The New Orleans Saints had a spectacular 2006 NFL season. They brought back the winning ways of the New Orleans Saints. They rallied around their two new stars in Reggie Bush and Drew Breese. And most importantly, they at least did a little to keep the city of New Orleans on the minds of sports fans, and that at the very least gave the people of New Orleans reason to hope for a better future.
However, 2007 did not have quite the same magic. The Saints lost their first four games, and even when presented with a chance to win out their last four games to make it to the playoffs, they just couldn’t pull it off.
So what went wrong for the Saints in 2007?
First of all, they couldn’t run the ball for anything once Deuce McAllister went out in Week 3 with a season ending injury. Reggie Bush averaged only 3.7 yards per carry, and even Aaron Stecker who proved to be a better inside runner than Bush only managed 3.9 yards per carry. So more than anything this off-season, the Saints need to get their man Deuce McAllister back healthy and ready to go in 2008. He is their best pure running back, and what he is able to do against 7-man fronts effects the Saints entire offensive approach.
And if Deuce is healthy, the passing game can be healthy once again. Not that it was bad during all of 2007. Once Stecker helped established a bit of consistency in the running game, Drew Brees was able to do some of what he did last year. As was Marques Colston, who should have been a Pro-Bowl selection with 98 receptions, 1,202 yards and 11 touchdowns.
However, besides just getting Deuce back, the Saints could use another wide receiver to take some of the attention off of Colston. The next best receiver on the Saints is probably Reggie Bush, and that’s not going to cut it as a downfield threat. The Saints do not have to go out and get a stellar free agent at wide out. They just need a decent guy who can stretch the field with good speed. That would be a great complement to Marques Colston and what he does best.
Most importantly, the Saints need to fix their defense. I think they realized in Week 1 that they made a mistake of signing Jason David, a Cover 2 cornerback, and then asking him to become a starter in their man-to-man defensive scheme. It was a horrible decision, and they paid for it by giving up long play after long play in the passing game. The Saints need to invest this year’s first round pick in an athletic cornerback who can fit into their system and not give up the big play. Because other than the big play in the passing game, the Saints defense wasn’t bad. They only gave up 245 passing yards per game and ranked eighth in that category. However, they were dead last in passing yards allowed per attempt at 7.9, and those big plays were the reason for that lowly average. If the Saints can get an athletic rookie in the draft, as the Giants did with CB Aaron Ross out of Texas in last year’s draft, which could make all the difference in the world in defending the deep ball in 2008.