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WhoDat!656 03-20-2013 04:40 PM

In depth 2013: New Orleans Saints
The Bounty-gate driven absence of Sean Payton, discontent driven by Steve Spagnuolo’s newly-installed defensive schemes and the absence of other coaches and key players caused havoc on the New Orleans Saints in 2012 to the point where not even another exceptional season by Drew Brees could completely turn things around.

The Saints can put Bounty-gate behind them now. But questions still remain. Was Spagnuolo the issue on defense or was it a dearth of talent? Does Payton’s return bring normalcy back? And how long can Brees continue playing at an elite level? Travis Dauro, a contributing writer at Canal Street Chronicles, shared some of his observations with Zoneblitz.

Zoneblitz: How much of the Saints’ 7-9 season had to do with the coaching staff suspensions and how much would have happened anyway?

Dauro: Coming in to the season, I really did not expect for Sean Payton’s absence to affect the team as drastically as it did. The team looked unmotivated, undisciplined, and just looked completely different. Those three factors would have been different had he been around for 2012. I would like to say that the defense would not have been as porous as it was, but I’m not completely sold on that theory.
Zoneblitz: Regardless of suspensions, the defense was a mess in 2012. What happened last season and what has to happen to get that unit back on track?

Dauro: From all of the rumblings within the grape vine, it appears that the players were not happy at all with Steve Spagnuolo’s scheming. I’ve heard that he really didn’t allow for any recommendation from the players, and his schemes were not very fitting for the personnel. To get back on track, the unit just has to get back to the roots of football: hard hitting. Sound tackling can mask any scheme flaws, so that will definitely help. Changing the alignment to the 3-4 should benefit the players as well.

Zoneblitz: What do you think of the addition of cornerback Keenan Lewis for the defense in the early portion of free agency?

Dauro: I love the addition of Keenan. He led the league last year in defended passes with 16, and he allowed a completion percentage slightly above 50%, which is reputable. He will be a great fit for the Saints’ press-man coverage next year.

Zoneblitz: What do you think of the hiring of Rob Ryan as defensive coordinator?

Dauro: I absolutely love this hire. He will bring a fire and bad attitude to the team that they were missing last year. After the Super Bowl, I wanted the Saints to grab either Romeo Crennel or Rob Ryan. Crennel was slightly higher on my list, but I am not disappointed at all that Ryan was chosen.

Zoneblitz: Drew Brees is signed for another four seasons. How much longer do you think he will be an elite-level quarterback and do you think this offense can improve on its already impressive status?

Dauro: Personally, I think Brees can play at an elite level until he is 40. He takes care of himself, and he is extremely accurate. As long as a quarterback can be good at those two things, he can play for a long time. The key to his success could be keeping Sean Payton around as the Head-Honcho, though.

There is always room for improvement. There was an ungodly amount of drops by the receivers last year, and the running back play wasn’t nearly as good as it was two years ago. I would like to see the Saints run the ball a little more to open up the passing game.

Zoneblitz:The offensive line has been a strength for New Orleans the last several years, but the team lost Jermon Bushrod to Chicago this season and Carl Nicks to Tampa last year. Plus line coach Aaron Kromer moved on to Chicago this offseason. What is the status of this unit heading into 2013?

Dauro: Jermon Bushrod’s loss will not be as bad as a lot of people think. He was very dependent on help from tight ends and the left guard. People point to him making the Pro Bowl, but he was an alternate to the already flawed voting process. Charles Brown should be a good filler for that position because he is more athletic. I wouldn’t mind seeing them pick up another tackle through the draft or free agency, thought. I guess we will have to see as far as Kromer moving on because I’m not very familiar with offensive line coaching. I think that a cautious approach with this unit should be taken heading into 2013. The interior line is perfect. The tackles are the group’s weakness.

Zoneblitz: Facing salary cap issues and competing in a division with the NFC’s top seed Falcons from 2012 and the potentially improving Bucs and Panthers, how far away are the Saints from being a playoff contender?

The Saints aren’t far away at all. Their offense is in the top tier of the league, and the defense will see improvement. How much, though, remains yet to be seen. If they can get to around 20th in the league on defense, I wouldn’t put it past the Saints to be a strong Super Bowl contender. I am not really worried about the other NFC South teams as I am of the 49ers and the Seahawks. They are both looking really tough.

Zoneblitz: Are there any players on the roster you could see having a breakout 2013 season?

Dauro: I can see Junior Galette and Joseph Morgan having breakout years in 2013. Galette is switching to the outside linebacker position in the new 3-4 alignment, which will fit his talents nicely. Morgan will be replacing Devery Henderson as the deep threat receiver. He averaged 37.9 yards per catch in 2012 and had touchdowns of 80, 48, and 34 yards.

Zoneblitz: What would you like to see the Saints do in the draft and free agency?

Dauro: My main “wants” through free agency are to add another cornerback, a 3-4 outside linebacker, and an offensive tackle. Through the draft, I would like to see the Saints get a safety, a nose tackle, a 3-4 defensive end, and a tight end.

Zoneblitz: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Dauro: Get ready for an exciting 2013 NFL season because it is definitely going to be a good one. For more Saints news and updates visit my home site, Canal Street Chronicles. Who Dat!

In depth 2013: New Orleans Saints

st thomas 03-20-2013 05:00 PM

Re: In depth 2013: New Orleans Saints
Good read.
The draft will be huge for our team and it has to be defense.

Leighton B 03-21-2013 01:50 AM

Re: In depth 2013: New Orleans Saints
Either way be ready to see some surprises because I know they have a trick up there sleeve with all the 2nd rd tenders and Harper still being on the roster under a bloated contract without any contact with his agent "That's the key: didn't even try to negotiate with his agent that tells me he's already traded or cut in the team's eyes!"
And with all the talent on defense and a few good backup QB prospects and solid Tackles on defense and offense!™

FinSaint 03-21-2013 04:34 AM

Re: In depth 2013: New Orleans Saints
Nice read indeed.


Through the draft, I would like to see the Saints get a safety, a nose tackle, a 3-4 defensive end, and a tight end.

Seems logical, the NT and DE are a given, but I'd like for them to pick up an OT somewhere around the 4th or 5th round. NT, DE, OT, S/CB, and OLB/TE would look pretty good, but who knows what SP and the gang will do?!

SaintnDE 03-21-2013 06:38 AM

Re: In depth 2013: New Orleans Saints
I suprised that backup QB isn't mentioned.

iceshack149 03-21-2013 12:43 PM

Re: In depth 2013: New Orleans Saints
I can't stand the term "bounty-gate." Also, is it too much to ask that writers put quotes around the word "bounty" in their articles? The whole thing is a sham and "pay-for-pain" was never confirmed. In fact, the player suspensions were vacated due to the flawed process in the NFL's investigation.

Alright, I got that out.
Regarding the article, I agree that the o-line can be alright without Bushrod's presence. The Bears overpaid.
And I'm a big believer in Galette. If he can stay healthy I feel confident that he will get 10+ sacks.

Rugby Saint II 03-21-2013 01:36 PM

Re: In depth 2013: New Orleans Saints
Possibly the best article I've read from Canal Street Chronicles.

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