Offensively, we should be OK. Robert Meachem and Devery Henderson are being replaced by Nick Toon, Joe Morgan, and Kenny Stills. Not a lot of experience there but those positions call for speed and decent hands. Stills and Morgan have that. Toon is more like Lance Moore. Speaking of Moore, he and Colston figure to be the top WRs again. The running back committee is missing Chris Ivory this year but I'm OK with that. They need to run more but they don't need to be a ground and pound team. The Saints are most successful when they throw the kitchen sink at a defense. By that, I mean they need to use every play in their playbook and every player on their roster. Drew was best when he spread the ball around. He got away from that when Jimmy Graham emerged and Sproles came over. He looks for them too much. Admittedly, they are both big-time playmakers but the Saints are better when the defense has to defend everything not just the known mismatches. Finally, they all need to take better care of the ball. Too many turnovers and too many drops last season.
Defensively, they're embarking into the unknown. I don't thing the conversion to the 3-4 is that big of a deal. What bothered me last season was how bewildered the players looked half the time, especially Patrick Robinson. He took a step back in his development. They didn't tackle very well, either, but that seems to be a league-wide problem. The Saints don't need a shutdown defense. They need one who gets off the field once in a while, who limits the opponent to field goals once in a while, comes up with a turnover once in a while, and can be trusted with a late lead.
On special teams, McMahon should have been fired a long time ago. He depends on Thomas Morstead to make his punts and kickoffs unreturnable too much. His coverage teams have sucked for a long time and his return units rarely give the offense any kind of decent field position. We'll muddle through another year of holding our breath every time we punt or kickoff.
As I said a few months ago, I'd like the Saints to adopt a four down philosophy for every time they get past their 40 yardline. They'll be unsuccessful some of the time but they'll put enormous pressure on the opposing defenses on third down if said defense knows the Saints are in four down mode. I think it will open things up more and that would be to the Saints advantage. This team, under Sean Payton, will never be a field position punt-trading team. Play to your strength, Sean.