Why I’m excited for the Saints this season It’s season preview week across our SB Nation NFL sites. Here’s why I’m excited about the New Orleans Saints this year.Last season was a very welcomed breath of fresh air for Sean Payton’s Saints and their fans. After three straight disappointing 7-9 campaigns from 2014-2016 Youth Manti Te'o Jersey , New Orleans was able to rebound in a big way to finish 11-5, win the NFC South, and win their first playoff game since 2013. It goes without saying that the finish to last season wasn’t what anyone expected, nor wanted to see. However, the bitter taste leftover from the Minneapolis Miracle has this Saints team hungry in 2018.Through a combination of the past several drafts, good to great free agent acquisitions, and the collective overhaul of some coaching assistants and key pieces, this is a Saints team that certainly looks the part in making a run this season. Many are placing lofty expectations of a Super Bowl run in the Crescent City, and the hype train is at an all-time high right now. The motto for this season? Prove them right.The Saints were just a fun team to watch in 2017. After starting the season 0-2 from losses to the Vikings and Patriots, you got the sense and feel that it was going to be another one of those seasons. However, the Saints went on an 8-game tear, with some pretty stellar performances on both sides of the ball to show for. Perhaps the best example of last year’s excitement came at the hands of the Washington Redskins in Week 11.New Orleans (7-2 at the time) was on their way to losing the game after Washington (who was 4-5) went up 31-15 with less than six minutes to go at the Superdome. That’s when they turned on Miami Dolphins Comeback Mode from 2009. Drew Brees caught fire and immediately led the Saints to a score, and then the defense would make a key stop to give the New Orleans offense another opportunity.The eventual NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Manti Te'o Jersey Stitched , Alvin Kamara, would get into the end zone with just over a minute to play off a bobbled reception at first to cut the Redskins lead to 31-29. The euphoria from the fans left in the stands was a sight to see. Kamara wasn’t done, as he tied things up on the two-point try, and the Superdome went into a state of bedlam.Kirk Cousins wasn’t going to go away quietly, and actually gave the Redskins a chance to nullify the Saints comeback with a game-winning field goal. The crowd was louder with what Saints fans were left at the game than it was at full capacity. A huge sack by Vonn Bell sent things to overtime, and the defense immediately shut Cousins and company down on the extra frame’s first possession. Mark Ingram would help seal the deal after a couple of big runs, and Wil Lutz would seal the deal to help the Saints move to 8-2 and win 34-31.That was just a little taste of what the Saints brought to the table last year, and it would be safe to say that it will only get better this season. New Orleans was powered by a 7-1 home performance (8-1 if you count the Wild Card win against the Panthers). Sean Payton went from being a head coach who many thought ‘didn’t have it anymore’ or should move on to busting moves in the locker room after winning. He even got his own song and dance. That’s the impact Saints football has in New Orleans.While the team itself is the focal point of the excitement, one can’t overlook Drew Brees and what he brings to the table this year. Brees is on his way to make NFL History in 2018, needing just 1,496 passing yards to break Peyton Manning’s all-time record. He has received the blessings from Manning himself to break the record, and barring any unforeseen nonsense, Brees should have the record by Week 5.That’s not the only record Brees can make Youth Tommylee Lewis Jersey , as he can become the third quarterback in NFL History to defeat all 32 teams, joining Brett Favre and Peyton Manning. The Baltimore Ravens (Week 7), who the Saints have lost to in 2006, 2010, and 2014, stand in his way. Brees also trails Manning’s all-time touchdown passes mark (539) by 51. He could come close if he replicates his 2011 or 2012 production, but is still something to keep an eye out for.The window is rapidly closing for New Orleans with Brees at the helm to win another Super Bowl, and they’re still a team that can live, breathe, and die by what No. 9 does on the football field. New York Giants star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. may need to choose his words more carefully.The NFL's highest-paid receiver created a stir Friday when ESPN released an interview from this week in which the 25-year-old wondered why the team isn't throwing the ball farther downfield and playing with more energy.The possible cause of his frustration? Four games into the season, Beckham hasn't caught a touchdown pass. Beckham said the Giants (1-3), who travel to Carolina (2-1) on Sunday, need to get on a run.Here's how he answered the ESPN question about "the biggest heart of the issue" for the Giants."How come we can't throw the ball for more than 20 yards? How come we don't attempt or try to throw the ball for more than 20 yards?" Beckham said. "Those are questions that we have to figure out Tommylee Lewis Jersey Stitched , but for now I would say it's our heart, it's our energy. It's what we bring when we line up before the game, all of that. It counts."The Giants have completed only two passes of more than 30 yards or more this season, and they have only nine passes of 20 yards or greater.Beckham was not in the locker room after practice on Friday to discuss his comments. The catalyst of the Giants' offense has been on his best behavior this season and more mature after missing most of last season with a broken ankle.While he didn't throw anyone under the bus, his words indicated he's upset about losing games.Quarterback Eli Manning brushed off reporters who approached him for comment. A team spokesman said the 37-year-old, two-time Super Bowl winner who has been under scrutiny had a television interview. He never returned to the locker room.Coach Pat Shurmur said he was aware of Beckham's comments made during a sit down with ESPN reporter Josina Anderson. The coach said he hadn't seen them. He refused to look at them when a reporter offered to let him read them."I do know we're making an effort to do what it takes to score points. I think, if you remember our first drive, the ball didn't travel down the field, but our team did," Shurmur said referring to the Giants opening touchdown drive against the New Orleans Saints. "That's the most important piece and we will continue to try and throw the ball down the field and get the ball down the field and complete it to our playmakers however we need to do it."When pressed about the comments, Shurmur said Beckham should be the one address them. The coach added execution was the problem for the offense, not energy.Beckham, who signed a five-year Youth Tyeler Davison Jersey , $95 million contract extension in training camp, is having a good season coming off his injury. He leads the team with 31 catches for 331 yards, a 10.7-yard average. But he has not caught a touchdown.Shurmur said he talked to Beckham on Friday but wouldn't divulge the topics.Fellow receiver Sterling Shepard initially refused to comment on what Beckham said. He later said the players have had a good energy level in practice and need to execute.He felt Beckham might be referring to energy level before the start of games. He said players all approach it differently. Some are quiet while others get amped up."Some guys want to sit in the locker and look over plays," Shepard said. "Some guys want to get rowdy and that's what kind of personality he has. That's what he likes to see."Veteran cornerback Michael Thomas wasn't worried Beckham's comment would be taken the wrong way."He's passionate, but we can't let our emotions get the best of us," Thomas said. "He wants to win and do his job, and everybody has to. Everybody has to go out and execute and do their jobs. I don't look at it as distracting or anything like that. That's who he is. He is passionate. He wants to be great and make plays. We all do."NOTES: Linebacker Olivier Vernon was close to getting on the field this week, but he'll miss his fifth straight game with a high ankle sprain. Tight end Evan Engram (knee) will miss his second straight game. ... Starting CB Eli Apple practiced the past two days and is listed as probable. He missed the last two games with a hamstring injury.
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