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This week we take a quick look at the New Orleans Saints and the bullet points of their offseason. (Last week we looked at the Atlanta Falcons)

 

The Draft

The Saints selected OT Andrus Peat in the first round of the 2015 NFL draft. Peat would have been the Panthers selection according to sources. This was a solid selection that will pay dividends in years to come. 

The Saints went on to address defense for 6 of their remaining 8 picks. You only need to look at the Panthers at Saints game last season to figure out why. 

Their second 1st round pick was spent on LB and Clemson alum Stephone Anthony. Anthony is extremely quick and athletic, will probably be starting by mid season if not sooner. 

The Saints addressed their pass rush in round 2 with the selection of sub package player Hau'oli Kikaha out of Washington. He will play OLB on situational downs where a bit of extra speed is needed on the pass rush (something the Carolina Panthers struggle with)

In the third round the Saints showed concern over the diminishing play of Drew Brees by selecting Garrett Grayson out of Colorado State. I like Grayson and think he has a chance to do well in the NFL. 

 

Free Agency

The biggest loss for the Saints obviously was Jimmy Graham. Graham was the life line the Saints needed in many games against the Panthers over past seasons. 

The Saints also lost WR Kenny Stills, C Ben Grubbs, and RB Pierre Thomas on offense. 

Their biggest offseason acquisition was RB CJ Spiller who should do well on the Saints fast home turf. 

On the defensive side of the ball the Saints lost one of the only bright spots in Curtis Lofton and his 144 combined tackles in 2014.

Overall, the Saints took a net loss in free agency, that fact would be difficult to argue against. 

 

Drew Brees

 2014 marked the first season of any real noticeable decline in the play of 14 year veteran Drew Brees. As the season went on, the physical toll on Brees became more apparent.

The Saints organization also took notice. The majority of draft picks being spent on defense signifies that. The days of the Saints simply out scoring opponents may be over. A NFL caliber defense is probably needed now, and the Saints know it. 

Throw in the fact a 3rd round selection was used on a QB, and well, it is easy to read the writing on the wall. Can you imagine the controversy if Carolina spent a 3rd rounder on a QB? Yet barely a mention of it in New Orleans. The Saints fan base may be in a bit of denial. 

 

Conclusion

Jon Beason once told me "If you aren't getting better, you're getting worse." 

The Saints.... they aren't getting better in 2015. They are in real danger of finishing last in the division. 

 

But what do you think?

 

 

Next week.... Bucs. 

 

 


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Edited by Jeremy Igo
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Great job this week. They really made strides to commit to a run first team.  Establishing  this will help when they make the qb transition. I'm the next year or so. Something Cam did not have the luxury of when he took over. 

I really think they wanted Funchess.

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I certainly think Atlanta will be better this year and the Saints will be worse. Tampa Bay is the real wildcard in the division- will they be bottom dwellers with the Saints or compete for the division?

 

Saints are about to be in full rebuilding mode next offseason (i.e. life without Brees) bank on it 

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Funchess is a higher value pick than their 1b pick, imo. They could not have wanted him that badly. 

That defense was borderline historically bad. They may have been drafting more for need. I thought I heard rumors that ATL and NO were trying to position to grab him in the 2nd and that is why we had to give up a bit more than expected to move up. Demand was there.

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As long as Rob Ryan is heading up that defense, I am thinking that whatever personnel they put on the field won't make a difference.  The defense's best weapon for the Saints in years prior was the offense.

In my opinion, the Saints made all the wrong moves for this off-season.  It would have been right if they started with swapping Rob Ryan for someone else, but they didn't.  For now, the Saints lone hope is a stout running attack to jump start everything else.  If that falls, so does everything else.  If it clicks, then they have a shot, but little more than that.

Edited by twylyght
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I don't think they will miss a beat on offense, even without Graham.  Adding Spiller and moving to a more run-oriented attack will help them keep their defense off the field, and even in decline Brees is going to be good for keeping the chains moving consistently between the 20s.  Give Ryan more athleticism on defense and a little more rest and watch his unit be more effective in 2015.  

With that said, this shift may keep the Falcons up at night, but not the Panthers.  Their offensive changes play to our strengths, so I'm not too concerned about them.  It's on defense where they may cause a little trouble.  They will have a better rush this year, but we have a mobile QB that can make a defense pay for gambling, something Ryan loves to do.  And if we get them down a couple of TDs and force them into a passing game, that's when their losses at WR will be felt.

