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New Orleans Saints news: Secondary holds keys to success in 2017

The Saints will be banking on several key players and positions to have success this season, plus big leaps from players like Michael Thomas and Sheldon Rankins should help.

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at New Orleans Saints Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Here’s a look at the biggest New Orleans Saints headlines and tidbits for Tuesday.

The Saints' fortunate concern: Who emerges from logjam of talented cornerbacks? |
Here’s the crazy thing about this secondary: Even though it feels like some of the corners have been around for a while, they’re all relatively inexperienced. Breaux has logged 22 games. Williams has appeared in two. Lattimore’s next game will be his first.

There's a ton of potential and promise, but there is no rèsumè to rest upon. These guys all have something to prove. And they’re relishing the opportunity to do just that.

“It kind of gives us motivation this year. We can only go up from there — bottom of the league,” Breaux said. “I may not show (the frustration), but deep inside I know what we have to do and what it takes to be at the top.”

Health would be a big step. If that happens, maybe this year the talk about how good this group can be will finally materialize.

Saints molding Michael Thomas into their version of Julio Jones |
A reporter stated to Thomas last week, "You're the No. 1 guy now. What's it like out there?"

Thomas certainly didn't deny the designation.

"Same thing. Work hard," Thomas said. "Grind. ... Just finishing my routes, being a technician, getting perfect depth, being at the right place at the right time, using my eyes better, visualizing the coverage pre-snap better."

A 'fresh start' for new Saints LB Manti Te'o begins with getting — and staying — healthy |
Te'o believes his health is the only thing that has been holding him back. The high-ankle sprain cut a quarter off of a 2015 campaign that produced 83 tackles and an interception, and he was happy with the way he played before his Achilles ruined the final year of his rookie deal in San Diego last fall.

"For me, if you look at the film, I was off to a great start last year and all the other years," Te'o said. "It's just about being out there, and not only being able to play well, but having that opportunity and those game reps."

Key to New Orleans Saints’ defensive revival? Two healthy fibulas - ESPN
Forget about all the newcomers on the New Orleans Saints' defense. The two guys who could make the biggest impact this year are the two guys who were derailed by broken fibulas last year -- defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins and cornerback Delvin Breaux.

Rankins (the 12th overall pick in the 2016 draft) and Breaux (a breakout discovery from the Canadian Football League in 2015) have the talent to rank among New Orleans’ top three players on defense.

And now fully healthy, that’s what both of them intend to do.

Q&A with Saints President Dennis Lauscha
JD: Why is there a need for renovations/upgrades at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome?

Lauscha: There’s a lot of reasons for us to consider and start working on renovations for the Superdome. I think what we’ve done as a community and as a state and as a team is, we’ve invested in the building at various stages of its life and it’s kept the building very relevant. It was a great building to begin with but still, for it to be relevant and cutting edge, I think we have to continue to invest in the building. We’re at the next stage in many respects. We’re almost halfway through the last (lease agreement) deal that we signed, we just finished a renovation process starting in 2006 and somewhat culminating with the new video boards that we just put in. It’s just time to look toward the future. Our lease expires in 2025, it’ll be here before you know it. We have a very good relationship with the state, we have a very good relationship with SMG – I think if you asked them, they’d feel that they have a good relationship with us. And so, because that working relationship is so good, we’re going to try to take advantage of it and really try to start laying the groundwork for the future and build on this foundation.

Saints mailbag: Will Michael Thomas see more targets? What's the deal at linebacker? |
I think Stephone Anthony has a lot to prove this summer. What happens to him if he doesn't win a starting job? He struggled on special teams last season. As a reserve, he'd need to show the ability to conquer a couple different linebacker spots. He has work to do, and definitely shouldn't be counted out yet. Maybe new linebackers coach Mike Nolan helps him figure it all out. He just has things to prove.

I'm not convinced that the middle linebacker job is between just A.J. Klein and Anthony. Manti Te'o, who is still recovering from an Achilles injury, is also going to be firmly in the mix. I think he's going to be a strong contender at that position.