Tuesday, August 9, 2011

NFL 32 in 32: New Orleans Saints

Super Bowl hangovers happen, but normally they happen with the losing team. In this case, the Saints had a Super Bowl hangover (sort of) last season. They finished 10-6 and the season ended unceremoniously with the upset loss in Seattle in the wild card round. Now newly restocked, and fresher this year than last, the Saints look to reclaim the NFC South crown, and be a Super Bowl contender once again.

What's New: There isn't a ton that is new in New Orleans, but there are some new players worth taking note of. The first place to look is in the backfield, where the rotating door of running backs has been replaced with free agent Darren Sproles, and Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram. This new combo in the backfield should give the Saints a needed dose of balance to their offensive attack, which is still one of the best in the NFL. The secondary features some new additions in corner Fabian Washington from Baltimore, safety Paul Oliver from San Diego, and a ton of re-signings including safety Roman Harper. Other newcomers to the team include LB Will Herring from Seattle, DT's Aubrayo Franklin and Shaun Rogers, from San Francisco and Cleveland respectively, and center Olin Kreutz from Chicago. The additions weren't exactly earth shattering, but the combination of the re-signings and sound free agent pickups will work wonders for a team that needed a breath of fresh air.

Biggest Strength: The offense is still as good as any other in the NFL. Drew Brees is still one of the NFL's best QB's, and with the new dash of excitement in the 1-2 punch in the backfield, the offense gains some balance that it has lacked. And they still have one of the league's premier pass offenses, with young and up and coming players. They may have one of the league's most balanced offensive attacks, up there with teams like Philadelphia, Atlanta, and New England.

Biggest Weakness: It's truly is a struggle to find a major fault in this team, because there isn't one. There are some minor isssues, like the defense having a lot of young players that still need to develop, and may have to fast because of Gregg Williams' defense, but the number of veterans on the D-Line and in the secondary will offset that. Keeping the defense healthy is really the biggest goal, and is needed of course, but their depth is impressive enough that it may not matter.

Outlook: They are a Super Bowl contender. They have improved in almost every way from a season ago, and have one of the best leaders in the NFL. They will be tested often this season, especially in their own division, but there is no reason to see why this team can't challenge for a Super Bowl this season.

No comments:

Post a Comment