Answering reader questions about the Saints.
@nick_underhill Cooks get 1500 yards this year or 2000+?— Larry (@LarryLarmeu) July 12, 2016
That might be asking for a lot. Brandin Cooks finished last season with 1,138 yards. Expecting him to double that and get to 2,000 might be a little bit unreasonable.
I would set the floor at 1,200 yards. I think he could even flirt with 1,500 if he has a couple big games. I think that having other weapons like Michael Thomas and Coby Fleener should help open things up for him. Fleener is a guy that can draw safety help, and Cooks was almost unguardable last season against single-high coverage. If that remains true, Cooks should be freed up for a few more shot plays.
I think he's going to have a big year. If they can get Spiller going, too, this offense is going to be really hard to defend.
@nick_underhill Will Thomas have better rookie numbers than Cooks?— Red Rage (@DHanemann) July 12, 2016
Cooks was limited to 10 games due to injury and finished his rookie year with 550 yards and three touchdowns. The Saints have to be hoping Thomas finishes with better overall numbers, especially in touchdowns.
Thomas would finish with 880 yards if he averaged the same 55 yards per game as Cooks. That wouldn't be a bad rookie season.
But I think New Orleans is hoping for Thomas to be a productive red-zone target. Three touchdowns would be a bit of a disappointment.
@nick_underhill Thoughts on who the second leading receiver will be? Fleener? Snead?— Trent Linville (@SportsTrent) July 12, 2016
This is a really difficult one to answer. Cooks, obviously, is the implied pick to be the leading receiver. I don't expect that to change.
The big question for Snead is if he loses any snaps in the two-receiver sets to Michael Thomas or someone else. If he does, then I think tight end Coby Fleener finishes behind Cooks.
It's going to be interesting to see how everything breaks down this year. There are a lot of players on this team who should get targets.
If Snead gets the same opportunities as last season, I think he could have an even better season. If you go back and watch the tape, there were some missed opportunities there last season and he finished just shy of 1,000 yards. A little bit of polish could help him take a step forward.
Who do you think is definitively the second option at pass rusher? https://t.co/ocJdZDFHHH— Ounces (@_Zvhi7) July 12, 2016
I don't think anyone is definitively the second option at pass rusher. That's going to be one of many battles fought out during camp. If the roster stays the same, then the battle will likely be between Kasim Edebali, Davis Tull and Obum Gwacham.
You'd think Edebali has the inside edge on the job at this early juncture, given that he's the most experienced player of the bunch. But we don't know how Gwacham has developed or what Tull is capable of doing on the field.
I will say that I liked some of the flashes I saw from Gwacham last year, but it's hard to get a read on what's happening on the lines until the players put on pads.
@nick_underhill if you will, who has been the biggest standout/standouts in your opinion so far?— Jacob Smith (@_ukguy_) July 12, 2016
A lot of guys have looked good for various reasons throughout minicamp and OTAs. I'll just single out Erik Harris here as a player I like and is intriguing to me.
The safety looked good throughout the process and he'd be my early darkhorse pick to make the team. We'll see how things look once the pads come out.
@nick_underhill favorite Rocky movie— John Hendrix (@JohnJHendrix) July 12, 2016
I'd go like this:
1. Rocky -- Can't beat the original. Still holds up. It's also underrated as a love story -- or that's at least what I tell my wife when I argue for watching it again.
2. Rocky III -- I struggled here. The series started to lose grip of its roots and venture toward Rocky as Superhero by the third movie, but I still like it. It plays the heartstrings with Mick dying and the friendship between Rocky and Apollo.
3. Creed -- Loved this movie and almost put it second. I hope they make another one and the Rocky character remains a part of it. If Stallone doesn't want to do it, maybe Sean Payton can stand in for him like he did at the Kentucky Derby.
4. Rocky Balboa -- The series came back to its roots here. A touching movie set in reality. Would have been a good place to walk off. Luckily, we got Creed.
5. Rocky II -- Doesn't rate the same with me as the original and the third movie.
6. Rocky IV -- People love this movie, but it's way too over the top to stand with the movies above it. The series went off the rails to me in this one. I enjoy the movie but the spirit of this was too far out there.
7. Rocky V -- I'd put this here if there was a fifth movie. In all seriousness, I don't hate this movie as much as most fans of the series. It's not "The Godfather III" bad to me.
@nick_underhill Do you expect Rankins to become a three-down DT by Week 9?— Chris Hilsinger-Pate (@WHODAT_Informer) July 12, 2016
This question just got me excited about camp and the upcoming season. I can't wait to find out the answer.
I think Sheldon Rankins has the potential to be a three-down player this year. You don't pick him in the first round if you don't think he's capable of becoming that kind of player.
On the other hand, Nick Fairley is here, and I'm quietly optimistic about what he can do for this team. He caught my eye a few times during the offseason program and visually appears to be in great shape.
I think those guys are going to help the defense out. If both those guys are going as hoped, there are going to be some interesting options for the subpackages.