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Is the Saints biggest need beginning to get blurry?

 
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whodatworm23


Joined: 23 Dec 2006
Posts: 3161
Location: Nawlins
PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2012 12:47 pm    Post subject: Is the Saints biggest need beginning to get blurry? Reply with quote



Donít look now but the Saints have won 4 out of their last 5 games and are on the cusp of turning their season around and getting back to .500 Sunday against the Oakland Raiders.

After a 0-4 start to the season the Saints seemed destined to continue their downward spiral but has since pulled themselves out of the mud and although they still have a tough road to travel to get back into playoff contention, itís not completely out of the realm of possibility like once thought.

Throughout this time during the Saints early struggles we have discussed what we felt were the problems on this team. Coaching and personnel wise, we all at one point or another gave our opinions on what should or shouldnít be done. For the most part when it comes to coaching I think we all agreed that this team severely missed Payton and felt that this team needed to run the football on offense. Defensively it was an entirely different story! The play or lack thereof on this unit lead many of us (including me) to lash out at these players and coaches and even go as far as suggest a complete defensive rebuild this offseason.

After going 4-1 in our last 5 games, the Saints (in Vitts return) have committed to running the football more and are slowly coming together in Spagnuoloís defensive scheme. It may be early but this team and players seem to be focused and are beginning to believe that a complete turnaround is possible. Whatís even more interesting to me is that as fans I find the logically thinking of how to improve this team is beginning to change as well.

Yes, this team (mostly defensively) still needs upgrades but it isnít thought to be as bad as before and which direction and or position to address 1st this offseason is now actually up for debate. Players we may have felt that were as good as gone could actually be playing their way back into the future plans of this franchise and back into the hearts of the fans who love and root for this team. Positions that maybe seemed to be deprived of talent now seem to have solid play and depth.

Letís take a lookÖ

Offensive Tackle
Offensively this team doesnít have many holes but the tackle position seemed to be the one on this side of the ball that could stand to have an upgrade. Left Tackle Jermon Bushrod is due to be a free agent this offseason and was struggling at the start of the season. Since then he has really put together a string of quality performances and his solid play is a big part of the turnaround. On the right side Zach Strief was always the weak link along this offensive line. Strief is a solid player with average skills, heís been serviceable at best and I think most fans (if honest) all were just waiting for former 2nd round pick Charles Brown to seize the starting position from Strief but it just never happened, until now. With Striefís injury, Brown got his first start in a long time against the undefeated Atlanta Falcons and turned in a great performance. I know we canít really base the future of the position after just one game but if the light has truly turned on for Brown he gives the Saints an athletic tackle tandem on the edges and solid depth with Strief as the swing tackle. Which once was considered a position of weakness could now be looked at as a position with solid starters and quality depth.

Defensive End
This is the position most of us have turned our attention to as the position in most need of upgrading. While this could still be the case, the recent play of our current defensive ends could change this thinking if it continues. Cameron Jordan had a break out game against the Eagles and proved too many that he can be a pass rushing threat on the left side. Will Smith (if you havenít noticed) seems to be getting in better shape as the season goes on and is beginning to create more pressure in passing situations but itís what Smith does in the run game that goes unnoticed and is underappreciated. Yes Will Smith has lost a step but heís still a COMPETE defensive end at that is a major commodity in todayís 43 defensive front. Many will look to Smiths contract as a reason the longtime Saints defensive end will be elsewhere in 2013 but I donít see it. Smith has always been willing to restructure his contract for the betterment of the football team and I see him doing it once again this offseason. Martez Wilson is getting more and more playing time and it seems Spagnuolo has finally found a role for the ultra-talented physical specimen. While Wilson hasnít really dominated as a base 43 edge rusher, Spags has continually used him recently as a stand-up edge rusher and moved him all over the defensive front with great results. Of course this team could still use a more pure edge rushing defensive end that can turn the corner and dip his hips but he would most likely be a situational player much like Wilson is.

Defensive Tackle
While Sedrick Ellis has played better as of late, I just donít see him in the future plans of this team. Brodrick Bunkley showed in the Falcons game why the Saints gave him the big money this offseason and rookie Akiem Hicks could quite possibly be the Saints most promising young defender. Bunkley and Hicks are the most likely 2013 starters but a 3rd rotational tackle will be needed to replace Ellis if the team doesnít feel Tyrunn Walker canít fill that roleÖ I feel he can.

Line Backer
We all got a good look at what this core could be with a healthy Hawthorne and Vilma outside of stud middle backer Curtis Lofton and I gotta say I liked what I saw! Injuries will always be a part of the game but if this unit can keep these 3 starters healthy as well as reserves Chamberlin and Casillas this unit could be one of the better ones in the NFC.

