Saints News NFL: New Orleans Saints defensive tackle Nick Fairley on injured reserve and out for the season.



New Orleans Saints 2017 Season Preview




Chris Ransom follow @DraftUtopia Posted on 7/21/2017.


New Orleans Saints Free Agency Recap


The Saints got Larry Warford from Detroit. The Saints also got Adrian Peterson from Minnesota after the Vikings released him. Ted Ginn Jr. as a slot receiver was another good pickup.



New Orleans Saints Draft Recap


The Saints got Marshon Lattimore a top 10 pick out of Ohio State in the first round along with Ryan Ramczyk who was a top 3 offensive tackle coming out of Wisconsin. New Orleans also got Marcus Williams for depth in the second round. They traded a 2018 second round pick for Alvin Kamara in the third round. New Orleans also drafted Trey Hendrickson at the end of the third round.




New Orleans Saints Quarterback Summary: Drew Brees completed 70 percent of his passes with 5,208 passing yards, 37 passing touchdowns, and 15 interceptions in 2016. Chase Daniel is the teams new backup. Garrett Grayson, got released only to be re-signed to the practice squad so he's clearly not the successor to Drew Brees.


Drew Brees should have a breakout year and here is why. Sean Payton and Pete Carmichael are both back at head coach and offensive coordinator for the Saints. Joe Lombardi is the quarterbacks coach. Drew Brees dominated with these coaches last year and do not be surprised if we see the same from Brees in 2017.


New Orleans Saints Running Back Summary: You thought the Mark Ingram, Tim Hightower, C.J. Spiller trio was good. You are going to be blown away by the trio of Mark Ingram, Adrian Peterson, and Alvin Kamara will be excellent and could take a lot of pressure off of quarterback Drew Brees if he begins to decline which I doubt happens anyways with all those coaches in place.


Running backs coach Joel Thomas enters his third year in the NFL. He had solid success with all three running backs in his first two seasons with the Saints and has even better running backs to work with now.


New Orleans Saints Wide Receiver Summary: Michael Thomas is the Saints #1 receiver. Willie Snead is the #2 receiver. Ted Ginn Jr. is in the slot plus you got Brandon Coleman for depth.


John Morton is a great wide receiver coach. He took an offensive coordinator job with the New York Jets, but Curtis Johnson who was their wide receivers coach when they won Super Bowl 44 is back with this team though.


New Orleans Saints Tight End Summary: Coby Fleener should dominate in New Orleans. Having former Dolphins interim head coach Dan Campbell as the teams assistant head coach and tight ends coach only helps.


New Orleans Saints Offensive Line Summary: Terron Armstead got a huge contract extension at left tackle a year ago, but now begins this season. Andrus Peat will start at left guard once again. Max Unger will start at center, but is expected to begin the season on the PUP list. New Orleans brought in Larry Warford from Detroit at right guard and Zach Streif is still expected to start at right tackle.


New Orleans has Khalif Barnes, a right tackle at best, as their current projected starting left tackle. Their other backup offensive tackle is Ryan Ramczyk the first round rookie out of Wisconsin. Brees won't have hardly any time in the pocket if Barnes plays left tackle at any point this season. Now if Armstead and Unger both start he will have enough time to scan the entire field and read up to six different progressions.


Dan Roushar is a great offensive line coach. Roushar can develop running backs, tight ends, or offensive linemen. Roushar will improve the blocking of the Saints running backs, fullback, tight ends, and offensive linemen which will give Brees more time in the pocket and more for defenses to account for.


New Orleans ranked in the top 16 in ever offensive category and also ranked in the top 2 in 3 offensive categories. The Saints ranked 2nd in points per game, 1st in total yards per game, 1st in passing yards per game leading the NFL in passing yards for the second year in a row, and 16th in rushing yards per game. New Orleans could even boast a running game that finishes in the top 12 in rushing yards.



New Orleans Saints Defensive Line Summary: Cameron Jordan is an awesome 4-3 right end. Sheldon Rankins is the only player worthy of complimenting him though with Nick Fairley on injured reserve. Unless Trey Hendrickson starts right away, Jordan and Rankins will get double teamed as offensive lines dare whoever is playing next to Jordan or Rankins to get after the quarterback or stop the run. That's one thing that really hurts the Saints defensively.


Ryan Nielsen is taking over for Bill Johnson as the defensive line coach. Nielsen has fourteen years of experience in College so I'm not sure his skill set will translate to the NFL. Not only is this defensive line easy to exploit with the right offensive line, you have a new defensive line coach as well.


