Tag:New Orleans Saints
Posted on: September 9, 2011 5:10 pm

Tramon Williams only has a shoulder bruise

Posted by Will Brinson

There wasn't much from Thursday night's 42-34 victory over New Orleans that should make the Packers unhappy. But a potential injury to Tramon Williams -- the cornerback was helped off the field, holding his arm and grimacing painfully -- would certainly take some luster off the win.

Good news, then, for Green Bay, as it appears that Williams only suffered a bruised shoulder.

"It was positive from what we thought. Tramon's a Pro Bowl-caliber football player," McCarthy said, per Bill Huber of Packer Report. "He allows us to play certain ways."

You really can't classify how important the development of Williams as an elite cornerback in 2010 was. Not only did he make some huge plays, but when the Packers line up in Dom Capers' funky defensive formations, Williams being able to lock down opposing wide receivers so Charles Woodson can do his roving thing is absolutely crucial.

More on Saints at Packers

Also, Williams is just, you know, really good. A step back for him in 2011 and/or an injury would be a serious problem. Fortunately the Packers avoided it. In other Packers news, Randall Cobb apparently got really, really, really lucky last night.

Not only did he run the wrong route on his touchdown reception, but he definitely did not have Mike McCarthy's permission to take the ball out of the end zone when he returned it for a touchdown.

"I just trust in God, he told me to bring it out," Cobb said. "I'm NOT supposed to bring that out. I'm NOT. Some things are just illogical and some other things are just the power of God."

Far be it from me to question the power of the Big Guy but, um, Randall, dude, you should probably slow your roll on letting your higher power dictate what you do on the football field. Otherwise you're gonna end up on the bench faster than Aaron Rodgers can hit your back shoulder.

In fact, Cobb would absolutely be in the doghouse today were it not for the broken tackle on the 25-yard-line that allowed him to spin out and take off for the end zone.

"Thank God you can't hear what we say on those headsets," McCarthy said. "Because I wasn't cheering for him until he spun out of that tackle on the 25."

So, yeah, while it's awesome that the Big Guy got Cobb into the end zone, he needs to remember that even "He" doesn't have control over the Packers depth chart.

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Posted on: September 9, 2011 12:09 pm
Edited on: September 11, 2011 9:57 am

Packers vs. Saints, Week 1 Preview Podcast

Posted by Will Brinson & Ryan Wilson

We're want your questions! Got something you want answered on the podcast or feel like telling us how dumb smart we are? Email us here.

Wow. What a way to kick off the NFL season, huh? The Saints and Packers soaked the house in fire and set it on fire Thursday night and yes indeed football is back.

We break down Sean Payton's late-game and fourth-down playcalling, talk about how to defend Aaron Rodgers, wonder whether or not there should be some concern with the New Orleans and Green Bay defenses and Will admits that he was absolutely dead wrong on not giving the Packers receivers top-five status.

The guys also break down the Steelers-Ravens game, the Bears-Falcons game and the Cowboys-Jets game.

Then Paul Bessire of PredictionMachine.com joins Will to chat about the statistical outlook for the season, what the best over/unders are for the NFL season, who the best survivor picks for Week 1 are, and much much, more.

Hit the play button below to listen (and did we mention that you should subscribe to the podcast via iTunes?). If you can't listen to the podcast below, download it here. And if you'd like to keep working while listening in your browser, pop that puppy out in a new tab here.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: September 8, 2011 11:21 pm
Edited on: September 8, 2011 11:34 pm

Charles Woodson not ejected after thrown punch

Posted by Will Brinson

One of the NFL's rules is that "striking an opponent with fist" is illegal and will result in a 15-yard penalty and an ejection in the even that it's flagrant.

So Charles Woodson probably shouldn't have played the last quarter and a half against the Saints after he threw an uppercut David Thomas' way.

On a first and 10 from the 36, the Saints ran the ball to the left side. Woodson was blitzing but missed the play and while coming back to the runner got entangled with Thomas. A quick tussle ensued and Woodson swung at Thomas, which you can see to the right, courtesy of Chris Chase of Yahoo.

