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State of the Franchise - The next 5 years (offense first)

 
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tylerdouglass


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 4:29 pm    Post subject: State of the Franchise - The next 5 years (offense first) Reply with quote

The next 5 years are incredibly important for the Saints, no doubt about it. Drew Brees is on the backend of his ďprimeĒ years, along with other players such as Darren Sproles, Will Smith, and Jabari Greer. When the ďBreesĒ era is over, Marques Colston will be 34, Jimmy Graham will be 30, Mark Ingram will be 27, and John Kasay might have grandkids.

Thereís no point denying it, the Saints are in a must win now mode. 5 years in the NFL can come and go in the blink of an eye. Fans, players, and coaches will tell themselves ďnext year is the year we make itĒ year in and year out, never paying too much attention to how many years theyíve been saying it. The Saints canít afford to have that attitude for long.

Letís look at how the Saints look at each position for the next 5 years.

QB:
The importance next 5 years are based around Drew Brees and his brand new contract. Not many players are worth $100,000,000 over 5 years (many would argue that Brees isnít) but in the end, the Saints needed Drew, and he was going to get whatever he wanted out of them. He needs to play at a very high level for all 5 years if the Saints want to get their money back out of the deal. I personally donít think Drew is going to play at a high level for all 5 years, but I do think he has enough gas left in the tank for several more quality runs at the Lombardi Trophy.

RB:
Mark Ingram has 3 more years left on his contract, making him a free agent in 2015. Itís far too soon to speculate what type of money his next contract will demand, but I donít see the Saints spending big money on a RB, regardless of how well they perform. If Mark Ingram is a 800 yard, 10 TD running back Iíd expect the Saints to make a strong push to keep him on the team.

Darren Sproles will be a free agent in the same year as Ingram, but itís doubtful Sproles will keep up his high level of play for the next 3 years, let alone long enough to deserve a new contract. The Saints believe Travaris Cadet can be that Darren Sproles type back in this offense, and he may be called on before those final 3 year of Sprolesí contract are up.

Pierre Thomas has been with the Saints longer than any other RB on the roster, and his contract also expires in 2015, just like Sproles and Ingram. He will be 30 years old when itís time to sign a new contract (assuming a restructure hasnít been made) and itís doubtful heíll be much of an impact player after that.

Chris Ivory and Travaris Cadet are sort of the odd men out. Both of them have the potential to be impact players for the Saints, but theyíre both going to have to work their butts off to get a shot. Chris Ivory was given a shot in 2010 when Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas were both sidelined with injuries. Ivory led the team in yards that season, but apparently it wasnít enough for the coaches to make him ďthe guy,Ē as they used 2 draft picks to select Mark Ingram just a few months later. Cadet is totally unproven, but an impressive preseason campaign got him a roster spot, despite being the 5th halfback on the team.

Korey Hall and Jed Collins could likely be swapped with quite a few FBs in the league with little to no loss in production. Neither of them make much of an impact on our long term goals as a team.

WR: Marques Colston and Lance Moore will both be around for a while. Lance Moore has 4 more years on his contract, while Colston has 5. Both of them will be keys to anything the Saints do offensively. While Colston is far an away the most important WR on the team, Lance Moore is incredibly valuable in his own way, he always seems to be in the right place when the team needs a score or a 3rd down.

Nick Toon and Joe Morgan are the young guys on the team. There's no way of knowing how much they will be able to contribute in the next year or two, but as Moore and Colston get into their early-mid 30's Toon and Morgan will have to step up, or they will be replaced. They are joining this team at the perfect time to be playing in their prime towards the end of the Brees era.

Courtney Roby and Devery Henderson are both vets who will likely contribute for another year or two, but it's not likely they'll be around longer than that.

TE: The Saints need to get Jimmy Graham locked up for the long term. He is only under contract through the 2013 season, and he has easily outplayed his contract already. The Saints cannot afford a holdout or losing him to free agency. He is irreplaceable in this offense, and will be heavily relied upon in every game heís in.

Outside of Jimmy Graham, the Saints donít have any TEs they canít live without, or who couldnít be replaced in free agency. David Thomas works well in the offense and provides solid veteran leadership, but I donít think the offense would skip a beat without him.

