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Season Preview: New Orleans Saints

After a nightmare of a season in 2005, the New Orleans Saints bounced back last season and became one of the best stories in sports. After going 10-6 in the regular season, the Saints came within one win of the Super Bowl.

None of that seemed possible in 2005. After the Hurricane Katrina tragedy, the Saints were forced from their homes and they suffered through a 3-13 season. Deuce McAllister, who came into the 2005 season as the star offensively for New Orleans, suffered a torn ACL during the forgettable year that saw the Saints lose 11 of their final 12 games.

After the 2005 season, the Saints began their rebuilding process. With a few additions, the rebuilding came faster than anyone could have imagined.

Sean Payton came over from the Dallas Cowboys to become the Saintsí new head coach. The Saints drafted Reggie Bush, who had become a legend at USC. To quarterback the team, the Saints took a risk by signing Drew Brees, who had offseason shoulder surgery.

That trio, along with the return of McAllister, was quick to bond. To the surprise of virtually everyone, the Saints won five of their first six games. In the process, another star on the team was born.

Picked in the seventh round out of Hofstra, little was expected from Marques Colston. But after touchdown receptions in both of his first two professional games, it started to become clear that New Orleans had something special on its hands.

By seasonís end, the stats for each of the stars of the team were stunning, as the Saints wielded one of the most potent offensive units in the league. Brees threw for over 4400 yards and had 26 touchdowns. Bush totaled over 1300 yards to go along with eight touchdowns. McAllister had more than 1000 yards rushing and ten rushing touchdowns. Colston finished with over 1000 yards receiving and eight receiving touchdowns.

Heading into 2007, the Saints have added even more weapons to their offensive unit. To go along with Brees, Bush, McAllister and Colston, the Saints have added wide receivers Robert Meachem and David Patten, along with tight end Eric Johnson.

Meachem, a first round pick out of Tennessee, will vie for the starting spot opposite Colston. Patten is a veteran receiver who will find most of his snaps as the slot receiver. Johnson will give New Orleans a pass catching threat from the tight end position.

Payton will try to build upon last season with hopes of giving the Saints a storybook ending. From tragedy to the Super Bowl in two years? With this group, anything is possible.

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