Sean Payton quickly pointed out that the referees "gotta throw a flag."

They did, and Woodson was given an unnecessary roughness penalty, but he should have been ejected because he winded up and threw a punch at Thomas given how flagrant it was.

But the referees decided to leave Woodson in and the Packers began to pull away thanks to some big defensive stops. He'll likely see a fine coming his way from Park Avenue, but if the Packers win the game because he stuck around, it'll be worth it.

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Posted on: September 8, 2011 10:11 pm
Edited on: September 9, 2011 5:43 am

So much for a Packers Super Bowl hangover

Posted by Will Brinson

As we mentioned in the preview, Super Bowl winners were a whopping 37-7-1 in their opening weekend the following year.

The Green Bay Packers made it 38 wins for former Super Bowl winners on Thursday with a 42-34 statement win over the Saints in Green Bay.

The over/under of 48 turned out to be a joke, nearly getting smashed in the first half. Also a joke? The Packers needing to get together in the offseason.

"We didn't have offseason workouts," quarterback Aaron Rodgers said glibly after the game. "So I was surprised I was able to read [Randall Cobb's] body language."

Rodgers did just that on a catch-and-run by Cobb that resulted in a diving touchdown, his first score of the game. Rodgers also pointed out Cobb ran the wrong route. Another thing Cobb did "wrong?"

He took a kickoff out of the end zone without coach Mike McCarthy's permission. It's cool, though, because 108 yards later the rookie out of Kentucky was in the end zone, tying the NFL record for the longest kickoff return in history.

The single biggest takeaway from the game was that Rodgers and the Packers offense seemed to pick off like the Super Bowl never ended, scoring four touchdowns on their first five drives and dominating on offense all day. Rodgers finished 27-35 for 312 yards and three touchdowns, James Starks looks poised to take the starting role from Ryan Grant, and Jermichael Finley looks prepped for the breakout year everyone expected before his injury in 2009.

But the Packers weren't the only ones with some firepower. Drew Brees nearly led the Saints on a pretty epic comeback, only New Orleans own rookie, Mark Ingram, was stuffed on an untimed down after A.J. Hawk drew a pass interference call while leaping over Darren Sproles on the final play.

It was an odd call by Sean Payton, particularly considering a run up the middle would have been more effective when he eschewed a shot at three points late in the third quarter and had Brees roll out, only to lose the play and possession.

But fourth-down debates aside, the biggest problem New Orleans -- and the rest of the league -- will have if they see the Packers again is stopping Rodgers and this offense.

The defense will be good again in 2011 (very good, in fact) but this offense is somehow more loaded than it was when the Packers stormed the playoffs. There's little reason to think that the NFC North is even remotely up for grabs if Rodgers and crew can continue playing like this.

And there's even less reason to think they should have been worried about what they did this offseason given they way they showed up on Thursday.

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Posted on: September 8, 2011 12:34 am
Edited on: September 8, 2011 5:09 pm

7-Point Preview: Packers vs. Saints

Posted by Will Brinson

Eye on Football's patented 7-Point Preview will get you prepped for some of the biggest games of the 2011 NFL season. Don't forget to check out our podcast preview below and Subscribe to the Pick-Six Podcast on iTunes.

1. Green Bay Packers (0-0) vs. New Orleans Saints (0-0)
The NFL is back. (!) And what a way to kick things off, huh? The last two Super Bowl winners square off at one of the sport's greatest venues, Lambeau Field, in primetime on a Thursday following a turmoil-filled lockout that eventually led to one of the craziest offseasons and most anticipated regular seasons in recent NFL history.

It's also the first time that two Super Bowl MVPs -- Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers -- will face off against each other on the NFL's opening weekend since 1993 -- when Troy Aikman and Mark Rypien, of the Cowboys and Redskins, respectively -- went head-to-head.

And presumably the first time that Kid Rock has been within 100 yards of whoever the people are that form Maroon 5. Of course, these bands apparently impressed Packers wideout Greg Jennings, who referred to this game as a "mini-Super Bowl." Mr. Rodgers would like to disagree, sir.

