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Thursday, January 17, 2008

New Orleans Saints Offseason

New Orleans Saints - The Saints have declined in Offensive Pass Rush and overall Yardage. The rush can be explained through injury, but as far as the pass yardage. You sure, you didn’t want to try a little harder to keep Joe Horn(though I am sure he isn’t all that happy with the Vick-less, Petrino-less, win-lite Falcons). I do believe Marquis Colston will be a premier wide receiver in this league. There has to be that clutch guy that finds the yard marker on 3rd-and-6.
A lot was made of the fact that the Saints were not able to run the ball with Reggie Bush. I think the return from injury by Deuce Staley will allow Bush to go to a more useful role of being slipped in to different spots all over the field so that he must constantly be accounted for by the defense. Frankly, I was surprised that an offensive mind the Sean Payton is supposed to me was unable to find creative wrinkles for Bush. I am finding myself shocked to suggest that he look to the Defensive minded Bears and how they began to use Devin Hester as the season moved towards an end.
While the offensive side of the ball slid across all yardage categories; the defense did manage to improve in rush yardage. They did however slide so far in pass yardage that it caused them to slide in overall rank from 11th to 26th. This becomes even more concerning considering the fact they brought in Jason David in during the off-season to improve their pass defense. The only bright spot in the defensive backfield was Mike Mackenzie. His brightness dimmed toward the end of the season. He is facing off-season recovery from season ending ACL surgery.
In the up coming draft they have to address that defensive backfield. They should be looking at Kenny Philips (S-Miami), Mike Jenkins (CB-S. Florida), or Malcolm Jenkins (CB-OSU). I like Malcolm Jenkins skills but there is some question as to whether he has the speed to play corner at the next level. He may and up as a Safety, but with the Saints in need at both spots, they can take him on with very little risk.
Head Coach Sean Payton seems to be at no risk of losing his job this off-season. I have some serious doubts about him. He took the team, with all it’s post Katrina feel good momentum, and the novelty of Reggie Bush to the playoffs. Only to implode this year in the weakest division in football. The real litmus test will come next year to see how he rebounds from this. I also predict that if Jason Garrett doesn’t land a head coaching job this off-season, Payton’s performance next year will greatly influence how Garrett is viewed.

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