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WhoDat 03-07-2003 04:53 PM

Uh Oh
Well, I'm usually a pretty realistic guy, and I'd like to think that I err on the side of optimism, but I can't shake this feeling of dread. I know the season is still a long ways away. I know that there's a lot left in free agency and the draft. Still, I just don't think the Saints are doing what needs to be done to make a run at the Super Bowl.

Ruff, Ambrose, and Gandy aren't big upgrades. I don't know if Gandy is really a better player than Turley. Ruff is better than Clemons, but still not the kind of impact player we need at MLB. Ambrose is a good third corner, but I think Craver could have been just as impactful. And again, another off-season where we take chances with "could-be" players and give away guys who are solid (Turley will probably go, Knight, Delhomme, etc.).

In any case, I don't see our defense improving markedly. Certainly, I don't believe that it will improve more than the other offenses in our division will. Vick's another year older and now he has Peerless Price and Jamal Anderson is talking about coming back. Tampa played very well on offense late in the season after we faced them, and they have the potential to get better via the draft alone. Carolina will certainly improve if they sign Smith or Davis at tailback and have Delhomme at QB. Atlanta, Tampa, and Carolina all have a very legitimate chance to be above .500, and really they all should be. Carolina won 4 out of their last 5 last season and ended up 7-9.

I hate to be pessimistic but I can see us going 9-7 again (no better than 3-3 in the division) and ending up out of the playoffs and last in our division behind the 12-4 Falcons, 11-5 Bucs, and 9-7 Panthers (who sweep us and that's why they finish ahead of us). Frankly, I really hope I'm wrong. I wish I felt more optimistic, but I just don't see this team making the off-season moves I think it needs to make... and only a few weeks ago I was so optimistic about the moves we could make to get better. Is it just me, or does it seem like they're not making the right moves? Is our division getting even better around us while we just kind of stay afloat?

D_it_up 03-07-2003 05:11 PM

Uh Oh
WhoDat, I understand your pessimistic points, however it is still early. The Saints have never been big players for top-notch free agents. We as fans should know that first-hand. I\'ve never seen the Saints sign someone like that. It\'s always been 2nd or 3rd tier free agents that the front office has gone after. I agree that the Saints haven\'t done enough in free agency, but there is still some talent available that could fill some voids. Plus, with the ongoing saga of Kyle Turley, the Saints are having to play it smart in case they can\'t unload him. If they fail to do so, then they won\'t have the cap space for their draft picks AND a couple more free agents, even if they cut Norman Hand. Let us not get to down about the Saints just yet. The draft could turn out to be interesting and we may pick up some steals. There are other possibilities that the Saints can persue in free agency and not have to spend an arm and a leg on. Yes, there are some top notch FA\'s that I\'d have love to seen in the Dome next year, but I\'m also a realist. The chances of the Saints landing some of these people were slim-to-none. We\'ve been lucky in the past with some of the unproven FA\'s that have signed with the team and performed well....(Joe Horn, Willie Jackson, Charlie Clemons(1 season), etc...) The Saints are always going to try and get more for their buck. They will never overspend in free agency. Realistically, if one of those top notch players had been signed for the bucks they were wanting, the Saints would have been put into a position where they couldn\'t sign other \"role players\" or draftees. As far as Orlando Ruff is concerned, I think he could be the next \"Joe Horn signing\". We all know what \"Hollywood\" has done since he\'s joined the club. I think it possible that Ruff can do similar on the defensive side of the ball. I may be totally off base with this, but then again, it\'s only an opinion. I won\'t start feeling down about the Saints until the season starts and the numbers in the \"L\" column start piling up.

WhoDat 03-07-2003 05:22 PM

Uh Oh
Hey man, like I said I know it\'s early. What I don\'t get is that the Saints DO spend money on free agents. It just never seems to be ones we need. Look at what they spent on Gandy. That kind of money would have secured Woodson or Spikes. Sure we would have been stuck with Turley, but cutting Hand does make a difference. A big one.

I hear what you\'re saying, and I can\'t disagree with any of it. It\'s just frustrating and ominous. If we don\'t improve out talent on defense significantly between now and the start of the season, kiss the playoffs goodbye - b/c we all know that our D-coordinator and his \"system\" aren\'t going to make up for what we lack in talent. If anything, Venturi will simply magnify our weaknesses.

nocloning 03-07-2003 06:47 PM

Uh Oh
WhoDat, did someone steal your password? Wasn\'t that you who was fiercely opposed to my little \"Our defense will stink this year, maybe not as much as last, but still\" remark and who predicted that our \"D\" would end the season in the top half even with Venturi ...
Or is it just your evil twin?

