A collection of photos of the Saints career touchdown and rushing yards leader - Deuce McAllister who elected to the 2012 class of the Saints Hall of Fame.
New Orleans Saints legend and Saints Hall of Fame member Deuce McAllister suited up in the Black and Gold for eight seasons (2001-09). McAllister, who holds the franchise record for career rushing yards (6,096), has analyzed the Saints from the radio booth for the past four seasons. Wednesday, McAllister spoke with local media via video conference call to discuss his thoughts on the talent-rich Saints roster heading into the 2020 campaign.
"On paper I think it is going to be ranked right up there at the top," McAllister said of the 2020 Saints roster compared to the great Saints teams of the past. "I'd probably put it as a top three maybe even top two. The hardest thing to go back and do is go back and look at the 2011 team and I saw the conversation and just the analysis. The hardest thing to go back and do is you knew what that team was. You actually saw it. We can go back and compare and just look at the numbers and the things that they were able to accomplish, but this team on paper, this team could really challenge a lot of things that that team did, but unfortunately we don't play it on paper. And then the other thing, my concern and my worry with this team is the injuries and then how will not having an offseason truly affect them."
New Orleans' depth was tested with a series of injuries during the 2019 season, especially on the defensive side. But the Saints persevered most of the season, as evidenced by their 13-3 record and status among the league's Super Bowl favorites entering the playoffs. One player who bounced back from a six-week hiatus due to injury was quarterback Drew Brees. McAllister lined up behind Brees for four seasons in New Orleans and is still amazed by Brees' ability to prepare for opponents week in and week out.
"Drew is the old man in the room, the old man in the building," McAllister said. "It's amazing to watch him be able to go out there and do it and I think it shows you how well he's prepared, how he's changed, not only how well he works out, but what he eats, what he consumes. And then for him to be able to say, look, my body is OK, I think I can give it another run and then truly commit to it, I think that's probably the most amazing part about it just because of the player that he is. Look, he's not the Drew Brees of 2011, the Drew Brees of 2006 either, but I think he's still good enough and he's still an elite enough of a player that can command the huddle, has the respect of the players and then the question is can he go out and do his job effectively. That's the biggest question. You listen to Sean (Payton) and how they will manage his throws, how they even may manage some of the games he plays in. Look, we all know Drew, Drew is not going to want to miss one play. Drew, this one is over, you are up 21 and there are 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter, get out. That's not him. He's preparing from a physical standpoint and a mental standpoint to be able to finish the game, but sometimes they have to protect Drew from himself in that instance just because he is so competitive."
McAllister is also expecting big things from the Saints running back corps now that Latavius Murray has had a year to get fully acclimated to the offense and a healthy Alvin Kamara is primed for a comeback season.
"I want to see more," McAllister said. "I think that's the biggest thing. When (Murray) received his opportunity, he was able to excel. He was able to really go out and produce and you just want to see more of it. I think that was probably the biggest thing, that you just go back and look at this overall season, they probably should've used him more and obviously I know (the) game dictates what you can do and what you have to do as far as that's concerned. At the end of the day, you have to be able to try to get him the football and maybe not just as a runner because we saw him catch the football out of the backfield probably more so better than he did in Oakland as well as in Minnesota. So as a receiver, I think he's a viable option, but you've got to lean on Alvin (Kamara) for the majority of those opportunities, but I think also you can use him in that manor. As a pure runner, you've got to figure out a way to get him 10 to 12 to 15 touches, legitimate touches, in a football game."
McAllister remains optimistic that the NFL is going to pull off a season this year considering the uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I think we're just taking it day by day," McAllister said. "I think we're all just preparing and thinking that, yes we will go forward, but I do think there will be some type of an adjustment. I saw some of the articles out there where teams are thinking about flying out the same day, as far as (for away) games. Certain West coast teams, yeah it would be impossible to kind of pull off. You're talking about a Pittsburgh situation where they took the train once, but it may have been a preseason game. Where they took the train down and maybe they played Washington or Baltimore or something like that, but it has been done before."