Strategy And Personnel
Starter -- Drew Brees. Backups -- Chase Daniel.
While it'll be next to impossible for Brees to put up the kind of numbers he did in earning NFL Offensive Player of the Year honors last season remains to be seen, but he will give it a try after being given a new five-year, $100 million contract. He broke Dan Marino's single-season passing record with 5,476 yards in becoming the first player with a pair of 5,000-yard seasons, but the other numbers were just as big with 46 TDs and a passer rating of 110.6 while hitting on 71.2 percent of his passes. Daniel will serve as the backup for a third straight season even though he doesn't have a lot of experience in the regular season because of Brees' durability.
Starter -- RB Pierre Thomas, FB Jed Collins. Backups -- RB Darren Sproles, RB Mark Ingram, RB Chris Ivory, RB Travaris Cadet, FB Korey Hall.
With a deep and solid group of halfbacks, the Saints hope to take pressure off the passing game after moving up 22 spots in the league rankings from the 2010 season and finishing sixth a year ago with 132.9 yards per game and 4.9 yards per carry. Thomas, Sproles, Ingram and Ivory combined for 2,013 yards and 13 TDs with the top three each gaining at least 450 yards. The Saints also rely on them heavily as receivers with Sproles and Thomas combining for 1,135 yards and eight TDs. Ivory and Cadet, an undrafted free agent who had a surprisingly solid preseason, may be fighting for the final roster spot here. Collins won the fullback job a year ago and is a capable blocker who can also gain some tough yards when needed.
Starter -- Jimmy Graham. Backups -- David Thomas, Daniel Graham.
After a monster breakout season in 2011, Graham is looking for more this year even though he made the Pro Bowl after catching 99 passes for 1,310 yards and 11 TDs as one of Brees' main downfield threats. Graham's use of his 6-foot-7 frame and speed usually give him an edge against the slower linebackers and smaller defensive backs. Thomas is a valuable blocker and receiver, but is trying to come back from two concussions. Higgins was a find as an undrafted free agent in 2011, but he and Daniel Graham, a superior blocker, could be vying for one roster spot.
Starters -- Marques Colston, Devery Henderson. Backups -- Lance Moore, Courtney Roby, Adrian Arrington, Joe Morgan.
The Saints know what they have in Colston, who caught 80 passes for 1,143 yards and eight TDs, Henderson and Moore, but the coaches' task of finding a fourth receiver to replace Robert Meachem was complicated early in camp with injuries to Arrington and Nick Toon, who is on injured reserve. Roby, who's mainly a special-teamer, made the most of his opportunities on offense early in camp and may get a roster spot.
Starters -- LT Jermon Bushrod, LG Ben Grubbs, C Brian de la Puente, RG Jahri Evans, RT Zach Strief. Backups -- T Charles Brown, G Eric Olsen, T Marcel Jones.
The Saints had solid line play in 2011 as they helped block for Brees, who set a NFL record for passing yards, and a run game that ranked sixth in the league with 132.9 yards per game. They had three players voted to the Pro Bowl and Evans and Carl Nicks were All-Pro picks although Nicks is no longer with the team. Grubbs, who should fill in nicely for Nicks, is a blue-collar worker and should fit in well with Evans, de la Puente and Bushrod, another Pro Bowler. The main backups should be Brown, Tennant and Olsen although none of them have distinguished themselves when called upon.
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Re: Strategy And Personnel
Wouldn't another top 10 passing & rushing "O" go great with a "D" that is also top 10???
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