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2014 NEW ORLEANS SAINTS FOOTBALL PREVIEW

June 30, 2014
INDIANA SPORTS PAGE



2014 NEW ORLEANS SAINTS FOOTBALL PREVIEW

New Orleans Saints (2000 - Pres)

COACH: SEAN PEYTON

RECORD: 73-39

OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR: PETE CARMICHAEL

DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR: BOB RYAN

OFFENSE PPG: 25.9

RUSHING: 92.1

PASSING: 307.4

TOTAL OFFENSE: 399.4

DEFENSE SCORING: 19.0

RUSHING: 111.6

PASSING: 194.1

TOTAL DEFENSE: 305.7

INTERCEPTIONS: 12

SACKS: 49

TO DIFFERENTIAL: 0

 New Orleans Saints (2006 - Pres)

In 2009 the New Orleans Saints won the Super Bowl.  Since then they have made the playoffs three out of four seasons.  That isn’t good enough for Saints fans anymore, they want another NFL title.  Playing in the NFC isn’t easy with four of the past five Super Bowl champions coming out of the NFC. If the Saints can find a way to get home field advantage in 2014, they very well may get back to the big game.  New Orleans went 8-0 at home last season and only 3-5 on the road. In three out of the four seasons the Saints didn’t advance in the playoffs, they played on the road.

There is no doubt the Saints can score points with Drew Brees at QB.  Brees is one of the top QB’s in the game today after passing for 5,162 yards and 39 TD’s last season. If Brees is to put up those numbers again this season, the Saints must find a better way to keep him upright as the offensive line gave up 37 sacks in 2013. RT Zach Strief (6-7 320) returns after signing a new contract. Joining Strief will be LT Terron Armstead after he spent a season getting bigger, stronger and faster. Pro Bowl guards Jahri Evans and Ben Grubbs will form a strong unit inside.  The Saints will see a new center in Tim Lelito who is making a position move from guard.

Receiving is never a problem for New Orleans with so much talent returning. Jimmy Graham isn’t happy with his contract and he may not be with the Saints on the opening weekend.  If he is back there’s no doubt he is one of the best in the game and is the go-to-guy for Brees in the red-zone. WR Marques Colston is very reliable and is the main target on third-down. The big concern for Colston will be his health. Rookie WR Brandin Cooks will add speed and explosiveness to the already dangerous offense. Cooks played his college football at Oregon State and led FBS programs with 32 receptions of more than 20 or more yards. WR Kenny Stills will battle for a starting spot after catching 32 balls as a rookie and averaging 20 yards per reception.

New Orleans’ running game is overlooked because of the passing attack. This season will be another run the ball by committee strategy led by former Alabama star Mark Ingram. Ingram did show signs of his Heisman Trophy days in 2013 by averaging 4.9 yards per carry. Ingram may be in his last season with the Saints after the club failed to pick up his fifth-year contract option. Khiry Robinson and Pierre Thomas will also look to pick up the slack in the running game.

The Saints made changes in their defense out of necessity. Injuries made it impossible to run a 3-4 scheme so DC Bob Ryan implemented a 4-2-5 and it worked like magic. The Saints ranked fourth in total defense in 2013 after allowing the most yards in a single season in history in 2012. DE Cameron Jordan returns along with DE/LB Junior Galette to form one of the best young pass-rushing pair in the NFL. DE/DT Akiem Hicks (6-5 324) is powerful inside and has the ability to bull-rush the QB at will. The Saints have two powerful nose tackles in Broderick Bunkley and John Jenkins. Bunkley is 6-2, 308 pounds and Jenkins is 6-3, 359.

Linebackers Curtis Lofton and David Hawthorne have great speed and quickness and will play off the talented defensive line.  Both will play from sideline to sideline. Joining Lofton and Hawthorne will be Parys Haralson, Victor Butler and Rookie Khairi Fortt.

The secondary will be led by CB Keenan Lewis, S Jarius Byrd and S Kenny Vaccaro. Lewis came into his own as a shut-down corner last season in his first year with the Saints.  Byrd was signed as a free-agent from Buffalo in hopes of leading to more takeaways. Vacarro is very versatile but is limited physically. The Saints got some veteran help by signing Denver free agent Champ Bailey.  Bailey may have a couple of productive seasons left if he can stay healthy. Also in the secondary mix will be Patrick Robinson, Corey White and rookie Stanley Jean-Baptiste.

