NFL Predictions for 2010 Season: Can the Saints Repeat as Champs?
Last Years Record 13-3
Wins: Lions, Eagles, Bills, Jets, Giants, Dolphins, Falcons (x2), Panthers, Rams, Buccaneers, Patriots, Redskins
Losses: Cowboys, Buccaneers, Panthers
QB, Purdue, Drafted #32, 10th Year
There is no question that Brees has established himself as one of the top QBs in the NFL. Brees did not have any weaknesses last year, you could blitz him, drop everyone back in coverage, play man, play zone, do anything and he was going to complete passes. He threw for an amazing 34 TDs and only 11 INT with 4,388 yards passing, and he sat out the final game of the year.
DE, Ohio State, Drafted #18, seven years
Smith had led the Saints defense with 13 sacks and 3 forced fumbles last year. If Smith can put up similar numbers this year then the Saints defense should very solid once again.
Biggest Offseason Addition
Keeping The Team Together
The Saints did not really make any big offseason splashes, because they really did not need to make any big moves. All the key parts to last year’s team are still in place. They picked up Alex Brown, to help replace Charles Grant, but other than that the roster looks very similar to last years super bowl team.
Biggest Offseason Loss
LB, California, Drafted #143, nine years
Fujita was a team captain and was known for making big plays when they needed them. He is a player that will certainly be missed.
Biggest Draft Steal
OT, USC, Drafted #64, Rookie
Brown has the potential to be a very good tackle in the NFL and it was a steal to get him in the late 2ndround. Brown is big and athletic, but does not have the greatest technique. Fortunately Brown can go to the Saints and sit and learn from some veterans.
Biggest Draft Reach
CB, Florida State, Drafted #32, Rookie
This pick just seemed odd to me. The one place they are pretty deep is defensive back, especially after drafting Malcolm Jenkins with the 14th overall pick last year (he has moved to safety now but will probably still play some corner). I figured that the Saints would try to get a defensive end or linebacker possibly a Sergio Kindle, Carlos Dunlap, Daryl Washington or Brandon Spikes. Instead they went with a cornerback a position that is very strong for them. Robinson has very good potential, it just was not a position of need for them.
It was a pretty mellow offseason for the Saints. Usually after a super bowl-winning season, you see a lot of players holding out and asking for more money or cashing in on their recent success and signing a big free agent contract. Jamaal Brown did end up being traded, but he did not play last year. The biggest thing is that they have kept the key players from last year’s team.
RB, USC, Drafted #2, five years
Bush a former 2nd overall pick has yet to live up to the hype of his USC days. It is clear now that he may never be a 200+ carry back, but it seems like he is so dynamic that he should be making more of an impact. Last year his touches dramatically decreased, he only got 70 carries and 47 receptions. With Mike Bell now gone, It will be interesting to see if the Saints can find a way to get Bush more involved and get his numbers back up.
Name You Should Know
S, William & Mary, Drafted #60, 14 years
Sharper is a guy that does not seem to age. The future hall of famer led the team with nine interceptions last year three of them for touchdowns. He may not be able to have the same production this year, but Sharper is a great veteran to have on the team and should make a positive impact. If they did not resign Sharper this year, there would have been a lot of angry Saints fans.
CB, Indiana, Drafted #40, three years
After the two huge interceptions last year in the Super Bowl and Divisional playoff game, Porter became a household name. Porter, who is only 24, should be a guy to watch for for a long time.
With Drew Brees under center and Marques Colston, Robert Meachem, Devery Henderson, Jeremy Shockey, and Reggie Bush as weapons, it will be a nightmare once again for defensive coordinators to game plan. Look for the Saints to have a record book year on offense.
The Saints are probably going to have one of the best and youngest secondary’s in the NFL this year. The Saints were known for causing turnovers last year and it should be no different this year. The one concern is their linebacker core. Jonathan Vilma is a stud, but Jonathan Casillas only has 2 starts under his belt and he will try to be replacing Scott Fujita.
Special Teams Outlook
Reggie Bush and Courtney Roby have proven that they can be electric in the return game. Garrett Hartley was solid in the playoffs, and Thomas Morstead probably will not be used much but is very good.
Projected 2010 Record
The biggest question with the Saints is will they have a let down season like so many other teams have had after a super bowl winning season. I do not see Drew Brees, Darren Sharper, Will Smith, Jonathan Vilma and the other leaders on their team letting that happen.