32 teams in 32 days: New Orleans Saints
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32 teams in 32 days: New Orleans Saints

Chicago : IL : USA | Aug 23, 2010 at 10:45 AM PDT
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Darren Sharper

Record: 13-3, 1st in the NFC South

Notable Players Lost - LB Scott Fujita, DE Charles Grant, OT Jammal Brown, RB Mike Bell

Notable Players Added - DE Alex Brown, DE Jimmy Wilkerson, LB Clint Ingram, CB Patrick Robinson, OT Charles Brown, TE Jimmy Graham

Everything came together last season for the New Orleans Saints. After a 13-0 start to the year it continued into the playoffs with a dominating win over the Cardinals, a close call against the Vikings and a convincing win over the Colts in the Super Bowl. The offense was number one overall last year scoring more points than any other team in football. The defense was a pleasant surprise. While they gave up a lot of yards they fed off of turnovers finishing third in the league in interceptions and first in defensive touchdowns.

The man most responsible for the defense was Darren Sharper. While many expect him to play well when he signed with New Orleans last year he exceeded all expectations. He finished the season with nine interceptions and returned three for scores. Linebacker Jonathan Vilma and defensive end Will Smith also had great seasons as well. Drew Brees had another season of over 4000 yards passing and 30+ touchdowns. But what made this year special was the running game. The three-headed attack of Pierre Thomas, Mike Bell and Reggie Bush combined for over 1800 yards and 16 touchdowns. That balance on offense was exactly what the Saints needed to make their run to the Super Bowl.

The offseason was quiet for the Saints. The most important was keeping Sharper who was a free agent. Signing him back gives there defense a chance to good once again. The only big loss was left tackle Jammal Brown. He missed time due to injury last season but the job Jermon Bushrod did filling in was good enough to make Brown expendable. The Saints also drafted offensive tackle Charles Brown just in case Bushrod struggles. The other notable additions were towards the defense. Alex Brown and Jimmy Wilkerson were brought to compete at vacant left end spot. Linebacker Clint Ingram was added for depth. First round pick Patrick Robinson should immediately play in nickel and dime packages as well as a special teams.

This roster is almost identical to last years team. None of the losses should really hurt this team. It only makes sense that the Saints continue to have success. They have alot of young players that should continue to get better. The key is Sharper. This offense should be great as usual but if the 35 year old Sharper begins to show his age the defense might not make enough plays for this to be a SUper Bowl team once again.

Player to watch - Reggie Bush

It is now or never for Bush. Bush has been a good NFL player but a bad NFL running back. He has never eclipsed 600 yards rushing in a season and has been a backup for the last two seasons. While he is impressive catching the football he was drafted to be a top back in this league. There are some who feel he is better served as a slot receiver. Whatever the case if Bush is going to show how good of a back he is this is the year for him to do it. With Bell now gone Thomas is his only competition and so far the undrafted rookie has looked a lot better than Bush.

Position Battle - Defensive End

Charles Grant was solid during his tenure as a Saint but last season didn't do much. With him gone now Brown and Wilkerson will battle it out for his spot. Both men had six sacks last season and are capable of starting. Brown has never had more than seven sacks in a season and struggles against the run. Wilkerson sack totals have increased the last two seasons with an increase in playing time. In the end Brown will likely end up the starter but Wilkerson should see plenty of time as well.

Prediction: 12-4

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James Poellnitz is based in Chicago, Illinois, United States of America, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
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