In an interview with the Baton Rouge Advocate, former New Orleans Saints quarterback Archie Manning said that this Saints team could be the best in franchise history. Right now, at least on paper, it looks like Manning might be on to something. According to the Hall of Famer, it all comes down to defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, head coach Sean Payton and, of course, quarterback Drew Brees.
This year’s defense has the makings to be one of, if not the best defense in the team’s history. They’re returning rising stars such as Junior Galette and Cam Jordan and have many top veterans (namely, Keenan Lewis and Curtis Lofton) who made the defense so formidable last year. They did lose some talent, particularly in the secondary, but the signings of Jairus Byrd and Champ Bailey, as well as the selection of Stanley Jean-Baptiste in the NFL Draft, helped to minimize the damage. When you throw in that they are led by one of the best defensive minds in football (Ryan), they look like they will be a real threat.
With the possible exception of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, there is no coach-quarterback pairing quite as successful as Brees and Payton. They both have such a high football IQ and a fierce competitiveness that, when combined with their apparent skill in their respective roles, leads them to far more wins than losses. As long as Payton is calling the plays and Brees is there to execute, the Saints have a fighting chance.
This Saints’ lineup was assembled to be one of the best, and it may work out. At the moment, everything is falling into place. They’re the favorite in the division. Their roster has an excellent mix of veteran leadership and young talent. They managed to fill almost every hole that was left during the offseason. It might be too early to say that Manning is absolutely right, but he certainly could be.