One hundred days away from the beginning of the NFL season, the Saints opened their OTA’s in preparation for what players and coaches believe will be their year.
Quarterback Drew Brees is in his prime, although at 35-years-old, there is no doubt a sense of urgency brewing to capitalize now. That’s why the Saints drafted a new weapon for Brees in the first round this year, wide receiver Brandin Cooks. He, along with sophomore Kenny Stills headline a crew of young receiving talent that includes last season’s draft pick Nick Toon, Andy Tanner and Joe Morgan. The Black and Gold’s coaching staff will be looking to see who moves into Lance Moore’s shoes, and who could grow into a reliable mainstay for Brees in a fashion similar to Marques Colton.
Meanwhile, Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan’s unit became a force to be reckoned with much sooner than expected. The Saints parted ways with several key veterans though this off season, so this unit will need to once again find its step. New faces like safety Jairus Byrd and cornerback Champ Bailey will be looking to prove their worth. Familiar faces like defensive end Cam Jordan will be shouldering larger leadership roles, now that locker room voices such as Roman Harper, Jonathan Vilma and Malcolm Jenkins are gone. Jordan tweeted out this in anticipation of the beginning of OTA’s:
"First day back putting a helmet onâ¦1st day of OTA’s and I’m like who want someâ¦ Bring everybody!!!"
The Saints will use this time to begin answering questions at running back – given the decision to trade Darren Sproles, center, offensive tackle, outside linebacker and cornerback.
Tuesday the Saints also signed New Orleans native tackle Jason Weaver, saying goodbye to receiver Chris Givens.
Weaver prepped at Edna Karr High School, played for Southern Miss, then signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after last year’s draft before spending the regular season on the Miami Dolphins practice squad.
Thursday will be the first day that an OTA session is open to the media.