A new year means a fresh start for the New Orleans Saints, specifically for cornerback Keenan Lewis. With a reconstructed contract, a jersey number change (from 28 to 21), and some added help to make life in the secondary a bit easier than before, Lewis will be seeking his best season yet since taking his talents down to the bayou in 2013.
2014 was a down year for the New Orleans Saints. Struggles and setbacks poured in all season long, especially on the defensive side of the ball. In a unit monopolized by leadership issues, poor tackling and a deficient coverage game set the Black and Gold up for self-destruction, and that’s exactly what happened.
The team fell apart — it was actually quite embarrassing at times. To go from a Super Bowl favorite to a 7-9 club that misses out on the playoffs should be discomforting to any organization in the National Football League.
Changes needed to happen, and they did. Some good adjustments and some questionable ones made it an interesting offseason for Keenan Lewis. He took offense to all the wheeling and dealing. In fact, he took to Instagram to let it be known that his time was over in the Big Easy. And you know, who could blame him? All Lewis wanted was to know if his job was safe.
Following the social media mess, Keenan Lewis got what he wanted after a couple of days of bickering and trade rumors. The Saints reworked his contract. He was given more guaranteed money, which meant his job was secure and that he’d remain in his hometown of New Orleans. He apologized. He was forgiven.
Sean Payton and company topped it all off by acquiring free agent Brandon Browner, a big physical corner who will likely make Lewis’ job much easier on the opposite side. It’s hard to deny that Lewis pretty much made up the entire secondary a season ago — he did it by himself and looked damn good doing it.
2014 free agent acquisition Jairus Byrd played in only four games before the safety fell to a season-ending knee injury. Kenny Vaccaro was a no show, redefining the phrase “sophomore slump.” Granted, Vaccaro was returning from a broken foot and reportedly playing with a hamstring injury all season, but he’ll look to bounce back, which is very likely. Patrick Robinson? He gone! Corey White? He gone! But we won’t even go there. Nobody stepped, in a consistent manner, at least.
With Vaccaro and Byrd back at full health, the addition of Browner and some other keys offseason adds via the free agent market and draft, the secondary is stacked, and Keenan Lewis is the one who looks to lead that unit back down the path to success.
With a couple of Pro Bowl caliber seasons in 2013 and 2014, but no appearance in the NFL’s All-Star game, Lewis will look to change that in 2015, but obviously there are far more important things. The passion is there. The skill set is undeniable. Look for No. 21 to do big things for the New Orleans Saints this year.
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