Found August 27, 2013 on Fox Sports:
Super-bowl-xliv
Sean Payton dismisses the notion that his return to coaching means the New Orleans Saints will instantly regain their playoff form of 2011. The coach is quick to remind anyone who asks about his past success that a team which stumbled to a 7-9 record last season - with one of the most porous defenses in NFL history - is the one he has taken over following his return from his season-long bounty ban. So there's a lot of work to do, Payton says, if the Saints want to contend for the playoffs in 2013 - not that he's discounting New Orleans' potential to do so. ''There is urgency every season,'' Payton said. ''Each year is different, and certainly there are goals and expectations. Most importantly, we don't try and put limitations on what we think we can and can't do. We don't know enough about this team yet.'' The good news for Payton is that the NFL is largely a quarterback-driven league, and the Saints have Drew Brees, who last season eclipsed 5,000 yards passing for the third time in his career. Brees has little doubt about New Orleans' potential to contend again now that last year's scandal, as well as his own 2012 contract holdout, are history. ''Last year was an apparition,'' Brees said. ''It was a different time with all the situations that had taken place. ''This is the team that can accomplish great things,'' Brees continued. ''Here's our window of time to bring it together. We know there's going to be tough times. We know there's going to be adversity. Build that attitude, build that chemistry, and get ready to make a run at it.'' --- Here are five things to watch as the Saints make their run in 2013: PAYTON'S RECORD: Payton is entering his eighth season in New Orleans, but only his seventh on the sideline because of last year's suspension. In his first six campaigns, he racked up double-digit victories four times, twice going to the NFC title game and once bringing a Super Bowl title to a franchise long associated with bumbling incompetence. His hallmark has been his ability to design and call plays, and the foundation he laid for New Orleans' offense so strong that the Saints ranked second in yards per game in 2012 while Payton was away. Now that he's back with Brees, Saints players like Lance Moore is talking about ''the potential for greatness that this team has.'' DEVELOPING DEFENSE: Saints defensive players, who were downtrodden a year ago when they gave up a single-season record 7,042 yards, are so far enthusiastic about changes made by new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. While the preseason can be misleading, the Saints have been encouraged by their constant pressure quarterbacks. New players in the secondary, including first-round pick Kenny Vaccaro and free-agent acquisition Keenan Lewis, have bolstered a unit that gave up too many big plays last season. Meanwhile, young players on the line - namely, Cam Jordan, Akiem Hicks and rookie Glenn Foster - have shown promise in Ryan's 3-4 front. ROSTER SHUFFLE: The Saints have had bad luck with injuries. Outside linebacker Victor Butler, a free-agent acquisition from Dallas, was supposed to start until a knee injury in June put his season in doubt. Then last weekend Will Smith, who was switching from defensive end to starting outside linebacker, left a preseason game with a knee injury that will sideline him for the year. Veteran inside linebacker Jonathan Vilma, another projected starter, has recently undergone the latest of numerous surgeries on his left knee. The procedure was an arthroscopic cleanup, leaving hope for his return, but Payton offered no timeline. In the meantime, look for David Hawthorne to start in Vilma's spot, while Parys Haralson, newly acquired from San Francisco, could be thrust into a starting role at outside linebacker along with Junior Galette or Martez Wilson. BREES' BLINDSIDE: Charles Brown has emerged as the new starter at left tackle, a position held the past four seasons by Jermon Bushrod, who left during free agency for Chicago. Brown, a 2010 second-round draft choice, handily won the job in training camp over 2013 third-round draft pick Terron Armstead and veteran free agent Jason Smith, who has been released. YOUNG RECEIVERS: It appears the Saints' pass-heavy offense will include regular roles for two young receivers with no regular-season experience. Rookie Kenny Stills, a fifth-round pick out of Oklahoma, has picked up the offense quickly and has demonstrated the foot speed to break big plays. Nick Toon, a fourth-round pick in 2012 who spent his first season on injured reserve, has shown potential as a big target with good hands and a deceptive ability to stretch the field, much like veteran Marques Colston, or even Toon's own father, former New York Jets All-Pro Al Toon. --- AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
RELATED ARTICLES

New Orleans Saints Look To Bounce Back in 2013

The New Orleans Saints head into the much-anticipated upcoming 2013 NFL regular season with a clean slate and high expectations after languishing without head coach Sean Payton—who served a year-long suspension as a result of the league’s investigation into the team’s alleged “bounty” program. The Saints set a league record for the most yards allowed in a single season...

