Monday, January 28, 2013

Saints making huge turnaround before 2013 season

The New Orleans’ Saints have already taken big steps towards improving their 2013 season by firing two coaches just one day into Sean Payton’s new regime.

Payton, back in the New Orleans fold after a one-season ban following the bounty scandal, is determined to make swift changes in order to boost the Saints’ on-field performances that have dipped so low in recent years.

Having been back in the job just one day he has already fired defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, while the NFL betting odds suggest secondary coach Ken Flajole will also walk.

The move comes at an important time for the Saints, who must start rebuilding their tactical approaches to games after a 7-9 season that saw them record the second-worst defence in the NFL. Under Spagnuolo they conceded a 28.4 points a game and averaged the worst yards-per-play score of 6.5.

Having admitted on Wednesday that the team’s defensive problems “keep him up at night”, Payton explained his decision to dismiss Spagnuolo in a brief statement:

“Philosophically we are changing our defence to a 3-4 alignment, and right now is the best time to accomplish this transition.”

Indeed, things must change if the Saints are ever going to pose a threat in the NFC South, where they only finished third in 2012 because Tampa Bay are so disastrous at defending themselves.

Going forward New Orleans aren’t that bad. At 34 Drew Brees is still an accomplished quarterback – throwing 43 touchdowns this season, a career second-best total, while running back Marcus Colston made 10 touchdowns and over 1,000 yards yet again this season. The Saints ranked second for yardage over the regular season (410.9 per game) and first in passing yards (312.3) although their rush game leaves much to be desired.

With a new defence strategy next season and possibly a strengthened rush game from the draft, punters in betting NFL markets feel New Orleans under Payton have a great chance to make the playoffs again and maybe even challenge for a Conference championship.

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