New Orleans coach Sean Payton (18-16) likes to play aggressive football and utilize various schemes. The New Orleans Saints (7-9) did not make the post-season last year. For 2008, the team offers a fine offense and improved “D.”
At quarterback, Drew Brees (652 ATT, 440 COMP, 4,423 YDS, 28 TDs, 18 INT) combines leadership with accuracy. The versatile Reggie Bush is a fine runner and pass catcher. Bush accumulated 581 yards and four scours on the ground and also 417 yards and two touchdowns plucking balls from the air. Aaron Stecker (115 ATT, 448 YDS, 3.9 AVG, 5 TDs) at running back and Marques Colston (98 REC, 1,202 YDS, 12.3 AVG, 11 TDs) at wideout are additional point scorers. Opponents notched just 16 sacks versus the Saints’ O-line.
DE Will Smith (7 sacks) was okay last season but needs to play better as does the entire pass rush unit. DT Sedrick Ellis, a first round draft pick, and free agent DE Bobby McCray will upgrade the line. LB Scott Fujita had 95 tackles. With LB Jonathan Vilma playing up to his potential, this will be a good squad. The secondary was ranked 30th versus the pass. The improved D-line should help.
Punter Steve Weatherford is a fine performer. Either vet Martin Gramatica or rookie Taylor Mehlhaff will kick points. Bush looks to be a potent player on returns. The Saints need one. No one ran back a kick for a score last season.
The New Orleans’ defense is improved and their offense, which is filled with quality guys and depth, looks to be ready to put points on the board. This team could be first in the NFC South when the regular-season ends.