Team checklist: New Orleans Saints


The Saints have already added some big pieces this offseason in Shaun Rogers to go with first round picks Cameron Jordan and Mark Ingram. So what else does G.M. Mikey Loomis need to do when the lockout ends?

1. Set a reasonable price for Reggie Bush and stick to it.

Coach Sean Payton says he wants to keep Bush and we believe him. Bush was Payton’s first pick in New Orleans and no one believes in him more. Bush needs to take pay cut reflective of his status as an injury-prone role player, especially because the Saints already have Ingram, Pierre Thomas, and Chris Ivory.

We’re not sure if Bush really wants to stay. If he wants more than $4-$5 million a year, let him walk.  We’d be surprised if the Saints come up with a new deal before they have to cut him.

2. Bring back Roman Harper.

Despite his struggles in coverage in the playoffs, defensive coordinator Gregg Williams knows how important Harper is to the defense. We’d make Harper a bigger priority than Bush.  This should be a no brainer.

3. Re-sign Jonathan Goodwin and/or Jermon Bushrod.

The Saints addressed most of their needs in the draft, but the offensive line remains problematic. Is Charles Brown ready to step at tackle? Is Jonathan Stinchcomb worth keeping? We’d making re-signing center Goodwin a priority to keep the interior line strong.

4.  Sign an outside linebacker or two.

Rookie third-round pick Martez Wilson may be more natural on the inside, but the Saints figure to try him outside where two starting jobs are open. Scott Shanle is a free agent and may not be back. Candidates to start outside include JoLonn Dunbar and Jonathan Casillas.  There are a lot of injury and experience questions here.

5. Make training camp harder than the lockout.

That could be difficult after the organized workouts Drew Brees and Jonathan Vilma have put together. This is a hungry team with great leadership and continuity whose window for another title should still be wide open.

23 responses to “Team checklist: New Orleans Saints

  1. Can you guys add a link @ the bottom of the home page to view all of the team checklists? They’re some of the more interesting articles on PFT right now.

    Lockout news is about as exciting as c-span.

  2. This article is mostly a fluffy mismash of stuff PFT’s written over the summer. Anyone who reads your posts (or the Times-Picayune) could write this.

    Here’s a very short check list:

    Figure out how to get more takeaways – the Saints were dominant during their Super Bowl run, but trailed off. They need a ball hawk in the secondary. Darren Sharper is old and talking about retirement. Will Malcolm Jenkins step up or do the Saints need to look externally?

    Clear the Log-jam in the backfield – Reggie Bush, Pierre Thomas, Chris Ivory, Lynell Hamilton, Mark Ingram. Injuries decimated the Saints last year, but they appear to be stocked with depth. On any other team, any of these guys, except Bush, could be a starter and likely a 1000 yard back. Does Mickey Loomis trade one of them and get back some of the picks they traded away, add more depth on the defensive front or hold on to them all as insurance? Sean Payton is going to figure out how to get them all involved but the Saints have questions on the other side of the ball, specifically at LB.

    Figure out what to do with Safety – Do the Saints get another safety not Roman Harper, who’s not a liability in coverage? The Seahawks exposed and exploited a weakness in the Saints secondary that they’ve been able to hide as long as Darren Sharper/Malcolm Jenkins were healthy. In that game, he reminded Saints fans of Fred Thomas. On the field, Harper’s a good run stuffer, but that’s about it. Should they move him to weak-side linebacker and start Usama Young along side Malcolm Jenkins?

  3. As a Saints fan, I’ve got two things on my checklist. First, just shut up about how hard you’re working now. It doesn’t mean anything until games are played – in January. Second, figure out what went wrong in the passing game last year. Their yards per pass play was way down last year and second worst in the Payton era. They just didn’t make the big plays like they did in the past. Also, and probably related, their red-zone offense was not nearly as good as it was in the past. Granted, they were hurt at both RB and TE and this didn’t help against Seattle (although they were primed and ripe to be upset), but if they convert a couple of those goal-to-go’s into TDs, they probably win that game anyway. They settled for too many FGs last year. Finally, while their WRs are pretty good, their is no one in that group who truly scares a secondary.

  4. Someone will go to Seattle for the playoffs. St. Louis will still struggle, San Fran could be much improved and Arizona too…wait a minute…

    Someone ‘could’ be going to Seattle for the playoffs…

  5. @bartpkelly

    “Someone ‘could’ be going to Seattle for the playoffs…”

    Only if they want to get away from it all. 🙂

  6. seahawkhuskyfan says:
    Jun 10, 2011 11:06 AM
    1. Stay out of Seattle for the playoffs


    Stay out of every single division in the NFL besides the NFC WEST bc in any other division you’d be bottom feeders every single year. you’re the best of a terrible terrible situation and everyone outside of Seattle feels the same way.

