By Andrew Schuster @ShootsMcGavin on June 4, 2014
The New Orleans Saints are looking to make big strides in 2014 in hopes of returning the Lombardi Trophy to the Big Easy. There are few weak spots on the team, but let's take a look at five things that need to be accomplished during OTAs in order to improve their game.
The Saints' return game has been a bit subpar as of late. With the departure of Darren Sproles and Lance Moore, Travaris Cadet is next in line to handle kick and punt return duties. His ball skills are below average, so some extra work will need to be done this summer in order for him to find success. Brandin Cooks and Joe Morgan will likely be worked in there as well. This is the time to make strides in one of the team's weak spots.
New Orleans struggled some on the ground in 2013, but a strong finish last year showed what the team is capable of accomplishing. Mark Ingram, Pierre Thomas and Khiry Robinson will be seeing a majority of the carries in 2014. Finding the holes up the middle to gain those few extra yards will be something to work on as the new season approaches. A stronger running game will take pressure off of Drew Brees and limit the mistakes.
A stout front seven is on the rise in the Big Easy after a huge year in 2014. However, the Black and Gold still allowed 111.6 yards per game on the ground last season, which ranked 19th overall in the NFL. If New Orleans can improve the run stop, that defense would be near flawless.
Rob Ryan was the Big Easy's man of the year in 2013. He completely restructured a defense that ranked dead last in the NFL in 2012 to one that ranked No. 4 overall last season. The Saints need to do all they can to make sure their defensive coordinator sticks around for a while. New Orleans is the perfect city for him -- a great team to work with and enough food and booze to keep him happy during his off-time.
Second-year LT Terron Armstead only has a few games under his belt. Tim Lelito looks to be taking over center duties, and he only started a couple of games at guard last season. Between the two linemen, there is a ton of inexperience. Working with these younger guys should be a top priority during OTAs and training camp. Drew Brees is the Saints' most prized possession, so making sure he is well protected is a MUST.
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