Saints Are Loaded And Reloaded

May 14th, 2022

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BY IRA KAUFMAN

Dan Orlovsky was a member of the Bucs during one of the most tumultuous seasons in franchise history.

You remember 2013, don’t you? Between the 0-8 start, the MRSA scare and Josh Freeman’s meltdown, Greg Schiano’s final year on the sidelines was an unmitigated disaster.

Schiano was canned but Orlovsky’s pro career survived as he moved on to a second stint as a backup quarterback with the Lions. Give the man credit — he lasted 12 years in the NFL despite starting only 12 games.

He’s now an analyst for ESPN, offering up opinions on 32 teams and league issues. He’s intentionally provocative, which is why ESPN executives keep him on the air, and his views are routinely off the wall.

Bucs will need their depth to help break the Saints’ hold on them.

For example, he once set out the following tweet about former Buc teammate Mike Glennon: “He’s an NFL starting QB all day long.” The days must be getting awfully short around here.

The other day, Orlovsky weighed in on the state of the NFC South. Before you dismiss his take, admit the man makes some decent points.

“Tampa Bay’s a very good football team, but no one is respecting or paying enough attention to the New Orleans Saints,” he said. “This defensive line that has dominated the Buc offensive line in the past few years is still intact and the Buc offensive line is worse than it was last year.”

The Bucs and Saints head into a new season with new head coaches. Todd Bowles and Dennis Allen are determined to prove they will be much better the second time around.

In 2021, Tampa Bay finished four games ahead of the Saints, ending a 4-year stranglehold by New Orleans atop the division. In what feels like Tom Brady’s final season in Tampa, there are indications the Saints have narrowed the gap.

Even while plunging to 9-8, the Saints swept the Bucs last season, including that shocking 9-0 victory at Raymond James Stadium. That made it seven consecutive regular-season wins against Tampa Bay, dating back to late in Dirk Koetter’s final year. In those seven games, the Saints are plus-11 in turnover differential.

To support Orlovsky’s point about the trench battle, the Bucs posted only seven sacks in those matchups, compared to 25 by the Saints.

In the midst of the one-sided nature of this rivalry, the Bucs beat New Orleans 30-20 in a divisional round playoff game en route to a championship as Drew Brees was picked off three times.

For whatever reason, the Saints match up very well with the Bucs.

Talent Upgrades

Allen says he expects Jameis Winston to recover well enough from his torn ACL to start Week 1 and Winston’s weapons have been significantly upgraded.

First-round pick Chris Olave is a smooth route runner and the Saints just signed five-time Pro Bowl receiver Jarvis Landry this week. But the biggest news is the potential return of Michael Thomas.

Alvin Kamara is healthy again.

The NFL’s leader in receptions in both 2018 and 2019, Thomas suffered an ankle injury in the 2020 opener against the Bucs and hasn’t been the same since.

He didn’t play at all last season and the Buc secondary is in no rush to see the 2019 Offensive Player of the Year. In nine career games against Tampa Bay, Thomas is averaging eight receptions and 100 receiving yards.

Alvin Kamara is coming off a down season, missing seven games with a knee injury. Kamara’s return could be derailed by a felony assault charge against the 5-time Pro Bowl back.

The Saints have wisely invested heavily in their offensive line since 2015 — drafting Andrus Peat, Ryan Ramczyk and Cesar Ruiz in the first round and Erik McCoy in Round 2. All four are starters and first-round choice Trevor Penning is expected to compete at left tackle following the free-agent departure of stalwart Terron Armstead.

Cameron Jordan, one of the few opponents to get the best of Tristan Wirfs on occasion, leads the defensive front and Demario Davis is an elite inside linebacker. Cornerback Marshon Lattimore returns to play head games against Mike Evans while the Saints added safety Tyrann Mathieu following the departure of safeties Malcolm Jenkins and Marcus Williams.

The Saints are even getting back last year’s first-round draft pick after a significant shoulder injury, defensive tackle Payton Turner, who many compare to the Bucs’ pick of Logan Hall.

Special teams could get a boost if Pro Bowl kicker Will Lutz makes a full recovery from core muscle surgery.

“The New Orleans Saints are going to be really good this year,” Orlovsky insists.

For once, the man just might be onto something.

Yes, that warranty includes USED vehicles!
Ira drives a 2020 Ford Escape (cherry red).

40 Responses to “Saints Are Loaded And Reloaded”

  1. Couch Fan Says:

    The defense will be good no doubt. Will see what that offense looks like without Brees/Payton.

  2. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    Yes, they had a good draft, plus they just signed Jarvis Landry.
    I hate Mickey Loomis, their General Manager, but he has done a very good job rebuilding the Saints.

  3. MadMax Says:

    They keep stealing my ideas….from who to draft to signing Landry. Yes, they are going to be a force. Its gonna be on JW’s back though. Hopefully many interceptions will be thrown.

