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Canal Street Chronicles - All Posts Home of the Who Dat Nation...where pigs fly and hell has frozen over.
A look around the NFC South on SB Nationby JR Ella on May 30, 2020 at 2:07 pm
Former Saints cornerback Eli Apple | Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports Eli Apple: from black and gold to black and blue “Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.” - Michael Corleone, The Godfather Part II. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (via Bucs Nation) Defense will win it or lose it for Tampa. Despite the flashy additions of Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski, Bucs Nation’s Evan Winter still believes that Devin White and is defensive gang hold the key to Tampa Bay’s 2020-21 season. Devonta Freeman could be headed to Tampa. The NFC South’s dealings continue, as the former Falcons running back has been officially offered a contract by the Buccaneers. There’s one thing you can say about Tampa this year: they are willing to put their money where their mouth is. Will it be enough to win the division or even contend for a Super Bowl? That remains to be seen, but the Bucs are pulling all the stops. The Best Receiving Corps in the entire NFL? As if the 2020 Buccaneers weren’t touted enough already, PFF graded their receiving corps as the best in the NFL. Carolina Panthers (via Cat Scratch Reader) Eli Apple is now a Panther. The NFC South seems to be littered with former Saints this offseason. Well it is, as they say, a copycat league, so when a team has gone 37-11 in three years, winning its division three times in a row, rival teams in said division are bound to try and sign a bunch of the champions’ former players to try and figure out what the magic recipe is. Apple played admirably as the second cornerback for New Orleans the past two seasons, however the Saints’ signing of Janoris Jenkins late last year made him expendable. Now, he’ll see his former team twice a year. Which means that Brees will have a chance to burn Apple twice a year. Will Cam ever find a new home? Not so long ago in 2015, Cam Newton was the NFL regular season’s MVP. He was taking the Panthers to the Super Bowl and was the face of the franchise. Fast forward to 2020, and an oft-injured Newton is still unsigned following his offseason release from the Panthers. The NFL comes at you fast. Panthers have found a good one in Tre Boston. When the Saints play the Panthers and New Orleans has the ball, one player Drew Brees should always be wary of is safety Tre Boston. Here’s a look at the very good secondary player. Atlanta Falcons (via The Falcoholic) Center Alex Mack offers a good reason why fan-less stadiums could be an issue. Amid the coronavirus fears, it is likely that NFL games in 2020-21 will be played in either empty or half-full stadiums. Veteran Falcons center Alex Mack brought up a very good reason why this won’t be ideal. Bobby Hebert was a Falcon? Our friends at The Falcoholic have a series called “Forgotten Falcons.” In a recent entry, former New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons quarterback - and notorious Saints homer - Bobby Hebert was featured. Best offensive trio in the NFL? James Rael examines the idea that Atlanta now has one of the deadliest (on paper) offensive trios in the NFL entering the 2020-21 season.
