Analysis of the off-season (1 Viewer)

guillermo

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Almost a week away from the raiders game, I will like to present some opinions about our performance from January to September. Reality of the matter is our record at the end of 2016 will be the sole indicator of improvement or lack of it. We may see a different product, but the win-loose record is what really matters.

Coaching:

It seems that it was eons ago when we were not sure about Sean staying in New Orleans. I hated to pay attention to what Rapoport would say about a final decision. Now we have a solid staff for years to come. On offence we brought personality in Coach Carpenter, and of defence, besides strategy, we finally have a coach that Payton fully trust in Denis Allen. From now on, the defence is his and he should be able to make changes as he sees fit, even at position coaches. This isn't an experiment, it is a building block and should be patient with it on good and bad, for years to come. Finally, on special teams we continue with a roller coaster of kickers. Who's fault is that? We don't know but we do who is responsible. Coach MacMahon should have final say in kicker and if we continue with lack of stability, then he should go. He also has to improve on both coverage and on the return game.

Roster (free agency and draft):

We started the year with two general problems, to improve both our lines and with 4 holes in particular: two offensive guards, a defensive tackle and a pass rusher. We didn't have much money to spend but I thought the free agent market was solid on guards and the draft rich in defensive tackles. We decided to spend a big chunk of our budget in TE Coby Fleener. A decision I didn't like. Fleener is a good athlete but hardly played to his potential, even when playing for his former college quarterback (Luck) and coordinator (Hamilton). Fleener can be an excellent contribution to. Our offence, but I think it was wise to spend the money getting a couple of guards to protect Drew and open holes for the run game.

On defence, we finally paid attention to the linebacker group. I don't recall a season as strong as we are now. We later opened a hole by releasing Lewis, but it seems we could not rely on his health.

Special Teams, we seems to have a stronger unit, but I would have been more comfortable with Barth. I hope Fobarth have a solid season. We now have also more and better options on the return game. 87 vs 23 will be a constant battle.

Draft, I have to be very clear saying that I have no problems with our draft and free agent pick ups. We have yet another strong solid rookie class, but once again, we start the year with question marks that should have been answered before the draft.

Two guards, one defensive tackle and a pass rusher were our biggest needs. We got two defensive tackles on time. We got lucky with Kruger, and not so much with the guards.

Cap administration and dead money.:

Nothing here is as important as Drew's contract. Once again, I will say that I don't have a problem making Drew the highest paid player in football, but the structure of the contract should allow Drew to be cut after year two without any significant cap hit.

Once that the Evans, Gallete and Graham's contract are out of the books, we will be in better shape on the dead money issue, but we should not loose perspective. We could have been used this dead money to pay a franchise player this season. Dead money guy and Drew are making more or less the same money. And we continue abusing this. We have dead money for Browner, Keenan and maybe we will have another soon. This is what Lauscha should point to Mickey as unacceptable.

I wish the saints decide to build a budget by unit and respect it. One for quarterbacks, one for runners, receivers etc. That is the best way to keep a balance team, know who to re-sign, let go, get on free agency,etc. I think this is the ultimate cure for dead money.

Other miscellaneous points:

I think Ryan Griffin was better on year 2 then Garrett Grayson. I understand he needs time to develop but if he can't beat McCown or whoever for the #2 job next year, that it is a wasted pick.

I understand the logic of bringing Laurinitis but his signing is also my biggest concern on the starting line up. Anthony (as Peat) have to find a position and commit to it. James may provide order to the defence, but I think Anthony and Robertson are more athletic.

I think by the end of the season, either Harris or Bell will start over Byrd. I see him arriving a step late every time. Best seat in the house.

I think if (we wish) Peat finds a home at left guard, we should keep him there and look for a replacement for Strief next year.

Right now, we can only hope that any of Lelito, Kelemete or Turner find their game and rhythm, and that the coaches will notice on time.

We are asking too much of PJ Williams and hope he is up to the challenge.

The Josh Norman adventure told me a lot about the current staff. I understand the cost of opportunity but we were close to affect the cap with two biggest salaries (Brees and Norman) even when we had glaring needs. This rush decisions of inflating the cap with a miracle cure have brought more bad then good in performance, cap and dead money in the future. Again, have a plan, a budget and stick to it. Learn to be patient.

I am not grading the offseason with a mark since the only one that counts is the record. I think some steps were taking in the positive, specially at coaching and the draft, but the holes at guard, the attention to pass rusher until last week and the use of dead money once again leave me a sour taste.

