Saturday, August 3, 2013

NFL 2013 Preview - New Orleans Saints

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS                                                 

Head Coach: Sean Payton

2012 Record: 7-9-0 (3rd in NFC South)

New Players: QB Luke McCown; QB Seneca Wallace; TE Ben Watson; LB Victor Butler; S Kenny Vaccaro; DL Jonathan Jenkins; CB Keenan Lewis.

Gone Elsewhere: RB Chris Ivory; QB Chase Daniel; TE David Thomas; WR Devery Henderson; DE Turk McBride; OL Jermon Bushrod; OL Jonathan Casillas.

Offense: The Saints offense begins and ends with quarterback Drew Brees, who threw for over 5,000 yards for a second straight season. The veteran QB had 43 touchdown passes with 19 interceptions and also had 5,177 yards through the air.
There are plenty of targets for Brees to get the ball to with the likes of wide receivers Marques Colston (83
QB Drew Brees
receptions, 1,154 yards and 10 TD), Lance Moore (65, 1,041, six TD), tight ends Jimmy Graham (85, 982, nine TD) and Ben Watson, who comes over from Cleveland after catching 49 passes for 501 yards and three touchdowns. Running back Darren Sproles (75 catches, 667 yards and seven TD) is another key in the Saints' passing game.
Sproles also runs the ball on occasion as well as returns kicks and teams with Pierre Thomas (473 yards rushing) and Mark Ingram, who led the team with 602 rushing yards and also scored six touchdowns.
The line is made up of center Brian de la Puente, guards Ben Grubbs and Jahri Evans and tackles Zach Strief and Charles Brown.




Defense: This unit needs needs help after allowing a record amount of yardage in the 2012 season.
The Saints were lit up to the tune of 440 yards per game last year, allowing 147 yards rushing and 293 yards passing.
Ouch!
Those numbers ranked the team dead last overall as well as against the run while the pass defense ranked 31st in the NFL.
Rob Ryan comes over after a stint in Dallas as the Defensive Coordinator and has a big task ahead of him.
Def. Coordinator Rob Ryan
Up front in the 3-4 look will be rookie Jonathan Jenkins (Georgia) at nose tackle along with ends Akiem Hicks and Cameron Jordan, who led the team with eight QB sacks. The linebackers are Jonathan Vilma, Curtis Lofton, Martez Wilson and Will Smith. Victor Butler will also be on hand this year.
The secondary will feature another rookie starter for the Saints as safety Kenny Vaccaro (Texas) teams with Malcolm Jenkins. The cornerbacks are Jabari Greer (three interceptions) and Keenan Lewis. Patrick Robinson (three INT) and Corey White are the other corners and add depth.


OUTLOOK: After the "bounty gate" wrecked the team last year, Head Coach Sean Payton returns after serving a one-year suspension as a result of the NFL scandal that amounted to a whole lot of nothing after all.
Payton is one of the top coaches in the game and the Saints sorely missed his presence last season.
The Saints just want to put that bad memory behind and get back to winning football games in 2013.
With Brees and his plethora of weapons to choose from, look for the Saints to be one of the higher scoring teams in the league once again this season. New Orleans averaged just under 29 points per game in 2012, but gave up 28 points per game as well.
Better balance is needed on offense as the Saints ranked number-one in passing (312 yards per game) but were just 25th overall running the ball. New Orleans was second in total offense last season, averaging 411 yards per game.
The defense should show improvement after the disaster of last year when they simply could not stop anybody. The team had just 30 quarterback sacks, so getting more pressure on opposing quarterbacks is important to relieve pressure on the secondary, which had 15 interceptions last season.
The 2013 season should be interesting as it goes along and the Saints will once again be in plenty of shoot outs as Brees and company work their magic on a weekly basis.
The call for New Orleans is 10-6 and a likely return to the post-season probably as a wild card team. How they fair in 2013 will depend on the revamped defense and the return to familiarity with Payton back on the sidelines.

2013 SCHEDULE

Sept. 8- vs. Atlanta
Sept. 15- at Tampa Bay
Sept. 22- vs. Arizona
Sept. 30- vs. Miami
Oct. 6- at Chicago
Oct. 13- at New England
Oct. 20- BYE WEEK
Oct. 27- vs. Buffalo
Nov. 3- at NY Jets
Nov. 10- vs. Dallas
Nov. 17- vs. San Francisco
Nov. 21- at Atlanta
Dec. 2- at Seattle
Dec. 8- vs. Carolina
Dec. 15- at St. Louis
Dec. 22- at Carolina
Dec. 29- vs. Tampa Bay

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