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The Saints Are Back!

The Saints Are Back!

By Mario Jerez

Click aqui para español- >¡Regresan los Saints!

This has been a long football offseason in New Orleans. It feels even weird to say this after the Saints made it all the way to the NFC championship game last year, but we all know what happened that night.

A blown call cost the Saints a trip to the Superbowl. And the clip of the Rams’ Nickell Robey-Coleman illegally hitting Tommylee Lewis has haunted all of us in our nightmares ever since.

However, if there’s one team in the NFL that can bounce back, it’s the New Orleans Saints.

Led by head coach Sean Payton and legendary quarterback Drew Brees, this team has character. It also has championship-quality talent on both sides of the ball.

I’ll start by mentioning the defense because the culture on that end has completely been transformed under defensive coordinator Dennis Allen.

The days of no.9 having to bail the Saints out every game are over, and this team is capable of winning games on defense. The Saints have star defensive players on every level, with Cam Jordan, Demario Davis and Marshon Lattimore producing at their position about as well as any other player in the league.

On offense, Saints fans better enjoy watching Brees and Payton’s unit operate while they’re still around. Entering their fourteenth (!) season together, the duo still leads the most electrifying offense in pro football.

The Saints did lose two key players this offseason. In center, Max Unger and running back Mark Ingram, and it’s yet to be seen if the Saints can replace their production. However, Payton has lost contributors before, and he’s rarely had problems replacing them.

New Orleans signed Latavius Murray to fill Ingram’s role, and he’ll be running behind a much better offensive line in New Orleans than the one he leaves behind in Minnesota. The Saints also took Eric McCoy in the second round of the 2018 NFL draft, and the talented rookie is in the lead for the starting center spot.

But what I think could really put the Saints over the top is the addition of tight end Jared Cook. Armed with a 6’6 frame, an elite quarterback and multiple weapons sharing the field with him, Cook can be the most productive tight end in the NFL this season.

This team has the talent, experience and mental toughness to win another championship. If they can get a little better luck (and officiating), the Saints will have a great chance.

LSU Football 2019 Preview

LSU  Football 2019 Preview

By Mario Jeréz

Click aqui para español- >LSU Football 2019 Preview

Not much was expected from the LSU Tigers last season, but they posted an impressive 10-3 record, nonetheless. The reigning Fiesta Bowl champions finished last season ranked number six in the final rankings, the Tigers’ highest finish since 2012. Several contributors are back for 2019 and multiple players from the incoming freshmen class could make an impact right away. 

 

LSU will return eight of its offensive starters, including quarterback Joe Burrow. LSU fans have waited a long time for its next championship-caliber QB, and they might finally have him. The Ohio native is the second player in school history to lead the Tigers to 10 wins in his first year as a starter and the first to lead LSU to four wins over Top Ten ranked teams in a season.

Now, Burrow’s had a full offseason to build on his success, and he’ll be happy to have some of his friends back. LSU’s top five receivers from 2018 are all back and the offensive line will return four out of five starters. 

On defense, LSU will have big shoes to fill as linebacker Devin White and cornerback Greedy Williams have made the leap to the NFL. However, the unit still returns eight starters and has potential to be one of the nation’s best. 

 

Grant Delpit is a star at safety and will continue to wreak havoc on opposing offenses after his five interceptions led the Southeastern Conference last season. The Tigers also have experience along the defensive line, with seniors Rashard Lawrence and Breiden Fehoko leading the way. 

LSU also has high hopes for its most recent recruiting class. Rivals.com ranked freshman cornerback Derek Stingley the number one recruit in the class of 2019, and he’ll join Delpit in LSU’s defensive backfield. 

Destrehan High Schools’s John Emery, Jr. also has lofty expectations at running back. And Baton Rouge native Kardell Thomas has all the tools to become an elite offensive lineman. 

 

Ed Orgeron also expanded his coaching staff when the Tigers hired Joe Brady away from his assistant coaching job with the New Orleans Saints. Brady is LSU’s new passing game coordinator and will heavily influence LSU’s offense. 

The Tigers have the talent and the depth to compete for a national championship this year. They’ll will try to take the first step towards that on August 31, when LSU hosts Georgia Southern. 

A Summer Update on The New Orleans Pelicans 2019

From Darkness to Light:  A Summer Update on The New Orleans Pelicans 2019

By Mario Jerez

Click aqui para español- >Una actualización de verano sobre los New Orleans Pelicans 2019

When Anthony Davis demanded a trade from the New Orleans Pelicans, basketball fans in New Orleans had their worst fear realized.

The future looked bleak, and without Davis, the team would surely slip into the NBA’s cellar. Right? -Wrong.

New Orleans has rebounded with a wildly successful offseason. Under the leadership of owner, Gayle Benson, the team survived its darkest days, and the light at the end of the tunnel is already manifesting.

 

The Pelicans (finally) fired former general manager, Dell Demps and hired David Griffin. Griffin is the team’s new executive vice president of basketball operations and was the most sought after executive in the NBA this offseason.

