Are There Enough Footballs To Go Around In New Orleans?
By Greg Barber
There are a lot of big expectations for the New Orleans Saints in 2013, especially on offense. With QB Drew Brees leading the charge, many people consider it to be a foregone conclusion that the offense will once again return to prominence.
With weapons like WRs Marques Colston and Lance Moore, RBs Darren Sproles and Pierre Thomas and TE Jimmy Graham, along with a strong stable of other players on offense, you have to wonder whether or not there will be enough footballs to go around this season.
The Saints offense as a whole had a down year in 2012, and the players are excited and focused on redeeming themselves this year. The problem is, however, that not every single player on offense will have the stellar season that they are hoping for.
There are some offensive stars who ultimately will not shine as bright in 2013, not because of declining skills but because they simply will not get their number called as often over the course of the season.
With that being said, there are a few players that I expect to shine in 2013:
WR Marques Colston had another solid year last season with 83 catches and 1,154 yards. Even with the offense playing poorly he kept his numbers steady, so it's safe to say he will be strong again this year.
TE Jimmy Graham finished with 85 receptions and 982 yards but did not have as good a year as expected as a pesky wrist injury resulted in several dropped passes last season. This year, Graham is healthy and should be playing at a Pro Bowl level. If he plays as well as he did in 2011, look for over 100 catches and 1,000 yards with double-digit touchdowns.
RB Mark Ingram will get every opportunity available this season to prove he is not a bust, so it is up to him to show that he deserves the chance or he will lose those opportunities down the road. This should be a strong year for Mark Ingram and I forsee his first 1,000-yard season when all is said and done.
WR Lance Moore had a pretty good 2012 season with 65 catches for 1,041 yards. He is set to have an even better 2013 with the addition of fellow receiver Joe Morgan stretching the field and Colston being his usual self. In short, Moore will be making several more big plays for New Orleans this season.
WR Nick Toon is a surprise on this list because he is going to surprise defenses this year. He is not a speed burner like Morgan, but he has the physicality of Marcus Colston. The combination of Colston, Graham and Toon will be tough for some secondaries to overcome on the short and middle routes.
RB Darren Sproles, RB Pierre Thomas and WR Joe Morgan will all have solid campaigns and each will play a large role in helping the other six on the list have spectacular seasons. The reason these three players will not have fantastic years of their own is because teams will be planning for them. Another player to watch who could be a serious wild-card is RB Khiry Robinson.If you have not seen him yet, do yourself a favor and look him up.
This is not saying that these three will not put up numbers themselves, because they will. However, it is fairly safe to say that defenses recognize what these players can do and will pay some special attention to them.
There is no doubt that Sean Payton will put each of these players in the best position to make plays that will benefit the team. And do not forget that injuries and poor play could change these predictions very quickly as well.