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Saints about to put in effect a plan years in the making:

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Joined: 23 Dec 2006
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Location: Nawlins
PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2014 11:28 pm    Post subject: Saints about to put in effect a plan years in the making: Reply with quote

Stop me if you’ve heard this one lately… “The Saints are gutting a playoff ready roster!” or how about, “Outlook for Saints bleak after cap casualties”. It seems everywhere the WhoDat Nation turns there are media pundits, rival fans and even some of our very own who ridicule, bash or outright make fun of the current state of the New Orleans Saints.

Well, here’s a bit of advice for all those who question this team’s future… Mickey Loomis & Sean Payton aren’t fools!

For the last few seasons dating back preluding Drew Brees monster contract extension, the Saints front office realized that once that eventual financial decision was put into effect a preverbal countdown if you will, will begin towards the inevitability of long-standing veteran releases. This organization had witnessed what happens to a franchise when the powers that be puts all their eggs into one basket while not preparing the team/roster for the future when in 2011 the Indianapolis Colts lost Peyton Manning for the entire season and watched helplessly as a team 2 years removed from a Superbowl appearance went 1-15 without their 100 million dollar man under center and while losing a talent like Manning would and should create a large drop off in production, the fact that the Colts were simply noncompetitive that season amplified the downward spiral in talent level that the Colts had been on, a negative that only Manning could disguise.

The Consequence… A house cleaning! GM Bill Polian, HC Jim Caldwell & QB Peyton Manning all shipped out of town and a new regime / era began. The Saints brass will not allow this to happen to them!

Over the course of the last few years the Saints have very quietly been replenishing the cuppard so to speak as they have been acquiring low cost young talent and developing it while veteran high priced players continued to keep the franchise in the hunt. The Bounty suspensions was a setback to the organization during this process but the front office weathered the storm and has since come back with a vengeance and while some outsiders question and snicker at the direction of this Saints franchise, it will be Loomis and Payton who will have the last laugh!

Let’s now take a look at some of the young talent that the Saints have been grooming in their farm system that will hit the ground running in 2014…

Mark Ingram, Running Back

I know, I know… say what you will about Ingram’s production to this point, you’re most likely correct. Is he the bell cow back we all envisioned when we traded up for him, NO but you know what Mark Ingram is? He’s a young power back with fresh legs who is a selfless team player and hard worker with great character. Ingram has bided his time on a deep depth chart of talent with limited carries to go around but will enter training camp in a fierce battle with Khiry Robinson to be the lead back in Payton’s committee approach. They say that what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger, well Ingram is fully aware of what the Saints fan base thinks of him and I expect him to come into 2014 and view this opportunity he has with a tremendous chip on his shoulder and agenda to prove every one of his critics wrong.

Khiry Robinson, Running Back

An unexpected new comer to the equation, Robinson burst out of nowhere this past season and elevated himself firmly into the future plans of this offence’s direction giving credit to Payton’s long standing commitment to not caring how a player got here but only what he’s done while here. Robinson is an extremely talented runner and the battle between he and Mark Ingram to see who will be option 1a & 1b respectively will be one of the best training camp competition’s in recent memory for the Saints.

Travaris Cadet, Running Back

In many ways Travaris Cadet has become the forgotten man. A lot of times fans seem to think that because a player doesn’t see much playing time that he simply isn’t any good but that’s not always the case. Most time’s it’s simply that the guy ahead of him is just better. Yes, the dynamic Darren Sproles is gone but I caution you not to sleep on Cadet assuming his duties as a threat out of the backfield. For two seasons Cadet has been developing in the Saints offensive system and learning behind Sproles on the roster. This is a very dynamic and explosive football player with the speed to take it the distance when he touches the ball. A bonus to Cadet is that he’s also a bigger back at 6’1” 210 lbs, he is more versatile than even Sproles was and while he may not be the highlight reel that the former Saints running back was, he possesses the ability to make defenses pay if they sleep on him in 2014.

