Thursday, April 2, 2009

Revisiting the disaster that was the 2007 offseason

When you look at the Saints' run to the NFC Championship game, and everything that has transpired since then... one thing you can point to for the Saints' fall from grace is an absolutely abysmal off-season in 2007. The Saints are still trying to recover from mistakes made during that time. Let's first take a look at the 2007 draft:

1. Robert Meachem - In my opinion it's still too early to completely label him a bust, but clearly the guy has struggled. After essentially being redshirted his rookie year, Meachem has played sparingly in his 2nd year before falling out of favor for mental lapses. He'll be lucky to start this season 4th on the depth chart, and he's running out of chances if he ever wants to make an impact.

3a. Usama Young - He's also a work in progress. While there's no denying he's been a standout on special teams, his play at cornerback has been spotty. A possible move to Free Safety has been discussed, but for the time being he can be counted on as a solid gunner on kickoffs and punts.

3b. Andy Alleman - No longer with team.

4a. Antonio Pittman - No longer with team.

4b. Jermon Bushrod - Has never played in a game and has been inactive almost his entire career. He'll have to battle for a roster spot this year, but the coaches seem to like him and he has a lot of promise.

5. David Jones - No longer with team.

7. Marvin Mitchell - Like Usama Young, he's made some contributions on special teams which have kept him on the roster. He's been a decent backup to have, but by no means is he a major impact.

In fairness to the Saints, they also acquired Pierre Thomas during this off-season who is now their starting running back.

Let's now take a look at the veterans they acquired through trades or free agency:

1. Jason David via restricted free agency - complete disaster. While he showed some improvements in 2008, David has been a complete bust in Gary Gibbs' defense. It remains to be seen if he will be on the team this year, but when he's not getting beat deep his ball skills have been promising.

2. Olindo Mare via trade - Sean Payton admits that letting Carney go was a big mistake he regrets, and a big reason for that was the complete ineptitude of Olindo Mare. He wasn't able to make it through the season before he was replaced by Martin Grammatica, who in turn cost us games in 2008 and was cut shortly thereafter.

3. Brian Simmons - Disaster, no longer with team.

4. Kevin Kaesviharn - rode the bench in 2007. Started in 2008 and was in large part a liability. No longer with team.

5. Eric Johnson - Was not able to shake his injury problems. Was also praised as a tight end with very reliable hands, and yet his main problem was crucial drops in key situations. No longer with team.

6. Kendrick Clancy - Like Pierre Thomas, one of the few bright spots. He worked his way to the starting lineup in 2008, had a decent season, and will likely start 2009 as a starter on the depth chart as well.

After what seems like a much better 2008 off-season, and a good start to the 2009 one, let's just hope the Saints make the right draft picks!