YOOOAdrian’s 2010 NFL Preview- New Orleans Saints
Most Saints fans are still hungover after an incredible 2009 season, which culminated into a Super Bowl Title. We’ll find out this year if the football team is still hungover after the franchise’s 1st Super Bowl? No team has reached back to back Super Bowls since the New England Patriots did it in 2004 and 2005. Finally, quarterback Drew Brees is getting some much needed recognition as being one of the best quarterbacks in football. Don’t forget about that offensive line, one of the best in football.
Drew Brees- 363/514 70.6% 4,388 yds 34 td 11 int 109.6 rat
Last season, Brees set an NFL single season completion percentage record. He may only be 6 feet tall, but he has all the tools in an All-Pro quarterback. He has the quickest release in the NFL and great pocket awareness. He doesn’t have the strongest arm, but can still get the ball downfield to go along with a great touch.
Brees is the epitome of a locker room leader, on and off the field. His work ethic is incredible as he has perfected Sean Payton’s complex offense.
Others- Chase Daniel, Sean Canfield
Mark Brunell is gone from being the backup so Daniel and the rookie Canfield will fight to backup Brees.
Pierre Thomas- 147 car 5.4 avg 793 yds 6 td 39 rec 302 yds 2 td
Thomas doesn’t get the pub that Bush does, but it’s Thomas who gets the ball in crunch time. Thomas isn’t strongest or fastest, but he has good vision and balance. He also has good hands coming out of the backfield.
Reggie Bush- 70 car 5.6 avg 390 yds 5 td 47 rec 335 yds 3 td
Bush had his best season of his career last season. He isn’t your prototypical running back, but he can be a weapon in Sean Payton’s offense. He is extremely dangerous in space with his elusive bevy of moves and speed. He’s learned to become a better runner.
Others- Lynell Hamilton, Heath Evans
Hamilton looks to become the short yardage back that Mike Bell was last year.
Evans returns as the fullback after tearing his ACL.
Marques Colston- 70 rec 1,074 yds 15.3 avg 9 td
Colston is tall and deceptively quick. He plays with good body control and uses his size to box out defenders and make catches. He has great hands and adjusts to back shoulder throws well.
Devery Henderson- 51 rec 804 yds 15.8 avg 2 td
Henderson is a deep threat who uses tremendous speed. His hands aren’t the best.
Robert Meachem- 45 rec 722 yds 16.0 avg 9 td
Finally, Meachem is living up to some of the expectations after being drafted in the 1st round in 2007. He’s a sure handed receiver who’s a nice target in the red zone.
TE- Jeremy Shockey- 48 rec 569 yds 11.9 avg 3 td
Shockey has accepted a smaller role than he had when he was a Giant. He’s a reliable option for Brees when healthy.
Others- Lance Moore, David Thomas
Moore is a slot receiver who’s a nice option on 3rd downs.
Thomas is a tight end who works best as a lead blocker.
Graham is an intriguing player who’s only played one year of college football for Miami. Like Antonio Gates, Graham was also a basketball player.
LT- Jermon Bushrod
Bushrod takes over for Jamaal Brown. Bushrod is a work in progress who has promise, but struggled against top tier pass rushers.
LG- Carl Nicks
Nicks is full of girth and power. He’s athletic and agile for his size.
C- Jonathan Goodwin
Goodwin isn’t as athletic as his fellow lineman, but he’s strong and plays with good technique.
RG- Jahri Evans
Evans is currently the best guard in the game. He is an absolute mammoth who is equally effective blocking in the run and pass.
RT- Jon Stinchcomb
Stinchcomb is more of a finesse player who can get beaten by rushers with speed.
LDE- Alex Brown- 48 tck 6 sck 1 p def
Brown is expected to bring more of a pass rush on the left side after the departure of Charles Grant. Brown has at least 6 sacks in 5 of the past 6 years.
LDT- Sedrick Ellis- 34 tck 2 sck 2 p def
Ellis is built like a monster truck, but his inability to stay healthy is starting to become a concern. When healthy, Ellis is a great pass rusher from the tackle position.