The architect of the 2016 NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers surprised many when he left the broadcasting world and became the Pelicans’ new leader in the front office.

Griffin turned down offers from the Philadelphia 76ers and the New York Knicks in favor of New Orleans. Benson promised total dominion of the franchise, and he’s already made significant changes.

Since Griffin’s hiring, Benson has agreed to invest over $4.5 million into improvements to the team’s practice facility, including a renovated training room, and a new and improved medical staff. Griffin made an insistent list of demands before agreeing to the job, and they have all been met so far.

In one the most lopsided trades ever for a single NBA player, the Pelicans traded Anthony Davis to acquire Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and at least three first round picks from the Los Angeles Lakers. Also, the Pelicans will soon get another superstar to make up for Anthony Davis’ departure.

Despite having just a 6.0% chance to win the 2019 draft lottery, the Pelicans lucked out and were awarded the number one pick in the upcoming NBA draft. By the time this article is published, New Orleans will have almost certainly selected Duke’s Zion Williamson to be the franchise’s potential savior.

Williamson is the most hyped prospect since LeBron James in 2003, and Duke won 30 out of the 33 games he played in during his lone collegiate season. He possesses a rare blend of skills and athleticism that can see the 18-year-old quickly become one of the best players in the league.

Griffin still has to construct the rest of the team, and there’s plenty of work left to do. However, things are already looking up for the Pelicans.

It’s Finally Football Season Again!

It’s Finally Football Season Again!

By Mario Jerez

Click aqui para español->¡Por fín regresa la temporada de football!

Last January, Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs broke the city of New Orleans’ collective heart. Diggs took advantage of a defensive blunder and scored a last-second touchdown to eliminate the Saints from the NFL playoffs.

The “Minnesota Miracle”, as the play has been dubbed, will live on in NFL infamy and has tortured Saints fans with constant replays throughout the off season. However, the new season is finally upon us. And the Saints are about to get their shot at redemption.

The core of last year’s team, which went 11-5 and won its division, is back to take another crack at a title. Sean Payton and Drew Brees are one of six active head coach-quarterback combinations to have won a super bowl.

 Twelve years into their tenure, they remain the orchestrators of one of the league's best offenses. For the first time in a long time, the Saints also had a solid defense in 2017. This year, the unit hopes for continued improvement under third-year defensive coordinator Dennis Allen.

These factors, combined with several others, have created high expectations for the upcoming campaign. Around water coolers and on sports talk shows, the Saints are as good a pick as anyone to win it all. The team even hung a large banner that reads “prove them right” at their practice facility, a reference to the praise the Saints have garnered from local and national media.

They will have to take it one game at a time, and nothing is guaranteed. But, in New Orleans, the anticipation is the highest it’s been in years! This team has the talent to win a championship. But the NFL season is long and unpredictable, and preseason expectations can become irrelevant quickly.

Still, the city of New Orleans is right to be excited. This team has a chance to do something special and hopefully, they’re able to rise to the challenge.

The Saints open the regular season on September 9th in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

A Summer Update on the New Orleans Pelicans

A Summer Update on the New Orleans Pelicans

By Mario Jeréz

Click aqui para español->Los sucesos del verano de los New Orleans Pelicans

The New Orleans Pelicans are coming off one of their best seasons in recent memory. Despite a season-ending injury to all-star DeMarcus Cousins, the Pels swept the Portland Trailblazers in the first round of the NBA playoffs. It was the second post-season triumph in team history, and the future looked bright. However, the team was eliminated quickly in the second round, and they’ve already lost multiple players to other teams this summer. Meanwhile, they’ve also added some new players.

LOSSES

Veteran point guard Rajon Rondo signed a one year, nine-million-dollar contract with the Lakers. The Pelicans didn’t have the necessary funds to make a better offer, and they lost their starting point guard. Rondo averaged 12.2 assists per game in the 2018 playoffs, ranking first in the NBA. Following Cousins’ devastating Achilles injury last season, the Pelicans deemed resigning him too risky for the salary he wanted. Cousins went on to sign a one-year deal with the Warriors. In two seasons, the Pelicans had a 31-28 record with him in their line up.

ADDITIONS

With Cousins and Rondo leaving, the Pelicans had to act fast, and they signed a couple of promising young players. Forward Julius Randle agreed to a two-year contract with New Orleans. The 23-year-old is coming off his best season with the Lakers, averaging 16 points per game, and he was heavily recruited by Pelicans superstar Anthony Davis. The Pelicans also signed New Orleans native Elfrid Payton to a one-year contract. The 24-year-old point guard averaged 12 points and six assists per game for the Suns and Magic last season.

CONCLUSSION

Rondo’s leadership and elite passing abilities will be tough to replace. The Pelicans have already had success without Cousins, but, when healthy, he’s an elite player, and time will tell if letting him walk was the right decision. The good news is New Orleans will still return its two best players in Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday. Also, the team can still make some minor roster moves before next season. But to replicate last year’s success, the Pelicans will need the new arrivals to make significant contributions.

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