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Mickles: Questions for Saints to answer in preseason

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; By SHELDON MICKLES Advocate sportswriter The New Orleans Saints find themselves in an unusual situation as they prepare to report for their second training camp under Sean Payton on Wednesday. After winning the NFC South and playing in the NFC ...

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Old 07-24-2007, 10:10 PM   #1
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Cool Mickles: Questions for Saints to answer in preseason

By SHELDON MICKLES
Advocate sportswriter


The New Orleans Saints find themselves in an unusual situation as they prepare to report for their second training camp under Sean Payton on Wednesday.

After winning the NFC South and playing in the NFC Championship Game, getting within one game of the Super Bowl, the Saints have been stamped as legitimate contenders.

While they’ll be favored to win the NFC South again, they will — like every team in the NFL — have questions to answer between their first practice Friday morning and the season opener on Sept. 6 at the Super Bowl champion Indianapolis Colts.

So here are 10 questions that are sure to come up:

1. How scary will the offense be?
Considering they led the NFL with 6,264 total yards last year, they could be plenty scary with the return of their top five weapons — Drew Brees, Deuce McAllister, Reggie Bush, Marques Colston and Devery Henderson. The offensive line returns intact as well and a year in Payton’s system will only make the whole offense better.

2. Have the Saints improved their defense?
You have to like the way they brought in veterans like Kendrick Clancy, Brian Simmons, Dhani Jones, Jason David and Kevin Kaesviharn. They’re welcome additions to a defense that ranked 11th a year ago.

3. Will they be able to stop the run?
That remains to be seen. But Clancy, Simmons and Jones certainly won’t hurt — especially when they join defensive tackle Hollis Thomas in the lineup. It would be a shock if they give up more than 128.9 yards a game like last year.

4. Which newcomers to the defense will win starting jobs?
Clancy at defensive tackle, Simmons at middle linebacker, David at cornerback and Kaesviharn at free safety.

5. Can the defense come up with more takeaways this season?
Geez, you’d think so. The Saints had 19 takeaways all last season, which ranked 31st in the league. David (3), Simmons (3) and Kaesviharn (6) combined for 12.

6. Who will step up and win the job as the No. 2 receiver behind Colston?
Devery Henderson would seem to have the inside track after leading the NFL with a 23.3 average last year. The question is can he become a more consistent receiver and reduce the number of drops he’s had in the past.

7. Which rookies will make an immediate impact?
First-round pick Robert Meachem will get a shot to work his way into the mix at wide receiver if he can come back from knee surgery in June. Cornerback Usama Young, a third-round choice, will get a long look in camp.

8. Who will back up Brees?
It looks like Jamie Martin will be the guy again although Payton wants to develop a young quarterback for the future.

9. With Michael Lewis gone, who will return kickoffs?
It appears to be Aaron Stecker, but he may be battling for a roster spot with rookie Antonio Pittman.

10. How far can this team go?
Dare we say it? They’ll go 11-5, win the NFC title and face the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII.

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Old 07-24-2007, 10:28 PM   #2
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11. Can the fans outdo last years performance and maintain buckwild support throughout the season? HELL YES WE CAN!!!!
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Old 07-25-2007, 09:17 AM   #3
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Clancey starts, huh? I think he may be underestimating BY.
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Old 07-25-2007, 09:37 AM   #4
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Considering the fact Young is injured, Clancy will probably start the season off starting next to Thomas. I do agree Young is very underrated and he takes a lot of unwarranted criticism because we have trouble stopping the run. He's always been the scapegoat though he had a very solid season in '06.
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Old 07-25-2007, 12:01 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by papz View Post
Considering the fact Young is injured, Clancy will probably start the season off starting next to Thomas. I do agree Young is very underrated and he takes a lot of unwarranted criticism because we have trouble stopping the run. He's always been the scapegoat though he had a very solid season in '06.
While I do agree that BY is underrated, I don't know if calling him a scapegoat is exactly correct. I can't honestly say that I know whether or not he does what he's supposed to do on run support, but I do know that he's more of a pass rushing DT while Hollis is more of the run stuffer. So I guess when you look at the rush yardage given up, you gotta point to somebody, and I guess it might as well be Young, who has never been known as a great run stopper. That being said, I want to reiterate that he is underrated, and I assume that mostly comes from him being undersized. I don't think he's squarely to blame for the run support problems, but I wouldn't think it's a crazy idea to say that he has to shoulder some of the blame.
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Old 07-25-2007, 12:14 PM   #6
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Exactly... it's a unit as a whole. There's plenty of blame to go around. It's just that for the most part, he's always been pointed out as the weak link on our line... which in turn, makes him the scapegoat.
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Old 07-25-2007, 12:34 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by blacksaint View Post
By SHELDON MICKLES


10. How far can this team go?
Dare we say it? They’ll go 11-5, win the NFC title and face the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII.
I completely disagree with this staement. I had them going 13-3.
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Old 07-25-2007, 12:45 PM   #8
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I believe the reason BY takes some heat IS because of his size. He has a motor that won't stop but the problem is that your DL are supposed to take away the OL from getting to your LB's. And if you can put just one guy on him then that frees up the other OL to block your LB which in turn makes the run D weaker. I'm a big BY fan but we need size as well as speed on DL.
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Old 07-25-2007, 12:50 PM   #9
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Everybody keeps talking about his size but even the Saints official roster shows him at 298 lbs. If that's small, it isn't by much. I've seen him up close and i'm about 330 and 6'2", he ain't that small. Oh by the way, he's one of my favorite players.

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Old 07-25-2007, 12:52 PM   #10
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I've always wondered that myself Joe. He's just more of a pass rushing DT than a space eater. He isn't exactly small at 6'2 298.
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