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News » Like most NFL clubs, the Saints' opponents for 2009 have had their share of offsesaon comings and goings

Like most NFL clubs, the Saints' opponents for 2009 have had their share of offsesaon comings and goings

Like most NFL clubs, the Saints' opponents for 2009 have had their share of offsesaon comings and goings
As the Saints continue their offseason workout program and get poised for upcoming rookie and veteran minicamps in May and June, The Times-Picayune takes a glimpse at how their 2009 opponents have fared so far in Free Agency and the draft.

Like the Saints , each has experienced its share of comings and goings in terms of personnel moves -- the good, bad and indifferent.

For those keeping score at home, there are 138 days until the Saints open the regular season against the Detroit Lions, who have lost 17 consecutive games dating to 2007, including 42-7 to the Black and Gold in Week 16 last season.

DETROIT (Sept. 13, noon): There are 41.7 million reasons why new Lions first-year coach Jim Schwartz will throw rookie quarterback Matthew Stafford into the fire on opening day. That is the NFL's unprecedented guaranteed portion of Stafford's six-year, $78 million contract for being the No. 1 overall pick. But look for veteran Daunte Culpepper to open the season.

The game figures to be a match made in heaven for Saints' first-year defensive coordinator Gregg Williams and his revamped defense.

Other key acquisitions:

TE Brandon Pettigrew (first-round pick)

S Louis Delmas (second-round pick)

CB Phillip Buchanan (UFA Buccaneers)

CB Anthony Henry (trade Cowboys)

DT Grady Jackson (UFA Falcons)

LB Julian Peterson (trade Seahawks)

Key losses:

DT Shaun Cody (UFA Texans)

DT Cory Redding (traded Seahawks)

DE Corey Smith (presumed dead in boating accident).

at PHILADELPHIA (Sept. 20, noon): Team officials appeared to bend over backward to find quarterback Donovan McNabb some offensive help. They acquired left tackle Jason Peters in a trade with Buffalo, signed right tackle Jason Andrews (UFA Bengals) and drafted wide receiver Jeremy Maclin (first round), running back LeSean McCoy (second round) and tight end Cornelius Ingram (fifth round). They also acquired cornerback Ellis Hobbs from New England.

Other key acquisitions:

FB Leonard Weaver (UFA Seahawks)

S Sean Jones (UFA Browns)

Key losses:

RB Correll Buckhalter (UFA Broncos)

S Brian Dawkins (UFA Broncos)

CB Lito Sheppard (traded Jets)

OT Tra Thomas (UFA Jaguars)

at BUFFALO (Sept. 27, 3 p.m.): Coach Dick Jauron's job is in jeopardy after three consecutive 7-9 seasons, which might explain the signing of free-agent wide receiver Terrell Owens. Apparently, the potential reward of a playoff berth for the first time this decade outweighs the risk of hiring a human time bomb and proven troublemaker. Buffalo selected defensive end/linebacker Aaron Maybin and center Eric Wood in the first round, defensive back Jairus Byrd and guard/tackle Andy Levitre in the second round and tight end Shawn Nelson in the third round. All are considered value picks.

Other key acquisitions:

CB Drayton Florence (FA Jaguars)

C/G Seth McKinney (UFA Browns)

RB Dominic Rhodes (UFA Colts)

Key losses: CB Jabari Greer (UFA Saints )

LT Jason Peters (traded Eagles)

G Derrick Dockery (UFA Redskins)

NEW YORK Jets (Oct. 4, 3 p.m.): The Saints are expected to face their second heralded rookie quarterback in less than a month in Mark Sanchez, the fifth pick of the draft. Plus, the Jets reportedly are exploring the possibility of signing troubled free-agent wide receiver Plaxico Burress, who could be facing prison time for a gun-possession charge. Stay tuned. First-year coach Rex Ryan selected Iowa running back Shonn Greene at the top of the third round, giving the Jets a potential one-two-three punch with Thomas Jones and Leon Washington.

