For the first time in 14 years, the New Orleans Saints will enter training camp without Drew Brees.
The longtime franchise quarterback's leadership will be missed, as will his accurate arm. Saints fans suffered postseason heartache once again last season after Tom Brady and his Tampa Bay Buccaneers walked into the Superdome and knocked the home team out of the playoffs.
The New Orleans Saints front office managed to weave some magic and get the team under the salary cap, but it doesn’t have a lot of room to manoeuvre.
As training camp approaches, Saints head coach Sean Payton has a lot of work to do to get this team back into the NFL postseason this year.
New Orleans Saints news roundup
The New Orleans Saints have lost a slew of starting players this offseason, mostly due to salary cap implications.
Aside from quarterback Drew Brees, the franchise lost defenders Trey Hendrickson, Kwon Alexander and Janoris Jenkins. On offense, tight end Jared Cook, receiver Emmanuel Sanders and guard Nick Easton all left the franchise.
Also Read: What is Drew Brees’ current contract?
The Saints drafted defensive end Payton Turner in the first round to help with their pass rush alongside linebacker Pete Werner and cornerback Paulson Adebo in the later rounds.
DT David Onyemata was banned for six games by the NFL after a positive test for a banned PED. Star cornerback Marshon Lattimore could also face a suspension after being arrested for possession of a stolen gun.
New Orleans will be adding new starters at ten different positions in 2021, testing the depth of the roster. This makes the upcoming training camp even more crucial.
Training camp position battles and players to watch
There is one massive training camp battle that both Saints fans and the NFL community at large will be watching - quarterback.
Last season's backup quarterbacks Taysom Hill and Jameis Winston will fight it out to take over from Drew Brees. Both players have their unique strengths. Hill is versatile and can use his legs to rack up yards on offense, while Winston has a cannon for an arm and has worked on his previous weakness of impatience.
NFL insiders' reports have been all over the place regarding whom the Saints favor as the starting QB. Training camp should give us an answer to this question.
Saints head coach Sean Payton spoke about the QB battle recently on NFL Total Access.
"I think both of the players were talking about, I've had the benefit of training, being in meeting rooms with him [Brees], and seeing, you know, the daily grind. And I think we go from there. Obviously, there's a high bar for our team. And so I wouldn't even say just offensively or defensively but. I think both of those guys will rise to the challenge. They both understand the importance of the reps we're going to have in this upcoming training camp. And, you know there's a little bit of a standard, and it's kind of high, so that's okay."