The New Orleans Saints are ecstatic over the return of Sean Payton. His leadership was sorely missed over the course of last season. certainly they’ll be a better team having him around? But there are some real questions surrounding this Saints team.
To begin with it’s pretty obvious that the New Orleans Saints will be an excellent offensive team as long as Payton is around. And Drew Brees. Brees has been on a historic tear during his time in New Orleans and the chemistry between him and Sean Payton is one of the success stories of the NFL. What Payton has indicated for 2013 is a return to a more of an old school approach where the running game plays a major part in any offensive plan. Certainly Brees will be putting up good numbers, but with Mark Ingram solidly in the game plan the Saints offense hopes to take some of the pressure off of a, to put it politely, really struggling defense. Ingram, in concert with Darren Sproles, who works a defense in both the running and passing game, hope to create enough of a threat to give Drew Brees some open targets down the field.
When the ball is in the air the Saints have some very good talent. Marques Colston is the most dependable pass catcher on the roster while Jimmy Graham is creating a new prototype for Tight Ends, Lance Moore is dependable in the middle. What New Orleans could use is a burner on the outside though, as Devery Henderson has moved on.
Defensively the New Orleans Saints were simply terrible in 2012 and everyone knows it. Hopefully new Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan, who comes over from the Cowboys, can bring them to at least average. Somewhere along the defensive line hopes are high that Ryan can find or make a premiere pass rusher. The linebackers suffered with the loss of Victor Butler to injury in pre-season but Martez Wilson looks to be coming along and Junior Gillete is a promising prospect in a new position. Inside, Jonathan Vilma is a steady veteran. In the secondary Jabari Greer shuld come back from a sub-par season under the old system. Where New Orleans is pinning it’s hopes is on rookie safety Kenny Vaccaro who came highly regarded and should be a boon against NFC South Tight Ends like Tony Gonzales.
The New Orleans Saints are the great mystery in the NFC South in 2013. Time will tell if Payton can pick right up where he left off, with a better defense, and re-claim the NFC South title from the hated Atlanta Falcons.Eric Drouant