The Saints have enough talent to win the division, the offense is explosive and the defense will be better with another year with DC Bob Ryan.  Drew Brees won’t have the same explosive receivers he had in 2013 and the running game is just average. If the offensive line doesn’t protect Brees better, the Saints won’t get by Seattle or San Francisco in the NFC. Somehow New Orleans must get Jimmy Graham back and make him happy!

New Orleans Saints (1985 - Pres)

New Orleans Saints 2014 Draft picks

Round 1, Pick 20 (From Cardinals)    
Oregon St. WR Brandin Cooks (5'10",189)

Impressing the New Orleans brass with his athleticism, worth ethic and character, the Saints traded up in the 2014 NFL Draft to the 20th slot to have the opportunity to pick the 2013 Biletnikoff Award winner. Taking advantage of blazing speed, clocking in with a 4.33 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine, Cooks established himself as one of college football’s elite offensive weapons in three seasons at Oregon State, where he started 29-of-38 games and posted 226 receptions for 3,272 yards (14.5 avg.) with 24 touchdowns, also adding 61 carries for 340 yards (5.6 avg.). Expected to also compete for snaps in the return game for the Saints, Cooks also returned 12 punts for 72 yards and brought back eight kickoffs for 179 yards for a career total of 3,863 all-purpose yards.

Round 2, Pick 26 (58 overall)
Nebraska DB Stanley Jean-Baptiste (6'3",218)
A physical cornerback, who aggressively battles receivers and tight ends, excels in run support and possesses solid ball skills, Jean-Baptiste will compete with several players in the New Orleans secondary. As a senior, he was a second-team All-Big Ten Conference selection after recording 41 tackles, one sack, four stops for a loss, four interceptions and 12 passes defensed. For his career, the converted wide receiver appeared in 36 games with 19 starts and recorded 74 tackles with seven interceptions, 22 passes defensed, one sack, four tackles for a loss and a seven-yard reception.

Round 4, Pick 26 (126 overall)    
California ILB Khairi Fortt (6'2".248)

A rugged, powerful linebacker with size to fill holes and speed to chase ball-carriers, who was one of 12 national semifinalists for the 2013 Butkus Award, Fortt enjoyed a productive season at California in 2013 after starting his career at Penn State. As a fourth-year junior, he started all nine games he played in and tied for third on the team with 64 tackles, 0.5 sack and 3.5 stops for a loss. In 31 contests with 10 starts for both the Golden Bears and Nittany Lions, he recorded 114 tackles, three sacks and 10 stops for a loss.

Round 5, Pick 27 (167 overall)    
Alabama SS Vinnie Sunseri (5'11", 210)

A hard-hitter who was a significant contributor on both defense and special teams at the University of Alabama. Sunseri departed  having appeared in 34 games with 15 starts, posting 105 tackles (67 solo), seven tackles for a loss, 1.4 sacks, four interceptions, eight passes defensed, three fumble recoveries and one forced fumble.

Round 5, Pick 29 (169 overall) (From Patriots through Eagles)    
Florida OLB Ronald Powell (6'3”, 237)

A tall, lean, muscular athlete, Powell returned to the lineup for the Gators in 2013 after missing the 2012 season with a knee injury and finished with 26 tackles (19 solo), leading the team with four sacks. Overall at Florida, he appeared in 37 career games with 21 starts and finished with 83 tackles (55 solo), 11 sacks, 19 tackles for a loss, one forced fumble and two passes defensed, leading his team in takedowns in two of his three campaigns in Gainesville. Powell will seek a spot in the club’s outside linebacker corps, while immediately competing and contributing on special teams.

Round 6, Pick 26 (202 overall)    
Kansas OT Tavon Rooks (6'5", 280)

A two-year starter at Kansas State after transferring from Navarro Junior College, Rooks excelled in both pass protection and run-blocking as he opened 23 of the 26 games he played in. Rooks will work into the right tackle position initially in New Orleans, where he will compete for a roster spot in training camp.