  4. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    The Saints match up really well against us and have had our number…..even if that continues, they don’t seem to play well against other teams…..losing games they shouldn’t …..I expect that will help us win the NFCS….

    The problem for the Saints is all the good receivers….that will cause “America’s QB” to want to throw….and we know what that means.

  5. Beejezus-belt Says:

    Apparently salary cap is no issue for Saints. If Winston somehow learned to protect the ball, they will be a thorn in the side again this year. Ugh.

  6. Uhmm Says:

    Saints primed for another sweep of the Bucs unless they get their heads out of their @$$es

  7. Hodad Says:

    Rookie LT, Jameis coming off an ACL, Kamara should be suspended. Ko Kieft was drafted to hit Cam Jordan all day, and Mason is an upgrade to Cappa. We lost Marpet, but we drafted a glass eater to replace him. Can’t wait to play the Saints.

  8. Bird Says:

    Saints are stacked. Two tough games

    I think we split this year

  9. SufferingSince76 Says:

    Surely the odds of NO continuing to beat the Bucs are in Tampa’s favor this year. Seven in a row is inexcusable.

  10. Bucamania Says:

    Saints lost LT Armstead who has owned Bucs pass rushers for years. Huge loss.

  11. Jon Says:

    We need to get suh and gronk back. This team is on trouble week 2 if they don’t have Godwin. The saints suddenly might have a better receiver group than we do.

  12. TDTB2022 Says:

    We need to keep Jameis in the game, unlike last year. With Jameis as their QB, the game is up for grabs.

    We have a good team that will probably be at full strength in the season’s second game.

    It will be interesting to see how Jameis comes out this year without Sean Payton watching his every move. America’s QB might have problems holding back his ego while delivering a few picks for the gravediggers.

    Go Bucs!!!

  13. Steven007 Says:

    Michael Thomas, the slant king indeed, was money with Drew Brees under center. Timing was impeccable. That’s how he got all those catches. Not a deep threat. The strong suit for JW is not short timing routes. Thomas will be okay in this new offense but it will be nothing like what we used to see with him and Drew. Also what hodad said. There wasn’t enough counterbalancing in the article.

  14. Duane Says:

    They are a regular season powerhouse that consistently find ways to lose in the post season when it counts. The real challenge they present is that they are physical and this team doesnt go unscathed during those matchups. Let us see if Jameis can actually take a team to the playoffs before we give them too much credit.

  15. Buccos Says:

    I wouldn’t trade those 7 regular season losses for the one playoff win. I doubt any real Bucs fan would. We were money when it counted. Now back to winning another Super Bowl.

  16. A Bucs Fan Says:

    It would be nice for the Bucs to be able to beat NO and win the super bowl in the same season.

    I just hope they come out of those two games healthy. I feel like the Saints were hunting last year after Jamies was injured their first game.

  17. PassingThru Says:

    It’s time for the Bucs to restructure Donovan Smith’s contract and sign Akiem Hicks.

  18. Brandon Says:

    Saints DL will continue to dominate the Bucs OL if we continue to refuse to run the ball. The last time we faced them we ran ZERO times in the first quarter. Their pass rush pinned their ears back all day. That was a play calling issue, not talent.

  19. Buczilla Says:

    Payton is gone and Jameis is Jameis. Unless Jameis has one of his 3-4 games per year where he looks like the second coming of Marino, I don’t sweat this team.

  20. Goatfarmer Says:

    It pisses me off how they can sign guys like Honey Badger while we say he’s too expensive. I hate the Aints. Maybe there ought to be an audit of their books, it sure seems like they are cheating against the cap.

  21. BucsBeBack (Artist formally known as: BringBucsBack) Says:

    I don’t know how any Bucs fan, player or coach could possibly look past the ‘aints, we haven’t beaten them in the regular season since that Fitzmagical week opener back in 1994 (I guess it only feels that long ago- 2018). Maybe we should bring Fitzzy back to strike fear into the ’aints’ hearts because, TB12 isn’t doing it. I kid- sorta?!

    Like others mentioned, intelligent play, a balanced offensive attack & limited turnovers will be our answer to the team that sports a historic slave-owner’s symbol on it’s helmet!

  22. Buc1987 Says:

    Yep Saints will be tough again this year. Good point about the Bucs O-line getting weaker…yikes.

  23. WiscoJoe Says:

    The Bucs need to get more physical against the Saints. That’s how Tampa won the Super Bowl. We lack the aggressive nature and with Whiteheads departure it got even worse. The Saints come out and punch us in the mouth in the regular season. Where’s that fire from the boys in Red & Pewter?

  24. Winny Testaverde Says:

    This stumble bum may have run straight outta the back of the end zone in route to an 0-16 season for The Lions…but he may be into something with these Saints. My man Winny will be back and the Bucs game(s) will be his version of a Super Bowl.

