Dave Razzano is a former NFL scout and Playmaker Mobile correspondent with more than 22 years of professional scouting experience with the San Francisco 49ers, St. Louis Rams and Arizona Cardinals under NFL coaches including Bill Walsh, George Seifert, Chuck Knox and Dick Vermeil. He's been a part of five Super Bowls with three Super Bowl wins (49ers, 1989, 1990; Rams, 2000).
Interview by Dewey Hammond.
Q: How does the Saints roster look different this year?
A: They lost a really good tackle, Jammal Brown. Darren Sharper might be a backup. Again they’re going to be an outstanding offensive team, maybe the best in the league, but where they fall short is defense. Their defense in most categories — points allowed, yards, that sort of thing — is between 20 and 30. So their defense is not championship caliber. Their offense is. They’ll win games but they’ll fall short. To repeat you’d better have a defense, and they don’t have the dynamic defense to allow a repeat.
Q: Last year the Saints wouldn’t have even been in the Super Bowl without Darren Sharper, and this year he’s maybe a backup? Why?
A: The word out of New Orleans is that he’s fighting for a starting job. They have some good backup safeties and as you get older you rely more on instinct. I’m sure he’s lost a step. And a lot of those interceptions could have been receptions. It’s about being in the right spot. Jairus Byrd of Buffalo was like that last year, a lot of deflections, right place right time. But everything you read is that Sharper is fighting for the job with Roman Harper and Malcolm Jenkins. Those are really good younger players. Darren is a veteran and he’s a year older. Statistically there is no chance they’ll have 8 defensive touchdowns again. That was a fluke and it surprised me. I can see Sharper playing a role as opposed to being a starter.
Q: Is there anywhere on the roster where the Saints have improved this offseason?
A: I don’t think so. Not really. They’re standing pat. They brought in some fringe starters but those guys are mainly backups. They didn’t really bring in anybody but they did have a couple of nice draft picks in Charles Brown, the tackle from USC, and Patrick Robinson, the corner from Florida State. They improved a little bit in the draft but as far as key free agents they’re sort of the same, and sometimes that’s a good thing.
Q: Prediction this year for the New Orleans Saints.
A: I think the Saints will be, I’d say, 11-5. They could win their opening playoff game and maybe the second game, but when push comes to shove their defense is going to allow too many yards and points. Those touchdowns they got on defense — they were opportunistic and that’s hard to repeat. They win with Brees and you can only win with offense for so long. I just don’t see it. There are too many good teams who can unseat them.