It's about that time again, guys and gals. Time for New Year's resolutions and fresh starts. Time to set goals to fix certain things in the past, whether it be bad habits or worse cornerback play.
Let's take a look at the resolutions that those in the Black and Gold should be focusing on in the new year.
Taking a look at most of the starters next year, and if you factor in that the Saints might keep Jermon Bushrod, Jonathan Vilma and Will Smith—the latter being a non-starter if brought back—this team could be one of, if not the, oldest teams in the league.
How do the Saints compare to that at the beginning of next year?
You think this team needs to get younger or what?
The thing that has not helped this team in that department is the lack of draft picks that they have had since 2007. In not one year since then have they had more than six draft picks.
The NFL gives you seven to start off with, for free. (Even if you give the team back the two from the bounty sham, they'd still only have six in those seasons.)
If Mickey Loomis has lacked one skill, it's his ability to really work the draft to the most he could get out of it in terms of pick quantities.
Tender Chris Ivory and dangle him in a trade. Roman Harper could also be used as trade bait if Sean Payton sees a starter in Isa Abdul-Quddus.
Whichever way they can do it, this team needs to stack picks and get a nice influx of young talent.
Whether it be on the offense or, especially, the defense, this team could definitely use a little boot camp to get back to the basics.
On the offensive side of the ball, New Orleans was fourth in the NFL in dropped passes on the season. Jimmy Graham, the biggest culprit, led the league with 13, but most of his could be contributed to a nagging hand injury which will need to be fixed with surgery in the offseason.
He wasn't the only one, with the usually sure-handed Marques Colston and Darren Sproles contributing six apiece to the drop party. Even the reliable Lance Moore had his moments in big spots.
If I was Henry Ellard and Terry Malone, the team's receivers and tight end coaches, I would have these guys catching balls from a Jugs machine every day for the entire offseason. That is how awful it was to watch.
Defensively, I'm pretty sure you guys can already guess what the gripe is here, huh?
I would like to take this time just to remind the Saints defenders that those things you use to lift weights and gain muscle are the same things you are suppose to use to finish a tackle. I'm sure I speak for the entire Who Dat Nation when I say that we are tired of watching missed tackles being the norm with the Black and Gold.
What's the use of going for a "highlight shot" when most of the time these days you either miss the tackle or get fined? No one wins there.
How about just stick to basics and put a helmet on the ball and wrap your arms around the guy?
To a fault, New Orleans have always hung on to players they had either drafted or put some serious time into. A prime example of that was Adrian Arrington.
At some point, though, you have to learn to let go, and the Saints should do that with a few of those types of players this offseason, especially Sedrick Ellis and Jermon Bushrod.
They are not going to be worth extending offers to after the seasons they've had. In a way, I am kind of glad that they have had the seasons they had because if they were to perform like normal players do in a contract year, the Saints would potentially be overpaying for average talent at best in this league.
Why do that when you could get younger in the draft buy stockpiling picks like what was suggested in the first resolution, and what better way to kick the "over-loyalty" habit than to trade out-of-place-in-Spags-defense, the aforementioned Harper.
You could probably get a low-second, high-third round pick for him if the right team/system comes calling.
Just a suggestion.
Let's just hope for happier things in 2013, huh, Who Dat Nation?
Have a Happy New Year!