Question 17-Game Season: What position/depth is most important? (1 Viewer)

harschman

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There's been a 17-game season discussion, draft discussions, free agent discussion, etc. However, I don't believe there's been a discussion on what position or position group will be the most important going forward with a 17-game season. Removing a preseason game and adding a regular season game looks like the same amount of games on the surface, but the 4th preseason game barely ever had players who would be regulars in the regular season. This means that the main players starters/rotational players will have another game every season.

In the past 2 seasons our starting QB missed 9 games (5 in 2019/4 in 2020). In the past we have went/limped into the playoffs with a decimated WR corps, decimated offensive line, decimated defensive backs, etc. The seasons that jump out are the ones where the offensive line is decimated as it seems to have the largest impact as we've seen SP develop a game plan to win without RBs or with a stable of practice squad WRs.

We have a LT who has never played an entire season and in a 16 game season averages 11 games per season and if you exclude his rookie season he averages 11.85 games per season. That makes him available 75% or less of the time with a 16-game season and he's not getting younger while an additional game is added going forward.

Without a healthy MT, the WR corps can be taken out of the game as none of them are game-breakers. We have some guys and I think TQS and Callaway will develop more going forward, but they still won't be game-breaker WRs that demand double coverage. They are more complimentary pieces with their own strengths. I would love to be wrong on this and have both develop into studs.

Davis at LB is a stud, but he's also getting older and we are relying on the development of the young LBs unless we resign Kwon or sign another FA. Addressing this position in the draft is very possible.

CB is potentially decimated if Lattimore misses any time or if this leads to him not being resigned long term.

I know this didn't cover every position, but more of a hitting the wave tops on potential positions that would be important in a 17-game season.

So with that said, what position is the most important for a 17-game regular season which is the standard going forward?

Considering the impact on the game and wear and tear on the position, I think OT (OL) is may be the most important. Positional flexibility on the offensive line is also important. A C that can play G, OT that can play both sides, OG that can play OT and vice versa. I can see an argument for other positions, but a team will have a hard time being successful if it doesn't have a line through a grueling 17-game season. We know SP plays chess, did he draft Ruiz knowing that the 17-game season was going to happen and he was getting ahead on the interior line position flexibility knowing the importance? Resigning Peat a LG who can play LT in a pinch would also fit this strategy.
 
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BelowZero

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Right now, it has to be CB especially with Saints luck at the position. Hopefully whoever we do bring in to play on the other side doesn't get nicked up (knock on wood). After that it's OL, DL, and QB in no real order. It's hard to talk about depth or lack thereof when the draft nor the second wave of FA has happened, though.

Without a healthy MT, the WR corps can be taken out of the game as none of them are game-breakers. We have some guys and I think TQS and Callaway will develop more going forward, but they still won't be game-breaker WRs that demand double coverage. They are more complimentary pieces with their own strengths. I would love to be wrong on this and have both develop into studs.

I think it's unfair to judge the WR group as they were under Brees. TQS and Callaway, what did they excel at in college? Deep/fifty-fifty balls. What does Harris excel at? Deep balls. What did Brees not excel at near the end? Deep balls. You can't call them or not call them game-breakers when the person delivering the balls toward their best traits. Callaway to some extent was able to overcome that, and most likely grow from it, but I think Winston can bring out what they do best.

It's pretty obvious looking at the skillset of the WR group that Payton was building it for post-Brees.
 
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harschman

harschman

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Right now, it has to be CB especially with Saints luck at the position. Hopefully whoever we do bring in to play on the other side doesn't get nicked up (knock on wood). After that it's OL, DL, and QB in no real order. It's hard to talk about depth or lack thereof when the draft nor the second wave of FA has happened, though.



I think it's unfair to judge the WR group as they were under Brees. TQS and Callaway, what did they excel at in college? Deep/fifty-fifty balls. What does Harris excel at? Deep balls. What did Brees not excel at near the end? Deep balls. You can't call them or not call them game-breakers when the person delivering the balls toward their best traits. Callaway to some extent was able to overcome that, and most likely grow from it, but I think Winston can bring out what they do best.

It's pretty obvious looking at the skillset of the WR group that Payton was building it for post-Brees.

I usually defend the WR group, but this time I was more critical of them. TQS was drafted for the Z role and he very well could develop and excel in that role. He can already play the X, Y and Z. Callaway can also play all three and may develop into a nice Y so we very well may have X, Y and Z on the team already and all can play the X, Y and Z.
 

Meachemdat

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Honestly, depth at all positions is what usually wins you a super bowl.
If it's most pressing need? CB of which we currently have none.

I'm sure the league will hand down some punishment for Lattimore right before the season starts (my guess would be 4 games).
That leaves us with nothing after getting rid of Jenkins.

We desperately need to draft a corner that can come in and start.

After that it's LB, we have Davis and a whole lot of nothing.

After that, Defensive Line.

Lastly would be TE.

Good news for us, is there are still a lot of free agents out there that could be signed on the cheap following the draft.
 

jasonsw

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It seems like no matter what the Saints get snake bit with the most inopportune injuries at the worst time and to key personnel.
 

Meachemdat

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It seems like no matter what the Saints get snake bit with the most inopportune injuries at the worst time and to key personnel.

We've honestly had enough depth to overcome it.
Since 2017 the main thing keeping us out of the super bowl has been offensive play calling and QB play (as much as it hurts me to admit it).

2017: We didn't show up offensively until the 2nd half and then still couldn't close the game out after our defense made a clutch interception.
2018: The offense was ahead enough to win the game and should have, but completely disappeared after the 1st 2 drives. We all know what happened with the call.
2019: Offense decided to sit this one out again until it was too late.
2020: Pulled ahead by two scores, then tied the game and went into panic mode and turned the ball over 3 more times.

Even with all of this, had we just relied on our run game in all of those playoff losses we probably have at least 2 more rings.
 

Goatman Saint

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I don’t think with the loss of players we will have great depth. Offensive line is probably in the best situation. But if something happens to Kamara, Davis, Lattimore or Onyemata it’s going to make a massive difference in the ability to win games.
 

los226

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I don’t see one more game affecting the game plan for the roster. Playoff teams play 17+ games yearly and they don’t do anything particularly different with player depth.
 

JvilleJoe

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Harshman brings up a good point and that is overall depth will be key for any team to make a run in the playoffs. 17 games will just add to the injuries teams have and those teams with great depth will have an advantage should they lose a key player for a few games. Until this year the Saints have been rich in depth and quality players who could contribute when called upon. This year not so much sadly!
 

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