Deke Bellavia

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Deke: Feeling of 'something to prove' should benefit Black and Gold

Any way you slice, it the New Orleans Saints are a team that has a lot to prove.  

Now, all 32 teams in the NFL will tell you that every season is a new one and each team has something to prove as well.  But things are a little more unique as they seemingly are in the BigEasy.  The Saints have their head coach back, a head coach that proved to be even more valuable than everyone, including the odds makers, predicted a season ago, and taught us all the value of a great head coach.

Even without the services of Sean Payton during the 2012 season, the Saints were projected to be a 12 win team in 2012.  Falling well short of that projection with only seven wins, the Saints were a team lost without their leader.

To dismiss the notion that Sean Payton will not be a huge factor would be uneducated at the very least.  The three seasons prior to Coach Payton's time off, the Saints won 41 games.  Now a well-rested, recharged and perhaps even better Sean Payton will be back, and to me that means trouble for the rest of the league.

Payton leads a cast of guys that look as if they have something to prove.  Ironically this 2013 season looks like a must prove or else season for the Ryan Family.  With a lot of pressure on Jets Coach and brother Rex in the Big Apple, by many national media accounts, brother Rob has just as much to prove down in the Big Easy.

Ryan has spent the last four NFL seasons with the Browns and Cowboys.  Two seasons with Cleveland and two with Dallas.  The end result, no playoff appearances in any of those four seasons.  

Coach Ryan has landed in a place that has a new defensive leader for the third time in as many years.  And, Ryan takes over a defense that was flat out bad a year ago.  I agree that the players on the Saints defense are not as bad as the seven thousand plus yards they allowed.  But the numbers don't lie.  In fact to give you an idea of how bad the Saints D was a year ago, check this out.  

New Orleans ranked 32nd in defense last season.  The Giants were 31st.  But did you know that difference between that one spot from 32 to 31 was a whopping 1,000 yards?  New York allowed 6,134 yards which is about a thousand less.  Yikes!  

Then there are the players that have something to prove.  Many feel that the Saints are still a playoff caliber team.  But are the Saints still in that small elite class of teams in the NFL?

The NFC West has two powerful clubs in the 49ers and Seahawks, the Falcons look like they will make, and another run, three teams from the NFC North Division won ten or more games last season.  And the NFC East is wide open with a young talented group on our nation’s capital.

So the competition is as tough, if not tougher.  The division that the Saints reside in is as good as it has ever been with an improved Tampa Bay club and a Panthers team that went 5-2 in their last seven games a year ago.

So when adding things up and looking at what each team has and what could be a difference maker, I would have to say with a lot of confidence that a team, whose head coach, defensive coordinator and their players feel like they have a lot to prove could be a big factor.  



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07/09/2013 7:37PM
Deke: Feeling of 'something to prove' should benefit Black and Gold
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