Who Dat are the defending Champs and the sure place to start...oddly enough does much need to be said though?
New Orleans returns most of the 2009 Super Bowl unit which puts them in a rare Training Camp scenario...they don't really have any scheme/strategy/personnel areas of concern...pretty much a case of stay healthy and keep on the path you are already on...no Offense was better in 2009 than the Saints, and no Offense scored more than Drew Brees et al...Brees in particular was a record setter in '09...Saints have Patrick Ramey (1 start and 2 TD's in the last 6 seasons) plus 2nd year man Chase Daniel, and rookie Sean Canfield (7th round Oregon State)...we see that the Saints will be using Training Camp to make sure Brees is a healthy QB, which luckily for Who Dat is his history...the drop-off from Brees to any of the back-ups look like a step one
A Top Ten running game actually has a chance to improve...gone is RB Mike Bell, but Pierre Thomas is averaging 5.1 yards per carry over his 3 year career and he ballooned to 5.4 last season...is it just me or is the jury still out on Reggie Bush as a RB? If he ever can get a bit more consistent that would only add to this unit...3rd year RB Lynell Hamilton will be using Training Camp to try and get in the mix too...any/all of them are sure to get a boost with the return of FB Heath Evans
|super athlete TE Jimmy Graham|
|Saints DE Will Smith|
Training Camp will be a chance for Williams to improve the D-Line...Alex Brown (free agent from the Bears) is in...Jimmy Wilkerson (Tampa Bay previously) is in...as is rookie Al Woods (4th round LSU)...they will try to fit along side of the very good Saints DE Will Smith (Smith able to record a career high 13 sacks in '09 despite parents who just don't understand)...Saints seem to be on-again/off-again with veteran Bobby McCray
At Linebacker Scott Fujita is out, but there is a lot of young talent here to look at in Training Camp...Jo-Lonn Dunbar, Marvin Mitchell, Jonathan Casillas, Zak Keasey, and Anthony Walters will all get a chance to show their worth
On Special Teams the Saints are an odd unit...Top 5 on Kick Return yards...absolute worst in the NFL at Punt Return yards...will Training Camp provide a renewed sense of optimism for Reggie Bush as a Return man?!?!
Gotta feel good for the Falcons faithful...2008-2009 was the first time ever that this franchise produced back-to-back winning seasons...2010 looks to be #3 IMO...Training Camp is the place to start...
The Offense was middle-of-the-pack in '09...that has a chance to improve in '10...3rd year QB Matt Ryan will be using his third Training Camp as the stage to take his next steps as a QB...all of his stats fluctuated in '09 from '08...some up, others down...but all-in-all I think we would agree that this season should provide Ryan with an opportunity to take his development to that next level as far as consistency, and the Kobe Bryant effect (contributing to winning)...a return to 100% health would surely go a long way in allowing Ryan to continue his development (difficult Turf Toe injury plagued him in 2009)
|Roddy White celebrates a TD|
The running game just needs a return to health...the talent is there...Michael Turner in particular needs to get healthy after dealing with nagging injuries (especially in his right ankle)...his potential is evident...1,200+ yard rusher easily if healthy...Dirty Birds also have Jerious Norwood and his 4.30 40-yard dash speed...Jason Snelling will be using Training Camp to try and show that he can be given an increased workload in 2010...all of the above are buoyed by the blocking skills of FB Ovie Mughelli
This team finished very strong on D in 2009 and will be looking to use Training Camp to simply build on that positive finish...their overall #'s were poor...only a few teams in the League sacked the QB less than the Falcons...this month will be a chance to re-energize the likes of John Abraham, Jamaal Anderson, Chauncey Davis, Lawrence Sidbury, Kroy Biermann, Peria Jerry, Thomas Johnson, Vance Walker, and Jonathan Babineau...all the above play on the D-Line...on the surface looks like a lot more talent than the lame 28 sacks from 2009...rookie DT Corey Peters (3rd round Kentucky) will try to add his helmet to the mix too
|rookie Sean Weatherspoon|
Very few Secondary units struggled last season as poorly as the Falcons did...only 15 INT's...the off-season sure provided talent for this unit though...free-agent Dunta Robinson (Texans) will help...as will rookie CB Dominique Franks (5th round Oklahoma) and rookie Safety Shann Schillinger (6th round Montana)...veteran Brian Williams returns from injury...Brent Grimes (no relation to Homer Simpson-hater Frank Grimes aka Grimey) Chevis Jackson, and Chris Owens are all young CB's who will have a chance to show their value in Camp