- 08/23/2011, 09:38PM ET
DJRoxalot said 08/23, 09:38 PM
The New Orleans Saints.
Drew Brees had a "down year" last season that most QB's would kill for:
68.1%, 277.2ypg, 7.0ypa, 33 TD's to 22 INT's with a 90.9 Passer Rating
They added Olin Kreutz to the OL as their new starting center that should help the running game and help protect Brees. They got rid of Reggie Bush who was overpaid and replaced him with Darren Sproles as their 3rd down RB. Sproles might have a career year as a receiver out of the NO backfield with Brees throwing the ball to him.
They drafted Mark Ingram who I am convinced is a Emmitt Smith-type clone. Ingram runs hard and is a punishing RB. They have a change of pace back in Sproles. Chris Ivory (716, yards, 5.2tpc and 44 First Downs) and Pierre Thomas add depth in case of an injury.
They got younger at TE with Jimmy Graham. He is a 2nd year player who caught 31 passes (21 for a First Down) for a 11.5ypc average with 5 TD's.
And the Saints went out and upgraded the defensive line by signing Shaun Rogers. He is a very good player that will help upgrade and add depth to their defensive line. The Saints run defense was 16th vs the run last season.
Jld said 08/23, 10:14 PM
I did consider going Bucs here, but I had to go with my gut and pick the Falcons.
The Falcons are coming off a 13-3 season in which they scored 30 more points than Brees & Co. while giving up less points as well. The one big knock on Atlanta was the lack of big plays. Fair criticism, Ryan has had a weak 6.5 YPA each of the last 2 years. Enter Julio Jones, a very talented rookie with sub 4.4 speed. Did they give up too much to get him? Maybe, but that's not an issue for this year. Look for more single coverage on White with a safety deep watching for Jones.
The other knock on the Falcons was the lack of a pass rush beyond Abraham. Ray Edwards should help remedy that with 16.5 sacks in the last 2 years & he is only 26. Robinson was a bit of disappointment last year after coming over from Houston, expect a rebound year from him.
On to Brees, was last year a 'down' year or sign of things to come? He's a QB who chucks the rock ALOT so he is going to put up #'s but it is fair to think that the 22 picks is trend that will continue.
The Saints got better no doubt, but the Falcons improved more.
DJRoxalot said 08/24, 05:19 PM
Julio Jones is a rookie. They often take time to get adjusted to the NFL because the NFL is much more difficult. It isn't always instant success.
How did a college beast like Dez Bryant do his rookie year? 45 catches (in 72 targets), 561 yards, 12.5ypc, 46.8ypg
Sure, Tony Romo got hurt and he did not have their starting QB, but Dallas had a pretty good player leading them when he was out. Jon Kitna played pretty well last year (65.7%, 226.5ypg, 7.4ypa, 16 TD's, 12 INT's, 88.9 Passer Rating).
Thos numbers compare very well to Ryan's (62.5%, 232 ypg, 6.5ypa, 28 TD's, 9 INT's, 91.0 Passer Rating).
I saw a lot of Julio Jones at Alabama since CBS televises SEC games here in Los Angeles. Jones has decent hands, but he drops too many passes. He has excellent speed, however he doesn't get explosiveness when the ball is snapped. That will hurt him against premier CB's.
Brees has an improved running game. They have a lot more depth now with Ingram (who I think will be starting by Week 5 or 6), Sproles, Smith and Ivory. He will not need to chuck it as much.
But when he does, he spreads the ball around.
Jld said 08/25, 08:17 AM
Jones doesn't need to get 70 catches to make a huge impact. Even if he only gets 45-50, he will still be able to take some pressure off from White which will open up the Falcons offense. Also with a legit deep threat, things could open underneath for Gonzalez. Sure his hands a questionable, but he doesn't need to be Cris Carter to be effective, meaning improve that 6.5 ypa.
As for the Saints running game, I'm not so sure it is improved. If they believed in Thomas and Ivory they wouldn't have drafted Ingram. As for Ingram, I think he compares to a less glamorous pro, Ron Dayne. Like Dayne, Ingram was a dynamic college back who was quick enough to hit a college sized hole. But I feel that Ingram's lack of speed will kill him in the NFL, just like Dayne. Not to mention, I believe that Ingram is already having some knee issues. I see him being about 3.8 ypc back who never has an elite year.
DJRoxalot said 08/25, 11:50 AM
"Even if he only gets 45-50, he will still be able to take some pressure off from White which will open up the Falcons offense."
Michael Jenkins did okay for Atlanta last season. Jenkins caught 41 passes (in 11 games, 9 starts) for 505 yards (12.5ypc) with 2 TD's. Say what you want about Jenkins, but he was a reliable veteran who was coming off back to back 50 cacth seasons in 2008 and 2009.
They are going with a rookie that has questionable hands? Seems like a gamble, considering what they gave up for him. They could have traded up a little more and gone with a hometown favorite in AJ Green.
Gonzalez is not even close to the elite player he was.
Brees can spread the ball around to WR's Marques Colston, Devery Henderson, Lance Moore, Robert Meachem, TE Graham and RB Sproles. If I had to pick a QB I would trust? It would be Brees.
Wow, comparing Ingram to Dayne? Dayne was much more of a north-south runner. Ingram's 40 yard dash time was only 4.62 second but his 10 yard split time at the combine? 1.53 seconds. He can get through open holes quickly.
I think you underestimate Ingram and will be surprised.
Jld said 08/25, 02:57 PM
The biggest difference between Jenkins and Jones is speed. Last year the Falcons lacked a deep threat and teams could sit on the underneath routes. That clogged things up for Gonzalez and made for a lot of double teams on White. Even if Jones doesn't make a ton of catches, his speed (4.39 40) along with his size (6'3" 220) will stretch defenses. Harry Douglas is also another year removed from a major injury and should give Ryan a solid option out of the slot. Ryan may not be as good as Brees but his Weapons are every bit as good and he has a better ground game.
While Dayne was bigger by 30 LBS, they are similar in terms of speed. The knock on Dayne? He wasn't fast enough to hit the hole and he couldn't outrun anyone. Dayne was considered a "shiffty" runner for his size in college too. Ingram's 40 was .03 sec faster. LB's and even some d-linemen will be able to outrun Ingram in the NFL. He has some moves and is a tough runner, but his lack of speed will kill him. And again, Ingram is coming off a knee injury which is a big red flag. He's too slow now, imagine what a bad knee will do.
Good TD and best of luck in the voting DJ.
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