New Orleans Saints Linebacker Summary: Dannell Ellerbe will start at 4-3 right outside linebacker even though I believe he's expendable. Craig Robertson will start at 4-3 middle linebacker. Stephone Anthony will start at 4-3 left outside linebacker. Kikaha will be a 4-3 left outside linebacker for depth with Alex Anzalone being a 4-3 right outside linebacker for depth. New Orleans got A.J. Klein Carolina's backup 4-3 middle linebacker as a backup to Robertson.


Mike Nolan, the former 49ers head coach is the new linebackers coach for the New Orleans Saints. You may see stronger than usual linebacker play due to Mike Nolan being in New Orleans.


New Orleans Saints Defensive Backs Summary: The Saints have Delvan Breaux as the field cornerback while Marshon Lattimore is expected to compliment Breaux at boundary cornerback while P.J. Williams moves to the nickel because Williams has dealt with injuries his first two seasons. Kenny Vaccaro is expected to start at strong safety. Von Bell will start at free safety.


New Orleans had some glaring holes in the secondary due to Breaux and Williams getting injured, but this secondary is once again a strength in 2017. The Saints display the deepest secondary they had since Super Bowl 44.


Defensive coordinator Dennis Allen has a lot of experience developing players on the secondary. Defensive backs coach Aaron Glenn should have more experience with defensive backs in year 3.


The Saints didn't have the players that were willing to be coached up by these defensive minds last season. New Orleans has some of that now which is why I expect a rapid improvement in 2017. The Saints finished 27th in sacks, 31st in points allowed, 27th the NFL in total yards per game, 32nd in pass defense, and 14th in the NFL in run defense. I think the Saints will improve with their pass defense, but the run defense will still be a huge question mark moving forward.


The only reason their pass defense was worst in the NFL was due to Breaux and Williams missing time with injuries. Having both back plus 2017 first round pick Marshon Lattimore out of Ohio State makes their cornerback situation much more lethal.



New Orleans Saints Special Teams Summary: Will Lutz is the starting kicker. The Saints kept Thomas Morestead who only averaged 57 yards per punt in 2016 barely improving on his 56 yards per punt in 2015. Ted Ginn Jr. will be the kick returner and punt returner on the New Orleans Saints as well as their slot receiver. Bradford Banta was an assistant special teams coach for 10 years after being a former player. Now he finally gets promoted to special teams coordinator.




New Orleans Saints Worst Case Scenario: The Saints go 4-12 and Sean Payton gets fired. I seriously doubt this happens. Drew Brees would have to go on injured reserve to even consider this as a possibility.


New Orleans Saints Best Case Scenario: New Orleans goes 12-4 and wins the NFC South. They also get home field in the NFC as a result.


New Orleans Saints 2017 NFL Schedule


Week
Date
Opponent
Time
Cable Network
Result
Week 1
September 11
AT
7:10 PM EST
ESPN
W
Week 2
September 17
VS
1 PM EST
CBS
L
Week 3
September 24
AT
1 PM EST
FOX
L
Week 4
October 1
AT
9:30 AM EST
FOX
W
Week 5
Bye Week
Week 6
October 15
VS
1 PM EST
FOX
W
Week 7
October 22
AT
1 PM EST
FOX
L
Week 8
October 29
VS
1 PM EST
FOX
W
Week 9
November 5
VS
1 PM EST
FOX
L
Week 10
November 12
AT
1 PM EST
FOX
L
Week 11
November 19
VS
1 PM EST
FOX
W
Week 12
November 26
AT
4:05 PM EST
FOX
L
Week 13
December 3
VS
1 PM EST
FOX
W
Week 14
December 7
AT
1 PM EST
NBC
L
Week 15
December 17
VS
1 PM EST
CBS
W
Week 16
December 24
VS
1 PM EST
FOX
W
Week 17
December 31
AT
1 PM EST
FOX
L


New Orleans Saints 2017 Projected Record (8-8): The Saints made a lot of improvements on defense. I see them winning at least 8 games if they are healthy. The Saints have an easier schedule this year. If this team didn't have injuries to Terron Armstead, Max Unger, and Nick Fairley I'd have them at 11-5 with the Saints beating New England at home in week 2 and sweeping Tampa Bay. I know Armstead and Unger could come back, but losing Fairley could really cause a drop off in their run defense this year even though I expect a major improvement in the pass defense.









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