Other key acquisitions:

OLB Bart Scott (UFA Ravens)

CB Lito Sheppard (trade Eagles)

SS Jim Leonhard (UFA Ravens)

Key losses:

LB Eric Barton (UFA Browns)

WR Laveranues Coles (UFA Bengals)

QB Brett Favre (retirement)

NEW YORK Giants (Oct. 18, noon): Though much has been reported about the team's interest in acquiring a veteran wide receiver during the offseason (Anquan Boldin, Chad Ocho Cinco, Braylon Edwards), nothing has materialized. So the team selected wide receivers Hakeem Nicks of North Carolina in the first round and Ramses Barden of Cal-Poly in the third round. Nicks is expected to help offset the losses of Burress (released) and Amani Toomer (not expected to be re-signed).

Other key additions:

DT Rocky Bernard (UFA Seahawks)

LB Michael Boley (UFA Falcons)

DE Chris Canty (UFA Cowboys)

Key losses:

SS James Butler (UFA Rams)

RB Derrick Ward (UFA Buccaneers)

SS Sammy Knight (released)

CB Sam Madison (released)

at MIAMI (Oct. 25, 3:15 p.m.): Year 2 of the Bill Parcells Project, and the Dolphins are trying to build on an AFC East championship (going from 1-15 in 2007 to 11-5 last season) and a trip to the playoffs, where they lost to Baltimore in a wild-card game. The draft brought cornerback Vontae Davis in the first round and quarterback/running back/wide receiver Pat White and cornerback Sean Smith in the second round. Look for White to become the team's No. 2 quarterback and direct the Wildcat offense.

Other key acquisitions:

CB Eric Green (UFA Cardinals)

S Gibril Wilson (FA Raiders)

C Jake Grove (UFA Raiders)

Key losses:

CB Andre Goodman (UFA Broncos)

S Renaldo Hill (UFA Broncos)

ATLANTA (home Nov. 2, 7:30 p.m.; away Dec. 13, noon): The Falcons devoted their first five picks to defense -- defensive tackle Jeria Perry (Round 1), strong safety William Moore (2), cornerback Chris Owens (3), defensive end Lawrence Sidbury (4) and cornerback William Middleton (5). A day before the draft, General Manager Thomas Dimitroff acquired perennial Pro Bowl tight end Tony Gonzales from Kansas City for a second-round pick in 2010. Gonzales is 33, but he remains productive. He caught 96 passes for 1,058 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2008.

Other key acquisitions:

MLB Mike Peterson (UFA Jaguars)

K Michael Koenen (re-signed)

DE Chauncey Davis (UFA, re-signed)

Key losses:

LB Michael Boley (UFA Giants)

LB Keith Brooking (UFA Cowboys)

CB Domonique Foxworth (UFA Ravens)

DT Grady Jackson (UFA Lions)

CAROLINA (home Nov. 8, 3 p.m.; away Jan. 3, noon): Other than extending the contract of quarterback Jake Delhomme (five years, $42.5 million) and re-signing tackle Jordan Gross, it has been a relatively quiet offseason for the defending NFC South champions, who were embarrassed by Arizona 30-13 in a divisional-round game. Perhaps because of that loss, team officials tried to upgrade their defense in the draft, sending a No. 1 pick in 2010 to San Francisco to take defensive end Everette Brown with the 43rd overall pick. The Panthers also got a fourth-round pick from the 49ers. Later in Round 2, Carolina took cornerback Sherrod Martin, and got defensive tackle Corvey Irvin in Round 3.

Other key acquisitions

FB Tony Fiammetta (fourth round)

LS J.J. Jansen (trade Packers)

Key losses:

T Frank Omiyale (UFA Bears)

at ST. LOUIS (Nov. 15, noon): For a franchise trying to regain its footing through the draft, Coach Steve Spagnuolo did what any first-year coach in it for the long haul should do. The Rams took a left tackle (Jason Smith, No. 2 overall) and a middle linebacker (James Laurinaitis, second round, 35th overall). Each is expected to be given ample time to grow into his position. Smith will be groomed to replace perennial Pro Bowl tackle Orlando Pace, who was released. It appears Spagnuolo is going to stay with oft-injured quarterback Mark Brunell.

