New Orleans Saints Poised To Become NFL Powerhouse

Chris OryCorrespondent IMarch 25, 2009

TAMPA, FL - NOVEMBER 30: Quarterback Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints sets to pass against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium on November 30, 2008 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

Is it possible that the Saints have moved into the powerhouse category?

With the offseason defensive acquisitions that the Saints have made, it is quite possible that they are now a top three team in the NFC. With the hiring of Gregg Williams this offseason as well, the Saints have shown they are committed to winning football games.

Three of the biggest moves came on defense: The re-signing of linebacker Jonathan Vilma and signing both Darren Shaper and Jabari Greer. These players should make a huge impact on the defense this coming season, as all three players will assume starting roles.

Jason David will most likely assume the nickel back role where, believe it or not, he excelled last season. He did lead the team in interceptions. Also, with Tracy Porter returning from last year's injury, the Saints get back some much-needed depth at cornerback.

The only question on defense would be the defensive line. Will Charles Grant, Will Smith, and Sedrick Ellis be able to get to the quarterback? Will they be able to stop the run? With Williams coaching, they should return to top form under his guidance. This is the main thing that can make or break the Saints' year.

Now to the offense. Last year was an amazing year for quarterback Drew Brees. No one could imagine that he would be just yards short of passing Dan Marino in the single-season passing yards record. He spread the ball out so well that he passed for more than 5,000 yards, but not a single Saint had over 1,000 yards receiving.

He also did this with injuries to both Marques Colston and Jeremy Shockey. Both players missed at least four games last year. This year, with both of them healthy, Brees should pass for at least 4,500 yards, if not 5,000.

Reggie Bush should have a breakout year as well. He now has Pierre Thomas, who has gained confidence as an undrafted free agent after the end of last season. With both of these guys in the backfield, the Saints can manage to do wonders on the offensive side of the ball. There is no reason that they shouldn't have 2,500 total yards coming from the backfield.

The Saints also resigned Devery Henderson. He has averaged over 20 yards a catch the past couple of seasons. With Drew Brees having this big-play capability, the team can strike you from anywhere, and if Lance Moore is re-signed, we should see a Saints' offense that fans have never seen.

Tom Benson, for once, has given a coach the tools that he needs to win. It is now up to Sean Payton and the coaching staff to make it happen, to turn New Orleans into a powerhouse.