The New Orleans Saints have had an offseason of change and are hoping to work their way back into contention this season. Sean Payton and Drew Brees have stayed on in hopes of rebuilding the once-proud franchise, and there is a lot of hype surrounding the organization for the first time in a long time.
Adrian Peterson was signed in free agency this offseason, which has caused a lot of excitement in New Orleans. He may not be the workhorse superstar that he once was, but he is still confident that he can put up superstar numbers. If he pans out the way he is saying he will with the Saints, New Orleans’ offense just got a lot better.
Defensively, the Saints have been one of the worst in the league over the past few years. They have done their best to fix that in the draft over the past couple years, but they still likely have work to do.
Despite the issues on the defensive side of the football, the Saints took a step forward last season. They were competitive with some of the best teams in the NFL but ultimately missed the playoffs. New Orleans is hoping that this is the year that they can jump back into the postseason.
All of that being said, what five questions must the New Orleans Saints answer during NFL training camp this year?
Can Adrian Peterson Return to Workhorse Form?
Obviously, the biggest question surrounding the Saints is whether Peterson can return to workhorse form. If he can, the offense will take a huge step forward and the aerial attack will open up for Brees. If not, the Saints will have to figure out a running back by committee with Mark Ingram, assuming he doesn’t get traded, as some rumors seem to indicate, and won’t take the step they need.
Will Drew Brees Keep His Big Production Up?
Drew Brees has shown absolutely no signs of slowing down over the last couple of years. New Orleans has decided to stick with him as they try to rebuild into a contender again, despite his age. It will be interesting to see if he has another big statistical season in store this season.
Is Marshon Lattimore Up to the Challenge?
New Orleans drafted Marshon Lattimore in the first round of the 2017 draft and are hoping that he is ready to play right away. If the Saints can fix their secondary, their defense will take the steps needed to return to playoff level. Lattimore is an extreme talent, and the Saints’ fan base should be extremely interested to see how he performs in training camp and in preseason action.
Was Trading Brandin Cooks a Huge Mistake?
Brandin Cooks was one of the most dangerous receivers in the NFC last season, but the Saints still decided to trade him to the New England Patriots. It was a move that shocked the majority of the NFL. New Orleans now has to hope that their receiving corps steps up and fills the hole that is left by Cooks.
Can the Saints Force Turnovers?
Forcing turnovers is the biggest thing that a defense can do. It changes the course of games and also takes a lot of pressure off of an offense. New Orleans desperately needs to find ways to force turnovers this season and if they can do that at a high level, they could get back into the playoff picture.
Expect to see the Saints take another step forward in their rebuilding process this season. They have slowly built up their offense again, and their defense has improved as well. Brees and company still have a lot of questions to answer, but that process will start in training camp.
Do you think the New Orleans Saints can be a playoff team this season? What other questions would you add to the list? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below!
[Featured Image by Rick Osentoski/AP Images]