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GMoney2600
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Oct 2005
12706 posts

10 things we learned about the Saints this offseason

This is the 1st decent article that I've found in a while

LINK

With OTAs and mandatory minicamp in the rearview mirror, the New Orleans Saints will enjoy a break before rookies report for training camp on July 19. It’s been an eventful offseason that included several major storylines around Sean Payton, Deshaun Watson, LSU Tigers homecomings, and much more.

All revolving around what should be an impactful draft class and a rejuvenated passing game. From the returns from injuries for Jameis Winston, Michael Thomas, and Wil Lutz to the departures of heavyweight free agents Marcus Williams and Terron Armstead, the Saints have undergone a good amount of change this offseason.

Through that change, we learned a lot of valuable things about the organization, the roster, and coaching staff that will be worth keeping an eye on throughout training camp as it begins in July. Here are ten things we learned about the New Orleans Saints this offseason:

#1 The Saints intend to not only compete, but win in 2022
The organization’s offseason approach started off on a similar foot as those past. The team played things close to the vest and patiently, focusing on in-house free agents first. But their aggressive draft strategy yielding them two first-round selections, the signings of safety Tyrann Mathieu and wide receiver Jarvis Landry compounded with returns for Jameis Winston, Michael Thomas, and even Wil Lutz show that the Saints don’t intend stop at just being competitive in 2022.


#2 Leadership is a very important team-building ingredient
The signings of Mathieu and Landry were immediate signals as to how much this organization is valuing leadership this offseason. Looking at the draft and UDFA classes further drives the point home as well. Many incoming rookies have served as team captains or have held some type of leadership role in college or in their communities. Many of them checked multiple boxes. Add on the extension they wrapped up with linebacker and emotional leader Demario Davis and there is no question how much value has been put into leadership.

#3 This is "the people's team"
You want LSU Tigers? You got LSU Tigers. The Saints are often noted for not drafting players from the prominent in-state football program an hour away up I-10. But they certainly didn’t shy away from signing them in free agency. The additions of Jarvis Landry and Tyrann Mathieu will headline the stories, but backup left tackle Jerald Hawkins was also brought in via free agency. The team also invested in more in-state talent with wideouts Kirk Merritt and Dai’Jean Dixon. Both of which have major ties to the area. The connection between team and community has always been strong in New Orleans. But now those ties run deeper when players from the area are representing the team and its fanbase.

#4 Saints want competition at premium positions
Before the 2022 NFL draft, the Saints had invested only 10 of 21 top-100 draft selections in premium positions since 2006. This year, New Orleans not only spent all of their top-100 draft capital at such positions, but they also invested in more competition across the roster. Now the wide receiver room as been revamped with a battle set for the final spots on the depth chart, the team should have a camp competition for the second cornerback spot, first-round pick Trevor Penning and veteran James Hurst will work for the left tackle role, and last year’s top pick, edge defender Payton Turner, is set to return to the rotation after being medically cleared last week.

“One of things we wanted to do this year was add talent to the roster,” Allen told New Orleans media, “And increase the competition amongst the roster. I think we’ve done that in a lot of different areas.”

#5 Injury recovery is key to Saints success in 2022
Jameis Winston, Michael Thomas, Taysom Hill, Marcus Davenport, Andrus Peat, Ryan Ramczyk, Wil Lutz, and Payton Turner are all players coming back from injuries throughout the 2021 season. That list continues into key depth players and more. The recovery of both the starters and depth will be very important to the Saints’ ability to find success this year. If any one to a few of this group missed substantial time again, it could turn into a long season quickly. Hopefully the hire of former Alabama sports science director Matt Rhea continues to pay off.
This post was edited on 7/1 at 8:30 pm


GMoney2600
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Oct 2005
12706 posts

#6 Alvin Kamara's legal situation may not wrap up quickly
Star running back Alvin Kamara has been an offseason focus for many thanks to an offseason arrest following an altercation in Las Vegas back in February. Kamara’s hearings have been continued twice now, each time relative to delivery of evidence to his team. Currently, the hearing is scheduled for August. But if pushed again or if the case moves along beyond the hearing, the process could extend into the regular season or even further. While a six-game suspension is expected for the five-time Pro Bowler, the legal process will need to wrap up before the NFL hands down any discipline. It’s anyone’s guess on the timeline at this point.

