Many analyst think the Saints have done enough to boost their defense, to get them back atop the NFC South. With the Panthers coming off the 3rd best record in the NFL, I thought it would be fun to do a Saint/Panther position comparison. Being that I know much more about the Panthers than the Saints, I am hoping you guys will fill in the gaps with Saint player/position details.
Quarterback: Drew Breeze vs Jake Delhomme
This is probably no comparison. Even many Panther fans would rather have Breeze than Jake. There is an argument to be made however for how well Jake fits in Fox's plan... and one stat Jake leads Drew in is 4th quarter comebacks. Also Drew learned last year that QB stats don't necessarily mean wins. However it is too hard to say that Drew is not the better QB. Nod Saints.
Running Back: Bush/Thomas vs Williams/Stewart
This also is probably no comparison. It is tough to compete with Deangelo's 1515 yards,5.5 average, 20TDs (most in the NFL), and more importantly 0 Fumbles. Panthers might very well have the best tandem in the NFL. Not to mention few believe that the Saints most skilled RB, Reggie Bush, can be an every down back. Panthers definitely have the better rushing attack.
Wide Receiver: Colston/Meachem vs Smith/Muhammad
Obviously Steve Smith is the best receiver on the field when these 2 teams meet. And Muhammad is possibly the best blocking receiver in the league... bringing a dimension that most teams do not have. Both are veteran players compared to the Saint's younger receivers. Colston obviously has potential, and having Breeze as your QB gives you a definite edge as well. But I have a hard time not giving this one to the Panthers.
Tight End: Shockey/King
This one is tough because Shockey is a great player, but potential to be a big headache. While King has good hands, but is primarily used as a blocking TE. I hesitate to give this to the Saints because of Shockey's drama and durability concerns. But he is too good to not give the Saint's the nod.
Gross is an an all pro Left Tackle. And the Panther's right side (Vincent + Otah) dominated in the running game last year. I don't know enough about the Saints O-Line to say too much. But I think this one goes to the Panthers.
This should go to the Panthers. Peppers is the most gifted DE in the NFL and Jon Beason is one of the best (possibly the best) LB in the league. However as a team they underperformed last year. With the drafting of Everette Brown (the best pass rusher in the draft) and hiring of the Colts OC Ron Meeks, the Panther's D should be much faster and improved. Last year the Saints D ruined an incredible offense. However rumors are that that will not be the case in '09. So this one is close due to uncertainties. But I will give it to the Panthers based on multiple player's proven success.