Other key acquisitions:

CB Ron Bartell (UFA, re-signed)

C Jason Brown (UFA Ravens)

SS James Butler (UFA Giants)

FB Mike Karney (FA Saints )

Key losses:

WR Torry Holt (released, signed with Jacksonville)

LT Orlando Pace (released)

at TAMPA BAY (away Nov. 22, noon; home Dec. 27, noon): It appears new general manager Mark Dominik and first-year coach Raheem Morris have hitched their wagon to rookie quarterback Josh Freeman, the 17th pick in the first round. They brought in veteran quarterback Byron Leftwich, presumably to get the Buccaneers through this season, and then hand the ball off to Freeman in 2010, if not sooner. Whoever gets behind center, newly acquired tight end Kellen Winslow from Cleveland should be a focal point of the offense.

Other key acquisitions:

WR Antonio Bryant (FA, re-signed)

WR Michael Clayton (UFA, re-signed)

CB Jermaine Phillips (UFA, re-signed)

RB Derrick Ward (UFA Giants)

K Mike Nugent (UFA Jets)

LB Angelo Crowell (UFA Bills)

Key losses:

QB Jeff Garcia (UFA Raiders)

CB Phillip Buchanon (UFA Lions)

DT Jovan Haye (UFA Titans)

LB Derrick Brooks (released)

LB Cato June (released)

WR Ike Hilliard (released)

WR Joey Galloway (released)

RB Warrick Dunn (released)

NEW ENGLAND (Nov. 30, 7:30 p.m.): Bill Belichick showed what he thought of this year's draft, opting out of the first round at No. 23 to stockpile picks in the second and third rounds. They picked four players in Round 2 -- cornerbacks Patrick Chung (34) and Darius Butler (41), defensive lineman Ron Brace (40) and tackle Sebastian Vollmer (58). They landed eight more players before calling it quits. Belichick got the offseason rolling, sending quarterback Matt Cassel and linebacker Mike Vrabel to Kansas City for two second-round picks. Healthy Tom Brady once again makes this team a Super Bowl contender.

Other key acquisitions:

RB Fred Taylor (UFA Jaguars)

CB Shawn Springs (UFA Redskins)

TE Greg Lewis (trade Eagles)

S James Sanders (UFA, re-signed)

Other key losses:

FB Heath Evans (UFA Saints )

WR Jabar Gaffney (UFA Broncos)

CB Ellis Hobbs (traded Eagles)

at WASHINGTON (Dec. 6, noon): Who would blame quarterback Jason Campbell if he entered the season with a chip on his shoulder the size of Plymouth Rock after what has transpired during the offseason? Owner Daniel Snyder, General Manager Vinny Cerrato and Coach Jim Zorn have tried unsuccessfully on several occasions to upgrade that position. That left Campbell to ponder his future with the team, and he threatened to ask to be traded. Their latest attempt came during the draft when they couldn't move up in the first round to acquire Southern Cal quarterback Mark Sanchez. But team officials got their man in the opening minutes of Free Agency, signing defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth to a seven-year, $100 million contract that included $41 million guaranteed. Look for rookie Brian Orakpo (the 13th overall pick) to play left defensive end or strongside linebacker.

Other key acquisitions:

CB DeAngelo Hall, (UFA, re-signed)

OG Derrick Dockery (UFA Bills)

P Hunter Smith (UFA Colts)

Key losses:

DE Jason Taylor (released)

DALLAS (Dec. 19, 7:20 p.m.): On paper, it looks like Jerry Jones made little to no impact with his war chest of 12 picks on the second day of the draft. Most analysts have given poor reviews of his body of work. The critique begins with linebacker Jason Williams, who is considered to be a reach in the third round. In fact, the biggest offseason news out of Valley Ranch came with the release of wide receiver Terrell Owens and cornerback Adam Jones.

Other key acquisitions:

LB Keith Brooking (UFA Falcons)

QB Jon Kitna (UFA Lions)

DE Igor Olshansky (UFA Chargers)

S Gerald Sensabaugh (UFA Jaguars)

Key losses:

DE Chris Canty (UFA Giants)

C Anthony Henry (traded Lions)

S Roy Williams (released)

. . . . . . .

Brian Allee-Walsh can be reached at ballee-walsh@timespicayune.com or 504.826.3805.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 29, 2009

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