The New Orleans Saints are favorites to win their division, according to DraftKings Sportsbook, and the major decisions they’ve made to secure themselves ahead of their division rivals are a big part of it.
Still, the Saints may have gained only slightly more than they lost. They could be contenders for a favorable playoff position, but they could just as easily see the bottom fall out.
Everything You Need Ahead of the New Orleans Saints 2023 NFL Season
In a weak NFC South, the Saints are the only team that knows that they’ve made an upgrade at quarterback and have an opportunity to take the division. That said, it’s difficult to predict how they’ll do because there are so many unknowns on their roster.
Nevertheless, one imagines that their bold move to secure a quarterback and the hope for a healthier roster should mean an improved outcome. If Pete Carmichael really is the heir to Sean Payton as an offensive mind, and Dennis Allen and Joe Woods can keep the defense consistent, then they should have an inside track to the playoffs.
Saints Roster Changes
The Saints experimented a bit at QB over the past two seasons but have functionally decided to end the Taysom Hill and Jameis Winston projects in favor of a proven veteran.
There was some buzz about potentially pursuing Lamar Jackson or finding some means of trading up in the draft, but, ultimately, it was pretty clear that they wouldn’t explore either of those options seriously, given the nature of the free agency market. Derek Carr may not be their “quarterback of the future” in a long-term sense, but he will be their quarterback for now, and that might just be enough.
- Players Signed/Claimed
- QB Derek Carr
- WR Bryan Edwards
- RB Jamaal Williams
- TE Foster Moreau
- TE Miller Forristall
- G Koda Martin
- OT Storm Norton
- DT Khalen Saunders
- DT Nathan Shepherd
- DT Malcolm Roach
- LB Ryan Connelly
- CB Troy Pride
- CB Lonnie Johnson Jr.
- CB Ugo Amadi
- S Jonathan Abram
- K Alex Quevedo
- Players Drafted
- DT Bryan Bresee
- ED Isaiah Foskey
- RB Kendre Miller
- OT Nick Saldiveri
- QB Jake Haener
- S Jordan Howden
- WR A.T. Perry
- Players Cut/Released
- QB Lake Luton
- RB Derrick Gore
- WR Sy Barnett
- CB Vincent Gray
- Players Traded Away
- TE Adam Trautman
- Players With Expired Contracts
- QB Andy Dalton
- WR Jarvis Landry
- WR Deonte Harty
- WR Marquez Callaway
- RB Mark Ingram
- RB David Johnson
- RB Dwayne Washington
- TE Nick Vannett
- OT Ethan Greenidge
- DT David Onyemata
- DT Shy Tuttle
- DT Albert Huggins
- ED Marcus Davenport
- ED Kentavius Street
- LB Kaden Elliss
- LB Chase Hansen
- CB P.J. Williams
- CB Chris Harris Jr.
- S Daniel Sorensen
- S Justin Evans
The Saints didn’t make many active moves to get rid of players but nevertheless found a way to resurface their offense by allowing three receivers, a running back, and their starting quarterback from last year to walk.
Their confidence in 2022 rookies Chris Olave and Rashid Shaheed allowed them to maintain their skill corps, but with a potential upcoming suspension for Alvin Kamara, they will have to rely on an unknown, rookie Kendre Miller, to take on a big role alongside free agent running back Jamaal Williams.
On defense, the entire front, aside from Cameron Jordan, is gone, as are rotational players in the back seven, including linebacker Kaden Ellis and cornerback P.J. Williams. They’ll have to hope for a healthier secondary in 2023 and immediate dividends from first and second-round picks Bryan Bresee and Isaiah Foskey.
New Orleans Saints Coaching Staff in 2023
- Head Coach: Dennis Allen
- Assistant to the Head Coach: Mike Martinez
- Offensive Coordinator: Pete Carmichael
- Senior Offensive Assistant: Bob Bicknell
- Pass Game/Quarterbacks: Ronald Curry
- Running Backs: Joel Thomas
- Wide Receivers: Kodi Burns
- Offensive Line: Doug Marrone
- Offensive Line Assistant: Kevin Carberry
- Tight Ends: Clancy Barone
- Offensive Assistant: Jahri Evans
- Offensive Assistant: Kevin Petry
- Offensive Assistant: Jordan Traylor
- Offensive Assistant: D.J. Williams
- Defensive Coordinator: Joe Woods
- Senior Defensive Assistant: Peter Giunta
- Linebackers: Michael Hodges
- Pass Rush: Brian Young
- Defensive Line: Todd Grantham
- Secondary: Marcus Robertson
- Defensive Assistant: Adam Gristick
- Defensive Assistant: Sterling Moore
- Special Teams Coordinator: Darren Rizzi
- Assistant Special Teams: Phil Galiano
The Saints have had to change defensively as a result of Ryan Nielsen and Kris Richard’s attention in the hiring cycle as potential head coaches. Neither ended up taking a head-coaching job, but Nielsen moved on from being a co-defensive coordinator with Richards to being the sole coordinator of the defense in Atlanta.