WhoDat 03-08-2003 11:35 AM

Uh Oh
I\'m experiencing a double personality disorder. ;) Actually, I think you\'re right. Like I said, I was optimistic about the off-season moves I thought that they could/would make. None of those have happened, and don\'t appear to be in the future. Thus, the talent I thought we would have won\'t materialize, so I agree now with your earlier statements. Our defense will probably stink - unless some other free agents are brought in with more talent than the ones we\'ve signed thus far.

BlackandBlue 03-08-2003 12:18 PM

Uh Oh
I\'ll agree with you that the Saints have not signed the type of impact players we need on defense, however, I like what they have done.
They\'ve gone out and signed solid players at positions that we needed help with. But this would only make sense through the vision that I have of what should happen during the next month. If the Saints were to pull off a trade of Turley for a first rounder this year, that would leave us with three first round draft picks. Minnesota is looking to trade down, so if the Saints could some how take one of thier 1st rounders packaged with some other picks and trade up into the top 10, they could very well come out of this draft with good young starters at CB, MLB, and DT. If those players are not available at the time of the pick, the Saints have the option of going with the best player available, because we have those solid free agent pickups in place, ready to go.

truck 03-08-2003 01:48 PM

Uh Oh
While I share WhoDat\'s sense of dread for the upcoming season, I am inclined ot agree with BlackandBlue. I am encouraged by our signings and firmly believe in the Saints philosophy of not going out and breaking the bank on the \"big names.\" (Detroit- Hakim, Bly; Packers- Joe Johnson). The beginning of free agency usually is the prime time for overpaying guys (Plummer, Bly, Peerless Price). If we pay big bucks for anyone it should be to lock up 2 of our 3 best players- Howard and Horn. Our defense will take time to get it together (after all we are basically keeping our de\'s and revamping everything else) regardless of who we bring in here. On the FA front, I would like to see us get a backup qb, depth at o-line (guard, center positions) and a free safety. FS is the only position I think the Saints should maybe overpay for- Lassitter or Dexter Jackson are the only guys worth getting in my mind. As for Turley, he wanted too much money and was not that good last year. WHile Gandy may not be an upgrade, he is certainly not a downgrade. I\'ll take Gandy (at a more reasonable price) and a 1st or 2nd draft choice over Turley any day of the week.

kevinn1972 03-08-2003 03:49 PM

Uh Oh
I think everyone is making some valid points. I am happy with what the Saints have done so far. I\'m a fan of Turley, but they really do need to trade him. He\'s gonna leave at the end of next year anyhow and I\'d like to see us get something for him. If they can get a first for him, then they can trade up and pick up Newman from Kansas State. All of the scouts seem to agree that this kid has tremendous ability and I don\'t think I\'ve heard anyone even mention the possibility that this kid could be a flop. I really would have liked to have seen Takeo Spikes in the black and gold next year, and it disappoints me some that management didn\'t make a play for him. Let\'s just hope they\'ve got some other plan that they are pusuing. In all, I think everyone agrees that it\'s still early. Management hasn\'t been idle, but I don\'t think they\'ve been quite as agressive as any of us loyal saints fans would like. But the steps are toward the positive. Let\'s wait until after the draft and then we can make a more solid determination of what this whole period has become.

WhoDat 03-08-2003 05:11 PM

Uh Oh
It is certainly still early. There\'s plenty of time before next season... the point I am trying to make is that the players they\'ve added to the defense thus far don\'t seem to be ones that improve our talent level very much, in my mind. I really don\'t see our defense overachieving with Venturi at the helm, thus, unless they sign some other more talented players, I don\'t see our defense being all that much better - if any.

The NFC South could be the toughest division in all of football next season. With all of our divisional rivals on the up-and-up, putting the same team out on the field next year isn\'t going to cut it. We came into the off-season with what, the fourth or fifth best cap position? So we\'ve got a lot of money, players to trade, and five of the first 80 picks in the draft and we aren\'t going to significantly improve our talent on defense? There\'s no tomorrow in the NFL today. You play for the season you\'re in, and right now, it looks as if we will have a third year where we squander away the most talented offense this team has ever had b/c Benson, Loomis, and Haslett would rather take chances on second and third tier players than sign proven stars. That to me is unacceptible. We should all know how rare this type of offensive talent is for a Saints team. We\'re wasting our chances and given the Saints history, this type of potential only comes around once every ten or fifteen years.

Saintuary 03-08-2003 06:08 PM

Uh Oh
Whodat, your second paragraph says it all and I agree. Gandy, Ruff and Ambrose are upgrades. Not big upgrades but upgrades nonetheless.. Yes, Gandy is better than Turley b/c LT is Gandys\' natural position and Turley was a LT transplant, Eventhough we are not finished yet I can say this \"it is going to be hell going against the Saints this year.\" Why? Upgrades, and we got four so far.

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