Manning, the father of Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning and New York Giants QB Eli Manning, played for New Orleans from 1971-82. He's seen the franchise's 10 playoff teams, five division titles, its first NFC Championship Game and its Super Bowl victory in 2010 over Peyton and his former Colts team. None of those squads are as good on paper as the one the team has assembled for this year, Manning said in the report:
"The Saints are really good. They’re really good — what (coordinator) Rob Ryan did with their defense last year, and they’ve still got (coach) Sean Payton and (quarterback) Drew (Brees). I think the Saints’ line-up on paper to start the season is maybe as strong as I’ve ever seen before.”
To Ryan's credit, the team has made quite a turnaround defensively since 2012, when New Orleans had given up the most yards in NFL history. Last season, Ryan's first with the team, the Saints gave up the fourth fewest yards in the league and could be poised for big things this year, at least according to Manning.
- Marc Weinreich