The New Orleans Saints are excited to get back on the field in pursuit of a Superbowl. Head coach Sean Payton returns after serving a league mandated one year suspension. Because of his ability to produce elite level offensive results, fans of the Saints expect big things with his return. After struggling last year to a 7-9 finish, the Saints hope to challenge the Atlanta Falcons, who are the NFC South division favorites.
Wins and losses in New Orleans start with the production of the offense. The 2013-14 season features the usual excitement of having pro bowl quarterback Drew Brees running the show. While Marques Colston and Lance Moore provide veteran leadership at the wide receiver position, the preseason battle for the third and fourth receiver spots has been intense. Rookie Kenny Stills drafted from the University of Oklahoma, and second year players Nick Toon and Andy Tanner have all made their case for playing time. The Saints have at least three running backs expected to contribute with Pierre Thomas and Mark Ingram expected to be the two primary ball carriers. The offensive line returns a veteran group of guys who are expected to protect Brees.
The defensive unit is still a mystery. The Saints brought in Rob Ryan from the Dallas Cowboys to take over an under-performing defense. Ryan has the reputation of putting consistently tough defenses on the field wherever he has coached. The secondary received a boost when it drafted Kenny Vaccaro out of Texas. He is expected to contribute as a nickel back, and situational player, joining veterans Roman Harper, Malcolm Jenkins, Jabari Greer, and Keenan Lewis in a secondary expected to be solid. The linebacker core is experienced. Veterans Curtis Lofton and Jonathan Vilma head the group. The defensive line is a key to success this season. They must be able to generate a pass rush against opposing offenses. Coach Ryan will count on Akiem Nicks and Cameron Jordan to generate pass rush, while good things have been seen in rookie draft pick Rufus Johnson who plays linebacker, but is known for his ability to rush the passer.
Because of the proven abilities of Drew Brees, and the return of Sean Payton to the Saints' sideline, New Orleans fans have high hopes for the 2013-14 season. The excitement will continue to build in anticipation of the season opener on September 8th against their rivals, the Atlanta Falcons.
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