New Orleans Saints Look To Contend in 2008
Projected Record: 10-6, first place in NFC South
The Saints have some unfinished business to take care of after last season's huge disappointment.
The team started out 0-4 last year and never fully recovered. A lot of changes were made to improve a squad that had the fourth-ranked offense, but only the 26th-ranked defense.
They have added former Jets Pro Bowl MLB Jonathan Vilma and rookie DT Sedrick Ellis to the mix, and they should be a big help on the defensive side of the ball.
Also, Randall Gay, Bobby McCray, and Dan Morgan have been added to improve the defense significantly. McCray will be be able to spell both Will Smith and Charles Grant and provides great depth.
Gay will be battling for the No. 2 job at CB and is expected to win. Morgan sat out most of last year and is a little bit of a gamble on the Saints' part.
Overall, the Saints tried very hard to give their defense a big boost, but the secondary is still weak, and that was their Achilles heel last year and the biggest reason why their defense proved to be no good.
With that in mind, the offense will once again have to carry the team, hopefully into the playoffs.
Only one major move was made this off-season, but it was a big one. The Saints drastically improved at tight end when they sent a second- and fifth-round pick to the New York Giants in exchange for Jeremy Shockey.
The Saints also possess a top-five quarterback in Drew Brees. Look for him to throw for over 4000 yards again this year. He will also likely be good for 25 to 30 TDs.
Reggie Bush is now the main man in New Orleans at running back, as Deuce McAllister will likely be out for the entire season. With this injury comes opportunity for the underachieving Bush.
He will most likely get many more carries and he already makes good on his opportunities when catching the ball. Pierre Thomas will be the one backing Bush up. fullback Mike Karney is a hard-nosed blocker and he has the ability to catch passes.
The wide receiving corps is very much the same as last year. Young superstar Marques Colston is already making a case for being a Top-10 WR. He caught for over 1,200 yards last year despite a very bad start and came only two short of 100 receptions.
David Patten was usually the second option last year, but he is only getting older at the age of 34. Last year's first round draft pick, Robert Meachem, will contend for that second spot. Meachem did not suit up for one game last year and could be a potential sleeper for this season.
Devery Henderson is another receiver in the mix for the top three. His speed makes him a consistent deep-play threat, but he has problems catching the ball. These problems could potentially have him on the sidelines for a huge portion of the year.
The offensive line once again looks strong but the loss of C Jeff Faine hurts. Faine provided an edge for this unit and he was also the one leading the O-Line, shouting the signals at the line of scrimmage. He will be replaced by Jonathon Goodwin, who started last year in place of Faine when he was injured.
Placekicker Martin Gramatica was signed last year after Olindo Mare injured his hip. Mare was released this off-season and it is now Gramatica's job to lose. He will be challenged by sixth-round pick Taylor Mehlhaff, who has a strong leg and can boot very long kickoffs.
Overall, this Saints team looks very good, and they look like they will win the NFC South. The offense will once again have to carry this team, and they definitely have the tools to do it. It should be an interesting year season down in New Orleans.
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