Schedule: TB, @LVR, GB, @DET, LAC, BYE, CAR, @CHI, @TB, SF, ATL, @DEN, @ATL, @PHI, KC, MIN, @CAR
Additions: S Malcolm Jenkins (FA), WR Emmanuel Sanders (FA), QB Jameis Winston (FA), OL Cesar Ruiz (Draft)
Losses: OL Larry Warford (Cut), QB Teddy Bridgewater (FA), S Vonn Bell (FA), LB A.J. Klein (FA), CB Eli Apple (FA), FB Zach Line (Retired)
I know putting “cursed” as the weakness is a cop out, but you try finding a hole in this roster. For a team coming off back-to-back 13-3 seasons, the Saints have done a remarkable job of keeping their in-house talent. Next year’s going to be the end of that given the cap situation, so it could be now or never to win a Super Bowl.
This also could be Drew Brees’ last chance at a second championship, too, as the future Hall of Famer is pretty much a lock to retire in 2021. When that point comes, New Orleans seems committed to rolling out Taysom Hill as the starter, which is guaranteed to be fun even if unsuccessful. For the time being, Hill will continue his jack-of-all trades role while Jameis Winston serves as the primary backup. Depth-wise, this is the best quarterback situation in football.
Talent-wise, the Saints might have the best offensive line, too. Every starter other than Larry Warford returns from last year’s elite line. Rookie Cesar Ruiz should slide in seamlessly at right guard, so there’s no reason to expect any drop off.
For a few days there, it looked like there might be a huge shake up in the backfield. First, it looked like Alvin Kamara was holding out for a new contract. Then, we thought New Orleans was looking to trade its star back. Neither of those came to fruition, though, as everything looks to be fixed now. After reportedly playing with a torn MCL last season, Kamara should return to his dangerous self. Latavius Murray is an excellent insurance policy as well.
At receiver, Michael Thomas is on a record-setting pace for his position. However one-dimensional you may think he is, he’s borderline unstoppable in that one dimension. Social media aside, this is one of the best receivers in the league. New Orleans will also enjoy the benefit of a legitimate WR2 for the first time in years with the addition of Emmanuel Sanders. All in all, this is a great offense, especially with Sean Payton at the helm. The only issue has been in the playoffs, where Brees’ inability to make off-script plays has come back to bite them.
Defensively, the Saints aren’t nearly as flashy, but they get results. Led by Cameron Jordan, the defensive line is outstanding and deep. Demario Davis fills a similar role at linebacker. The front seven isn’t full of household names. It’s just full of good football players
The secondary is sort of the opposite. Marshon Lattimore and Co. get attention for their often elite play, but consistency can be an issue. It’ll be interesting to watch how the new guys fare, too. While Janoris Jenkins was there in 2019, this will be his first full season with the team. New Orleans needs him to step up across from Lattimore. Also worth monitoring is the Vonn Bell-Malcolm Jenkins swap at safety and how big a role Ceedy Duce has in year two.
For as talented as this team is, they were arguably better in each of the last two years—only to lose before the Super Bowl each time. Every year that passes means further deterioration of Brees’ arm strength, so it’s starting to seem like they may just never make it. I expect this season to go very similar to the last three, with New Orleans being a great regular season team that can’t get it done in the playoffs.
What’s your record prediction for the Saints? What did I get right or wrong? Sound off in the comments.