3 Saints players whose 2020 season will be a make-or-break campaignby Kade Kistner on May 29, 2020 at 4:00 pm
Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images We have identified three players whose 2020 season will be a make or break campaign. The New Orleans Saints have one of the most complete rosters in the NFL. As such, an intense level of competition will be present as players try to maintain their place on the roster this season and in the future. We have targeted three players whose 2020 season will be a type of “make-or-break” campaign in determining their future on the squad. Alvin Kamara, RB There has been a ton of talk this offseason regarding running back Alvin Kamara’s future. A faction of fans are calling for him to be traded after a lackluster and injury-plagued 2019. Another faction still believe that he should be extended based off of his 2017 and 2018 season performances. In 2017 Kamara averaged 7.7 yards per touch. In 2018 that dropped to 5.8 yards per touch and in 2019 that dropped even further to 5.3 yards per touch. So, what version of the running back will show up in 2020? If he takes the form of his 2017 or even his 2018 self, New Orleans will be forced to figure out how to keep the prolific running back on the team with a long-term deal. If a healthy Kamara continues to decline, replicates his 2019 production (or worse) the team may move on. Alvin Kamara earned a 94.0 receiving grade on backfield screens in the 2019 regular season. That ranks 2nd best among ALL RBs.Here were AK's totals on screens:• 16 catches on 18 targets (88.9%)• 127 yards (207 YAC)• 1 TD• 114.6 passer rating• 6 forced missed tackles pic.twitter.com/8F9BSkkbdP— PFF NO Saints (@PFF_Saints) May 22, 2020 Running back is a difficult position to value, and even more difficult to invest in. The 2020 season will be a quintessential “make-or-break” season for Kamara. Marcus Davenport, DE Name a more polarizing player than Marcus Davenport in the Saints community, I’ll wait. New Orleans traded up to snag Davenport in the 2018 NFL Draft by giving up their 2019 first-round pick. In both of his two seasons the defensive end has played in 13 games each, and was plagued by injuries in both his rookie and sophomore campaigns. Every year seems to be his “break-out” year, but he truly has yet to hit the elite level that was expected of him when the Saints traded up in the 2018 draft. None of this is to say he doesn’t have talent. In fact, when he is healthy enough to see action he has been impressive. In his 26 games played, Davenport has totaled 10.5 sacks and forced 4 fumbles. An entire season of the defensive end being healthy would be a real game-changer for New Orleans. However 2020 will be a season in which Davenport will be heavily evaluated for his performance as well as his durability. If he can prove to the Saints that he is who they thought he was when they drafted him, he could become a mainstay on the defensive line. If not, New Orleans could potentially look to move on. Sheldon Rankins, DT When Sheldon Rankins is healthy he is one of the best defensive tackles in the NFC South. However Rankins has dealt with severe injuries that have kept him out of some of the most important games the last two seasons. Rankins has suffered three lower leg injuries in just his first four years in the league. His durability concerns have become clear, and the Saints will always need to roster additional depth at the position due to concerns with Rankins. Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images The defense barely lost a step last year while Rankins recovered from injury, however there is no doubt that the line is better with him on it. The 2020 season will be a big year for Rankins. As with our other candidates for a “make-or-break” year, Rankins will need to stay healthy and prove he can give the team a full year of production. Otherwise this may very well be his last season wearing the Black and Gold. Do you agree with these players? Let us know in the comments. Make sure you follow Canal Street Chronicles on Twitter at @SaintsCSC, “Like” us on Facebook at Canal Street Chronicles, and make sure you’re subscribed to our new YouTube channel. As always, you can follow me on Twitter @KadeKistner
Film Study: How the Saints can work with their linebacker roomby KSkiver35 on May 29, 2020 at 1:00 pm
Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports With Mike Nolan gone, the Saints will have to do a lot of work to keep their linebacker corps at the level of the past few years The New Orleans Saints have underwent a complete transformation over the past few seasons. The defense is no longer the laughingstock it once was, and a big part of that has come from the revitalization of the linebacking corps. Mike Nolan completely reshaped them in the past three seasons, with Demario Davis’s addition in 2018 being a huge contribution. Dennis Allen has also helped this transformation, using different blitzing packages and looks to keep defenses off-balance. Despite some injury issues, the Saints’ team defense has managed to stay intact. With Nolan’s departure to