We’ll start today’s series of team-by-team mailbags with the New Orleans Saints.
Caleb in Estelle, La., writes: Do you think the Saints are content to stay with the outside linebackers they have? Do you think they may put out some feelers on the Chargers' Shawn Merriman? Although the chances of it happening have to be small, do you think the Saints are at least a bit interested?
Pat Yasinskas: If there’s one team in the NFC South that might be interested in Merriman, it would be the Saints. I’m not saying they’ll definitely make a move. But, unlike the Panthers and Bucs who are sticking with their youth movements and the Falcons who generally don’t make splash moves, I could see the Saints being interested. They’ve had good luck bringing in veterans who flamed out elsewhere (Jonathan Vilma and Jeremy Shockey come to mind) and their defense could use a boost. Again, I’m not saying this will definitely happen. But I at least see it as a possibility.
Thomas in Fort Lewis, Wash., writes: The New Orleans Saints are struggling with their red zone scoring. How about using the 6'4 Marques Colston or the 6'6 rookie TE Jimmy Graham for the toss up or back shoulder throw that we have seen in years prior a few times? If you ask me they either are going to catch it or get a flag. They don’t have to be to 'tricky' about the play calling down there, the simple things still work.
Pat Yasinskas: I’m totally with you on taking advantage of Colston’s size in the red zone. He’s a matchup problem for any defensive back in that situation. Not sure if the Saints are ready to totally trust Graham just yet, but he is a guy who could cause problems in the red zone. I also think Shockey could be a pretty valuable tool in the red zone.
Neal in Ohio writes: I am confused and disappointed at your lack of respect given to Sean Payton and Gregg Williams. I think you have lost perspective. Sean has indeed proven himself to be at least an offensive guru and an amazing coach, he has taken the Saints to two NFC championship games, A SB title, a winning record in the playoffs and boasted one of the top offenses in the league over the last few years. Williams has proven himself over many years to be a top5 coordinator. They are dealing with injuries and disappointment. Why not judge them at the end of the season, they are 3-2 after all. In my mind 5 games is not enough to have me write off what these two have done in the league and I am shocked that you already have.
Pat Yasinskas: By no means am I writing off Payton and Williams. For the last year, virtually every mention of the two of them has been in glowing terms. They’re very good at what they do. But the item you’re referring to was our weekly Stock Watch. Right now, after a loss to an Arizona team that was starting an undrafted quarterback (Max Hall), I think I’m fair in at least saying the stock of Payton and Williams is down right now. They’re entirely capable of bouncing back.