2010 New Orleans Saints Season Preview

The 2010 New Orleans Saints Preview looks bright to say the least, with 20 starters returning from their Super Bowl Championship season prior.

The Saints capped off their most successful regular season in their history with the organizations first-ever Super Bowl Championship. The Saints tabbed a 13-3 regular season record, and were the No.1 seed out of the NFC Conference. After a win over Arizona in the divisional round of the playoffs, New Orleans won a thriller over Minnesota in the NFC Championship game in overtime on a field goal that propelled them to Super Bowl XLIV against the Indianapolis Colts out of the AFC.

In Super Bowl XLVIV, the Saints came to Miami as the heavy underdog against Peyton Manning and the experience Colts team looking for their second Super Bowl title and four seasons. Behind quarterback Drew Brees and head coach Sean Payton, the Saints sprung the upset, defeating Indianapolis 31-17 to capture the NFL Championship.

The Saints were the most productive team in the NFL in scoring, ranking No.1 and averaging 31.9 points per game. New Orleans was also the top-ranked team in total offense, with over 403 yards per game, a feat which they will look to match in the 2010 NFL Season.

Defensively, the Saints struggled at times, but made up for it in turnover margin, which ended at +11. New Orleans was third in the NFL in interceptions, which was a cornerstone piece to the puzzle that led to the Super Bowl title. Otherwise, the Saints were very pedestrian on defense, ranking 25th in the NFL in total defense, giving up 358 yards per game.

The 2010 New Orleans Saints Season Preview predicts the team to repeat their NFC South title, ahead of the Atlanta Falcons. The Saints finished four games ahead of Atlanta in 2009.2010 New Orleans Saints Coaching Staff & Changes Sean Payton is entering his fifth season with the Saints and spots an overall record of 42-27 with the organization, that includes a 4-1 record in the post-season. Payton was the recipient of the Coach of the Year award in the NFL after his first year with the team in 2006. Prior to his stint with the Saints, Payton was the quarterbacks coach for the Dallas Cowboys.

Payton made the decision to hire a new defensive coordinator and defensive line coach last season. He hired Gregg Williams as the defensive coordinator and Bill Johnson on the defensive line. While the team ranked 25th in total defense, they forced 39 turnovers throughout the course of the year. The aggressive play and nature of the Williams'-coached defense spearheaded the Saints' run to a Super Bowl title.2010 New Orleans Saints Key Free Agency Acquisitions & LossesAcquistions
DE - Alex Brown from the Chicago Bears

LB - Scott Fujita to the Cleveland Browns
RB - Mike Bell to the Philadelphia Eagles
QB - Mark Brunell to Free Agency2010 New Orleans Saints NFL DraftRound 1: Pick 32 - CB, Patrick Robinson (Florida State)
Round 2: Pick 64 - OT, Charles Brown (USC)
Round 3: Pick 95 - TE, Jimmy Graham (Miami)
Round 4: Pick 123 - DT, Al Woods (LSU)
Round 5: Pick 158 - C, Matt Tennant (Boston College)
Round 7: Pick 239 - QB, Sean Canfield (Oregon State)2010 New Orleans Saints QuarterbacksThe driving piece behind the positive outlook in the New Orleans Saints 2010 Team Preview lies with quarterback Drew Brees. Despite his height, at 6'0", Brees is one of the elite quarterbacks in the NFL, who threw for nearly 4,400 yards in 2009 and 34 touchdowns. Brees is a special breed of player who is an excellent leader vocally, and on the field by his play. Brees is impressively accurate at well, completing 71 percent of his passes from last year. Brees drew comparisons to Peyton Manning, in both of the players' abilities to read a defense and release the ball quickly, more often than not making the perfect decision.

Brees has managed to stay healthy to date in his career, and for the Saints to have a chance at repeating their Super Bowl run he will have to continue to do so. This will be important because the back up quarterbacks behind Brees lack experience since the departure of veteran Mark Brunell. Currently, the Saints would have to rely on Chase Daniel, a rookie out of Missouri last year, and rookie Sean Canfield, who was a seventh round selection back in April.

2010 New Orleans Saints Quarterback Depth Chart
QB - Drew Brees
QB - Chase Daniel
QB - Sean Canfield 2010 New Orleans Saints Running BacksThe Saints will rely on a tandem of running backs to lead the way for the 2010 New Orleans Saints Season. Reggie Bush, Pierre Thomas and Lynell Hamilton will split time in the offensive back field and aid quarterback Drew Brees. While individually, they will not likely put up big number on the season that will rivals the NFL leaders, together they will be able to produce an effective run-game for New Orleans and provide a balance on offense. Bush is the explosive running back of the group, capable of breaking away from defenses and leaving them behind. He showcased that skill-set late in the season and on into the playoffs. Thomas is perhaps the most well-balanced running back with the combination of speed and power He led the team in rushing last season, tabbing close to 800 yards and six touchdowns. Hamilton will be the short-down yardage back and power runner of the group.

