With the Philadelphia Eagles proclaiming themselves as the “Dream Team,” and teams like the New York Jets running their mouths, the New Orleans Saints are flying under the radar and are poised to have another championship season.
No one is talking about the Saints right now, and I can’t see how anyone could overlook what they’ve done this offseason. They traded off a talented but overpaid running back in Reggie Bush, but he was a liability anyway. The Saints would be lucky if he played in and produced big numbers offensively for three games a year.
The Saints added much needed depth and were able to re-sign key players needed to make another championship run. I really like this New Orleans Saints team, and I’ll give you five reasons why they will climb the mountain top and plant that flag as the world champions once again.
Last year against the Seattle Seahawks in the playoffs, the Saints were so banged-up at running back that they had to rely on Heath Evans as their main rusher. That hurt the Saints, and the Saints have gone above and beyond to make sure that this doesn’t happen this year.
The Saints lost Reggie Bush, but he wasn’t worth the money the Saints have been paying him anyway. And over the past two seasons the Saints have turned no-name running backs like Pierre Thomas and Chris Ivory into household names. Thomas was a vital part of the Saints championship run in 2009, and Ivory impressed many with his grind-it-out running style a year ago.
Both of those guys are back and with the addition of Mark Ingram, the Saints might have the best running back core in the NFL. Being a huge follower of college football, I was blown away with the performance of Ingram in a gritty SEC, and he’ll come in ready to contribute to the team. The addition of Darren Sproles won’t hurt either.
The lockout situation threw off a lot of teams by cutting short needed preparation for the season, but the Saints will be better off than the rest because of their participation in offseason workouts.
Led by their captain, Drew Brees, the Saints gathered together and worked on elevating their game this offseason. All the funds were taken up by Brees at the time, and he helped mentor the young guys on offense while Jonathan Vilma helped mentor the guys on defense.
This Saint team has great leadership, and who wouldn’t want to play for a guy that’s willing to pay for your stay as a rookie and for the workouts? No wonder why they call him St. Brees around New Orleans.
Oh yeah, and one of the big names that didn’t show up (cough, Reggie Bush, cough) is no longer with the team.
In the 2012 NFL Draft, the Saints picked up a great defensive end in Cam Jordan, a great running back in Mark Ingram and a guy that will make Gregg Williams a happy man in outside linebacker Martez Wilson. Not to mention, they added another athletic ball-hawking defensive back in Johnny Patrick.
All of those guys mentioned should come in and contribute right away. The Saints didn’t stop there. They added Pro Bowl center Olin Kreutz, a great defensive tackle in Aubrayo Franklin and the speedy running back Sproles. With the addition of Kreutz, the Saints now have four guys starting on the offensive line that have made the Pro Bowl.
The Saints have yet to re-sign Heath Evans and Darren Sharper, but were able to re-sign just about everybody else they needed, including fan favorites Lance Moore, Roman Harper, Carl Nicks and David Thomas.
Let’s face it, the Seattle game from a defensive prospective was nauseating to watch. Just seeing highlights of the Marshawn Lynch touchdown run alone will force Saints fans to turn the channel.
And if you think Gregg Williams wasn’t upset with his terrible defense against a team that barely made the playoffs in the weakest division in football, you better think again. Williams said in an interview on the Saints website that he hasn’t been able to get over the loss, and that the loss “still chaps my ass.”
Williams is ready to get the defense pointed in the right direction and has expressed his excitement about having these young talented rookies coming in. Look for the Saints to get back to playing the way they did in 2009 on the defensive side of the ball.
The reason the Saints won the Super Bowl in 2009 was because of the leadership and pure genius of Sean Payton and Gregg Williams to go along with the great play of Drew Brees, Jonathon Vilma and so many other players.
Those four guys are back, and they’re hungrier than ever. Brees didn’t have the most productive year of his career in 2010, and, knowing how great of a competitor he is, I know he’s itching to get out there and make something happen.
With Payton and Williams coming up with the schemes and calling the plays for the offense and defense, the Saints are immediately a contender. Combine that with the experience returning and the added talent, and this Saints team is more than ready to make another run for the Lombardi Trophy.