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2021 NFL Team Preview: New Orleans Saints

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The Saints won the NFC South Division crown in 2020 by posting a 12-4 record but couldn’t get past the Tampa Bay Bucs in the Divisional Round of the playoffs. For the first time since 2006, the Saints will have to make a QB change as future Hall of Famer Drew Brees has retired (Baseline Times).

How will the Saints do with a new trigger man? Head coach Sean Payton is a QB whisperer so the offense should still be quite productive. Here’s a closer look at the 2021 Saints.

2021 Offense

It’s an open competition at QB between Taysom Hill and Jameis Winston. Winston is the more competent passer but Hill can get first downs with his legs. Expect Payton to play both quarterbacks in an effort to keep defenses off balance.

The Saints have one of the best running backs in the league in Alvin Kamara. The former Tennessee star has made four straight Pro Bowls and is coming off a phenomenal 2020 season. Kamara set career-highs in rushing touchdowns (16) and rushing yards (932) last year.

The receiving corps has plenty of speed but All-World wideout Michael Thomas will miss several games due to multiple injuries from last season. Tre’Quan Smith and Marquez Callaway will shoulder the load with Thomas on the shelf. Smith had a decent 2020 by catching four touchdowns and racking up 448 receiving yards.

Expect tight end, Adam Trautman, to have a larger role in the offense this year. The former Dayton star caught 15 passes for 171 yards and a touchdown in 2020. The 6-5, 255 pounder will make for a great target across the middle for whoever is at QB.

2021 Defense

The Saints had a great year on the defensive side of the ball in 2020. This unit ranked fourth against the run (93.9 rushing yards allowed per game) and fifth against the pass (217 passing yards allowed per game) last year.

The scary thing is this year’s defense could be even better. First-round draft pick Payton Turner will make this unit even better when it comes to rushing the passer. Cameron Jordan is also a beast at the defensive end position.

The New Orleans secondary should be solid once again in 2021. Malcolm Jenkins made 91 tackles and picked off three passes last year. Marson Lattimore is also a reliable corner. The former Ohio State standout had 62 tackles and two interceptions in 2020.

2021 Special Teams

Wil Lutz will return as the Saints starting kicker in 2021. The former Georgia State star made 23 out of 28 field-goal attempts last year. The punting job is up for grabs as youngsters Nolan Cooney and Blake Gillikin will compete for it during the preseason.

Deonte Harris is a solid option for the Saints as their primary return man. Harris had 436 kick return yards and 207 punt return yards in 2020. Marquez Callaway will also help out in the return game at times.

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