RDT- Remi Ayodele- 30 tck 1.5 sck
Ayodele needs to work on his strength to become a better run stuffer.
RDE- Will Smith- 49 tck 13 sck 1 int 3 p def 1 ff
Smith is a pass rushing presence with an ability to dominate. He plays with a non-stop motor and never quits on plays.
Others- Bobby McCray, Anthony Hargrove
McCray has previous starting experience. He’s best as a pass rusher. He has a quick 1st step and uses his speed to beat offensive lineman.
Hargrove can play tackle or end
Wilkerson is coming off ACL surgery in January.
LOLB- Jo-Lonn Dunbar- 20 tck
Dunbar lacks size and length, but is a hard worker. He takes over for Scott Fujita.
MLB- Jonathan Vilma- 110 tck 2 sck 3 int 11 p def
Vilma is at his best dropping back and disrupting the passing game. He plays with good insincts, speed and range and flows to the ball. His tackling isn’t the best, but he makes plays.
ROLB- Scott Shanle- 69 tck 2 int 3 p def
Shanle is tough, but lacks athleticism. He’s a sure tackler, but doesn’t get pressure on the quarterback when called upon to blitz.
Others- Jonathan Casillas, Stanley Arnoux, Troy Evans
Casillas, Arnoux and Evans will all compete with Dunbar for the starting spot vacated by Fujita.
LCB- Jabari Greer- 44 tck 2 int 13 p def
Greer is speedy, athletic and great in man-to-man coverage. He has good ball skills.
RCB- Tracy Porter- 57 tck 4 int 12 p def 2 ff
Porter put his name on the map, cementing a Super Bowl win for New Orleans with an interception late in the game against Peyton Manning. Porter is not as physical as Greer, but like Greer, Porter is fast and athletic.
CB- Malcolm Jenkins- 55 tck 1 int 4 p def 2 ff
Jenkins has good instincts and playmaking ability. He has good size to play to slot.
FS- Darren Sharper- 71 tck 9 int 15 p def .5 sck
Sharper at 34 resurrected his career last season. He had 9 picks, 3 of which were returned for touchdowns. If Greer and Porter can shut down the outside receivers, that gives Sharper the freedom to roam the field and make plays.
SS- Roman Harper- 102 tck 5 p def 1.5 sck
Harper is one of the best hitters in the game. He is a thumper against the run and an effective blitzer in Gregg Williams blitz packages. He is a bit of a liability in pass coverage.
Others- Patrick Robinson, Randall Gay, Usama Young
Robinson was a 1st round pick in the NFL Draft from Florida State. He is gifted athletically and has enormous potential.
Young looked to be the starting free safety until the team decided to bring Sharper back.
PK- Garrett Hartley- 9/11 38 lg
Hartley earned free alcoholic beverages for life with his game winning kick to send New Orleans to the Super Bowl.
P- Thomas Morstead- 58 punts 43.6 avg 18 in 20 60 lg
Morstead is a good punter who gets good hangtime on his boots.
KR- Courtney Roby- 42 ret 27.5 avg 1 td 97 lg
Roby has good straight-line speed. He has the ability to take kicks back for touchdowns.
PR- Reggie Bush- 27 ret 4.8 avg 23 lg
Bush didn’t possess a great return average, but he’s devastating with field to work with.
2010 PREDICTION- 9-7
What New Orleans did last season was remarkable. They’re a team that’s very easy to root for, but last season felt kind of fluky to me. They benefited from a rather easy schedule which got them home field advantage in the playoffs. This year, the schedule isn’t so easy, so we’ll see what New Orleans is really made of. Drew Brees is a phenominal talent, and the coaching staff is one of NFL’s best, but I still have trouble believing in this defense. They’re rushing and passing defense isn’t great, but they forced so many turnovers last season that I think those aspects got a bit overlooked. Maybe I’m just a moron, but a Super Bowl hangover may be looming this upcoming season.
Offensive MVP- Drew Brees
Defensive MVP- Will Smith
Breakthrough- Sedrick Ellis
Overrated- Reggie Bush
Underrated- Pierre Thomas