Ever think to yourself, while watching a game, "Geez, some of these guys need to step it up next season. If they don't, I'd bench them."
Well, not in those exact same words—I know some of us have other choice words for players underperforming for "our" team.
Some players went into last season with high expectations but didn't quite meet them. Whether it be second- or third-stringers or practice squad players, all start with a clean slate this season. Rookies can show they belong in the pros, and everyone gets a chance to prove themselves this offseason.
Let's look at a few New Orleans Saints players that need to prove themselves this offseason.
In the 2011 NFL Draft, the New Orleans Saints traded up with the New England Patriots to select Alabama running back Mark Ingram with the No. 28 overall pick. The Saints gave up their No. 56 pick that year, as well as their first-rounder in this year's draft.
Ingram, a Heisman Trophy winner, was considered the best running back in that year's draft. He is a power runner with quickness and has the potential to be a great running back for the Saints.
I imagine it would be difficult to produce numbers that jump out with the Saints' already stuffed backfield, but Ingram must show the Saints and their fans that he's reliable and has the potential to be an every down back...if he can stay healthy.
Although Ingram had to battle through some nagging injuries and missed some games his rookie season, along with sharing carries, he still had an OK season (but teams don't move up in the draft just to select OK players). Ingram ran for 474 yards and five touchdowns on 122 carries. Ingram must come back strong from his injury and be ready to go.
Can Mark Ingram rush for over 1,000 yards this season?
Galette is entering his third season in the NFL. Last year, Galette had his best season in his young career, with 19 tackles and 4.5 sacks (pretty close to starter DE Will Smith's sack total).
He needs to step up and show he can be a starter and wreak havoc in the backfield. The Saints and their defensive unit need more help than ever, and Galette has the potential to be a productive starter.
Galette has a lot of potential and can be a beast. He is the edge speed-rusher the Saints lack, he just has to prove he can start every game.
Jordan was drafted in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft. Clearly, the Saints wanted to help the defense and improve their pass-rush by drafting the defensive end out of California.
With Jordan being a first-round pick and being brought in to help out in the sack department, having one sack and 31 tackles his entire rookie season isn't too impressive.
Jordan has the talent, strength and size to be a monster of a defensive end. He has a terrific motor but needs to be more consistent this upcoming 2012 season. He needs to prove that he won't be a first-round bust and contribute more this season.
After all, the Saints need all the help they can get after player suspensions.