Answering reader questions before the training camp begins …
Player you are most confident in? Player you are last confident in and player you are least confident about? — @Kirus16
The player I’m probably least confident in is Anthony Spencer. Not because he doesn’t possess talent. If we were heading into the 2012 season, I would have the utmost confidence. The issue is that we haven’t seen anything from him since 2011 that suggests he can replace Junior Galette.
That could change. Getting back with Rob Ryan, who got the most out of Spencer in Dallas, could lead to a resurgence. He could also be far enough removed from his knee injury to turn back the clock. I just need to see those things before I place blind confidence in him.
As far as the confidence factor, there are several obvious players. Drew Brees, Terron Armstead, Keenan Lewis, and Brandon Browner are all going to play. The guy outside of that group I’m probably the most confident in is C.J. Spiller. I hope I don’t regret this in a few months, but I feel like he’s going to have huge season in this offense.
I already predicted he is going to get more touches than Mark Ingram. I’m going to stick with that. He’s the kind of player Sean Payton will scheme up all kinds of stuff for and turn him into a nightmare for defenses.
This might seem a bit hypocritical since both players are a couple years removed from their best seasons. But I have more belief in Spiller’s abilities right now.
Considering recent events, was letting Tyrunn Walker go the wrong decision? What defensive lineman should I keep an eye on in camp? –@Vinnie_Coon5
The Saints were in a tight cap situation after the season ended, so it wasn’t surprising they declined to tender Walker, who was a restricted free agent, after the season. I’m not sure you could call it the wrong decision since the decision was somewhat forced.
I wasn’t a fan of seeing Walker walk away. Though he was limited to 306 snaps, he did a good job getting after the quarterback, recorded 15 pressures outside of his 2.5 sacks, according to Pro Football Focus. I always thought he should have received more snaps.
It’s hard to say which defensive linemen to keep an eye on since those guys are basically lawn decorations during the offseason program. The guy I’m most eager to a look at is rookie defensive tackle Tyeler Davison. He had some good moments on his college tape. I thought he was a bit raw, but maybe he’s ahead of schedule and will change the narrative during camp.
Next veteran domino to fall first: Haralson or Hawthorne? — @SportsGuy_83
I’m not sure if the Saints will release either player. However, I hope the next veteran to fall out of the starting lineup is Hawthorne, because that would likely mean Stephone Anthony has done enough to earning a starting job.
I also wouldn’t be mad if one of the new guys knocked Haralson out of the starting defense. Let’s get the youth movement going.
Over/under on beers consumed by reporters? Ha — @wardorican
I keep my temple pure. Speaking of which, this guy Joel Erickson was up at 5:30 this morning. I looked outside and he was stretching or something in the middle of the street. Weird stuff. I don’t know if I can let that continue. We have a reputation to uphold.
Who wins nickel back spot? Who are in what order do you predict the wide receivers? — @la_sports7
The best scenario would be if Delvin Breaux shows he can play the position and locks down the job. We saw him receive snaps there during the offseason program and he appeared capable. Now he needs to prove it over a larger sample size.
This would allow the team to move forward with him and P.J. Williams at that role, which would give New Orleans more room and patience to find out what they have with Stanley Jean-Baptiste.
As for the wide receivers, it’s faulty to look at it as a numbers thing. There are different roles and different skills at play. But to play along, I’d predict Brandin Cooks and Marques Colston at the top, followed by Nick Toon, Brandon Coleman, Josh Morgan and Seantavius Jones.
More likely the Saints win a playoff game or the Loomis and Payton era is over after the 2015 season? — @jcmurphy2882
Win a playoff game. I have trouble seeing Loomis and Payton out the door after this season, unless they choose to leave, regardless of the outcome of the season.
What Haslett-era Saint would you add to this year’s roster if you could to have max impact? -@spencerleblanc
I’m probably most worried about the pass rusher, so I think I would focus my search to that area of the roster.
I knew I could get 17 sacks out of La’Roi Glover, which is what he recorded in 2000, then there’s no question he’s the guy I’d go with. The other options would be Charles Gant and Darren Howard.
Grant had some good seasons at the beginning of his career, recording 27.5 sacks over his first three years. Howard was somewhat inconsistent, but he had 11 sacks in 2000 and 2004.
With the recent cuts and the cap issues, do you think the Saints rebuilding time got a bit closer now? — @MahmoundFallatah
I think the Saints are already rebuilding to a degree. I’m not sure that word is the right word, but there’s definitely a revamping or a retooling or whatever else you want to call it, going on.
But this team is trying to compete. It believed getting rid of Galette would be beneficial to success. When looking at it as a football decision, it’s hard to understand, but the team decided it couldn’t have success with him around. I applaud the Saints for making the hard decision and eating the cap hit.
If the Saints are closer to tearing things down and starting over, it’s only because today moves us closer to the expiration date. Drew Brees has a finite amount of time left as an effective quarterback. When that day comes, then it’s time to start over.