Pro Football Teams


New Orleans Saints:

McAllister looking to march the Saints into the postseason

The New Orleans Saints aren’t exactly the picture of a successful franchise on the field. Since its inaugural season in 1967 the team has only made five postseason appearances and only has two divisional championships. A lot of it has to do with the fact that they’ve played in the same division as the 49ers, Buccaneers, Falcons, and last years Super Bowl runner-up Panthers. In more recent memory the Saints have been lead by an explosive offense. Quarterback Aaron Brooks (who is an older cousin of Michael Vick) is one of the top young quarterbacks in all of the National Football League. He appeared on the NFL scene relatively out of nowhere in the 2000 season where he threw his first passes in the league in his third season. He started five games for the injured Jeff Blake and led the team to the playoffs by throwing for 1514 yards and nine touchdowns. This was also the last time the Saints busted through into the postseason and the last time the team won a divisional title. In the playoffs they matched up against the defending Super Bowl champion St. Louis Rams. They had just played a game in week 17 where the Saints fell to the Rams and were looking to knock the champs off of their thrones. They did just that when the Saints squeaked by the Rams with a 31- 28 final score. In the next round they fell to the Vikings of Minnesota with the score of 34-16.

Last season the Saints came out of the gates amazingly flat and lost four of their first five games. Despite that the fans still bought Saints tickets and showed up to the games to support the team. The team turned things around and won seven of their next 12 games. It wasn’t enough to make it into the playoff and the Saints finished the season with the very average record of 8-8.
The Saints haven’t been one of the teams making a big splash on the free agent market this year. They made a few big additions like guard Jamar Nesbit, fullback Sam Gash, and wide receiver Germane Crowell. They did also lose a few players to the free agent market like tight end Walter Rasby and running back Terrelle Smith.

In the NFL draft the Saints were big winners. They plugged up many holes by drafting incredibly talented guys. Their first two picks were two players who were big reasons their teams won the last two national championships. With the number 16 pick in the draft the Saints selected Ohio State defensive end Will Smith who is not the Fresh Prince. With their second round pick they went out and got local kid Devery Henderson. Henderson is a speedy receiver that was LSU’s key offensive weapon. He was also the player who was on the receiving end of the “bluegrass miracle” against Kentucky in 2002. He won an ESPY for the “Best Play of the Year” for the miraculous catch. Clayton was also a part of LSU’s 2001 National Championship Indoor Track and Field team. With their second pick in the second round the Saints got Notre Dame linebacker Courtney Watson. Watson is the prototypical middle linebacker at 6-1 and weighing in at 237 pounds and has a motor that never quits.

The New Orleans offense is as lively as Bourbon Street during Mardi Gras. The Saints can score almost at will. They are lead by two of the NFL’s up and coming stars in quarterback Aaron Brooks and running back Deuce McAllister. Brooks threw 24 touchdowns and only 8 interceptions last season while McAllister ran for 1,641 yards and 8 touchdowns. The Saints most publicized player has to be Joe Horn who will be remembered for catching a touchdown pass and then pulling a cell phone out of the padding on the field goal post and making a call. He was heavily fined by the NFL but was still one of the top receivers in the NFL.

The defense was a little below par last season. They finished 18th overall in total yards and 8th overall in total passing, but stopping the pass wasn’t their problem. In 2003 the Saints finished 27th overall in rushing defense. The additions of rookies Will Smith and Courtney Watson should help plug up the holes that running backs were finding last year.

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