Cornerback
This is the position that still has me concerned. Jabari Greer is having a down year but I havenít forgotten about his offseason groin surgery. That is an injury that takes time to recover from and I feel itís still a lingering problem he is fighting through. Greer is still our top corner but I feel heís going to continue to have to fight through pain for the remainder of the season with that injury. P-Rob has all the talent in the world but the jury is still out if heís going to be able to adapt to Spagnuoloís concepts. He continues to make mental errors (see Eagles game) that cause huge chunk plays for opposing offensives. Heís a physical playmaker and hopefully he gets it but only time will tell. Corey White needs some props! Yes the guy got taken advantage of early in the season but HELLO he is a rookie corner from SAMFORD university! Give the guy a break. All the fan talk of White switching to safety will remain talk too, Spagnuolo loves corners on the edge with Whites physical make up and like it or not but White is slowly getting better and his present and future in Spags scheme is on the edge. Johnny Patrick provides decent depth but in todayís NFL you can never have enough cover guys and even with what we currently have, I feel this position more than any else on the roster could use an influx of talent.

Safety
Hereís the position where the most of us agree changes need to be made but differ in our opinion about exactly what changes. Malcolm Jenkins had a terrible beginning to the season but since has really begun to step up in this 4-1 run. It seems Jenkins finally understands Spags scheme more and more and while heís not there yet, you can see the promise and potential if he ever finally gets there. Still the only knocks on Jenkins still is his lack of ball skills and sometimes shoddy tackling but his versatility athletic ability make him an ideal fit in this defensive scheme and is likely to be a player Spagnuolo will look to build around. Roman Harper is the player that gets more of a love/hate relationship from fans than any other defender on the squad. Letís face it, Harper is pitiful in coverage from 20 to 20 but inside the red zone heís actually quite good. Spagnuolo has found the perfect role for Harper and has blended his and Quddus strength to give him a solid safety rotation. Quddus has very good range and coverage skills from the 20 to the 20 and we are beginning to see him more and more in those situations while Harper is now the teams Nickel linebacker and red zone strong safety. The question in the offseason at this position will be if Harper will be willing to accept a restructured contract that better reflects his new role and allows Mickey Loomis to get everyone under the cap while at the same time making key additions to help the overall unit.

So as you can seeÖ I understand this defensive unit is still a long way away and talent is needed across the board but can you honestly look at this roster and the play of these players of late and say for sure that we need to draft a particular position come AprilÖ or do you feel as I do that when the Saints go on the clock the best available defender will surf ice?

WHODAT
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Raves


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2012 3:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another Great post Whodat, I still think we need to address a few spots even with improved play.

DT to replace Ellis and move Bunkley to back-up duty, a guy like Hankins or Lotulelei if they are there are really the only ones I would want in the first round, Short if it's very end of the 1st.

DE I don't think Will Smith will be around next year unless he restructures, but even then he's over 30 and we need to look at getting younger. If we can get a guy like Werner or Moore at the top or a guy like Montgomery a little later due to his lack of an elite first step I'd take it easily.

LB-Hawthorne and Lofton are good, Vilma has a cheap enough contract i wouldn't mind keeping him but he's likely going to be suspended all of next season or at least a bit of next season and he's constantly hurt and we need consistency from that position and something to groom for the future. Several players could fit here in the middle rounds.

SS-Quddus is doing great but I would like to add another Safety as Spags does like 3 safeties adn it also lets Jenkins move to CB when people get hurt at that position as well letting Quddus play both spots. This is one I would like to address in FA with Kenny Phillips with Quddus being the main back-up at both spots and 3rd safety.

CB-We need more depth. Greer always gets knicked, Robinson has been pretty good and learning more of what Spags wants, White is coming along, and then Patrick and the rest need to figure it out or get out. Adding another CB could push them to excel or he can step in and take over.

On offense I think an OT is a definite need as well as a center. We need a true center that can actually do something and not just make our Pro Bowl+ OGs look bad. He's serviceable but that's it. We also need a playmaking WR as none of them have really been stepping up. This could also come in the form of a TE as a guy like Jake Stoneburner might fall to the middle rounds and he could be a guy that compliments Graham well with being able to catch and block while still running a 4.5-4.6
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whodatworm23


Joined: 23 Dec 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2012 6:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with almost every thing you said there T-Raves. I know it's a long shot that Will Smith is back in 2013 and if he isn't then a starting RDE is obviously out #1 need buy here is my thinking on that. If the Saints do not retain Smith, I feel they would look to fill his spot with a veteran free agent and if that is the case and Smith is willing to restructure for less than what it would cost to bring that free agent in then I feel Smith will be back.

Outside of that I agree that depth along the positions of OT, OC, WR, DE, DT, LB, CB & S could all be In play. I feel we will be picking between 16-24 and with that being the case and the needs across the board I just feel players like Jake Matthews, Barrett Jones, Jusin Hunter, Tank Carradine, Kawann Short, CJ Mosley, Jonathan Banks & Eric Reid could all be major players for the Saints depending on how our overall board reads at draft time.

That's why I feel the need is getting blurry... It's no longer "we got to have a this or that" we actually need alot and honestly as much as we all know we need defensive help, I can't put my finger on where this team may go come April.

I think the two senieros that could pop up is the case of the quarterbacks this year. Teams like Oakland, Buffalo & Jacksonville could all be looking for one but will not want to take any of them in the top 10. They could possibly look to trade back opening the door for the saints to move up and get a playmaker or it could go the oppsite route. Say one of those team draft defensive players early then look to trade back into the mid 1st round range to get the QB. The saints could then trade out of the 1st completely and still land a great defensive prospect due to the depth of the class at the top of the 2nd round and aquirie more much needed picks to fill all the holes we have talked about.

