The New Orleans Saints will report to training camp on on Thursday, July 26 and just like last season, expectations are high.
Last season, it appeared that the Saints were on their way to the NFC Championship Game until the “Minneapolis Miracle,” happened. With 10 seconds remaining in the game, and the Vikings trailing 24-23, Case Keenum connected with Stefon Diggs for the game-winning touchdown.
The takeaway from this play wasn’t Keenum’s throw or Diggs’ catch, instead it was how rookie safety Marcus Williams defended the play. Even with the late game blunder, it doesn’t takeaway from teams overall success.
New Orleans captured the NFC South title for the first time since 2011. Quarterback Drew Brees thew for over 4,000 yards for the 12th consecutive season. They had one of the top offenses in the NFL and a very improved defense.
They became the second NFL team to sweep Rookie of the Year Awards with the performances from Alvin Kamara and Marshon Lattimore. Despite improving last season, there are many questions that need to be answered as the 2018 season quickly approaches.
5. Who will emerge as the Saints tight-end?
The New Orleans Saints’ offense was centered around the tight-end position. Since the departure of Jimmy Graham, the team has not been able to find stability at the position.
This offseason the Saints released Coby Fleener, with three-years remaining in his five-year, $36 million deal. In two years with the Saints, Fleener caught 72 passes for 926 yards and five touchdowns.
Fleener’s 2017 season ended on injured reserve with a concussion and is still a free agent. With the loss of Fleener, the Saints added veteran Benjamin Watson. Watson spent three seasons with the Saints before joining the Baltimore Ravens last year.
Watson caught a team high 61 receptions, for 522 yards and four touchdowns. It’s hard to expect Watson, who is 37 years old, to have a huge role in the offense. The Saints also have Michael Hoomanawauni and Garrett Griffin. Both players are unproven and have had an insignificant role in the offense.
It is very likely that the Saints will get little production from this unit. Drew Brees’ offense will continue to rely on their rushing attack and wide receiver Michael Thomas.