Found July 19, 2013 on The Saints Nation:
Distracted by a controversial bounty scandal and without their primary head coach, the New Orleans Saints struggled through the 2012 season, posting a 7-9 overall record. With coach Sean Payton back this year, quarterback Drew Brees and the Saints hope to make their way back to the playoffs under their combined leadership. However, many questions still remain for the Saints in the 2013 season. Here are five questions heading into training camp: 1. Can the Saints Keep Up With Their Division?  The 2013 offseason was a busy one for the NFC South, especially for the Saint’s primary rivals. Most notably, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers bolstered their abysmal defense with star defensive backs Darrelle Revis and Dashon Goldson, while the Atlanta Falcons improved huge holes on both sides of the ball with the acquisition of running back Stephen Jackson and defensive end Osi Umenyiora. With other teams in the division landing high-profile players, the Saints may struggle to keep up with these improvements. First round draft pick safety Kenny Vaccaro, along with defensive acquisitions Keenan Lewis and Victor Butler need to blossom and become playmakers this season in order to help the saints on defense, where most of their needs occur. 2. What Kind of Impact will Rob Ryan Make?  The Saints made a drastic move this offseason by hiring fiery defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, who was fired by the Cowboys last season. The organization hopes that Ryan will motivate and improve a defensive that was ranked last in team defense and rushing defense last year. Hiring Ryan is a risky move, however. Most players react either highly negatively or positively towards him and his motivational style. It remains to be seen if Ryan will be able to improve this struggling defense. 3. Can the Saints Adjust to a Two Tight End Set?  With the acquisition of tight end Ben Watson this offseason, the Saints have arguably one of the best tight end combos, along with superstar Jimmy Graham. Watson, known for his great blocking along with an ability to catch short-to-medium passes, represents a player who can complement Graham, considering the two are almost polar opposites. Look for the Saints to use Graham and Watson in interesting ways as they attempt to capitalize on the strengths of each one of them. A more versatile receiving core opens up numerous opportunities for Saints’ quarterback Drew Brees. 4. How Will the Loss of Chris Ivory Impact the Saints?  The Saints had a diverse and deep backfield last year – using running backs Mark Ingram, Pierre Thomas, and Chris Ivory according to their specific skills and strengths. This rotation also allowed the Saints to constantly have a fresh running back, minimizing fatigue and always keeping the defensive on its toes. With Ivory gone to the Jets from free agency, the Saints will need to update and reassess their running game. The team has already addressed this loss with the acquisition of Darren Sproles, a small, speedy running back acquired from San Diego, but it is unclear how much he will be implemented into the offensive game plan.  5. Can the Saints Gain Consistency this Year?  The Saints were perhaps the most inconsistent team in 2012. After losing their first four games, the Saints won 7 of their next 12 games to finish with a lackluster 7-9 record. However, the strangest part of the Saints season were their winning and losing streaks. Throughout the course of the season, the Saints had the aforementioned four-game losing streak, another three-game losing streak, a three-game winning streak, and two different two-game winning streaks.   Essentially, those who bought New Orleans Saints tickets saw two different teams in 2012. When they began to lose, they struggled severely, but they were a formidable opponent in other instances. This problem may be rooted in coaching problems and the absence of Sean Payton, but tendencies of the Saints in 2012 may still carry over to the current season. If the Saints really want to succeed, they need to be able to be consistent on both sides of the ball every game.

New Orleans Saints: 6 Bold Predictions For 2013

I am sure I am not the only one who will be watching the New Orleans Saints with a magnifying glass this season.After a year of turmoil, can the Saints return to their lofty perch as one of the best in the NFL?A few teams in the NFC will have something to say about that and then there are two or three teams in the AFC that can also make that claim.One thing is for sure - Drew Brees...

Sean Payton on the evolution of NFL quarterbacks

The Saints head into training camp next week bolstered by a strong session of OTA's earlier this summer, when every single player showed up. It was the first time in Sean Payton's NFL career that he saw 100 participation for optional training. As helpful as that period was, Payton is ready to see his players in padded action, especially the Black and Gold's new defense...

Saints place three players on the active/non-football injury list

According to Larry Holder of, the Saints have placed Kenny Stills, Rufus Johnson, and Eric Martin on the active/non-football injury list. Holder says they should all be ready for camp. No need to panic about Stills, Johnson, Martin landing on non injury list. I'm told all three players should be ready for training camp. — Larry Holder (@LarryHolder) July 20, 2013...

Saints Season Tickets: In The Mail

Mailboxes and doorsteps across the Greater New Orleans Region are being closely watched over the next few days, as Saints Season Ticket Holders eagerly await the arrival those precious passes. The Saints started mailing season tickets out Thursday in waves, which means the first batch will be arriving anytime. Every home game except one has been sold out since 2000, and the waiting...

Saints Nation: Training Camp Position Battle Preview - Nose Tackles

I've said this enough times to assuredly make all of you that read this blog with any regularity sick, but a 3-4 defense works best with an anchor nose space eater. If you want to do it right, you have to have that guy. With that in mind, the Saints drafted John Jenkins who I firmly believe is the future of defense at that position. Hopefully he can develop into an elite player...

NFC South regular-season predictions: New Orleans Saints

We are come, my brothers and sisters, to the third installment in our four-part season predicting the outcome of every regular-season game for all four NFC South teams. Having demonstrated my evenhanded prognosticatory predilections with the Carolina Panthers and my fair and balanced overage of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, it’s time to cast the knuckles and divine [...]The post...

Saints Nation: Training Camp Position Battle Preview - Defensive Ends

Who plays end, who plays outside linebacker, and who plays nose isn't going to be exact science at the moment with the team's switch to a 3-4. The Saints have some "tweeners" on their roster that could fit at multiple positions, which makes this exercise challenging. I'll rope the guys at the positions I think they likely stick (ie Will Smith at OLB) though...

Why Jimmy Graham Deserves Top 15 Consideration in Fantasy Drafts

The start of the 2013 NFL season is less than two months away. Along with that excitement, Fantasy Football chatter amongst the guys and gals only serves to entice the masses all the more.  Last year's statistics are being reviewed closely. What players will you choose in the hopes that your team will shut up that cocky guy in finance or your buddy who wins the big pot every...

Saints Nation: Training Camp Position Battle Preview - Centers

This concludes the individual positions on the offensive side of the ball, though I wouldn't really consider this one a "battle". The Saints currently carry two "centers" on the roster, but like the fullback position they'll likely only keep one and use guys that play another position as depth. So the backup interior lineman (or guards) will likely spell...

Saints place Stills, Johnson, Martin on non-football injury list

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Brady 2007 really not that impressive

Alright people. Please stop saying that Tom Brady’s 2007 passing season is the best ever by a QB. The record books simply don’t support this annoying assertion. Drew Brees and Dan Marino need to be in the arguement. First, let me start with why I am motivated to write this post. I just got done reading an article by Bill Barnwell on Grantland. It’s a well written piece that...

Top 9 Fantasy Quarterback Monographs!

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