Alex Okafor thinks he is the one who can step in opposite Camron Jordan and provide a solid pass rush combination for the New Orleans Saints. That’s good news for a team that has had issues getting to the quarterback.
According to NOLA.com, since cutting Junior Galette during the 2015 offseason, the New Orleans Saints have struggled mightily to find a consistent pass rusher opposite Jordan. Maybe 2017 will be the year that struggle ends.
“I think I can fill that hole; I know I can,” Okafor said Thursday after organized team activities. “I’m just trying to learn the scheme as fast as possible, so I can just hit the ground running.”
The defense has been an issue for years. Changes in the coaching staff. Changes with players. Both haven’t fixed the situation. Now, as the 2017 season is a few months away, the New Orleans Saints are putting their eggs in Okafor’s basket.
Chris Dunnells of canalstreetchronicles.com said the New Orleans Saints did make progress in the offseason with free agency and the NFL Draft. He said the team received a “B-“ for their efforts in a story written on ESPN.com.
There will come a time when this franchise won’t have Drew Brees to sling the ball around the field or Sean Payton on the sidelines. In the end, an era will have closed. But for now, as long as both are part of the New Orleans Saints organization has a fighting chance. Here are three questions this team must answer going into training camp.
How Many More Years Will Drew Brees Play?
As long as he wants. I am pretty sure the New Orleans Saints brass will let the greatest quarterback in team history make that decision. But the kicker might be that if Brees decides to hang it up, so will Payton. Two appear to be a team, a bond forever linked in the Big Easy.
Even at 38 years old, Brees threw for 5,200 yards and 37 touchdowns. At this rate, with good health, he could own all the NFL passing records before he is done. Also, take into account this team continues to change its receiving unit. It further pads the fact Brees is one of the 10 best passers of all time.
It does not seem like he is slowing down any time yet.
Does Everyone Touch The Pigskin?
The New Orleans Saints have the best running back committee it has ever assembled.
After Mark Ingram recorded the first 1,000-yard season of his career, the team went out and landed Adrian Peterson. The tandem could be the best to play in the NFL this season. Each could also approach 1,000 yards if the offensive becomes more balanced. And wait, there’s more.
In the NFL Draft, the Saints landed Alvin Kamara out of Tennessee. The running back offers the team a change of pace runner who can spell either of his running mates. What this does it make opponent defenses worry about the run as well as the pass.
How Good Is The Secondary?
The New Orleans Saints have a nice group to work with. Kenny Vaccaro continued his physical play, creating four turnovers (two fumbles and two interceptions) on the year and finishing second on the team in solo tackles per game. Playing in only 11 games due to a late-season suspension, Vaccaro also tacked on a sack and 5 passes defended.
The team drafted Marshawn Lattimore to play cornerback. Those two players alone will make the secondary better. If Roman Harper and Vonn Bell show improvement this season, 2017 could be a surprise year for the back line.