Beginning this season we will be doing a question and answer sessin with the weeks opponent fansided blog site. This weeks opponent happens to be the New Orleans Saints. This allows us to swap five to six questions with the boys at Who Dat Dish.
These questions were thrown at editor and lead writer for Who Dat Dish, Keith Null. We wanted to pick the brain of Keith Null and get an insiders view point on the state of the Saints and some of the things we might be looking for during tonights game.
Considering that Reggie Bush left for Miami, Darren Sproles was signed to fill the void, Chris Ivory is currently injured, Pierre Thomas is coming off an injury last season, and Mark Ingram is a rookie but showed a strong performance last week against San Francisco. Who can the Texans expect to see most of during this weekends match-up and who does WDD expect to start teh season for the Saints at the runningback position?
Pierre Thomas will be the starter for the Saints against the Texans, but that doesn’t mean he will be the starter for long. It’s not uncommon for head coach Sean Payton to shuffle his running backs from play to play. Thomas may be listed as the starter, but he’ll come in and out of the game a Payton begins to mix in rookie Mark Ingram and veteran Darren Sproles regularly. I expect that as the game goes on Ingram will be utilized heavily so he can get the reps he needs in real NFL action. Ivory may be injured right now, and the Saints may have flirted with the idea of the PUP list, but it looks like he may land on the active roster after an updated timetable labeled him ready for action in 2 to 3 weeks.
With the recent shocking release of 8-year veteran right tackle Jon Stinchcomb and center Jonathan Goodwin opted to go to San Francisco via free agency. Obviously Olin Kreutz was a superb pick-up to replace Goodwin but is there concern at right tackle? If not who seems to be the early favorite to replace Stinchcomb? Does WDD think the release of Stinchcomb will have an affect on the locker room and if so in what way exactly?
Stinchcomb was a quality player and standup locker room guy, not to mention a very good friend of quarterback Drew Brees. His release came as a shock to many, although the reality was his level of play simply was not where it needed to be and Payton had to make the choice to release him. At the moment there is no real cocern within the organization about the right tackle positon. The Saints are weighing their options between Zach Strief, Charles Brown and even center Matt Tennant. Strief has been a long time backup with superb run blocking ability that’s perfect for a right tackle. Brown was a second round pick last year drafted to be a left tackle, so he has tremendous upside. Tennant is a center, but can play tackle, and the team is very high on the former Boston College standout.
Undrafted free agent Joe Morgan’s electrifying 78-yard punt return against the 49ers was definitely an awesome one but has Morgan offered up anything else during training camp and now during practice? Is Morgan likely to make the squad or is he headed for the practice squad assuming another team doesn’t sign him?
Morgan has been one of the more stand out players thus far in training camp. Payton is enamoured with is ability and speed, which is why you saw him get so many snaps as the teams punt returner against the 49ers. It’s not often he runs with first string offense, but when he does reports seems to indicate he always makes a tuff catch or nabs a deep bomb down the field. At the moment he has an excellent chance at making the final roster as long as he continues to display a high level of special teams play. Morgan though is trying to crack one of the deepest positions on the roster. He must also deal with his primary competition — Adrian Arrington — who has been with team since 2008 and is a team favorite that can play every receiver position.
In this years NFL draft the Saints were praised for the teams first three picks. Cameron Jordan the 24th overall, trading up for Mark Ingram at 28th overall and then in the third round with linebacker Martez Wilson. Can the Texans along with the fans expect to see these three players playing with the number ones? If so or if not what is the expected contributions of each at the start of the NFL season?
Expect to see Ingram line up with the ones, which is something he has done through most of trainining camp. Wilson and Jodan are not as far along as Ingram, especially Wilson who has had some problems picking up Gregg Williams complicated defense. The Saints knew when they selected him he was not going to be an immediate starter as he was a raw yet unbelivably athletically gifted athlete. Both will get playing time against the Texans and the Saints are hoping Jordan comes along quickly enough to contribute regularly this season. Wilson is likely to be utilized as a role player this year while he learns the defense.
With Gregg Williams known to literally throw everything plus the kitchen sick at opposing offenses. Texans fans expect to see nothing less from the defensive mastermind. However what is the popular consensus with the “Who Dat” fan in regards to living or dying by the sword that Williams is wielding with his defensive philosophy? It seems at times his overagressive play calling sometimes bites the Saints especially when a team or more specifically a quarterback is making all the right reads.
I think you may be referring to the Seattle game, when Matt Hasselbeck victimized strong safety Roman Harper without safety Malcolm Jenkins in the lineup. Would Gregg Williams call that game differently looking back, probably not. The Saints secondary is considered the strongest part of the defense, and last season they ranked fifth in the NFL against the pass. If it’s not broke don’t fix it. Speaking on Williams philosophy Saints fans wouldn’t change a thing, he as turned a pretty bad defense into a respectable unit in just a few seasons and was a large reason the Saints took home the Lombardi Trophy in 2009.
The NFC South looks to be a very competitive one this year with both the Atlanta Falcons and the up and coming Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Saints seem to still be the favorites to win the division this year. How much longer does WDD feel that the Saints will remain the favorite in the division before one of the younger teams move in to unseat New Orleans as the NFC South top dog?
As long as Drew Brees is at the helm and Payton is calling the shots the Saints will remain a contende year in and year out. Alot of talk has been made about the Falcons, with the addition of Julio Jones and Ray Edwards, as being the biggest obstacle facing the Saints. I tend to think otherwise and respectfully say the Buccaneers will get the Saints more fits than the Falcons. Watching conference games it’s clear to me that the Bucs just play the Saints harder, but only time will tell. You can’t discount the fact that the Saints would have won the divison and swept the Falcons last season if not for Garrett Hartley’s missed field goal in week three. Moving forward the NFC South will remain one of the most competitive divisions in all of football.
Thanks to the guys at Who Dat Dish for their time and some insight into the New Orleans Saints from a fan perspective. The Saints once again are favored to win the NFC South but young up and coming teams like the Atlanta Falcons and Tamp Bay Buccaneers are sure to give them a challenge.
The Texans will meet the Saints again in week three so this shoud be a nice preview to what we might see and some of the superstars from both sides that could have an impact on that regular season game.
Topics:AFC South, Chris Ivory, Darren Sproles, Drew Bress, Joe Morgan, Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints, NFC South, Olin Kreutz, Pierre Thomas, Reggie Bush, Sean Payton, Texans
About the Author
Avid football junkie & blogger...is that a good combination? Love my wife, my kids, football in the state of Texas all in that exact order! Dallas Cowboys fan since December 4th 1977, when Dorsett ran for 206 yards against division rival Philadelphia Eagles. Hit me up on twitter @joeo1s