Well, I’m back, been a while. How was your summer? Family Ok? Good.
If you don’t know me, I’m the All Saints Considered UK resident writer so you will see a lot of colours instead of colors and the like but feel free to read in an overly posh British accent, to keep you entertained or whatever.
That’s enough of pleasantries, let’s get down to business. Let’s talk some Saints football.
I try not to read too much into training camps, preseason games and the like as it never really compares to the real thing. Week 1 – September 9th, Tampa Bay is where is all begins, in the dome. I’m not normally too optimistic when it comes to sport, I’ve learned from my mistakes of the past where I’ve been expecting everything and came back with nothing. However, this season feels different. If the Saints can avoid the injuries that plagued last season, keep the majority of the starters healthy I see no reason why the later stages of the playoffs aren’t achievable. I’m going to put my neck on the line here and say regular season 12-4, with late surge of wins to take us into the playoffs on good form. From there, it’s anybody’s guess, it will depend on seeding’s, injuries and potential home games. I honestly believe the Saints can beat anybody in this league on their day but being in the dome helps this massively, that place can make one hell of noise. Gutted I can’t make it out there this year. I can’t even imagine what a playoff game there would be like. Life goal.
I just wanted to delve into the detail of some potential key players for the season ahead that may have gone under the radar a bit.
We all know about the qualities of our QB, Mr. Drew Brees so no explanation needed, similarly with Michael Thomas, Alvin Kamara and Marshon Lattimore to name a few. I will start with the offense.
The return of Ben Watson, it was well documented last season that the Saints had trouble in this position, a certain writer wrote a piece about it, PLUG. I’m not saying that the real big Ben is the answer to all of these problems, however he does offer something else in the redzone and on those quick 2 minute drives. He has the height (6’3”) and strength to go up to those high throws in the endzone to haul in Touchdowns. Don’t be surprised if he outscores the other TE’s on the roster by a distance. Experience of the game will shine through when things get tough, he won’t play every snap but he will be there when we need him most.
The offensive line. People say that Defense wins championships well on the other side of the ball I think the O-line plays a huge part in that too. You could have the best QB in the world, ever (Drew Brees for example) but if he isn’t getting any kind of protection, you are screwed. The Saints O-line last year proved their quality with players like Max Unger and Ryan Ramczyk, the later not missing a single snap. They make things happen, do the hard work, allowing the more creative players to do their thing and score some sweet, sweet points. The addition of Jermon Bushrod at LT/LG is a big plus too, coming in because Armstead can’t play every game or every game because of multiple injuries, the O-line has been strengthened again this season.
Okay now to defense.
Safety Marcus Williams has been putting in the hours during the offseason and he will be so pumped to put right the wrongs of last season, that moment (which we don’t need to discuss) could plague his career but Williams is the type of guy who will stand up, face it head on and beat it. I really believe this could be his year to prove all the haters wrong and show everyone what he is made of.
The Defensive end position. Obviously Cameron Jordan is a boss, this isn’t news but hey look, he got some friends to ball with now. I’m a big fan of Alex Okafor alongside him. If he can stay healthy and with the support of rookie Marcus Davenport, this D can go to town on teams, I don’t think it will be instantaneous by watch this space. One of the other ASC writers Dylan (shout out) put up that ESPN had the Saints Defense ranked 30th out of 32. This is ridiculous. Did they not see any of last season? The Marshon Lattimore coverage and the Cam Jordan sacks. Have they not been watching the camps? I would say right now, this is a top 15 defense with the potential for a top 10 with some time and work.
Special teams is always a bit of an enigma team with potential to make big things happen or go by with nothing to mention. It’s always a surprise when you get a highly rated ST that score more than not. I will say one thing though, Will Lutz, he can become our Mr Automatic, big fan, if he can get some early season kicks until his belt he should be up at 95%+ accuracy for the season. Don’t underestimate how important that is over the course of a long, tough season, especially coming up with the points in high pressure situations.
Big season ahead. And I can’t wait until Sunday!