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A look into the 2013 New Orleans Saints

A new year starts with Sean Payton back as head coach after missing last year due to the Bountygate scandal. His team ended up paying the price as they missed the playoffs. Now he is back and the Saints are expected to clean up their act and make a playoff run.

It all starts with QB Drew Brees and his gunslinger arm. If he can stay healthy, look for this team to challenge the Falcons for the division. Brees has been one of the top QB’s in the NFL for years now and has made 5,000 yards look like a habit.
He will need help in the backfield as Pierre Thomas and Mark Ingram look to be the featured back. Thomas has shown at times to be a productive back, but has been inconsistent for the most part. He has been sharing time in the running game for a couple of years now. Ingram lost last year without the benefit of having Payton and looks to be ready to take the reigns. He was very dependable at Alabama, but started slowly in the NFL. He is a runner that can go off-tackle, sweep and hits the hole with authority. He may not have breakaway speed, but he looks to be the more consistent back. He will have to stay healthy or he will officially be a bust as a first-round pick.
At receiver, fifth round pick Kenny Stills showed the speed he posses. He made a nice catch in the game against the Chiefs last week and looks to fill the void left by the loss of Joseph Morgan. Other receivers like Marques Colston, Steve Breaston and Lance Moore understand the game and Brees. TE Jimmy Graham is one the tops at his position and is just getting better.
The defense is now run by newcomer Rob Ryan. He is expected bring a new attitude to this unit. The Saints have been giving up entirely too much yardage and force Brees and the offense to outscore their opponent. The offense is a potent one, but you can’t win on a consistent basis trying to play catch up.
Key players include RB Darrern Sproles, a player that has show he can make a difference when utilized properly. Bress will need him to take pressure off the backfield situation and see if eh can continue to be a pass catching threat.
The offensive line is the weakest link on this team and that must improve dramatically. Left tackle is the big problem with the loss of Jermon Bushrod. His replacement is oft-injured Charles Brown and that is going to be a problem. RG Jahri Evans comes back after a year that saw him allow no sacks from his position. C Brian De La Puente impressed in 2012 and looks to make big strides this year. The rest of the line will need some work if the Saints are going to make the post season.

The one thing they have in their favor is the return of their head coach Payton. They have Brees and that is always a plus for any team. It is going to take a lot of wrk to unseat the Falcons for the division. If they start off slow, look for New Orleans to make a wild-card run for 2013.

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