the Cowboys to be a defensive coordinator and the addition of rookie Zack Baun, Allen will have to be more creative than ever to make the linebacker situation work. For starters, we need to take stock of who the Saints will have at the second level. Demario Davis is a mainstay, while Alex Anzalone and Kiko Alonso are constant question marks due to their injury history. The Saints do not want to be in a position where Stephone Anthony is re-signed and getting snaps on defense next year. The departure of A.J. Klein will be a big adjustment for the Saints to cope with. When an ex-Panther went on the market, it was inevitable that he would go to the Bills. So how did the Saints address the departure of Klein, the only consistently healthy starting linebacker on the roster outside of Davis? By adding a safety, of course. The Saints now have two safeties who they can reliably put into the box to disrupt things for offenses. Chauncey Gardner-Johnson and Malcolm Jenkins are versatile defensive backs, and Jenkins could be a godsend for Gardner-Johnson in the film room. Marcus Williams doesn’t play as well in the box, but he shouldn’t have to. So, the Saints’ base package this season might end up being a nickel set, in which Davis and Anzalone/Alonso are joined by Marshon Lattimore, Janoris Jenkins, Williams, Gardner-Johnson and Jenkins. While that layout sacrifices a lot of size, it may be necessary in order to not put too much pressure on Baun too early in his career. The unfortunate reality of the Saints’ linebacker situation is that it’s thin. Craig Robertson, Kaden Elliss, Joe Bachie and Anthony Chickillo can all slot in for injured players, but the Saints will not want them to play substantial time. Alonso and Anzalone’s injury histories are major concerns. So the best way to work around that is to not use linebackers as frequently, and instead follow the league trend of playing more nickel formats. The good news is that the Saints have already embraced that trend, and the only difference this year really has to be personnel. Jenkins and Gardner-Johnson will really simply have to slot in for Vonn Bell, as Gardner-Johnson did more and more as last season went on. This is an example of what the Saints’ base look could end up being next year. Davis at the will, Anzalone/Alonso at the sam and Gardner-Johnson/Jenkins over the tight end, as we see here with Bell. We may even see a good deal of six-secondary player sets from the Saints, as Gardner-Johnson and Jenkins can both move around the formation. It would definitely be valid to worry about Gardner-Johnson, but make no mistake, he is a tremendous talent. Gardner-Johnson on this play diagnoses the checkdown to Christian McCaffrey, avoids the rub route over the middle, flies across the entire field and tackles McCaffrey in the open field for a short game. That’s a play that very few secondary players can make, but Gardner-Johnson was doing it as a rookie late last season. In the running game, Gardner-Johnson’s large frame has also come in handy. This is a remarkably advanced read for a young safety playing out of position, to a degree. While it obviously isn’t Derek Henry running at you with a full head of steam, Gardner-Johnson catches the run, stops flowing off-tackle with the offensive line, and fills the gap, stopping the run for a short gain. It’s more of the same here on the outside, as Gardner-Johnson creeps up around the line of scrimmage. A fantastic push from Jordan springs Marlon Mack outside, right into Johnson’s waiting arms. Gardner-Johnson could answer a lot of glaring questions for the Saints heading into next season. He has learned a number of positions very quickly for the Saints, and his size allows him to be a perfect tweener-type player. If P.J. Williams holds his own in the slot next season, the Saints can use a lot of different looks to confuse offenses. The key to the equation is, as always, health. The defense was still successful despite injuries last year because Klein and Davis were able to stay healthy. If both Alonso and Anzalone are injured again, then the Saints may have to see Chickillo — who they signed for special teams prowess — get serious reps. After all, Gardner-Johnson is excellent in the box, but he can’t just become a linebacker. If Jenkins can teach Gardner-Johnson a bit more discipline at the point of attack and if Gardner-Johnson can improve his pure coverage by a few degrees, he could well become an every-down player early this season. Allen has his work cut out for him this year. There’s a lot of talent on the roster, but a good deal of it is up front or in the secondary. He’s proven to be up to the challenge in the past, but linebacker could be the spot that makes or breaks a late postseason run in what feels like an all-or-nothing season for the Saints. How do you think the Saints’ defense will fare this year? Let us know in the comments. Make sure you follow Canal Street Chronicles on Twitter at @SaintsCSC, “Like” us on Facebook at Canal Street Chronicles, and make sure you’re subscribed to our new YouTube channel. As always, you can follow me on Twitter @SkiverK9.