  25. Rayjay1122 Says:

    I agree that the Saints may present a stiff challenge however, I am not ready to agree that the OL will be worse. I think it will be at least as good as last season if not a tad better in run blocking. Just my opinion.

  26. kgh4life Says:

    The Bucs have virtually kept Kamara and Micheal Thomas (Thomas missed last season) in check and somehow the Bucs keep on losing. It comes down to turnovers, penalties and putting pressure on the QB’s.

  27. Jor Mantegna Says:

    Here come the Captain Sla(i)nts w/ Thomas and Landry

  28. PSL Bob Says:

    I’m sorry. I have to go against the grain here. You can’t just look at the line-up on paper. Yes, they have some good players. But they also have a new head coach who has to be a downgrade from Sean Payton. (Yes, I know we also have a new head coach, but he’s been in the system for 3 years and knows the players and what they’re capable of). The Saints also have a QB coming off a serious injury. There will be no established chemistry between Jameis and his receivers. I just don’t see the Bucs getting beat by the Saints this year in the second game of the season.

  29. Colonel Angus Says:

    F@ck the Saints.

  30. Thadeus Says:

    Winston is the Bucs best weapon. We got this. Go Bucs !

  31. Captain Dan Lawrence Says:

    I think you forgot that the second half of the season we went 4-4 and almost beat the Seahawks in Seattle. Which would have been 5-3….. We had turned the corner, and we could have had the next Belechek. But nope,…

  32. stpetebucsfan Says:

    “For whatever reason,” I have a couple for you and they’re gone. Sean Payton and Drew Brees.

    And while everybody gives Payton his props for being an offensive wizard IMHO he’s also an EXCELLENT HEAD COACH! And I do not like the man but am forced to respect his results. Payton and Brees have scoreboard.

    What does Jameis Winston have? Oh yeah a propensity for wild decisions both on and off the field. If he should resurrect his career how long until he parties with convicted rapists? He’s been a “choir boy” since his disaster after season one….because of that disaster and his disaster on the field. “Just check your sheets!”

  33. stpetebucsfan Says:

    “Kamara’s return could be derailed by a felony assault charge against the 5-time Pro Bowl back.”

    His court case was recently delayed in March and has been reset for August.

    It’s really a very UGLY incident and it’s hard to imagine Kamara not getting at least a 6 or 8 game suspension. Hard to know what happens if he’s in his trial at the start of the season.

    The big bomb would be if the club releases the video of the altercation. According to ESPN and some who have seen it Kamara punches the dude 8X..AFTER the guy has been sucker punched…five of Kamara’s punches were AFTER the dude was on the ground being stomped by Kamara and his buds.

    IF Kamara is allowed to play I’ll have the same reaction I have with Kareem Hunt. I’m always rooting for a defender to destroy Hunt’s knee so badly his career is over and he can feel some of the pain he dished out. Hopefully the same can happen to Kamara IF he gets on the field again.

  34. Goatfarmer Says:

    Is someone actually suggesting that Greg Schiamorono was about to be the next Bill Belichek?

    ROTFLMAO

    That’s why everyone in the NFL rushed to hire him after he left the Bucs.

    Oh wait — he totally destroyed the Bucs and ran off great players. Henc why he is a lifer at football powerhouse Rutgers.

    GTFO man.

  35. Darin Says:

    Terrible play calling against the aunt’s is what it was. Aints want to put physical you so line up and run the ball and drop some screens and a draw or two. Pass pass pass punt doesn’t work against them

  36. MSB Says:

    Bucs are going to get swept again. Dennis Allen, filling in for Sean all week, beat this team 9-0 with practice squad players in many positions. It’s going to be blowouts with their real players out there.The loss of Sean Payton is being highly overrated considering how bad that guy owned the Buccs with what he had. It was disgusting and embarrassing.

  37. Aaron Says:

    Yes sir it’s gonna be a good one this year Who Dat Nation can’t wait for the the Monday night game down here get ready Shady brady probably your last lol

  38. Anonymous Says:

    For those of you saying new offense … stop it ! Pete Carmichael is still in the building ! Same system just Coach Payton rode off into the sunset WHODAT

  39. Bucaroo Says:

    As one talking head noted, you can’t spell America’s QB Mr. Entertainment Jameis Winston without a lot of I’s. That’s what we expect when he plays.

  40. TJ Says:

    I like our chances. The Saints will have the same Winston who led the league in INTs his last full season. He will always be prone to turnovers and poor decision making and that will bury the Saints this year. Just like the Bucs, they have a brutal schedule with no room for error. They are a lock to lose at least 7-8 games. Bengals, Rams, Bucs twice, Cardinals, Browns, Raiders, Ravens, 49ers… sprinkle in an upset maybe by either the Eagles, Vikings or Seahawks. And while they have a decent replacement for Peyton, losing him as a coach will cost them 1 win this year guarenteed. There is a reason why the Dolphins wanted to send a 1st round pick for him.

 

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