If you remember, I had a post up about the Saints offensive needs yesterday. Well, as the 2008 Saints can attest to, it takes more than just offense to be successful in the NFL. So today I'm going to move on to the defense and see what moves the Saints need to make this off-season before the season starts.* Read on for a position by position breakdown.
Need: Sign Cameron Jordan and Jeff Charleston
Why: The Saints actually have depth at DE, assuming they resign Charleston. The only problem was a lack of starting talent which was fixed by drafting Mr. Jordan. If the Saints go ahead and re-sign Charleston too, then things will be peachy at the DE position.
Need: Hope that the new CBA allows Shaun Rogers to stay on the Saints.
Why: Remi Ayodele and Anthony Hargrove are free agents, so the Saints can re-sign them. Hargrove is more of a pass rushing specialist while Ayodele is more of a NT. However, what those two do on the field can be easily replaced, more so than most other starters on the team. Both are veterans and aren't special in any way. I won't like to see them go from a fan perspective but from a business perspective, what they provide can be found easily and cheaper in free agency.
Why: Marvin Mitchell finds himself a free agent and he can easily be re-signed to play backup and 3-4 ILB when Gregg calls for it. He's a solid backup and decent player. This position is solid so long as Jonathan Vilma is okay.
Need: Starters; depth
Why: When have the Saints been secure at the linebacker position? If you instantly thought to yourself "Dome Patrol," that's not good. Linebacker Danny Clark and Scott Shanle are both free agents this off-season. On top of that, Jo-lonn Dunbar is as well. The only linebackers the Saints currently have are: Jonathan Casillas, Stanley Arnoux, Ezra Butler, and Ramon Humbler; a whole bunch of unknown players.
The Saints did draft Martez Wilson, but Wilson will likely need some time to get used to playing the strong side. And even then, the other linebacker is a need as well. The Saints need a decent starter to handle duties for a few weeks for Wilson, if he needs it, and a decent guy on the weak side and the linebackers may actually be in good shape heading into the season.*
Need: A backup for when the backup's backup's backup gets injured again.
Why: The Saints are actually pretty solid at corner. If Jabari Greer gets over his shoulder injury and comes back at 2009 or even maintains his 2010 levels, then the Saints are sitting pretty. If he starts to show some decline then the Saints are going to have to be worried. Porter is still Porter. While Patrick Robinson is likely ready to take over as nickel and send Randall Gay out to pasture, Johnny Patrick will likely be the dime corner heading in to the season. The Saints just need to sign about 15 more corners to help out when these guys get injured. Otherwise, mark this position as solid!
Why: Malcolm Jenkins is the unquestioned starter at FS. In fact, I can't wait to see what two years in Gregg Williams' scheme has done to the corner from the Ohio State University. The only problem is that Jenkins is the only safety on the roster. The Saints just need to sign someone to sit behind Jenkins and watch as he saves the Saints butt.
Why: Seriously, everything. The Saints currently have no starting SS, no backup SS or a backup FS to start in place of the SS. Turns out that the Saints signed one year contracts with all of the safeties last year. So now, with no CBA in place, they have to remedy that. Roman Harper may not be the best strong safety but he isn't the worst. Saints fans probably still have that thrashing he took during a certain game on January 7th, 2011 still in mind. However, he was playing without the aid of Jenkins and had to cover the whole game. Get Harper re-signed and get some guys behind him, and this position can be checked off.
Why: You may be wondering how tight end ended up on the defense. Well, that's what happens when you forget to cover the position in your post discussing the offensive side of the ball. Anyway, the Saints currently have David Thomas, Jimmy Graham, and Tory Humphrey on their depth chart. Except only Graham has a contract right now. So the Saints have to sign a TE just to meet the requirements. However, it would be nice to have a good overall tight end. Regardless of your feelings about Shockey, the fact that he could do it all helped the Saints offense tremendously. Of course, if Graham really develops his blocking skills over the off-season then all my worries are for naught. I don't know, I'm just a stupid blogger. Right Duncan?
So now that you've seen my thoughts regarding the Saints offense and defense, what are yours?
*Season may not actually occur.