Fleur-de-Links, May 29: Former Saint signs with division rival and plans for Superdome capacity in 2020 seasonby Adam Dunnells on May 29, 2020 at 10:00 am
Photo by Will Vragovic/Getty Images Here are your daily New Orleans Saints links New Orleans Saints: Officially licensed Saints face coverings available - Canal Street Chronicles Officially licensed Saints face coverings are available for the first time, with partial proceeds from the sales going to the CDC Foundation. Transcript: James Hurst conference call - Thursday, May 28 - New Orleans Saints Conference call with recently signed offensive lineman James Hurst. Alvin Kamara could destroy Saints franchise records - Canal Street Chronicles Based on previous years’ stats, Alvin Kamara is on track to break the Saints franchise record for all-time leading scorer. Panthers agree to terms with cornerback Eli Apple - Carolina Panthers Former Saints cornerback Eli Apple joins former teammate Teddy Bridgewater as he signs a deal with the Carolina Panthers. New Orleans Saints playoff odds and predicted total wins: NFL futures picks and best bets - Sportsbook Wire/USA Today Based on numbers by BetMGM, the odds are in favor of the Saints going to the playoffs and winning between 9 and 12 games in the 2020 season. Saints rookie bold predictions - Canal Street Chronicles Predictions for recent Saints draft picks Cesar Ruiz, Zack Baun, Adam Trautman, and Tommy Stevens ahead of the 2020 season. 13,000 fans in Superdome for Saints games? That’s just one of many scenarios considered - NOLA A recent meeting between officials from the Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District say that current models have the Superdome filling to between only 17% to 50% capacity due to the coronavirus pandemic. Updated #Saints schedule with preseason times - what game are you most excited about?! ⚜️ pic.twitter.com/fLZa32DO70— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) May 29, 2020 We've agreed to terms with Eli Apple! pic.twitter.com/u4FmMgfvUJ— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) May 28, 2020 Get to know the newest addition to the Saints roster, offensive lineman James Hurst!Photos: https://t.co/DbHeiAvUrbVideo conference call: https://t.co/tFJ7S0G1Yq pic.twitter.com/q4CvUalJeW— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) May 28, 2020
Saints rookie bold predictionsby Chris Dunnells on May 28, 2020 at 4:00 pm
Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports Taysom to Trautman? Yes, please. It’s a pretty common occurrence for fans and analysts to make bold predictions about a game or season. If the prediction doesn’t come true, then that’s OK - you said it was bold! If it DOES come true, though... now you look like a genius! So in that spirit, I wanted to give my bold predictions for the New Orleans Saints 2020 rookie draft class. Here are three bold predictions for each rookie: OL Cesar Ruiz Ruiz is the starting CENTER for the Saints for every regular season game of 2020. Ruiz only gives up only two sacks all season long (as a Week 1 starter). Ruiz makes the Pro Football Writers Association All-Rookie team. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel-USA TODAY NETWORK via Imagn Content Services, LLC EDGE Zack Baun Baun fails to start a single game in 2020. Baun logs only two sacks all season long. Baun has roughly the same amount of special teams tackles as he does on defense. TE Adam Trautman Trautman has more touchdown passes than Jared Cook. Trautman is the Saints fifth-leading receiver in 2020. Trautman catches a pass from Jameis Winston. Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports OW Tommy Stevens Stevens begins the year on the active roster. Stevens spends more time on the practice squad than active roster in 2020. Stevens catches a pass from Taysom Hill. So there are some of my bold predictions for the 2020 New Orleans Saints rookie class. What do you think? Were they too bold? Not bold enough? As you can see I’m clearly higher on some rookies, like Adam Trautman, than I am on others, like Zack Baun. Frankly, I’m just concerned Baun doesn’t have the size or athleticism to compete against NFL-caliber offensive linemen. Maybe I’m wrong - I hope I am. But what are your bold predictions for this draft class? Let me know in the comments. Send me presents.