I think Lauscha has to address this matters to Loomis and Payton, and see what we can do to perform more orderly next season.

I see a lot of progress, but I guess Rome was not built in one day, or one off season.
 

AARPSaint

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The bad drafting seems to have ended. From last year, only Tull is gone. He was supposed to be a 3-4 OLB, if I am not mistaken, so chalk that up to the revolving door of defensive coordinators and constant scheme changes. Frankly , I wonder if Kikaha will fit DA's defense. I hate to say it, but Grayson doesn't look like Brees's heir apparent. So they are the only two casuallties from last year's draft, pending Swann's status. That is a reasonably good draft if they get Peat situated.

Looking at this year's draft, all of them look promising. I don't see much bust potential there.

Fleener, Fairley, Robertson, Stupar, Kruger, even Finnegan all are looking good. And they avoided exorbitant cost. I don't think Fleener was overpriced or unnecessary. Imagine these tight ends: Hoomanawanui, Hill, and Manhertz, not an awesome pass catching corps is it? And with Hoomanawanui's injury, the Saints would be looking for a tight end from the preseason scrap heap. Is that what you would want for your aging HOF QB?

It seems to me that the front office has learned that high priced free agents like Byrd, Browner, and Spiller are not sound investments. It's a risky tactic. Better to bring in mid level free agents because you can spread them around and create depth. Stupar looks really good, and hr and Mauti are depth. That is a big improvement over Humber and Hawthorne--even with Humber's high special teams value.

I am beginning to agree that this group is not ready for prime time. But it's heading in the right direction. Last year, they were flailing around with little sense of direction.
 

bobad

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I'm not quite ready to give up on this season. We've made some good additions on both sides of the ball. If 1 of our Guards gets better, I think we can still win 9-10 games.

Not ready to give up on Grayson either. I like his feet, his legs, and that little dart throwing motion he has. When he finds his receiver, the ball is out of there in a flash. His short throws are soft and catchable. His arm strength is very good.

My biggest concern is the most important for any QB, which is accuracy. Nothing else matters if he isn't accurate. Lately, I have seen him throw some remarkably accurate throws, and some real bad ones. Now,,, are some of the bad throws because of poor routes, or poor anticipation? I would have to see him throwing to the 1s before knowing, and I certainly don't want that. :hihi:
 

SaintsJunkie

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I think our coaches will find a way to game plan most teams, but our OL will hurt against those with good DL. Bree is one of the best when protected, and one of the worst when under pressure, wish we would get the talent we need
 
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guillermo

guillermo

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AARP, good points. About Fleener, even when I agree TE is important for our offence I wonder if the money would have been spent on a couple of guards, like Jeff Allen and Mike Harris.

Anyway, my point is about having a plan and a budget. People are being hard to the Packers about releasing Sitton. I hope we soon are in the position to have depth on time to release players at the adequate moment, instead of having the urgency to sign players, with no money available, and at the last minute.
 

AARPSaint

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Anyway, my point is about having a plan and a budget. People are being hard to the Packers about releasing Sitton. I hope we soon are in the position to have depth on time to release players at the adequate moment, instead of having the urgency to sign players, with no money available, and at the last minute.
That is a very interesting point. We are almost at the stage where we can do that. Example: Bobby Richardson, last year's starter, who was released and then signed to the practice squad. Releasing him was a gamble that could eventually pay off if he can improve significantly from being on the practice squad.

By the way, I didn't know you could do what they did. I thought that once a player plays in so many games, he then is ineligible for the practice squad. But, I suppose, once released, he is then a free agent, and so you can sign him to your practice squad, at least during preseason. I don't want to threadjack, but that move pleasantly surprised me, and it's clear that I don't understand exactly how the practice squad rules work. :Eyecrazy:
 
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guillermo

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I'm not quite ready to give up on this season. We've made some good additions on both sides of the ball. If 1 of our Guards gets better, I think we can still win 9-10 games.

Not ready to give up on Grayson either. I like his feet, his legs, and that little dart throwing motion he has. When he finds his receiver, the ball is out of there in a flash. His short throws are soft and catchable. His arm strength is very good.

My biggest concern is the most important for any QB, which is accuracy. Nothing else matters if he isn't accurate. Lately, I have seen him throw some remarkably accurate throws, and some real bad ones. Now,,, are some of the bad throws because of poor routes, or poor anticipation? I would have to see him throwing to the 1s before knowing, and I certainly don't want that. :hihi:


Bobad, I am not quitting on either the season or Grayson, I just wanted to give my opinions on a true and critical manner.

