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New Orleans Saints 2013 Mailbag: Most Anticipated Training Camp Battles and Other Roster Predictions

Below are my answers to reader questions submitted Friday. Special thanks to all those that participated. Feel free to continue the discussion on any of these topics in the comment section below.

Sam Greenwood

Pick one position on the off. and one on the def. as your "Most anticipated training camp battle to watch" and tell us who you would like to see make it to the final team roster and why. (Consider the s.t. players on the off.) - Tac H.

Great question but an easy one to answer. On offense I'm most looking forward to watching the wide receivers. Colston, Moore and Morgan (probably) are locks but after them it's anyone's guess. Also very anxious to see what Nick Toon does his sophomore season. On defense it's definitely got to be linebacker. There are a lot of players in the mix and a couple of spots are wide open for the taking. Because of the switch to the 3-4 defense, I am incredibly excited to see how this position develops.


Will J Jenkins play any defensive end? - Russ T.

No, I don't expect that. He's just too big.


Jimmy Graham's contract. whats the Saints other option if not to tag our boy? - Fog Leg

Well, we know the Saints like to wait until the last minute to make these decisions so whatever they decide, we should all be prepared for that. Graham is certainly a likely candidate for the franchise tag next season as you mention. But if the Saints really view Jimmy as their future tight end for years to come, it would be classier if they gave him a big fat contract extension and paid him what he was worth. That's not out of the question despite their current crappy financial situation. Next off-season will provide new opportunities to create cap room.


Do you think we will have a snag in the running back spot since Chris Ivory is now off the roster? - Chris O.

I'm not exactly sure what you mean by snag in this situation but I certainly do not expect the Saints running game to suffer now that Chris Ivory is gone. Darren Sproles, Pierre Thomas and Mark Ingram need only to keep doing what they're doing. The Saints have everything they need in those three. The only potential snag would be a rash of injuries. but even then we can't forget about Travaris Cadet as a potentially adequate replacement. No, I think the Saints are set at running back.


Can you envision Smith and Armstead starting at the tackle positions when Payton reopens the Dome vs. theFalcons in September? - Hans P.

No. I can envision Jason Smith starting because he's a veteran. Everything I've read on Terron Armstead suggest he'll need a year to get acquainted. That being said, I would love to see Charles Brown finally develop into the tackle we were all expecting and earn a starting spot. I'd say it's a make or break season for him. Zach Strief is obviously in the mix for potential starter in Week 1. I'd say it will be some combination of Strief, Brown, and Smith.


Since our beloved Coach Payton has been out a year, how do you feel our offense will react this coming season? Will he set the football world ablaze with The Absolutely Positively Greatest Ever Show on Turf? Or will there be a few bumps in the road and kinks to work out getting back into the groove of things. I don't see much of a drop from previous years and reaching for a 2011 or better type of season.... and for shiz and giggles throw a guesstimation number at me for Average points per game if you dare. All in good fun of course. - Jacob D.

My heart says they're going to tear the NFL a new butthole in 2013 but my mind says it won't be that easy. It never is. On paper I love what I see on this offense, but as you mentioned there always seems to be a few bumps in the road. We'll probably see some incredibly high-scoring games with a few disappointing ones mixed in to keep us humble. I'll say 27 for my average points per game prediction.


Will the Saints be at the top of the salaries by team list at week 1? - Stu J.

Honestly, I don't feel I have a legitimate and accurate source of information to be able to answer this question correctly.


Toughest road game: Atlanta, New England or Seattle. - Ben D.

Woah, tough question. I could come up with legitimate reasons why each of those game could be the toughest. But I think we can scratch Atlanta off the list immediately. It's really between New England and Seattle. The difference to me is that the New England game is in October while the Seattle game falls in December. And of course theSeahawks have an impressive home field advantage thanks to their stadium and fans. Gotta go with Seattle on this one.


Where will the following players be to open the season? (Choices being starter, reserve, practice squad, off the team. Feel free to elaborate, would like to know your opinion) - Ryan E.

Will Smith - Backup at either defensive end or linebacker.
Roman Harper - Starting at strong safety. Deal with it.
Jonathan Vilma - Backup inside linebacker. I'm hoping someone younger steps up.
Jason Smith - Backup offensive tackle but potentially a starter.
Kenny Stills - Injured Reserve. Rookie receivers always red shirt in Payton's offense.