Projected 2010 New Orleans Saints Running Back Depth Chart
RB - Reggie Bush
RB - Pierre Thomas
RB - Lynell Hamilton
2010 New Orleans Saints Wide ReceiversThe Saints are the benefactor of a receiving corps that offers a lot of varying styles, which helps Drew Brees in giving him a myriad of options on the football field. The receiver are headlined by Marques Colston. While Colston is not a receiver who will burn a secondary, he is a very efficient receiver and is capable of making the big play. Robert Meachem is a big-play receiver and deep threat for Brees, as is Devery Henderson. The slot receiver for New Orleans is Lance Moore, who was Brees' go-to guy on third downs throughout the course of the year. Brees also has tight end Jeremy Shockey to throw to as well. Shockey is very athletic for a tight end and is capable of making plays other are not for his size. In total, the receivers for the Saints give the team a well-balanced attack through the air with the focus taken off of a single player, making for a more dangerous tandem.

Projected 2010 New Orleans Saints Wide Receiver Depth Chart
WR - Marques Colston
WR - Devery Henderson
WR - Lance Moore
WR - Robert Meachem

Projected 2010 New Orleans Saints Tight End Depth Chart
TE - Jeremy Shockey
TE - David Thomas2010 New Orleans Saints Offensive LineThe front-five on the offensive is a cornerstone to the 2010 New Orleans Saints Season Preview. In fact, with most predicting the Saints for division title and potentially more, the big men up front will have to be solid, work together, and stay healthy. The offensive line is led by Pro Bowl election from 2009 in center Johnathan Goodwin. The Saints have a plethora of talent and players capable of playing tackle on the offensive line and starting, beginning with Jon Stinchcomb. Stinchcomb is one of the veterans on the line and his athleticism provides wide blocking and plenty of time for Brees to release the football. Left tackle Jamaal Brown had hip surgery that ended his 2009 campaign. In his stead, Jermon Bushrod started up front and played very well. So much so that the Saints looked to get something for him in the off-season trying for a trade with Brown returning. That did not happen however and the Saints retained him, thus making this offensive unit one of the best in the NFL with plenty of depth.

Projected 2010 New Orleans Saints Starting Offensive Line
LT - Jammal Brown
LG - Carl Nicks
C - Jonathan Goodwin
RG - Jahri Evans
RT - Jon Stinchcomb2010 New Orleans Saints Defensive LineWhile the Saints do not have any mega-names at the front of their defensive line in their 4-3 package, they are a solid unit that play aggressive. They are led by veteran defensive end Will Smith. New Orleans is hurt by the departure of Charles Grant, but the key addition of Alex Brown from Chicago and Jimmy Wilkerson will help fill the void left by Grant. On the other end, Bobby McCray is speedy, and can give opposing offensive lines fits throughout the course of a game on the edge. The Saints also have Sedrick Ellis, who is a solid tackle inside that can stop the run. All in all, the defensive line corps is a solid group for the Saints, producing 35 sacks in 2009 and giving up 122 yards per game, which ranked 21st in the NFL.

Projected 2010 New Orleans Saints Starting Defensive Line
DE - Alex Brown
DT - Remi Ayodele
DT - Sedrick Ellis
DE - Will Smith2010 New Orleans Saints LinebackersThe Saints line backing corps is anchored by Johnathan Vilma. Vilma is the captain on defense and the leader of the unit. While he does not possess the ideal size for a linebacker, his play making ability more than makes up for it. Aside from Vilma, Scott Shanle will likely start on the weak side in the 4-3 defensive set. The spot left behind by Scott Fujita will be filled by either Jo-Lonn Dunbar or Troy Evans. The linebackers for the Saints are undersized and will need to create plays to be effective.

Projected 2010 New Orleans Saints Starting Linebackers
Sam LB - Jo-Lonn Dunbar
Mike LB - Johnathan Vilma
Will LB - Scott Shanle2010 New Orleans Saints SecondaryThe secondary is the unquestionable strength for the team looking ahead at the New Orleans Saints 2010 Preview. While they surrender yards, they also create turnovers, and were second in the league in interceptions. In total, the defense created 39 turnovers. Tracy Porter and Jabari Greer anchor the solid secondary unit for the Saints heading into 2010. They play excellent man-to-man coverage which frees up safeties Roman Harper and Darren Sharper. In the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft, the Saints went with corner back Patrick Robinson out of Florida State, who possess fantastic athleticism.

Projected 2010 New Orleans Saints Starting Seconday
CB - Tracy Porter
CB - Jabari Greer
SS - Roman Harper
FS - Darren Sharper

2010 New Orleans Saints Preview