In short, I'm probably one of the few around here that think the Saints will be better in 2015 than they were in 2014.  But I think that the direction they're going is one that the Panthers will find favorable, matchup-wise, and we ought to be looking at a sweep in 2015.

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decline? sure. but imo they've got enough of a talent infusion to compete. the window won't be open for long, but it's still open.

compete for a wild card berth sure. but they arent division champ material this year. that will be between the other three teams. i think the Panthers will be class of the division. 5-1 division record with only loss coming against the Falcons, perhaps in their house this time. i think the Falcons and Bucs will split, the Bucs and Saints will split, the Falcons will sweep the Saints, and we will sweep the Saints. 

the Saints wont be in contention for much more than a wild card berth this year. and even if they get one, methinks they'll be one and done. its going to be really tough to get in this year though. there are teams all across the NFC making strides this offseason. Dallas, New York, Philly, Carolina, Atlanta, perhaps Tampa, Green Bay, Detroit, perhaps Minnesota, Seattle, Arizona, St. Louis, and perhaps New Orleans. thats 12 teams vying for 6 spots. naturally 4 of them will be division winners, but still, thats 9 teams vying for 2 spots. and frankly, almost all of the other 8 teams will be better than New Orleans this year. i think they finish 7-9 or 6-10 as the odd man out. 

division stacks up something like this:

     Panthers 10-12 wins

     Falcons 8-11 wins

     Bucs (wildcard within division) 4-9 wins

     Saints 4-7 wins. 

division winners probably will be:

     East: Dallas

     North: Green Bay

     South: Carolina

     West: Seattle

that leaves the following teams vying for 2 wild card spots:

     New York

     Philly

     Atlanta

     Tampa

     New Orleans

     Detroit

     Minny

     AZ, and

     St. Louis

Most, if not all of those teams will be better than New Orleans. i just dont see them contending for anything by week 15. they'll be in the race before that, but it will be pretty hopeless by week 15.

 

SIDE NOTE: damn the NFC will be competitive this year. Panthers better bring their A game every week :/

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Saints fan with Jimmy Graham on team- "Best TE in football!"

Saints fan without Jimmy Graham on team- "Overrated, past his prime, we already have a guy on the roster that's an all-universe player, I have some statistics that prove we didn't really lose Graham!"

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Decent article, but I would like to complain that it was a bit of lazy journalism that you all complain about ESPN for. 

My my first complaint is that Spiller wasn't our biggest addition. I'd give that to Max Unger and would probably put Browner ahead of him as well. Unger is an all pro center, which was the weakest position on the Saints line last year. Grubbs was the LG, not the center, and he and Goodwin struggled mightly last year. The Saints are much better on the oline this year than they were last year with the additions of Unger and Peat. 

The whole CB group outside of Lewis has changed. Corey White and Patrick Robinson are gone, thank god. They're replaced by Brandon Browner and Kyle Wilson/Delvin Breaux/PJ Wiliiams. The weakest position group on the Saints roster last year was CB. The Saints attacked it head on. Throwing in Byrd being healthy as well and the secondary looks much improved. 

Anthony was a need/value pick. He'll start from day 1, not down the line. The Saints lacked athletiscm in the LB corp. He gives them that. I've still yet to hear anything about the Saints wanting Funchess anywhere but here.

One of the biggest talking points I think you left off was the Junior Galette situation. If he had surgery/gets suspended, the Saints pass rush takes a significant hit. Maybe the rookie steps up, but losing Galette would be devastating IMO.

There hasn't been a whisper about Grayson being selected because everyone knows Brees is getting up in age. We've all wanted a replacement in place for a couple of years now, to learn from one of the best in the business. I'm on record as saying Drew cost us too many games last year, but I'm not ready to hop on the Drew Brees has fallen off a cliff train like most here. 

This Saints team will definitely be different than last years. I have no idea what to expect. I'm excited about the upgrades on the offensive line and in the secondary. I question the receiving corp and the pass rush. The "bottom dwellers" comments are laughable though. The Saints haven't won less than 7 games since Drew and Payton got to town.

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