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papz 05-02-2013 07:08 AM

Analysis: New Orleans Saints will have numerous positions up for grabs
 
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Any heavy lifting in free agency for the New Orleans Saints is long gone. All of the long hours preparing for the NFL draft has come and gone as well. The only thing left for the Saints after all of the cap crunching, savvy contract signings and draft wheeling and dealing is to have all of the position battles play out starting in organized team activities later this month.

Maybe it's just me, but the Saints seem to hold more question marks at more crucial spots on the field than in seasons past for Coach Sean Payton. Shifting to a 3-4 defensive scheme opens position battles in and of itself considering you're adding an inside linebacker, giving different responsibilities to outside linebackers and searching for a true nose tackle.

Here's a look at some of the position battles we'll be monitoring throughout the offseason:

Tackle (left, and right?)

Every player striving to start at left tackle should keep repeating one color to himself again and again and again this offseason: gray. It's the gloomy nothingness that exists atop the magnetic depth chart in the Saints' offices going into OTAs.

There's all kinds of bodies in place to compete for the left tackle job, and Payton can't wait to fill in the gray area with a name. He hopes it's an easy decision in that someone like Charles Brown, Jason Smith, Terron Armstead or even Marcel Jones plays so well making the decision a no-brainer.

At the same time, could right tackle be up for grabs as well? Someone more than likely would have to unseat Zach Strief as the starter. It wouldn't be an unprecedented scenario, though, as Strief knows all too well as he unseated his good friend Jon Stinchcomb two years ago. Smith and Jones would receive looks at right tackle rather than Armstead.

Linebacker (outside and inside)

Curtis Lofton is the only sure thing at linebacker.

It's not that the likes of outside linebackers Martez Wilson, Junior Galette and Victor Butler are in some major danger of being let go. It's more of a matter of how much playing time they receive. A starting job is Butler's to lose. So where does that fit Wilson and Galette? Both have shown glimpses of pass-rushing ability, but all three players can't play at the same time.

Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan said in a recent radio interview how Jonathan Vilma has been the talk of the weight room. He seems to be the front-runner for the second inside spot. But you restructured David Hawthorne's contract signifying he isn't going anywhere. Chris Chamberlain could also fight for time even though he's coming off a torn ACL and was brought in to play in Steve Spagnuolo's defense, not Ryan's defense.

Read more: Analysis: New Orleans Saints will have numerous positions up for grabs | NOLA.com

SmashMouth 05-02-2013 07:18 AM

Re: Analysis: New Orleans Saints will have numerous positions up for grabs
 
Really? You don't say?!?!?!

alleycat_126 05-02-2013 08:46 AM

Re: Analysis: New Orleans Saints will have numerous positions up for grabs
 
And by numerous he means all!!!!

rezburna 05-02-2013 09:17 AM

Re: Analysis: New Orleans Saints will have numerous positions up for grabs
 
We're deep at linebacker with Lofton, Vilma, Hawthorne, and Wilson all able to play inside. Gallette and Butler outside, with Vilma and Wilson also able to play there too. We have a deep rotation. Relax. The Super Bowl is ours to lose.

ClintSaints 05-02-2013 09:21 AM

Re: Analysis: New Orleans Saints will have numerous positions up for grabs
 
Would anyone like to see Dwight Freeney in a Saints uniform? Could we even afford him?

lee909 05-02-2013 09:24 AM

Re: Analysis: New Orleans Saints will have numerous positions up for grabs
 
We can't afford any big signings with back loading contracts or restructuring existing deals.The cap situation is bad enough next year with doing that as things stand.

hagan714 05-02-2013 09:40 AM

Re: Analysis: New Orleans Saints will have numerous positions up for grabs
 
OT is my #1 area of concern no matter who starts.
OC #2

Defense ILB is my #1 concern and the area i will be watching
DL rotation is #2

saintsfan1976 05-02-2013 10:52 AM

Re: Analysis: New Orleans Saints will have numerous positions up for grabs
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by hagan714 (Post 500471)
OT is my #1 area of concern no matter who starts.
OC #2

Defense ILB is my #1 concern and the area i will be watching
DL rotation is #2

Heaven help us if a guard goes down..

|Mitch| 05-02-2013 11:25 AM

Re: Analysis: New Orleans Saints will have numerous positions up for grabs
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by ClintSaints (Post 500465)
Would anyone like to see Dwight Freeney in a Saints uniform? Could we even afford him?

Dwight Freeney is a 4-3 defensive end and wouldn't fit well in a 3-4. Another thing against him is his age with not enough speed to transition to OLB...

jeanpierre 05-02-2013 12:09 PM

Re: Analysis: New Orleans Saints will have numerous positions up for grabs
 
After last year's debacle, EVERY position on defense should be up for grabs...


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