The New Orleans Saints must find ways to improve in 2012

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Injuries to Mark Ingram and Lance Moore may have cost the Saints in the playoffs, and a little more depth at tight end also would not hurt.

Outside of the San Francisco game — which should stir up nightmares for New Orleans highly touted offensive line – the pass blocking was good most of the season.

Special teams was not so special this year, and the coaching staff will have to decide in the off-season whether to keep John Kasay around, or to give the kicking duties back to Garrett Hartley.

Thomas Morestead may be the second most important player on the Saints team. and he goes nowhere in 2012.

As unit blocking could be better for Darren Sproles on kicks and punt returns.

Sproles’ number on kickoff returns are slightly skewed because he often begins his returns 5-7 yards deep in the end zone.

Defensively speaking, scheme seems to be an issue.  It seems odd that we never have a linebacker shadow a running back out of the backfield on passing downs, or that the Saints rarely engage receivers at the line of scrimmage.

Zone defense is holier than Tim Tebow, with plenty of space for receivers to just sit down and await the pass. At least was the case when Gregg Williams was running the defense.

As far as personnel goes, we never get pressure when rushing four or fewer lineman.  Our sack/hurries numbers are poor.

While Roman Harper is good in run support and as a blitzer, he’s often a liability in coverage.  Ditto for Malcolm Jenkins.

The Saints linebackers are good.  Just good.  There is no Patrick Willis or Terrell Suggs type on this team, and we miss having a defensive force.

New Orleans cornerbacks are on the small side and either can’t be physical, or the scheme takes them out of plays often.

The defensive line doesn’t get sacks or tackles.  We lack the opportunistic nature of the 2009 team, which is what is necessary if you’re not going to be physical.

On the positive side, the defense often holds teams to field goals as opposed to touchdowns when in the red zone.

As usual, our draft needs to focus on defense.  We need studs at all positions, but a real pass rusher and a really solid linebacker would be my first choices.

You can never have enough shut down cornerbacks either.  Offensively, line depth is always a good choice and bringing another receiver that can stretch the field is a plus.

The New Orleans Saints have a pretty good team, and are an offensive juggernaut in the passing game, and addressing some of these weaknesses could put us back in the big game when it comes to town.

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