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Halo 08-12-2011 10:32 AM

New Orleans Saints 2011 - deepest team in franchise history
 
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By all accounts, the Saints are loaded. One through 53, the roster has never been more impressive, a potent combination of experience, youth and ability.

A group of precocious newcomers (Mark Ingram, Darren Sproles), budding stars (Malcolm Jenkins and Jimmy Graham) and pedigreed free agents (Shaun Rogers, Aubrayo Franklin, Olin Kreutz) joins a talented cast of veteran mainstays led by Drew Brees and Jonathan Vilma.

Even normally reserved Saints Coach Sean Payton appears impressed. Earlier this week, he told the NFL Network he loved the make-up of his team -- "I love this roster -- and he's strutted the practice field at Airline Drive like a man who knows his deck is stacked.

The roster is so deep, heralded draft picks Cameron Jordan and Martez Wilson have been buried on the depth chart and rarely heard from in training camp.

"We've got a lot more depth than we've had in years past," Payton said. "We're deeper in the defensive line, at linebacker, we've got a good young group at receiver.

"So if you just look, and periodically we'll do this, we'll put it up compared to a season ago, two seasons ago, we'll put it up to teams in our division, and I think early on, this has been something that gets everyone excited."

On paper, the Saints indeed look like Super Bowl contenders. But we all know the most talented team doesn't always capture the Lombardi Trophy. The Saints weren't the most talented team two years ago. But they were the closest, most determined and perhaps most fortunate. Just because the roster is stacked, doesn't mean the locker room will gel or the breaks will align.

There's also this: The NFC is absolutely loaded. The Packers, Eagles and Falcons all harbor legitimate Super Bowl hopes. The Cowboys, Giants, Bears and Bucs are hardly pushovers.

"Every year, every training camp, you have to establish your identity again as a team," Brees said. "No matter what you did the year before, no matter how many of the same guys you have coming back, you have to re-establish that identity."

One thing the Saints have going for them is continuity. That could mean more than ever this season. The unprecedented nature of the offseason has put teams with new coaching staffs and overhauled rosters at a severe competitive disadvantage.

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft said the most stable organizations will have an advantage this season because of the instability of the offseason.

"I think you'll see that those teams that had stability both in terms of their coaching, their offensive and defensive coordinators and quarterback, the teams with stability have the best chance, I'm my opinion, of making the playoffs," he said.

If Kraft is correct, the Saints should be in great shape. New Orleans, once a revolving door for coaches, general managers and quarterbacks, has become a bastion of stability. The Saints -- yes, the Saints -- have quietly become the most stable franchise in the league.

This will mark their sixth consecutive season with the same quarterback, head coach and general manager. No other team in the league can say the same. Not the Patriots. Not the Steelers. Not the Colts.

READ MORE AT NOLA.COM

Halo 08-12-2011 11:08 AM

This is the feel good article of the century!!!!!

WHO DAT!

CHOOT 'EM

neugey 08-12-2011 12:00 PM

I am excited too. I'm hoping this year marks the improvement to the front 7 on defense that we've been waiting for. Almost no question marks on offense and some significant upside with Ingram.

diamond12 08-12-2011 12:40 PM

this is undoubtedly the most complete Professional Football Team since the 1984 49ers..
its so scary in a good..awesome way....

saintfan 08-12-2011 12:48 PM

I remember Sean coming in and talking about a 5 year plan. We won the big one ahead of schedule and I remember thinking after our first CHAMPIONSHIP how we'd be contenders in the years to come.

For all our long-suffering, we have one hell of a team, not just this year but for the last couple and for the next few for sure. We effin ROCK!

alexonfyre 08-12-2011 01:23 PM

Listen, for 40 years of being at or near the bottom of the league, we need a good long stretch to restore the Karmic balance of the universe.

Rugby Saint II 08-12-2011 02:05 PM

The most stable franchise in the league...........You gotta' love it!

Halo 08-12-2011 02:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Rugby Saint II (Post 318534)
The most stable franchise in the league...........You gotta' love it!

Amen to that!!!!

FinSaint 08-12-2011 04:46 PM

This has been said before numerous times on various threads, but I just love the fact that the Saints is now a franchise that players around the
league want to be a part of and willing to play for less money - instead of being a franchise that all rookies feared they would be drafted by.

alexonfyre 08-12-2011 05:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by FinSaint (Post 318579)
This has been said before numerous times on various threads, but I just love the fact that the Saints is now a franchise that players around the
league want to be a part of and willing to play for less money - instead of being a franchise that all rookies feared they would be drafted by.

That fact still doesn't quite make sense to me...I mean...it does, I just have a hard time believing it after all these years.


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