Is it wishful thinking that things on the bayou should be back to back to normal in 2013-14?
That is exactly what the Saints are hoping for, trying to forget about the ills of the previous year with “Bounty Gate” and the loss of their head coach to the present with head coach Sean Payton again it the helm.
Could the return of Payton, who seemed to have everything under control in 2012, be the good luck charm in New Orleans?
The fans and the team sure hope so.
There are plenty of things to be excited about this season. And with Peyton and flame thrower Drew Brees back together, the NFL should be put on notice that the “Who Dat” Nation will be in full force and hoping for another Super Bowl title.
Everything starts with the passing offense, an offense that still threw for 4,997 yards and 43 touchdowns. It still remains one of the more potent offenses in the NFL, able to strike from any point on the field. After an 0-4 start, it looked as though this team was doomed, but the ship was righted, partially, and the season was salvaged, sort of.
No playoffs, no chance to be at home for the final game of the season. No chance to prove the NFL front office that they were on a witch hunt.
This year, everything is different. And Brees is coming out blazing.
Brees leads a passing game that still ranks among the top three in football. With numbers that continue to amaze me and the rest of the football world, there is nothing to speak of that should change. It will be up to Brees to line up call for the ball and find the open receiver.
Brees is solid and spectacular and when they talk about the best quarterbacks in the NFL, he always a top 5 choice.
The team has two decent backups in Seneca Wallace and Luke McCown. The Saints, however, would be lost if Brees was injured or could not play for any extended period of time.
The running game is solid but not spectacular. A lot of that has to do with the fact this team throws all the time and the running game really becomes part of the passing offense. All running backs are able catch the ball out of the backfield. The team also traded Chris Ivory to the Jets during the draft, which helps eliminates one from a crowded backfield.
The play of Pierre Thomas as a lead back has been solid. Thomas can run straight forward and catch the ball.
Darren Sproles is the dynamite in the backfield who can run and catch and help in the return game. A triple threat that helps his cause and the cause of the team. He is a fantasy owner’s dream.
The Saints also have former Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram on the team who is good for a yard or two up the middle. Ingram should be a bigger part of this offense this season.
The receivers may not all be the same, but they all can still catch the football.
It all starts with Marques Colston, who is the dependable pass catching Brees looks to when he needs to move the chains. The seventh round pick out of Hofstra is one of the best in the league. Lance Moore is Brees second target. Moore is the red zone threat Brees looks to when he needs to move the ball inside across the middle. Courtney Roby and Nick Toon also add dependable hands when the franchise goes to three and four receiver sets.
At tight end, the team is set with Jimmy Graham, who has moves like an NBA small forward and has dependable speed. He is a main red zone target for Brees and also can outrun a linebacker. When they go to two tight end sets, Ben Watson, a 10-year veteran, will help in goal line situations and in third down sets.
A good thing, if there is one about not making the playoffs, is an easier schedule. Based on the schedule, 11 wins looks very possible and hopefully more. Eleven wins guarantees this team another shot at the playoffs and the Super Bowl crown.