  7. It’s somewhat of a luxury to have Drew Brees and Jonathon Vilma on your roster. Two born leaders with a passion for the game, and outstanding on field talent.

    I don’t see the Saints being a bottom dweller for at LEAST 3 years, regardless of a lockout.

    Reggie Bush, from what I can tell, seems to have been humbled by his woes. Hopefully that can manifest into a paycut reduction and he can resume his role play. Even though he’s been somewhat of a bust (in terms of his expectations) he is still a threat D-Coordinators have to account for. That really opens things up for those RB’s who hit the holes well. Ingram is a natural runner, patience and high knees.

    Sorry this was so drawn out, I’m actually a Vikings fan, and as much dismay I had about the ’09 NFC Champ. game, I respect what the Saints have done in terms of personnel.

    Not really sure Rogers fits the mold, but we’ll see.

  8. pmars64

    if you were a Saints fan you know the answer to all of you questions.

    Passing game down = Brees suffering an injury to his MCL the third week of the season and played through it all year. He missed passes he normall makes bc of playing hurt. Also we had NO consistent running game bc our RB’s were hurt ALL year, the games ivory played in the WHOLE game we won (including Seattle) but he didnt play full games a lot bc he was hurt. When you’re forced to throw the ball 60 times a game you wont be very effective and you’ll turn the ball over, thus effecting your numbers. Injuries to RB’s and TE’s make it difficult to score in the red zone yet they still went 11-5. As for the receivers not “scaring” any secondaries… that statement proves you’re not really a saints fan or you dont know much about football. Teams around the league HATE playing the Saints because of Drew Brees and the recievers. A healthy Meachem, Same old colston, Speedy Lance moore, Jimmy Graham are all weapons and depending on which devery henderson shows up (if he is welcomed back) he has proven to be dangerous bc of his killer speed and if not Adrian Aarington is waiting in the wings. To say that their recievers arent “scary” is completely ridiculous when they’ve finished in the top 5 in passing yards since 2006. You sound like a Viking fan posing as a Saint fan… you’re not fooling anyone.

  9. Saints will be fine if they can play at home in the playoffs. Don’t come up here to Seattle and expect to win, that doesn’t happen in the playoffs!! Stay home or try Atlanta or something but not Seattle. The 12th man, will not let you leave with a playoff victory. Say what you will about a soft division, when it comes playoff time we put our team out there to win.

  10. breeshasabush:

    Look at the stats. Running game was banged up, but it’s been banged up before, too, and they were still able to get more plays downfield. In 09, their rushing attack was in the top 5 or so, but in every other year with Payton, they were in or near the bottom 5 – even with a healthy backfield.

    I think teams figured out the Saints offensive a little bit last year. Watch the SB and the NFC title game again. Neither the Vikes or Colts allowed big plays in those games. Brees threw underneath pretty much throughout both games. And he did last year too because folks in the NFL probably watched those games and saw how to slow them down.

    Adrian Aarington?!?!? You’ve GOT to be kidding. The guy runs like he’s got clown shoes on.

    Sorry, but I’ve been watching Saints ball since Bum was coach in 81. Suffered through A LOT of late-game and late season collapses under Bum, Mora, and Haslett. Ditka doesn’t count because he was SO BAD. Awful coach who road Ryan’s coat-tails to a SB win in Chicago.


  11. @pmars – you make some good points (about the coaching, running game). the saints offense was limited last year. they couldn’t set up the pass with the run since we practically had no running game for half the season. Bush and Ivory were hurt half the year. Thomas played a quarter of the season. Hamilton was done very early, i think in preseason. Picking up guys off the street (like julius jones – a talented guy who wasn’t always in position) wasn’t the answer.

    I didn’t read what was said about Arrington but insofar as your comment, the guy catches damn near everything thrown to him. I’ve appreciated that about him dating back to when he was at Michigan. He can prance like a show-poodle for all i care, so long as he catches the ball.

    The Saints did well last year all things considering. We had a lot of injuries but were able to still be somewhat competitive. But for that debacle in Seattle, we gave’em hell.

    For all you kind folks who gave my earlier comments a thumbs down, those are 3 pressing issues facing the GM/Coaches.
    I prognosticate that Chris Ivory will get dealt for draft picks or a LB or both.
    Roman Harper is good in run coverage only – that was evident long before Gregg Williams came to town. Back then, he and Fred Thomas were getting beat like a kid that raised his hand at his momma. If the Saints run a one safety defense like the Giants (putting the weak-side safety as an additional LB) then he’s fine, but the Saints will likely transition away from Harper within the next year or two so as not to have a coverage liability. We’ve been building up the secondary with DB’s but, aside from those times when there’s an exceptional talent available (Mark Ingram, Jimmy Graham) the focus will shift to LBs, the D-line and Safety sooner rather than later.