#7 Head coach Dennis Allen has the respect of his players
Many Saints players come out in support of the organization’s decision to promote Allen to head coach after Sean Payton’s departure. But some questions arose about Allen’s hold on the team when many veterans did not attend OTAs. While this should have been a non-starter considering OTAs are voluntary in the first place, the discussions were worth asking. However, Allen and the team put those concerns to rest when every player attended mandatory minicamps despite three (Demario Davis, C.J. Gardner-Johnson, and Deonte Harty) looking for new contracts. A showing of the team’s respect for Allen.

#8 The Saints organization will do anything to win, even almost to a fault
Early in the offseason, the Saints underwent a curious pursuit for quarterback Deshaun Watson despite his then 22 (eventually 24) open civil cases in which he was accused of sexual misconduct. While the Saints ultimately did not land the now Cleveland Brown, they did go so far as to clear nearly $30 million of salary to fit him in under the cap. Thankfully for New Orleans, while the NFL considers a possible year-long suspension for Watson, the Saints turned that salary space into Jameis Winston, Jarvis Landry, Tyrann Mathieu, and other free agency signings. They also used the draft capital that would have been sent to the Houston Texans to add a second first-round pick and move up to draft Ohio State’s Chris Olave, the player the team coveted throughout the draft process.

#9 Competition is wide open on the offensive line
The Saints invested a first-round pick on Northern Iowa’s Trevor Penning to be the long-term starter at left tackle following the departure of Terron Armstead. But as assistant offensive line coach Zach Strief has explain, just because Penning is a first round pick, nothing will be handed to him. Penning will compete with veteran James Hurst at left tackle. If the rookie wins the role, don’t be surprised to see Hurst compete elsewhere on line. A second competition could pipe up at right guard which will either help push the development of former first rounder Cesar Ruiz or give Hurst a chance to move into a starting role even if he doesn’t step in at tackle.

#10 The team's most important move may be one made on the coaching staff
In 2021, the Saints started an NFL record 58 different starters. That included four different quarterbacks and four different kickers. While the team made several moves to help sure up both the top and depth of their roster, the most important move they may have made this offseason could end up being the hiring of strength and conditioning coach Matt Rhea. Rhea was formerly the director of sport science at Alabama. He will hold the same title in New Orleans. When the Crimson Tide bought into Rhea’s practices, they reduced soft tissue injuries by 50%. That kind of progress is exactly what the Saints will be looking for in order to keep players healthy and available throughout 2022.


cbree88
LSU Fan
South Louisiana
Member since Feb 2010
4229 posts

11.) we need more O-lineman, especially a LT to anchor our line.


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PhillyTiger90
North Carolina St. Fan
Member since Dec 2015
8893 posts

quote:

When the Crimson Tide bought into Rhea’s practices, they reduced soft tissue injuries by 50%.




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Godfather1
LSU Fan
What WAS St George, Louisiana
Member since Oct 2006
72884 posts

quote:

In 2021, the Saints started an NFL record 58 different starters. That included four different quarterbacks and four different kickers.


This wasn’t a conditioning problem; more of a “every guy we bring in sucks” problem.


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tigersquad89
LSU Fan
Raleigh, NC
Member since Oct 2014
6284 posts
 Online 

Number 10 is pretty damn important considering all the injuries this team has faced over these last 5 years. The saints probably win two Super Bowls in those 5 years if they keep everybody healthy. If not win they come extremely close. When healthy they were the best team in the nfl 2 of those 5 years.
This post was edited on 7/2 at 10:58 am


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