Richard and the Saints parted ways soon after Nielsen took the Falcons job after an apparent difference in the way they viewed personnel and defense — untenable for a coach that was considered for a role elevation to defensive coordinator, given how much control head coach Allen has over the defense.
Instead, they hired Joe Woods to be the defensive coordinator, added Todd Grantham to take on defensive line duties in Nielsen’s stead, and Marcus Robertson to take over the secondary after parting ways with Richard and assistant secondary coach Cory Robinson.
Both Dan Roushar and Zach Strief took offensive line coaching jobs, with Roushar becoming the offensive line coach at Tulane and Strief becoming the offensive line coach in Denver, leaving New Orleans in need of a tight ends coach and more offensive assistants.
They hired longtime tight ends coach Clancy Barone for that role and added a slew of offensive assistants, including a number of former players in the mold of Strief, like Jahri Evans.
Predicting the New Orleans Saints Depth Chart
- QB: Derek Carr, Jameis Winston, Jake Haener
- WR: Chris Olave, Michael Thomas, Rashid Shaheed, AT Perry, Tre’Quan Smith, Bryan Edwards
- RB: Alvin Kamara, Jamaal Williams, Kendre Miller
- FB: Adam Prentice
- TE: Juwan Johnson, Foster Moreau, Taysom Hill
- LT: Trevor Penning, James Hurst
- LG: Andrus Peat, Calvin Throckmorton
- C: Erik McCoy
- RG: Cesar Ruiz
- RT: Ryan Ramczyk, Nick Saldiveri, Storm Norton
- EDGE: Cameron Jordan, Tanoh Kpassagnon
- NT: Nathan Shepherd, Khalen Saunders
- DT: Bryan Bresee, Malcolm Roach
- EDGE: Isaiah Foskey, Carl Granderson, Payton Turner
- MLB: Demario Davis, D’Marco Jackson
- WLB: Pete Werner, Ryan Connelly
- SLB: Zack Baun
- RCB: Marshon Lattimore, Isaac Yiadom
- LCB: Paulson Adebo, Troy Pride
- NB: Bradley Roby, Lonnie Johnson
- SS: Tyrann Mathieu, Jonathan Abram
- FS: Marcus Maye, Jordan Howden
2022 Results and Standings
The Saints had uncertain expectations entering 2022, though they were expected to post an even record in the preseason, according to the August win totals at DraftKings. They mildly underperformed those expectations despite a top-10 defensive performance, with just a 7-10 record.
A late-season rally after their bye week could have put them in the playoffs, but they needed losses from division rival Tampa Bay Buccaneers and a win against the Carolina Panthers, coached by interim coach Steve Wilks and quarterbacked by a surprisingly efficient Sam Darnold. That Week 18 loss and the Buccaneers’ relative success kept them out despite the underwhelming division.
New Orleans’ Week 17 win against the Philadelphia Eagles and Week 5 win against the Seattle Seahawks showed that they could win against good teams, but they primarily built their record against a weak schedule, something they may benefit from again in 2023.
2023 Power Ranking and Season Outlook
Pro Football Network’s 2023 Power Rankings rank the Saints 14th overall in the NFL, which is roughly in line with their record and overall performance from an advanced stats perspective last year. There’s praise for a more well-rounded defense and optimism about the potential for a healthy Michael Thomas, who should pair well with Carr’s playstyle.
The offense will benefit from an upgrade at quarterback and could have an explosive ceiling if Thomas is healthy, given how well Olave takes the top off defenses.
Further development for Shaheed and a solid running game with Williams, Miller, and Kamara should give them a floor to work with, though they need to make sure that their offensive line can be consistent — that’s difficult with Trevor Penning, Andrus Peat, and Cesar Ruiz on the line.
Defensively, they will need their early-round investments to pay off immediately, given the losses on the defensive line. Though Marcus Davenport didn’t produce in the box score, his high pass-rush win rate forced opposing quarterbacks to get rid of the ball quicker.
He was one of the only defensive producers, and the Saints finished 2022 ranked last in pass-rush win rate as a unit, and their second-best pass-rush contributor, Onyemata, left for the Falcons. They may have gotten worse if they can’t rely on their rookies to contribute.
But a healthy Marcus Lattimore should mean more defensive production, even if Paulson Adebo is a liability opposite Lattimore. The defense performed very well last year, but a change in coordinator and turnover in personnel might be worth some concern.