is a good tight end, and wow is he tall. At 6'8 he is taller than 6'7 Jeremy Stevens and 3" taller than Antonio Gates. He is the tallest starting TE in the NFL to the best of my knowledge and will be a BIG target for Brees to throw too.

Defense — Awful. That’s how I’d describe this team that finished 28th in points allowed and 19 total turnovers (30th). But, there are bright spots on the team, such as their safeties, but even that is overshadowed by their linebacking group and defensive line that is responsible for the 2145 (134 per game) yards on the ground allowed, while the passing defense was vigilant, allowing a mere 178 yards per game (3rd). However, even that was clouded by the 20 touchdowns they gave up through the air, which finished them in the middle of the pack. This season may be better, but not by much... that’s for certain.

Offense — C
Defense — C-
Coaching — C+
Overall — C

Quick Picks — 6-10, 4th place

saintswhodi 06-26-2006 08:11 AM



Wide Receivers — Joe Horn is declining but is still a good complementary receiver to Donte Stallworth.

I wouldn't worry too much about this O-line talk yet. 2 years ago, San Diego was rated as the worst O-line in football, then Bress goes to the pro bowl and they make the playoffs and they are called one of the best by the end of the season. I think Brees' majorly elevated play had something to do with that. We'll see a lot of that here.

CHACHING 06-26-2006 09:17 AM

and to be honest..I think our receiving core is better than San Diego's....
just a dominant tight end is lacking...but that should change as well..

saintsrule 06-27-2006 12:59 AM

The safties will possibly help against the run. That may be the kind of defense they will have this year.

Saintsfan66 06-27-2006 05:22 AM

Maybe I am completely off my rocker but whoever wrote this article sounds like a real moron to me. I honestly cannot say that I feel he did his research before writing the article as his comments fail to mention or acknowledge all the major defencive moves we made in the off season and the slight issue that the LB core will likely see two new starters from last years core, which will be a huge improvement in itself. Aweful, I would hardly say that the defense is aweful. This article completely fails to mention or acknowledge that the Saints offence last year was utterly worthless, plagued by injury and A.B., they managed to keep the defence on the field for 2/3 of every game giving other teams the ability to have those big break out plays. I can promise you, in any league, if a Defence stops an offence over and over but the offence stays on the field long enough to try enough plays out eventualy they are going to have a huge play. I agree with the offencive line questions but feel that a healthy Duece and Bush with Brees ability to make decisions fast will force Defences on thier heels and therefore make the offencive line look alot better then it is, which is exactly what happened in San Diego with gates and tomlinson.

Again, like nearly always, the experts have no idea what they are talking about. In all fairness though, how could they possibly? With all the teams in the NFL, the complications of the game these days, and the constant changes with players, play books, and scemes, how would it be possible for a expert to keep up with all of it and realy make an educated observation? I can tell you, from going to all the open work outs and being fanatical about information regarding the Saints becouse they are my biggest interest in life, we have a team this year that will compete for the division so long as we have no major health issues with the o-line, brees, bush, duece, McKenzie, W. Smith, LB.. So, there is concern in that. That is alot of possitions that I feel we dont have the dept chart to sufficiantly fill the role of the starter if they go down. Nobody can tell me that if the team does not stay healthy that they cant score 28+ points on average per game and that the defence wont hold teams on average to less then 21 points. I cant see the NFL averaging over 130 yards per game on the D this year, nor can I see the offence going 3 and all the time which will mean the D gets off the field and rests some, the big shocking pass plays will not happen as often since the opponent will get less tries with thier play book, the teams we play will not be able to manage the clock with a LB core that actualy -STOPS- the run... I mean, I just cant understand how anyone can think this team will not be a huge improvement and compete for the division title with Carolina. Atlanta has to many question marks with the most over-rated player in the NFL, Vic as well as thier defence that is lacking in run stop ability which they feel will be resolved by picking up one solid LB in the offseason. Tampa Bay has a offence that is limited by a young QB that I am definetly not convinced can be a winner, along with other question marks on offence.

Saintsfan66 06-27-2006 05:43 AM

I meant to say I cant see teams getting over 130 yards -RUSHING- per game, like last year. In my post it sounds like I mean 130 yards total offence, lol. Which I definetly would not say.. That would be pushing our chances a bit.

mjf150 06-27-2006 07:59 AM

Where is the reference, please?

jergensl 06-28-2006 11:12 PM

if the saints D was so bad last were they ranked 14th with an offense that turned the ball over so often...if the off season moves help, the saints have a great possiblity to be a top 10 defense next year.

LKelley67 06-29-2006 11:09 AM

I'm with 66 on this... I think you can find a lot deeper insight about the Saints on this and other Saint boards than on any national site. We dig in every nook and cranny for whatever info is available. We have a whole lot more eyes-on experience of games and even camps. Sometimes we even get some second hand info from Saint related sources. There is not one thing in that preview that has been expressed in much more detail by members here.

Second, I have a beef about reciting statistics, especially defensive statistics. NO allowed the 3rd fewest yards passing. Big whoop. Was this because they had the most feared pass rush and most awesome ballhawks? Vigilant? Hell no. The defense was so terribly atrocious against the run that no team had to throw the ball up very often. They were worst in the league giving up 19 runs of 20yds or longer. This works conversely too. The best run defenses are the best defenses in general usually. Tops in that were SD, Den, and Pitt. When you cannot run you have to start slinging it. Pitt was 16th, SD 28th, and Den 29th in pass D. I do not think it is coincidence that those same teams allowed only 16-19-16 pts per game while NO allowed 25. The pass D here was nothing to crow about or have confidence in.

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