  12. bartpkelly says:
    Jun 10, 2011 12:16 PM
    Someone will go to Seattle for the playoffs. St. Louis will still struggle, San Fran could be much improved and Arizona too…wait a minute…

    Someone ‘could’ be going to Seattle for the playoffs…

    The Rams will still struggle? Did you not recall the Rams’s playing you for the NFC West title and finsihing with identical records? Given your current Qb situation that comment is prematuure at best

  13. This article was obviously written by someone who doesn’t know all the ins and outs of the Saints. One of the biggest priorities is re-signing Lance Moore and there’s not a Saints fan out there who would disagree with that statement.

  14. pmars64

    ur making my point for me. in the years of 07-08 the Saints had no running games, in 06 and 09 they had solid running games 06= NFC title game 09= Super Bowl Champions 07-08= 7-9, 8-8. Do you see the trend? We had a running game for maybe, MAYBE 6 games of the year and all the other games Brees was forced to throw 40-60 times a game… look at the stats! But beyond the stats for the last time…. Brees played hurt since week 3!!! The same injury that Cutler had to leave the NFC game for Brees played with all year (constantly dropping back, planting, and occasionally getting hit and sacked). So maybe, just maybe a knee injury might just effect his accuracy or his ability to connect/even attempt the deep ball like he has so much in the past. Even if the injury weren’t the case when you are forced to throw the ball 40-60 times a game…. bad things are bound to happen. As far as Aarington goes ill let iplaybingowitholdpeopleandwin speak for me bc he said it best… “He can prance like a show-poodle for all i care, so long as he catches the ball.”…
    1) You’ve only seen Aarington in ONE regular season game and he was nothing short of productive in that game. His pre-season appearances are enough to prove he deserves to be out there playing and the Saints continually pay him more money just to stay on their practice squad so they can keep him. The only reason they haven’t called him up earlier is because Devery and Lance Moore have held their spots but after Devery’s last year that spot is up for grabs.

    2) how can he or anyone else be any worse than Devery Henderson was last year? only freddie mitchel can be that ineffective

    3) We have immediate threats in Colston, Meachem, and Moore. Also Graham. Is every single reciever supposed to be a number 1 starting reciever for you to be happy? There are such a thing as role players in sports… just ask Dirk.


    I agree with just about everything you said except for your take on Ivory. If anyone is delt for draft picks its gunna be Pierre. Ingram is Pierre 2.0, he does pretty much exactly what pierre does but hes bigger, stronger, and faster. Plus with ivory’s fumbling issues, legal issues, and inexperience there wont be much of an upside for the Saints as far as a trade goes. Pierre however made a national name for himself in the 09 playoffs and is more attractive to NFL teams plus the contract they just signed him to isnt one that teams would have too much of a problem taking on. That being said if ANY running back in the stable has to be delt, at this time you have to assume its going to be Reggie he’s due way too much money and will not return unless his contract is re-done for less money and with his current antics and attitude I don’t see him “taking one for the team” though I hope he shocks us all and does. Cheers

  15. seahawkhuskyfan says:
    Jun 10, 2011 2:36 PM
    Saints will be fine if they can play at home in the playoffs. Don’t come up here to Seattle and expect to win, that doesn’t happen in the playoffs!! Stay home or try Atlanta or something but not Seattle. The 12th man, will not let you leave with a playoff victory. Say what you will about a soft division, when it comes playoff time we put our team out there to win


    U really think ur fans won that game? Nothing to do wit hthe fact u played a team that literally limped into the post season, Deshawn Wynn…. u know who that is? He was our entire running game for that game after julius and reggie went down not to mention Pierre, Hamilton, Betts, and ivory were hurt also. the list of injuries goes on and on and on, I hate using injuries as an excuse but when pompous people like you who claim Seattle and the “12th man” handed it to the Saints I cant help it. U realize we play in the Superdome 8 weeks (sometimes more) every year right??? It rarely gets louder than that. Id like to think that the absence of Malcom Jenkins and numerous other starters were more to blame than a bunch of dellusional, sun deprived seattle fans. As far as having to go up there again dont worry we wont have to, Atlanta wont be so lucky again this year, Josh Freeman will be the QB that he REALLY is and not the one everyone pretends he is, Saints win the Division, St. Louis or San Francisco will win 8 games (which knocks you out of the playoffs), Matt Hasselbeck gets hurt…again and Seattle is run by charlie whitehurst for about 3 weeks until you turn to Matt Leinart to revitalize the team only to find out that he flat lined 6 years ago, and Seattle goes 4-12 and no one anywhere has any reason to go to Seattle and then you guys can finally shut up. You guys are like Dick Ecklund constantly bragging about knocking down Sugar Ray Leonard once.

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