Terron Armstead, Left Tackle

Are any of ya’ll as tired as I am of hearing all these so called “draft experts” yap about how desperate the Saints need at Left Tackle is? It’s like they put on the game tape of Armstead in his debut against Greg Hardy and can to their determination that he was garbage, neglecting to observe his progression throughout the rest of the season. I think if many of those “experts” would put on his performance against the eventual Superbowl champion Seahawks they would have an entirely different opinion of the status of the left tackle position in New Orleans and would see that the future is extremely bright there.

Kenny Stills, Wide Receiver

I mean what is there to say… Stills is a 1st round talent that the Saints stole in the 5th! Stills was one of the tops in the NFL with a 20+ yard per catch average and established himself as a serious vertical threat and someone who opposing defenses must account for.

Nick Toon, Wide Receiver

The curious case of Nick Toon… Remember when the Saints drafted Robert Meachem in the 1st round and he went A-Wall his entire rookie year and then really didn’t contribute until his 3rd season? Well it’s a similar case with Toon. Coming out of Wisconsin, Toon was considered a late 1st round talent but a foot injury derailed his draft stock causing him to fall to the Saints in the 4th round. That foot injury caused Toon to miss his entire rookie season and stunt his development in Payton’s complex scheme much as a knee injury did for Meachem coming out of Tennessee. The Saints handled these two cases very similarly as they basically redshirted both players there rookie season to get them healthy then started there development process in there 2nd season. With Marcus Colston nearing the end of his great run in New Orleans, I fully expect to see Nick Toon be featured much more into the offense in his 3rd year much like Meachem was. The split end position in Payton’s offense is a complex one and takes time to master but understand that while many have been disappointed in Toon to this point, this is a talented kid who is big and physical with superb route running skills and good hands. Don’t be shocked if he breaks out in 2014 making Colston expendable next offseason.

Tim Lelito, Center (Projected)

Mickey Loomis, Sean Payton and there scouting department are unbelievable in how they are able to find hidden gems throughout the college landscape and there is literally no stone unturned in their process. Time Lelito, regardless of whether he kicks inside at center or continues to develop as a future starter at guard is yet another diamond in the rough this Saints front office has unearthed. Although a small sample, Leltio has demonstrated power and athleticism during his time with the Saints and it’s not unconceivable to suggest that he very well could be the Saints starting center in 2014, actually upgrading the position at a fraction of the cost.

Junior Galette, Outside Linebacker

Galette a prime example of how effective this Saints farm system works, as he was signed as an undrafted rookie free agent 4 years ago and paid his dues for 3 seasons developing into the player he is today. His breakout performance in 2013 is a shining example of what all of the players on this list, drafted or undrafted can accomplish if they are willing to put in the work. They say success breeds success and in this case I believe that to be true.

Kenny Vaccaro, Strong Safety

Many NFL teams are very mindful of the type of character they bring into their locker room. Look no further than the situation in Miami this past season to see just how important that is. The thing that gets lost in this evaluation is that it’s more than a prospect/player being a good guy. The most important part of it is finding out just how much football means to that individual. I can sit here forever praising the on field talents of Kenny Vaccaro but it wouldn’t be anything that all of us already know. Instead it’s his passion for the game I want to bring up. Of all the great moments Vaccaro had during his rookie season, the one that is embedded in my mind his the sight of his being carted off the field after his season ending injury. It was evident that he was distraught over the situation and while most athletes are always upset in situations like this, something about this one just felt different. You could see the emotion, pain and hurt in that young kids eyes. In that moment you saw exactly what this game means to that young man, almost like he couldn’t stomach the idea of not having it and was beside himself with greif over it. That kind of dedication is infectious and contagious! That is the kind of character you want in your locker room, it’s what you need in your locker room and I’m glad it’s in ours!

Akiem Hicks, Defensive End

Remember when I said the Saints brass weathered the storm of the Bounty suspensions and came back with a vengeance? Well here’s proof! No 1st or 2nd round picks, ok… what does Mickey and the boys do? They dig their heels in the sand and prove to the rest of the NFL why they are simply the best at what they do. They go out to Canada to Regina University and land a 1st round talent in Akiem Hicks in the 3rd round. A massive and powerful raw talent that they have since developed into a fixture on our defensive line and while his production this past season was impressive, Hicks has only begun to scratch the surface of his unlimited potential.