SCHEDULE:

2014 New Orleans Saints Schedule (Home Games in Bold/All Times CT)

 
PRESEASON DATE OPPONENT TIME TV
Week 1 Aug. 8 at St. Louis 7 pm CST
Week 2 Aug. 15 Tennessee 7 pm  CST
Week 3 Aug. 23 at Indianapolis 7 pm CBS
Week 4 Aug. 28 Baltimore 7 pm CST
REG. SEASON DATE OPPONENT TIME TV
Week 1 Sept. 7 at Atlanta Noon FOX
Week 2 Sept. 14 at Cleveland Noon FOX
Week 3 Sept. 21 Minnesota Noon FOX
Week 4 Sept. 28 at Dallas 7:30 pm NBC
Week 5 Oct. 5 Tampa Bay Noon FOX
Week 6 BYE WEEK   - -
Week 7 Oct. 19 at Detroit Noon FOX
Week 8 Oct. 26 Green Bay 7:30 pm NBC
Week 9 Oct. 30 at Carolina 7:25 pm NFLN
Week 10 Nov. 9 San Francisco Noon FOX
Week 11 Nov. 16 Cincinnati Noon CBS
Week 12 Nov. 24 Baltimore 7:30 pm ESPN
Week 13 Nov. 30 at Pittsburgh Noon FOX
Week 14 Dec. 7 Carolina Noon FOX
Week 15 Dec. 15 at Chicago 7:30 ESPN
Week 16 Dec. 21 Atlanta Noon FOX
Week 17 Dec. 28 at Tampa Bay Noon FOX


ROSTER:

