Anyone that even remotely considers themselves a New Orleans Saints fan understands very well the excitement surrounding the 2013 NFL Preseason. There are more interesting things going on this year than in many years but it sure beats the stuffing out of the 2012 NFL Preseason. The list of things to look forward to over the coming weeks would get long very fast so we’ll touch on the more important things to look for this preseason.
There is nowhere else to start but with Sean Payton. The absence of Payton from last year’s training camp and preseason was one of the most significant absences in the recent history of the NFL, much less the history of the Saints. Payton is back in 2013 and appears more on top of things than he has ever been before. I would imagine starting with the very first preseason game; Payton will be trying to win every moment of every game. He will certainly be fun to watch.
Drew Brees is enjoying the first full training camp since a couple of years ago and is clearly fired up but the best thing going this preseason as far as QBs go is the competition for the backup QB spot. There are two veterans and a rookie going for one of the most coveted positions in football. Brees’ backup gets paid to sit and learn basically and usually improves his standing around the NFL by the time his contract is up.
The three going out for the job are Seneca Wallace, Luke McCown and Ryan Griffin. Wallace is the clear front-runner going in because he has the best track record. McCown is also highly thought of but slightly less so than Wallace. The more exciting dark horse in the race is rookie Griffin. Normally a rookie QB might be a little overwhelmed by the offense of Sean Payton but Griffin came from a similar offense to Payton’s. This gives him an inside track in a unique way. A lot of the QB snaps will probably be going to the backups as they search for who the right guy is to backup Brees.
Perhaps the most exciting thing about this preseason will be watching the new Rob Ryan defense take shape. The Saints will move to a 3-4 D with Will Smith moving from DE to LB. As good as the offense has been in years past, the defense has struggled more times than not. The raw confidence that Ryan brings to the team as new defensive coordinator will be very interesting to see unfold. From veteran defenders like Smith and Jonathan Vilma to the young guys in preseason fighting for a spot, this year could be the year of D for the Saints.