2008 New Orleans Saints Outlook

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The New Orleans Saints had a disappointing season in 2007, finishing with a final score of 7-9. However, the team still has a healthy fan base, considering that for the second year in a row, the Louisiana Superdome sold out every ticket for the season, including all luxury boxes. The team had a rough start, not only facing the Super Bowl Champion Colts in their first game, but eventually losing their next three games. They also lost running back Deuce McAllister who suffered a second ACL tear. At one point last season the team managed to go on a four-game winning streak, but ultimately lost some important games that eliminated them from the playoffs. It was only two years ago that the Saints put in a victorious season, and won a divisional game over the Philadelphia Eagles. What will it take to put the team back on track?

Management deduces that head Coach Sean Payton is still doing his job and readying his team for another Cinderella-esque upset. Since 2006, Payton has been the Saints’ head coach, his first assignment after growing from his assistant head coaching position with the Dallas Cowboys. The team has been patient with Payton, as he is the man that elevated the Saints from a 3-13 record in 2005 to a playoff appearance the next year-in fact, the first in six years. The team has consistently ranked high in offense, including passing and in total points scored. What went wrong last season?

Some fans say that expectations may have simply been too high, as the team is still restructuring after new management. Many experts still consider the Saints to be a solid team, carrying a core of promising young talent, and one that could be poised to win the NFC South this season. One of the most revealing glimpses into the new season will come from reviewing the team’s draft picks. The team went into the draft needing a defensive tackle. Like many teams, they had their eye on Glenn Dorsey, but ultimately lost out and instead chose USC’s Sedrick Ellis as their first draft pick. Reaction to this movement has been largely positive as Ellis was high ranked in the draft and is the type of defensive tackle that the team could really use. Experts predict Ellis will emerge as a starter sooner than later, even as a rookie.

The Saints were also looking for a cornerback player, which is why they chose Indiana’s Tracy Porter as their second pick. While Porter isn’t as big a player as you might expect he has earned kudos for his speed and athleticism. Other notable draft picks were North Carolina State’s DeMario Pressley and kicker Wisconsin’s Taylor Mehlhaff. In addition to some solid drafting choices, the team also signed Mike McKenzie, Jason David, Randall Gay and Usama Young, which cost them a great deal. How did fans and experts respond to the Saint’s off-season game? Fans were enthusiastic, stating that the team filled the holes they needed very well, even if there were not a great deal of instant starters. Some criticism was reserved for Adrian Arrington and DeMario Pressley, as players who may lack character. However, the consensus among fans has been that with a solid pool of rookie talent, and a strong defensive tackle in Sedrick Ellis, the team may finally live up to expectations.

write by Neala

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