Active

#NamePos.Ht.Wt.AgeExp.College
72 Armstead, Terron T 6-5 304 22 1 Arkansas-Pine Bluff
61 Armstrong, Matt C 6-2 302 24 R Grand Valley State
27 Bailey, Champ CB 6-0 192 36 16 Georgia
36 Ball, Marcus S 6-1 209 26 1 Memphis
9 Brees, Drew QB 6-0 209 35 14 Purdue
34 Brooks, Derrius CB 5-10 192 26 1 Western Kentucky
77 Bunkley, Brodrick NT 6-2 306 30 9 Florida State
25 Bush, Rafael S 5-11 200 27 4 South Carolina State
90 Butler, Victor OLB 6-2 245 26 6 Oregon State
31 Byrd, Jairus S 5-10 203 27 6 Oregon
39 Cadet, Travaris RB 6-1 210 25 3 Appalachian State
16 Coleman, Brandon WR 6-6 225 22 R Rutgers
12 Colston, Marques WR 6-4 225 31 9 Hofstra
10 Cooks, Brandin WR 5-10 189 20 R Oregon State
95 Davis, Todd LB 6-1 230 22 R Sacramento State
55 Dawson, Keyunta OLB 6-3 258 28 7 Texas Tech
67 Deaderick, Brandon DL 6-4 305 26 5 Alabama
2 Dimke, Derek K 6-0 180 24 1 Illinois
44 Dixon, Brian CB 6-0 195 24 R Northwest Missouri State
47 Drescher, Justin LS 6-1 235 26 5 Colorado
91 Edebali, Kasim OLB 6-2 253 24 R Boston College
73 Evans, Jahri G 6-4 318 30 9 Bloomsburg
40 Flanders, Timothy RB 5-9 210 22 R Sam Houston State
69 Foketi, Manase T 6-5 310 23 1 West Texas A&M
54 Fortt, Khairi ILB 6-2 240 22 R California
97 Foster, Glenn DE 6-4 285 24 2 Illinois
37 Frederick, Terrence CB 5-10 187 24 1 Texas A&M
93 Galette, Junior OLB 6-2 258 26 5 Stillman
51 Goodwin, Jonathan C 6-3 318 35 13 Michigan
3 Graham, Shayne K 6-0 210 36 15 Virginia Tech
4 Griffin, Ryan QB 6-5 206 24 2 Tulane
66 Grubbs, Ben G 6-3 310 30 8 Auburn
86 Hamm, Je'Ron TE 6-3 236 22 R Louisiana-Monroe
98 Haralson, Parys OLB 6-0 255 30 9 Tennessee
79 Harris, Bryce T 6-6 300 25 3 Fresno State
18 Hawkins, Charles WR 5-8 180 23 1 Southern
57 Hawthorne, David ILB 6-0 246 29 7 Texas Christian
76 Hicks, Akiem DE 6-5 324 24 3 Regina
89 Hill, Josh TE 6-5 229 24 2 Idaho State
19 Hull, Steve WR 6-2 200 23 R Illinois
53 Humber, Ramon ILB 5-11 232 26 6 North Dakota State
22 Ingram, Mark RB 5-9 215 24 4 Alabama
83 Jacobs, Nic TE 6-5 269 22 R McNeese State
33 Jean-Baptiste, Stanley CB 6-3 218 24 R Nebraska
92 Jenkins, John NT 6-3 359 24 2 Georgia
59 Johnson Jr., Rufus OLB 6-5 272 23 1 Tarleton State
35 Johnson, Austin FB 6-2 240 25 1 Tennessee
70 Jones, Marcel T 6-7 320 25 2 Nebraska
15 Jones, Seantavius WR 6-3 200 21 R Valdosta State
94 Jordan, Cameron DE 6-4 287 24 4 California
65 Kelemete, Senio G 6-3 300 24 2 Washington
5 Kilgore, Logan QB 6-3 206 24 R Middle Tennessee State
58 Knox, Kyle OLB 6-1 220 25 1 Fresno State
68 Lelito, Tim C/G 6-4 315 24 2 Grand Valley State
28 Lewis, Keenan CB 6-1 208 28 6 Oregon State
50 Lofton, Curtis ILB 6-0 241 28 7 Oklahoma
41 Lorig, Erik FB 6-4 250 27 5 Stanford
7 McCown, Luke QB 6-4 217 32 11 Louisiana Tech
63 McCray, Moses NT 6-2 318 24 R Akron
17 Meachem, Robert WR 6-2 215 29 8 Tennessee
13 Morgan, Joseph WR 6-1 184 26 4 Walsh
6 Morstead, Thomas P 6-4 235 28 6 Southern Methodist
78 Nsekhe, Ty T 6-8 325 28 1 Texas State
99 Ozougwu, Cheta OLB 6-2 255 25 3 Rice
56 Powell, Ronald OLB 6-3 237 23 R Florida
52 Reddick, Kevin ILB 6-1 246 24 2 North Carolina
29 Robinson, Khiry RB 6-0 220 24 2 West Texas A&M
21 Robinson, Patrick CB 5-11 191 26 5 Florida State
74 Rooks, Tavon T 6-5 300 24 R Kansas State
84 Stills, Kenny WR 6-0 190 22 2 Oklahoma
64 Strief, Zach T 6-7 320 30 9 Northwestern
48 Strozier, Derrick RB 5-8 181 23 R Tulane
43 Sunseri, Vinnie S 6-0 210 20 R Alabama
38 Sweeting, Rod CB 6-0 187 23 2 Georgia Tech
14 Tanner, Andy WR 6-0 183 26 1 Midwestern State
23 Thomas, Pierre RB 5-11 215 29 8 Illinois
88 Toon, Nick WR 6-4 218 25 3 Wisconsin
71d Uko, George DE 6-3 284 22 R USC
96 Uzo-Diribe, Chidera OLB 6-3 250 22 R Colorado
32 Vaccaro, Kenny S 6-0 214 23 2 Texas
62 Virgil, Lawrence DE 6-5 290 23 R Valdosta State
30 Wade, Trevin CB 5-10 190 24 3 Arizona
75 Walker, Tyrunn DE 6-3 294 24 3 Tulsa
42 Warren, Pierre S 6-2 200 21 R Jacksonville State
82 Watson, Benjamin TE 6-3 255 33 11 Georgia
71o Weaver, Jason T 6-5 305 25 1 Southern Mississippi
60 Welch, Thomas T 6-7 310 27 4 Vanderbilt
24 White, Corey CB 6-1 205 24 3 Samford
49 Zimmerman, Ty S 6-1 204 24 R Kansas State

Reserve/Injured

#NamePos.Ht.Wt.AgeExp.College
20 Davis, A.J. CB 6-0 183 24 2 Jacksonville State

Reserve/Franchise Player

#NamePos.Ht.Wt.AgeExp.College
80 Graham, Jimmy TE 6-7 265 27 5 Miami (Fla.)

Reserve/Retired

#NamePos.Ht.Wt.AgeExp.College
18 Walker, Devon S 6-1 173 23 R Tulane



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