6 Reasons New Orleans Saints Fans Should Be Excited For 2013 NFL Season
Why Saints Fans Should Be Excited For 2013 NFL Season
New Orleans Saints fans had very little to celebrate last season. Head coach Sean Payton was out for the season serving a one-year suspension for his role in the bounty scandal, general manager Mickey Loomis was out for the first eight games and assistant head coach Joe Vitt was suspended for the first six games. In addition, linebacker Jonathan Vilma and defensive end Will Smith also saw suspensions for their roles in the bounty program. New Orleans was also fined $500,000 and stripped of their second-round draft pick in the 2012 and 2013 NFL draft.
Things are looking better for the Saints this season, however. Payton is back in command at the head coach position. Drew Brees is coming off of his second consecutive season throwing for 5,000 or more pass yards. The offensive line protecting Brees remains mostly unchanged, with only Jermon Bushrod leaving in free agency, and the offensive weapons around Brees also remain potent in Jimmy Graham, Darren Sproles and Marques Colston.
In addition, I have high hopes for the defensive side of the ball under new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. Following a dismal defensive effort last year under defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, it would seem that the New Orleans defense can only get better. Although Ryan's defenses throughout the years have only produced average numbers, surely the Saints' defense can do better than the 7,042 yards allowed last season.
Here are six reasons why every Saints fan should be excited for the upcoming 2013 NFL season.
Smart Draft and Free Agency Moves
The Saints didn't go for a home run in free agency, and they didn’t really need to. What they did do, however, was fill what gaps needed to be filled with free agency and the draft. Keenan Lewis comes over from the Pittsburgh Steelers where he was fairly productive and could add a presence to New Orleans' porous pass defense from last season. Additionally, draft picks Jonathan Jenkins, a gigantic man at defensive tackle, and safety Kenny Vaccaro should see playing time in Rob Ryan's new defense and have the potential to make an impact.
In Comes Rob Ryan
Ryan brings with him a new 3-4 defensive scheme and some added flair. He also brings awesome hair.
Same Old Offense
Much of the offense and offensive line around Brees remains the same, with only Bushrod departing the offensive line. Chris Ivory was traded to the New York Jets, but three talented running backs remain in Sproles, Pierre Thomas and Mark Ingram. With Graham and Colston in the tool bag as well, the offense should be able to pick up where it left off and score touchdowns galore.
Brees Is Hungry For More
A major reason the Saints have found success in recent years, finishing 7-9 last season isn't what Brees had in mind despite the black cloud above the team. Brees is the competitive, talented and smart. Look for him enter the season with a chip on his shoulders and a score to settle.
Return of the Mastermind
Perhaps the reason to be most excited about the Saints' 2013 season, Payton's return to the captain's chair will help heal a wound from last season. Payton is an offensive master able to produce advantageous match-ups with opposing defenses. Without his presence, it could be argued that Brees just had too much on his plate for the Saints to succeed last year. Payton returns fresh to a team and a fan base that is hungry for more, and he will be happy to oblige.