Will this season be more of the same for the Saints? That is will they field an amazingly productive offense and an equally amazingly horrific defense? Our New Orleans Saints 2016 NFL preview acknowledges that New Orleans (7-9) has tried to make some defensive improvements. The question is have they done enough?
Saints Offense: B+
The Saints offer the top-ranked passing offense, second-ranked overall offense, and top-rated third down offense. QB Drew Brees (4,870 YD, 32 TD, 11 INT) and the entire offensive unit are responsible for those stats. Brees is a top-five QB and he’s got some solid receivers in Brandon Cooks (1,136 YD, 13.5 AVG, 9 TD) and Willie Smith (984 YD, 14.3 AVG, 3 TD). Productive TE Benjamin Watson is gone, but free agent Coby Fleener will be a sound replacement. Dual threat Mark Ingram (769 YD, 4.6 AVG, 6 TD/RB; 405 YD, 8.1 AVG, 0 TD/REC) was having a solid year when he was sidelined for the final four games with a shoulder injury. There’s depth in the ground attack, but some underperformers from last season or new guys need to step up. The O-line lost six-time Pro Bowl guard Jahri Evans. That spot may be a weak link in 2016.
Saints Defense: C-
The Saints were ranked 31st in overall, passing, and rushing defense and 32nd in points allowed. Their PF/PA mark was -4.3. On the D-line, RE Cameron Jordan (10 Sacks) was the highlight. Rookie tackle Sheldon Rankins (Louisville, First Round) should help put more pressure on quarterbacks, as the Saints were 25th in sacks. Stephone Anthony (144 Tackles) is the backbone of the linebacking unit. The corner and safety spots are all troubling, as little has been done to improve them.
Saints Special Teams: C-
The kick and punt return units performed average at best and look to be the same in 2015. Long snapper Justin Drescher is reliable as is punter Thomas Morstead. Placekicker is up for grabs. Competitors include Josh Scobee and Kai Forbath.
Saints Coaching and Management: B+
Coach Sean Payton (93-61) enters his 10th season at the helm of the Saints. The most successful coach in the history of the franchise was awarded with a five-year contract extension. GM Mickey Loomis brought in some good linebackers and had a decent draft, but has not addressed issues with the secondary.
Last Word: New Orleans Saints 2016 NFL Preview
When it comes to determining in our New Orleans Saints 2016 NFL preview how this team will do in 2016 there’s concern on defense in the secondary. Plus, the placekicker situation could turn ugly. This Saints team will struggle to get into the playoffs.