49ers trade Parys Haralson to Saints for draft pick

The New Orleans Saints are in desperation mode, trying to fill the void left by linebacker Will Smith is done for the season with a torn ACL. The first act of business to address the glaring hole at outside linebacker comes with a quick trade with the San Francisco 49ers for Parys Haralson, acquiring the 29-year-old for a seventh round draft pick, in 2014 presumably.

Saints Nation: 2013 53 Man Roster Prediction (Final Edition)

Ok here's my final stab at this. The big surprise I have is Jonathan Vilma on IR with the ability to come back later in the season, which means Victor Butler is done for the year. The Saints should cut a few guys by Tuesday to pare down to 75, and then they'll need to go to 53 after the Thursday night game by 6:30pm on 8/31 (Saturday). For me the toughest decision by far...

New Orleans Saints lose Will Smith for the season

The New Orleans Saints suffered another unneeded blow to the defense. Outside linebacker Will Smith, the longest tenured Saint, sustained a knee injury and is out for the rest of season. Smith was making the transition to the 3-4 outside linebacker after playing his whole career at 4-3 defensive end. Though Smith was having his issues with the transition, his loss is yet another...

The question Drew Brees is sick of answering

Saints quarterback Drew Brees has fielded hundreds of questions this preseason, but one in particular is getting asked again and again - and getting under his skin. "What's it like to have Sean Payton back?" "He has been asked that question so many times, and I have been asked that question so many times," Brees said wearily in the team's final media...

Saints Nation: Thoughts on Saints' Roster Moves

You've undoubtedly heard of all the roster moves that took place to get the Saints at 75 by now. They had 80 going into the exercise and here's how they trimmed down: Waived were Eric Martin, Akwasi Owusu-Ansah and Tim Toone. On IR were Will Smith, Joe Morgan and Chris Chamberlain. The biggest surprise of all that was Martin getting waived, who looked very good early...

Roster spots on the line in Saints' final preseason game

The Saints are headed to Miami for a fourth preseason game versus the Dolphins Thursday night that will serve as the final job interview for many talented players embroiled in a heated battle to survive Saturday's upcoming roster pruning. Many of the Black and Gold's starters won't see much action, if any at all - including Drew Brees. Back up Luke McCown is slated...

Saints Nation: 5 Things To Look For in Saints @ Dolphins

Thankfully the preseason is about to come to a close, and considering the number of players the Saints have already lost for the entire season I wish they could just forfeit this game. There will be very little to no starters playing in this game, so while no injury is welcome, ever, at least we know something serious probably won't happen to a starter. Yeah, I probably just...

Saints defense forced through youth movement after losing Will Smith

The New Orleans Saints have generally been known more for their offense rather than their defense.  With that said; Will Smith has been one of the staples of the Saints D since being taken 18th overall in the 2004 NFL Entry Draft. After suffering a season ending ACL tear, New Orleans and first-year defensive coordinator Rob Ryan are looking for answers to their new 3-4 look....

Will Smith suffered a torn ACL

We reported earlier that Saints linebacker Will Smith will likely miss the 2013 season with a knee injury. According to Ed Werder of ESPN,  Smith told him that he suffered a torn ACL. Saints OLB Will Smith confirms via text message the injury he suffered is a torn ACL and will have Dr James Andrews perform surgery — Ed Werder (@Edwerderespn) August 26, 2013 Need NFL Tickets?...

Saints vs Texans: Horrifying & Delightful

In a series of games that don’t count, you might say that NFL Preseason Game 3 is the only one that actually does. That’s because we see the starting players on the field for a longer length of time than any other game. Most starters won’t play for a single snap in the 4th game and in the first two games, they might just play for the first quarter. But in the first half...

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly: New Orleans Edition

In this edition we look at the Good, Bad and the Ugly from the New Orleans Saints game.     The Good: The Texans’ first team offense had success by scoring 16 points in the first half. Andre Johnson had over 130 yards in the half, showing that he is already in mid-season form. The offensive line also did a good job blocking for Ben Tate, who averaged over 6 yards a carry. Tate...

Jerry Jones compares Tony Romo’s Offensive Mind To Sean Payton’s

Jerry Jones gave Tony Romo a huge new deal, and plenty of offensive responsibility to go along with it this off-season. Jones loves Romo’s offensive mind, and compared his thinking to that of Saints offensive genius, Sean Payton according to ESPN Dallas. “It is also just the flair for being able to see it and being creative out there,” Jones said. “In visiting with Bill...

Romo: 'I couldn't imagine coaching'

IRVING, Texas During a Tuesday morning radio interview on 105.3 The Fan, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones compared Tony Romo to New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton. Payton, also a former college quarterback at Eastern Illinois, coached Romo early in his NFL career. With Romo having more input in the Cowboys' offensive game-planning this year, Jones made the statement while...
Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.