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Top five observations on the New Orleans Saints' offense/defense from this week's minicamp

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; The New Orleans Saints have now wrapped up their three-day minicamp and three full weeks of offseason practice sessions. Here are my top five observations on their offense to this point: 1. RUNNING BACK ROTATION: Judging any improvement in the ...

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Old 06-08-2013, 09:34 AM   #1
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The New Orleans Saints have now wrapped up their three-day minicamp and three full weeks of offseason practice sessions. Here are my top five observations on their offense to this point:

1. RUNNING BACK ROTATION: Judging any improvement in the Saints' ground game, one of the Saints' biggest flaws from last season, may not be fully possible after two weeks of organized team activities and one week of minicamp.

So we'll go by what we've seen cosmetically.

Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles have been receiving the vast majority of the snaps with the first-team offense during these last three weeks of workouts and practices. Thomas, predictably, tallied most of the carries when comparing Sproles' workload as a traditional running back with Sproles wearing different hats depending on the play called.

Mark Ingram is lining up with the second unit. It's a different direction from the way Saints Coach Sean Payton used Ingram in the past. Ingram received the most carries of any running back during his rookie season with Payton on the sideline, and the trend continue last season with Payton sitting in exile.

Travaris Cadet is working primarily as a running back with the third team as opposed to being bounced around from tailback to wide receiver last season. Payton has said he thinks Cadet is capable of handling being more of a pure running back and the duties that come with it in the blocking scheme. But Cadet did make a couple of nice catches out of the backfield during minicamp.

So what does all of this mean?

Well, it's still a near guarantee that Payton will go with the hot hand rather than stubbornly force feed one back. The philosophy worked very well in 2011 when the Saints finished in the top six in the NFL in rushing. There will also be less juggling and guesswork for Payton without Chris Ivory on the roster.

So to judge if the running game is back to the 2009 or 2011 form is impossible. But Payton's vision on how to use the running game should be clearer entering this season. And the fact that all of the viable running backs are fully healthy is an added bonus.

Read more: Top five observations on the New Orleans Saints' offense from this week's minicamp | NOLA.com



The New Orleans Saints have now wrapped up their three-day minicamp and three full weeks of offseason practice sessions. Here are my top five observations on their defense to this point:

1. DÉJÀ VU: The similarities between new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan and former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams are hard to miss. And that's mostly a good thing.

From their colorful personalities to their aggressive styles to the general vibe of energy and excitement among the players, this minicamp was awfully reminiscent of Williams' first camp with the Saints in 2009. More than anything, as I watched the Saints constantly rotate players in and out of various packages and formations, I kept thinking of one of Williams' favorite refrains that, "We've got 30 ways to add up to 11."

I actually looked it up to get the quote exactly right. When we first met Williams, he said he had 24 ways to add up to 11. The number constantly increased, and it actually went as high as 44 when Williams was recently hired by the Tennessee Titans.

This past week we saw packages with 10 players standing up at once, packages with three outside linebackers, packages with three safeties and six defensive backs.

Now, that could be a dangerous thing for the Saints. Ryan has been criticized in the past for throwing too many wrinkles into his defense, sometimes leading to mental errors. We saw a couple of those moments in practice, where receivers broke wide open against busted coverages. And Ryan himself admitted that there were some substitution errors and mental breakdowns over the last couple weeks.

I could totally picture a midseason story line where players and coaches are talking about the need to simplify things.

But in general, I think Ryan will be good for the Saints' defense. I think his schemes will generate more of a pass rush and help the secondary by forcing quarterbacks to get rid of the ball quicker.

More important, I think he'll bring that air of confidence back to a Saints defense that clearly lost its swagger last year.

Read more: Top five observations on New Orleans Saints defense from this week's minicamp | NOLA.com

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Old 06-08-2013, 02:25 PM   #2
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Re: Top five observations on the New Orleans Saints' offense/defense from this week's minicamp

This is a really good looking group of wide receivers. I don't think we'll miss Henderson because these young guns won't let us. They have speed and Payton values that tremendously. I have a feeling that anyone that makes the practice squad will be jerked off of it by another team.
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Old 06-08-2013, 08:38 PM   #3
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Re: Top five observations on the New Orleans Saints' offense/defense from this week's minicamp

my #1 observation is.....the off season is too long
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Old 06-08-2013, 10:46 PM   #4
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Re: Top five observations on the New Orleans Saints' offense/defense from this week's minicamp

Good info thanks
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Old 06-10-2013, 03:58 AM   #5
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Re: Top five observations on the New Orleans Saints' offense/defense from this week's minicamp

Grahams contract wories me a little. I think that might be where Loomis finally runs out of magic.
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Old 06-10-2013, 06:34 AM   #6
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Re: Top five observations on the New Orleans Saints' offense/defense from this week's minicamp

Originally Posted by Crusader View Post
Grahams contract wories me a little. I think that might be where Loomis finally runs out of magic.
Thank you Fear and Worrisome calling from Sweden...(LOL)

Yeah, would like to lock that guy up early; maybe seeing Carl Nicks misfortune may make Graham more cautious of moving...

Sure wish Brees would redo his albatross of a contract now that the team has more than shown a committment to winning and building a team and protrecting Brees...
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