Offensive Line: Jahri Evans and Ben Grubbs will both be around long enough to protect Brees through a couple playoff runs. The guards on the New Orleans Saints line are just as important as tackles in other offensive lines. As long as the Saints can keep the guards healthy, they will be alright. A solid C goes a long way in protecting the pocket, so as long as DLP doesnít regress, or get significantly better his contract should be manageable for the Saints. This isnít to say I donít want DLP to improve, but if he asks for too much money, they may look elsewhere for a C, with so much money being tied up in Grubbs and Evans.

I think most average tackles could be made to look like pro-bowlers in the Saints offense. If a contract negotiation isnít working out, we can cut our losses and sign an average FA with little to know dropoff.

Defense coming soon!
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SaintsBeast


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 7:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have some comments to make in response:

QB:
Sometime within the next 2 years, we NEED to draft a QB in the lower rounds, preferably the 2nd, that can be groomed to be Brees' replacement. Sorry to say it, but Daniel and Canfield are NOT the answer. Too often these days, teams are drafting QBs with the expectation of having them come in and immediately blow away opponents. Sometimes, if you're Cam Newton, that will work. But most end up floundering trying to grasp the level of play and intelligence on an NFL football field. One of the guys who is considered one of the top QBs in the NFL, Aaron Rodgers, sat behind Brett Favre for a few years to learn before taking the reigns. And, as much as it kills me to say it, MAN did he show people what's up. It just goes to show how crucial development and acclimation can be to a rookie QB, how it can make the difference between success and failure.

RB:
Frankly, we don't have a back-of-the-future sort of player. Even more frankly, we don't NEED to. While i haven't seen enough of Ingram to give him my vote of confidence, he is looking better this year. Even if he doesn't pan out, we have another couple of years to draft or sign a power-type back.

Cadet is shaping up nicely as a receiving/speed type back that can punish lazy defenses, just like Sproles does. So, at the moment, i'm not worried about that part of the stable.

The only part of our backfield i'm worried about is PT. The dude is a monster, he's easily the best back we have, and by far the most irreplaceable. He's slower than Sproles and Cadet, but stronger than Ingram and Ivory. He fights for every single inch he can get, and operates in both the pass and run game for our offense. That will be a huge hole to fill when he leaves, and it will need to be filled quickly for the Saints to remain good on offense.

WR/TE:
I'm putting this together to save time.

Essentially, we have Colston, Moore, and Graham. Unless Toon develops like i'm hoping he does, that's the extent of our receiving core. We have a speedster in Morgan, whom i really like in the return game, but he's more suited for that area than he is as a receiver.

While Colston, Moore, and Graham are enough to maybe get by, we also, within the next 2 or 3 years, need to draft a prime-time reciever who can make some plays as a 3WR or 4WR, then come in to replace Colston or Moore, whoever decides to leave first. This is two-fold, because when we lost Colston and/or Moore, that leaves our new QB Graham to throw to when Brees leaves. We NEED more than one weapon on offense, it's that simple.

OL:
Call me bias all you like, but the line of scrimmage is where a play starts, sometimes a dozen or more seconds before the snap. For the O-line, you have to worry about what your assignment is. Do you run down field to the second level and take on a LB? Or do you try to double-team the NT in front of you and hope that your back can make a move to get past the LB? Or in the case of a pass, who's coming and who isn't? The guy in front of you, does he tend to bull rush or speed rush?

If a single offensive lineman doesn't do his job, the play can go from looking at a first down to lining up farther back than you were the next play around.

Therefore, i consider the line the most VITAL part of an offense. The Saints have incredible luck with O-linemen in the draft, Nicks and Evans to provide an example, so grabbing a high-profile linemen isn't a huge priority. While it's nice to have someone that's touted as the next great O-lineman, it's only nice if that statement is true. I like the Saints approach to this issue, they usually use a 4th, 5th, or 6th, and see if who they select pans out. OL is not an immediate issue, so it can wait to secure more pressing needs for the offense.

Thus, my draft priority for the next 5 years for the offense:
2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017:
1) WR, QB, WR, RB, WR
2) QB, RB, TE, TE, RB
3) RB, TE, OL, RB, QB
4) TE, OL, RB, WR, WR
5) OL, OL, OL, TE, RB
6) WR, OL, RB, TE, WR
7) OL, OL, RB, WR, QB
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2012 Adopt-A-Saint:
Martez Wilson, DE: 1 Sack, 6 Tackles, 1 FF, 1 Punt Block
Will Smith, DE: 2 Sacks, 22 Tackles, 0 FF
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tylerdouglass


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 7:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great additions. Thanks. Very Happy
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