After a tumultuous 2012 season, the Saints got back to their winning ways in 2013 and made the postseason for the fifth time in the Drew Brees–Sean Payton era. A loss to the eventual Super Bowl champion Seahawks sent Brees and Payton packing, and the attention turned to GM Micky Loomis.
Loomis made a key addition in former Bills free safety Jairus Byrd, writes National Football Post’s Greg Gabriel, though Byrd will probably miss some time during the preseason after undergoing “minor” back surgery near the end of OTAs.
In his team preview, Gabriel says to keep an eye on Khiry Robinson, a second-year running back from West Texas A&M used sparingly in his rookie season. Robinson has more size than Pierre Thomas and Mark Ingram, Gabriel writes, and could see a larger role in 2014.
Aside from Byrd, the Saints‘ biggest offseason acquisition was wide receiver Brandin Cooks, whom the team traded up for to grab in the first round. Gabriel notes that Cooks will play the majority of his snaps out of the slot and help to fill the void left by Darren Sproles‘ departure.
More notes around the NFL on this Sunday evening…
- When the Steelers drafted Dri Archer with the 97th overall pick, they drafted a player with speed for days. For that reason, they’ll be using Archer at both running back and receiver, coach Mike Tomlin said on NFL Network, according to National Football Post’s Jason Butt.
- Seahawks linebacker Bruce Irvin underwent hip surgery in early June, but he says his hip feels 100 times better, per NFL.com’s Kevin Patra, who cites the Seahawks‘ depth at linebacker as an indication that Irvin won’t be forced back into action too soon.
- Ryan O’Halloran of The Florida Times-Union lists four matchups — at Tennessee, vs. Miami, vs. New York (Giants) and vs. Houston — as the most favorable for the Jaguars.
- Though EJ Manuel enjoyed a moderate amount of success as a rookie quarterback for the Bills last season, former Bills GM and current ESPN analyst cautions fans to be patient with the former Florida State Seminole, writes The Buffalo News’ Jerry Sullivan.