Personally... I'd like to see us trade back. I think this draft is deep enough to get a top player early in round 2 and the additional picks would be better for us as acquiring depth across the board to me is better than landing just one quality player.

That's my opinion though.
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QB Connoisseur


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2012 10:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would say DE is still the most needed position. You say that Cam Jordan had a "break out game" against the Eagles, but the Eagles have the worst OL in the NFL. Maybe he'll turn it up in the 2nd half of the season, but I still think DE is our biggest need right now.
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Raves


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2012 10:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

QB Connoisseur wrote:
I would say DE is still the most needed position. You say that Cam Jordan had a "break out game" against the Eagles, but the Eagles have the worst OL in the NFL. Maybe he'll turn it up in the 2nd half of the season, but I still think DE is our biggest need right now.


He was also constantly applying pressure in the Atlanta game.
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Harper41


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2012 11:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah Cameron Jordan has developed quite a rip move, its just downright powerful. He's developing into a Justin Smith pass rusher, uses his strength and base to beat OTs who are adjusting to finesse rushers
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Saint-Anger_13


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2012 11:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hear me out, Of course DE if the first and foremost need, but second I would say OT, since were and injury or two away (knock on wood) from having a eagle Oline. That being said Iīm really starting to think that picking a talented TE in the draft over a WR is a better option. Who is our best number 2 TE? David Thomas and Michael higgins from the PRT squad

Who do we have behind Colston and Moore? Morgan and Toon. Also Andy Tanner from PRT squad.

So once again hear me out the Oline protects Brees, and the offense is only as good as the Oline, If the offense is the strength of our team, of course we should improve it right? Secondly could you imagine our offense with Two talented TEs, who would you cover? and what problems would that make with the WRs also.

So recap of course go for the best DE in the draft (Lavar Edwards) LSU
maybe even free agency (Osi)

then address the Oline, (Travis Frederick ) WIS

then get a deadly TE to compliment Grahmn (Dion Sims) MST

just like the titanic, let it sink in fellas Cool
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whodatworm23


Joined: 23 Dec 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2012 11:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Harper41 wrote:
Yeah Cameron Jordan has developed quite a rip move, its just downright powerful. He's developing into a Justin Smith pass rusher, uses his strength and base to beat OTs who are adjusting to finesse rushers


The falcons were double and triple teaming this dude (cam) on almost every play. Go back to the play when his helmet came off. Dude uses his power to split a double team, loses his helmet and still tackles the runner for a loss!

Watch him in goaline defense... Guy is a monster! Jordan will never be a 15 to 20 sack guy but he's a 8-12 per year, stout run defense, bad mama jamma!!!

Better rec! Lol
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Lombardi Gras


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 1:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Saint-Anger_13 wrote:
Hear me out, Of course DE if the first and foremost need, but second I would say OT, since were and injury or two away (knock on wood) from having a eagle Oline. That being said Iīm really starting to think that picking a talented TE in the draft over a WR is a better option. Who is our best number 2 TE? David Thomas and Michael higgins from the PRT squad

Who do we have behind Colston and Moore? Morgan and Toon. Also Andy Tanner from PRT squad.

So once again hear me out the Oline protects Brees, and the offense is only as good as the Oline, If the offense is the strength of our team, of course we should improve it right? Secondly could you imagine our offense with Two talented TEs, who would you cover? and what problems would that make with the WRs also.

So recap of course go for the best DE in the draft (Lavar Edwards) LSU
maybe even free agency (Osi)

then address the Oline, (Travis Frederick ) WIS

then get a deadly TE to compliment Grahmn (Dion Sims) MST

just like the titanic, let it sink in fellas Cool


Eh?

Anyway, I think our positional needs go in this order:

DE
DT
OLB
OT
S
WR

I have been starting to think a little bit. Our offense is already dominant, but we could really use to get someone else to compliment Colston. Devery and Morgan don't cut it. Lance Moore is a solid player, but we really don't have a deep threat. If we had a legit player to stretch the field, this offense could be lethal. I want to see us take a WR in the mid rounds. Someone really really fast.
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doomer


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 3:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bring back Bobby Meachem at the right price? He's been a total bust with SD, but he was a good deep threat and run blocker for us. Plus he fits the mold of a Sean Payton player.
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whodatworm23


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 10:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

doomer wrote:
Bring back Bobby Meachem at the right price? He's been a total bust with SD, but he was a good deep threat and run blocker for us. Plus he fits the mold of a Sean Payton player.


I tell ya what... Meachem would be nice but hearing the name Bobby, We need to find another young Bobby McCray!!! He played a great role behind WIll Smith for us in 2009!

Will SMith takes alot of heat on here but if you look at what he does in the run game and in goalline defense combined with his leadership and experience I feel we need to restructure and keep him. What we need is the Bobby McCray type that we can put in once we get a lead to pressure the quarterback.
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