New Orleans Saints: Looking back at the lockout, preseason, and roster cuts

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Sean Payton, Drew Breees (Source; neworleanssaints.com)

Training camps kicked off and for the Saints it started with a few key objectives — improve the run defense and the rush offense — by any means necessary.

The Saints were bounced in the first round of the playoffs by the Seattle Seahawks after a defensive meltdown, and the complete absence of a genuine rush offense capable of picking up any real yards.

Injuries played a large part in the decline of the Saints rushing attack. However the loss was a punch in the gut, a genuine wake up call for the entire organization.

Needless to say the four preseason games the Saints played were pretty important for a variety of reasons. One, to prove the Seattle game was a fluke and that the 2011 defense was much better than last years squad.

Two, a reemergence of the run game with the additions of Mark Ingram and Darren Sproles. Notably absent — Reggie bush who was traded to the Miami Dolphins after failing to secure a new deal with the Saints.

What we saw though was a mixed bag. The Saints went 2-2 — looking good against the 49ers, terrible against the Texans, decent against the Raiders, and terrible once more against the Titans.

I’m sure you can guess which games were the wins, and which the losses.

Some things were pretty obvious throughout the preseason. Primarily that the defense wasn’t quite to the level of “run stuffing freaks” that the fans had hoped they would given the upgrades along the defensive line.

The units play at times was sloppy as was their tackling, so there is obviously still room for improvement.

On the positive side the run game looked much improved, and there was a notable difference for the better in short yardage and goal line situations. The trio of Thomas, Ingram, and Sproles should deliver big things this season.

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Tags: 2011 NFL Draft 2011 NFL Lockout 2011 NFL Preseason Alex Brown Chris Reis Houston Texans Isa Abdul-Quddus Joique Bell Jon Stinchcomb Lynell Hamilton Mitch King New Orleans Saints New Orleans Saints @ Green Bay Packers 2011 NFL Oaklans Raiders Pierson Prioleau San Francisco 49'ers Tennessee Titans Tom Johnson