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Team needs: New Orleans Saints

Mickey Loomis AP

The Saints made the playoffs as defending champs, but never quite seemed the same is they were in their ’09 title year.  The offense fell from first to eleventh in points.  The defense improved overall, but stopped forcing turnovers.

Most core players remain from the championship year, but this is a team in transition.  With a lot of uncertain free agent situations, the Saints have plenty of needs and have to re-load.

DE: Will Smith’s career arc is starting to mirror Charles Grant’s career and that’s not a good thing.  He’ll stick around, but he needs help. The team only got 10.5 sacks from defensive ends last year. Jeff Charleston and Jimmy Wilkerson are free agents. Alex Brown is a stop-gap player.  There is very little here to build off for the future.

OLB: The position was unremarkable last year, and now the team may lose Scott Shanle via free agency.  JoLonn Dunbar and Jonathan Casillas would probably be the starters if the season started today.  The Saints have too many JAGS in the front seven.

OL: Right tackle Jon Stinchcomb is coming off a rough year and is a little overrated.  Tackle Jermon Bushrod and center Jonathan Goodwin are prospective free agents.  G.M. Mickey Loomis has done a nice job drafting offensive linemen and planning ahead for departures, but they need to keep adding talent.

WR: It’s time to start developing another wideout.  Devery Henderson is replaceable, Lance Moore is a free agent, and Robert Meachem is a free agent after 2011.  Sean Payton likes to have a four wideout rotation and give his receivers a redshirt year, so he could plan ahead with a mid-round pick.

Overview: The Saints have more free agents than any team in the league, including key players like Reggie Bush and Roman Harper.  Either the Saints seriously draft for need in April or they will lose leverage and be desperate at a few positions when the lockout ends.

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16 Responses to “Team needs: New Orleans Saints”
  1. bfridley says: Apr 14, 2011 8:29 AM

    Ravens. Now.

  2. raider17 says: Apr 14, 2011 8:48 AM

    Where’s the horrible picture of Tom Benson, and the mocking comments? The Saints are all time losers. Their history can’t touch the Raiders, but there’s no mocking. Hmmmmm…..

    Long Live Al Davis!!!

  3. smarterthantheaveragebearfan says: Apr 14, 2011 8:56 AM

    A head coach that doesn’t commute to work from another state?

  4. Burritto says: Apr 14, 2011 9:01 AM

    I don’t have the words to express how silly the Charles Grant-Will Smith “career arc” statement is. Not even close.

  5. tombradyswig says: Apr 14, 2011 9:26 AM

    A new QB….
    Drew Greed gonna blow out a shoulder again!!

  6. cwmorga says: Apr 14, 2011 9:30 AM

    Rogers and Ellis make a good interior tandem on the DL. They just need pass rushing DE or a SLB in the draft. Jonathan Casillas looked good at WLB in preseason last year and was given the starting nod before injuring his foot. He gives the Saints some much needed speed in the front 7. The secondary is set at every position but they still sometimes give up plays because the D can’t get pressure without blitzing.

    The Saints drafted a highly rated center (Matt Tennant) and OT (Charles Brown), so there shouldn’t be any glaring holes to fill on the line.

    The good news is that the 1st round is loaded with DE and OLB prospects, so I expect them to be able to fill a need at 24 (though Payton/Loomis are nothing if not unpredictable in the draft).

  7. sophandros says: Apr 14, 2011 9:41 AM

    Two things:

    We have a lot of Jersey Association Gamers?

    Bush isn’t a free agent this year.

  8. breeshasabush says: Apr 14, 2011 10:06 AM

    its so funny to see how when you start to win how people start to hate you. Ha some guy actually compared the Raiders to the Saints… dude quit living in the 80’s..its over man let it go. For just about the past decade the raiders have been a complete joke, ur team is a joke, the owner is a joke, the coaches are jokes, ur FANS are jokes with their cute make up and costumes only to walk out of the stadium looking like complete morons after ur team gets blown out. The Will Smith Charles grant comparison is LAUGHABLE. One guy said I hope “drew greed” blows out his shoulder again… i mean really man?!? Look I know we hurt the patriots feelings and all when we embarrassed you in the dome and it would be easier for ur team to win another championship with Brees on the shelf but hows about ur team man up and beat teams when they’re at full health (like we did to your spygate organization of cheaters) 18-1.

  9. Bob says: Apr 14, 2011 11:07 AM

    It’s a good thing that Scott Shanle and Jermon Bushrod are free agents. Hopefully, the Saints won’t re-sign them. But, yes, Gregg, you’re right that Stinchcomb is overrated. He was overrated the year he went to the Pro Bowl.

  10. filmortonyc says: Apr 14, 2011 11:29 AM

    They need a returner…. Jeremy Ross Cal or Shaky Smith Utah would great adds either way.

  11. 52sackmachine says: Apr 14, 2011 11:43 AM

    Houston made the right pick taking Mario Williams over Reggie Bush. Bush will leave and someone will pay and try to get the best out of him. The saints IMO didn’t use him the correct way. Then again it’s the system they installed and sometimes that can hurt a player or make a player. In this case it hurt Reggie. The best thing he can say is he won a superbowl ring. Not many players that played the game longer can say that!

  12. thefiesty1 says: Apr 14, 2011 1:52 PM

    Someone to replace Reggie Bush.

  13. dkeyser says: Apr 14, 2011 6:16 PM

    They do need back up O-Linemen.. I think along with Bushrod and Goodwin that Zach Strief is a FA as well.
    OLB is a major need. Shanle is ok, but he gets smoked coverage though. Casillas will be good if he’s healthy this year, and Dunbar is ok, but they need a stud LB to pair with Vilma.
    WR will be ok. They have Arrington who looked good when he got to play last year. Henderson can go. He’s not so speedy anymore, which was pretty much all he was, was a deep threat. Moore needs to come back as he is Breeses security blanket. Meachem, Moore, Arrington and Colston would be fine in 4 WR sets. Plus Graham is gonna be a stud TE and can make some great catches
    Safety should be an area of need as well. Sharper played like crap last year and Harper is crap in coverage. That said, Harper needs to be resigned and a young SS and a backup FS should be a need as well.
    I would like to see them trade the 24th pick to a team that needs a QB for a few more picks. They have so many FA’s that 6 picks wont fill all the needs they have

  14. goawayeverybody says: Apr 15, 2011 2:55 AM

    I see my comment was censored regarding the inaccuracy of this article. Let’s try again.

    1. The Saints are not the team with the most free agents. The Packers and the Jets have more free agents than the Saints and the Saints have re-signed more of their free agents than any other team.

    2. Will Smith = Charles Grant? Um, no.

  15. goawayeverybody says: Apr 15, 2011 2:41 PM

    Btw I still love Devery. He rocked in the playoff game against the Seahawks.

  16. tci6743 says: Apr 21, 2011 12:33 PM

    52sackmachine says:

    “Houston made the right pick taking Mario Williams over Reggie Bush.”

    2006 Houston 8-8 No playoffs
    2006 Saints 10-6 NFC Championship game

    2007 Houston 8-8 No Playoffs
    2007 Saints 7-9

    2008 Houston 8-8 No Playoffs
    2008 Saints 8-8

    2009 Houston 9-7 No Playoffs
    2009 Saints 13-3 Supebowl Champs

    2010 Houston 6-10 No Playoffs
    2010 Saints 11-5 Wild Card game

    Yep, Houston definitely made out better. 5 years and no playoffs.

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