Another year of the WHO DAT nation’s rise to fame is upon us as the New Orleans Saints kick off another promising season for 2011. The Saints are ready to reestablish themselves as the number one team in the NFL once again, after the heartbreaking loss against the Seattle Seahawks ended last season a bit too early.
Defense Coordinator Greg Williams plans to re-emphasize the importance of defense and has already done so by adding multiple players to this side of the ball including DE Cameron Jordan, LB Martez Wilson, CB Johnny Patrick, DE Greg Romeus, LB Nate Bussey, DT Shaun Rogers. NT Aubrayo Franklin, LB Will Herring, DE Turk McBride and CB Fabian Washington. Some key losses on defense include DE Anthony Hargrove and NT Remi Ayodele.
In the Saints 24-0 pre-season victory against the San Francisco 49ers, it looks as if the pass rush is better than ever before. With a total of 6 sacks on QB Alex Smith, the impact of the defense was reminiscent of the 2009 Superbowl Season.
Head Coach Sean Payton has repeatedly mentioned this offseason that this is the deepest roster than the team has ever had. You may see a lot of new faces on the team, some familiar… some not. One of the most familiar and promising of the new additions is #28 Running Back Mark Ingram, Heisman Trophy winner from the University of Alabama. Ingram scored on a 14-yard touchdown run in the preseason opener, showing off the explosiveness and tackle breaking ability that he is known for.
The Saints now have an overwhelming stable of running backs including Pierre Thomas, Mark Ingram, Darren Sproles, Joique Bell, Chris Ivory and Chris Taylor. A serious lack of healthy running backs was a huge factor in the playoff loss against the Settle Seahawks last season, being left with only Reggie Bush and veteran Julius Jones to carry the load. The two were highly ineffective. It goes without saying that the coaching staff and GM Mickey Loomis have dealt with all areas of concern facing the 2011 season.
Along with these new faces comes a great new look to the Superdome. The Superdome recently underwent an $85 million renovation resulting in a “state-of-the-art” facility, which brings the total amount of money spent on the Superdome since 2006 sums up to $336 million. Some key upgrades include expansion of the plaza level concourse, additional concession stands and restrooms, 3,100 new seats and improved sidelines, two premium ground level bunker clubs, 3 additional elevators, and expansion of plaza gates. Champion’s Square is also currently undergoing its second phase of renovations. It will be transformed into a pedestrian mall, decorated with beautiful brick pavers, trees, benches, and a large grand staircase that will lead into the main entrance of the Superdome.
Fans can now breathe a sigh of relief after dealing with a summer of labor talks, no free agency, and the thought of a year without football. Another New Orleans Saints season is upon us, and the players, coaches, fans and facility are looking better than ever before. Prepare yourself for another memorable season and support your New Orleans Saints!