I do like our current administration, but their intentions to make big time signings (like Norman and Byrd) or the sudden need to fix holes (like Browner and Kruger) are the main culprits of dead money. They also are eager to loose resources at draft time. In this case the boss needs to come and show the big picture. That is the case with Dennis Lauscha. He should insist in patience when managing resources, not restricting Liberty but showing the consequences of constantly being at the cap limit, with dead money and limited resources to bring players. There is a reason why we keep around 500%. We have to realize it is not bounty gate's fault any more.
 

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Guillermo,

I love everything you said. Great points on getting where the Packers are, avoiding the sot of rushing to big contracts.

They cut Sisson not because he wasn't good, but because the backup was good enough to justify the huge savings in money, therefore allowing strength to be paid in other areas.

One thing, though.....is "lose", not "loose" :mwink:
 
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guillermo

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One thing, though.....is "lose", not "loose" :mwink:


Thanks Outbackjack for your comments, and I missed that. I hate writing on a tablet, but also sometimes I write really dumb mistakes, less in English, but way worst in French.


We were close to be in the Green Bay situation right after the Super Bowl, we drafted Pat Robinson because we knew that Porter would command a higher salary. It didn't work that well at that time, but I think this is a goal for the future. At the end, if most of your roster is under first contract, chances are you will have a healthy cap structure.
 
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MVP's A Brees

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Great post. In the SP era the front office have always been really fast (maybe to fast) making sudden moves. Seems in the early years of the SP era. Things went our way more. Drew, Sharper, Vilma, they were coverting 4th and 5th rounders into all pro guards. Colston in the 7th. Seemed most moves went our way. Then our luck ran out. Browner, Gallete, bad contracts, traded draft picks. dead money, i believe our luck is turning around tho. Two really solid drafts in a row. Addressing the lb and db, dt positions. We may be a few pieces away (like OL) but imo were heading in the right direction for success.

36-16 over the Raiders. 11-5 season and the playoffs. Whodat!!!
 
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guillermo

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Great post. In the SP era the front office have always been really fast (maybe to fast) making sudden moves. Seems in the early years of the SP era. Things went our way more. Drew, Sharper, Vilma, they were coverting 4th and 5th rounders into all pro guards. Colston in the 7th. Seemed most moves went our way. Then our luck ran out. Browner, Gallete, bad contracts, traded draft picks. dead money, i believe our luck is turning around tho. Two really solid drafts in a row. Addressing the lb and db, dt positions. We may be a few pieces away (like OL) but imo were heading in the right direction for success.

36-16 over the Raiders. 11-5 season and the playoffs. Whodat!!!
There is another thing to consider (and worry about). I don't know why, but even on our Super bowl season, it takes around 5-6 weeks for our offensive line to start playing up to potential. We are slow starters even when there are no changes in the lineup. This year is different. Peat has a lot to learn. Lelito or whoever plays the right side will also have to learn and understand his pears.

We are talking right after bye week, and if we want to make the playoffs, we need to start fast. Carolina is winning 10 games or more. The competition for the wildcards will be really hard, specially with the NFC West, the Vikings and the Packers.
 

Merl

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That is a very interesting point. We are almost at the stage where we can do that. Example: Bobby Richardson, last year's starter, who was released and then signed to the practice squad. Releasing him was a gamble that could eventually pay off if he can improve significantly from being on the practice squad.

By the way, I didn't know you could do what they did. I thought that once a player plays in so many games, he then is ineligible for the practice squad. But, I suppose, once released, he is then a free agent, and so you can sign him to your practice squad, at least during preseason. I don't want to threadjack, but that move pleasantly surprised me, and it's clear that I don't understand exactly how the practice squad rules work. :Eyecrazy:
They have changed the eligibility rules for the practice squad.

The NFL tweaked its rules for practice squad eligibility this year. In 2014, the NFL and NFLPA agreed to a rule that expanded the practice squad roster limits from eight to 10 players. The rule expired prior to the 2016 league year, but it has been renewed. In addition, last year teams could have two of the 10 practice squad spots filled by players who had two or more years of experience on an NFL roster. This year, that number has been increased to four players.

Here’s a brief rundown of who can be signed to a practice squad and what it means for his NFL career.
Here
 

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