Thanks for submitting your New Orleans Saints questions to me on Twitter. Send 'em anytime @MikeTriplett. And stay tuned for Part 2 of this week’s mailbag on Sunday.
@MikeTriplett With the additions of Peat and Spiller, do you see the Saints offense presenting a more balanced attack this season?— Michael Williams (@williamsmic19) May 8, 2015
@MikeTriplett Brees was offensively pedestrian the last 6 weeks of the season. Where will the spark on offense come from without graham?— Foulmouth Football (@FoulMouthFB) May 8, 2015
@MikeTriplett: The part of the Jimmy Graham trade that I agree with most is that the Saints believe they will continue to field a top-6 offense, just as they have every year throughout the entire Sean Payton-Drew Brees era. They led the NFL in yardage in 2006, 2008 and 2009 -- before Graham ever arrived. And they never had a Pro Bowl receiver in any of those years, either, though Marques Colston was awfully close. I think that "spark" can definitely come from receiver Brandin Cooks and running back/receiver C.J. Spiller, both of whom the Saints coaches and GM Mickey Loomis have talked up excitedly this offseason. Colston and running backs Mark Ingram and Khiry Robinson are also solid workhorse options. After that, there are more question marks -- but plenty of candidates -- and Payton and Brees are the best at spreading the ball around to "the open guy." This current offense reminds me of 2006 and 2009, which included the running back combos of Deuce McAllister-Reggie Bush and Bush-Pierre Thomas-Mike Bell. Although tight end Jeremy Shockey played a nice complementary role on the Super Bowl team, this offense was never built around the tight end until Graham arrived. However, this offense was built around stellar guard play in its peak years in 2009 and 2011, when Jahri Evans and Carl Nicks were playing at an All-Pro level. It's essential that the Saints' offensive line gets back to being more consistently above average. That's why the Saints traded for center Max Unger and drafted offensive tackle Andrus Peat in Round 1, but it's still a question mark.
@MikeTriplett: I'd say the talent at wide receiver and tight end is closer to "good enough" than it is to great. But like I said when I broke down the offensive depth chart on Friday, it's not really a depth problem. The Saints have a lot of intriguing young options in tight end Josh Hill and receivers Nick Toon, Seantavius Jones, Brandon Coleman and Joe Morgan, all of whom could get a crack at greater roles in the offense. To me, the bigger question is whether the Saints believe in Toon in that No. 3 receiver role. They kicked the tires on free agent Greg Jennings before he signed with the Miami Dolphins, and Payton said they considered one or two receivers in Round 1 of the draft. So they're not against the idea of upgrading. But they don't have to force it if they don't believe some of the top veterans out there (Wes Welker? Reggie Wayne? James Jones?) are better than what they have right now.
@MikeTriplett mailbag question: What's the plan with Peat, Armstead, Strief? Is someone converting to Guard?— Buddy Womack (@BudDaGreat) May 7, 2015
@MikeTriplett: When asked last week if Peat, Terron Armstead or Zach Strief could be moved to guard, Payton said, "I don't see that initially," and he said Peat will probably get reps at both tackle positions. But I won't rule it out if the Saints ultimately feel like those are three of their five best offensive linemen after watching everyone develop this summer. It will come down to how well Tim Lelito is developing at the left guard spot, and how quickly Peat develops. I think the Saints want to give Lelito a real crack at that job after he's earned the opportunity over the past two years. And it's possible that Peat won't be ready for prime time right away. Not all first-round picks are immediately ready to become NFL starters. If the Saints do move one of their tackles to guard, I'm not sure which is the obvious candidate. Maybe Strief, since the other guys are younger and more athletic. Strief has never played guard in his nine-year career. But I don't think the fact that he's 6-foot-7, 320 pounds would preclude him from doing it. Off the top of my head, I can think of 6-foot-7 offensive tackles like Andrew Whitworth and Robert Gallery who played guard at some point in their careers. Chicago Bears Pro Bowler Kyle Long is 6-6, among others.