Glenn Foster, Defensive End

Nagging injuries robbed all Saints fans of Foster’s true potential during his rookie season but he still displayed toughness and grit in his ability to fight through them and contribute to the team’s success on defense in 2013. Not bad for yet another undrafted gem Loomis dug out of the ground. In today’s NFL the depth and quality of a team’s defensive line can at times be the factor between winning and losing. Foster provides the Saints a great young rotational big body pass rusher who impacts the game and allows key stars much needed breathers. I expect Foster’s impact to increase in 2014.

Big Jon Jenkins, Nose Tackle

Another big, young, cheap, talented defensive lineman you don’t say… Yep, there’s a reason Saints fans are excited about the development of this defensive line and for good reason. Jenkins as well at one point was considered a 1st or 2nd round talent but when he slipped to the 3rd round the Saints brass made the move to land him. Any defensive coach running a 34 scheme will tell you that finding a big body in the middle who can anchor is key and the Saints landed a good one here in Big Jon. Still a rookie, Jenkins does have some key attributes about his game he needs to improve on but you can coach big and quick and Jenkins is both.

Corey White, Cornerback

We can debate all day about White’s effectiveness as a starting corner but what can’t be denied is the fact that this is a talented and physically gifted athlete. White might not be a starter just yet but he is an effective nickel corner which is now a starting position in the new pass first NFL. A former 5th round find, White is a willing tackler but coming from a small school like Samford development had to be expected. With White, patience will be a virtue.


We can see that yes many questions remain about many of these above players, but what cannot be forgotten is the fact that this is the core of the supporting cast of this football team heading into the future. The catalyst of this Saints offense will remain Drew Brees and Jimmy Graham just as Cameron Jordan and now Jarius Byrd will be for the defense. Add in the veteran players such as Kennan Lewis, Curtis Lofton, Jahri Evans, Zach Strief (projected), Pierre Thomas, Marcus Colston, Victor Butler, etc. plus a new incoming haul of drafted and undrafted rookies from one of the deepest drafts in years and it’s easy to see why it would be absurd or naïve to think this franchise won’t be contenders for years to come.

The bottom line is that Tom Benson has really smart people running his franchise and like great chess players they always seem to be a couple steps ahead of everyone else.


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Joined: 03 Mar 2006
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 2:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A lot of what you posted I liked and I agree with. Some more I feel stronger about and a few others not so much.

Mark Ingram vs. Khiry Robinson - In truth if the team wants to be as good as it can be it should be Ingram + Robinson much like it was Deuce + Bush in 2006. Not saying either are as good, or even as skilled, as either back, but more so the fact that if you use them nearly 50/50 in the offense your production from them combined will be greater than trying to figure out a "starting RB".

Truthfully I don't think Cadet is nearly as game breaking as most feel and thing he might not even make the active roster most weeks this upcoming season.

Armstead most people knew would take time develop as he came from a small school and starting at LT that is hard to transition, much harder than interior OL, but he picked it up well. Love the dude think once his rookie contract runs out we won't be able to keep him as a Saint.

With Stills and Toon I basically see two WRs that had high draft potential but due to injuries they fell in the draft. If stills hadn't gotten hurt his final year he would've went in the 1st round, Toon would've been a 2nd rounder at worst. This is more a case of guys like Alex Boone and Carl Nicks, guys who have had some kind of issues in their past, the previous two examples off the field though rather than injury, but fell in the draft but had the potential to be much draft picks.

That's all I'm commenting on right now though.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 3:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Raves wrote:
Truthfully I don't think Cadet is nearly as game breaking as most feel and thing he might not even make the active roster most weeks this upcoming season.

Agreed. IMO he showed us all he has, he's not some hidden gem on the roster waiting to break out.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 7:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What an awesome post whodatworm! This team will be Great for years to come, even after Brees leaves this team, we'll be able to win games and hopefully some big games!
NFL: New Orleans Saints
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