"It's a similar feel to a big game, a playoff game," Rodgers said. "I don't want to say the Super Bowl. There's a big atmosphere outside the stadium. But the only thing that matters is taking care of business on the field."

Winners of Super Bowl XLV last season, the Packers have pretty good historical odds on their side in terms of this opening game. The previous 45 Super Bowl winners are 37-7-1 in their season opener the following year, and 10-0 in the last decade when it comes to showing up early and often the next year.

But then again, the last ten Super Bowl winners probably weren't chugging beer cheese in the offseason, and everyone knows how nasty a hangover that creates.

Of course, that's all the past. We're talking about the future now, and both these teams should be wearing shades. Thanks to the roster-building skils of Ted Thompson, the Packers are arguably the biggest favorite to win the Super Bowl again in 2011 and, honestly, look like team with dynasty stamped all over it.

The Saints had a "down" year in 2010, but are clearly motivated by their embarrassing wild-card loss to Seattle last year and certainly have the personnel and the talent to get back to February.

2. What the Nerds and Degenerate Gamblers Say:
Well, Vegas unsurprisingly has this game as a high-scoring affair, as the over/under is set at 47.5. That's the highest point total of the entire first weekend, which is interesting because it just occurred to me that the lockout will probably cause suppressed over/unders to start the season. And 47.5 is unsurprising because the lockout has people so jacked for football that their willing to throw piles of money on touchdowns.

The Packers are a (relatively) heavy favorite at -4.5. None of our NFL experts picks went towards New Orleans straight-up, and only Clark Judge and I selected the Saints against the spread. I don't want to say that Clark and I came out firing last year and you should bet on the Saints, but Clark and I came out firing last year. You should bet on the Saints.

Unfortunately, there are no stats on-hand to say "hey, the Packers and Saints can really throw the ball well" just quite yet. At least not for this season anyway. But, it's quite interesting that the Saints and Packers are very close in Football Outsiders' projections for the 2011 season. Green Bay's defensive DVOA is nearly elite (like, almost top-six) and a very stout good offense (like, almost top-10).

New Orleans doesn't project to having a particularly impressive defense, but their offensive DVOA is elite, ranking in the top-five.

3. Key Matchup to Watch
With that nerdiness in mind, perhaps the best matchup to pick is Aaron Rodgers vs. Greg Williams. Look, Rodgers may not like fancy GQ photospreads, but he's a very talented quarterback who, as Ryan and I mentioned above, has gotten very good at moving quickly through his progressions. Add in his athleticism and unbelievable arm and, yeah, he's very good at football and very difficult to contain.

That's where Williams -- a fiery fella in his own right -- comes in. If you want to beat Rodgers, you have to put him on the ground. And if you want to put Rodgers on the ground, you have to blitz him, unless you can generate enough pass rush from your defensive line to get through Green Bay's offensive front. (Good luck with that.)

"The one thing about Aaron Rodgers that’s most impressive is that he was the best quarterback last year against the blitz and the pressure," safety Malcolm Jenkins said. "He gets the ball out of his hand quick, so we've got to find ways to create some things."

Given that defensive end Will Smith is suspended for this game, there's an even bigger onus on Williams to generate pressure on Rodgers from somewhere other than straight-up defensive fronts.

If he can put Rodgers on his butt early, the Saints will be able to scale this thing back from a full-on shoot-out. If not, we could see a lot of Packers players doing their best Michael Jackson impersonations into the end zone.

4. Potentially Relevant YouTube
This is the first time in Thursday night Kickoff Weekend history that the past two defending Super Bowl winners are playing to open up the season and, frankly, I love it. Of course it doesn't really hurt that it's the Saints and Packers, which should provide fireworks on both sides of the ball. To honor their recent success, as well as Freddie Mercury's recent would-have-been birthday, why don't we bring back some Queen to our previews?

5. The Packers will win if ...
Rodgers can stay on his feet. The lasting reminder of Rodgers, for anyone who watched the 2010 playoffs, is that he's untouchable. And his mobility does make it hard to bring him down. But if you'll recall, Rodgers and the Packers looked like they were going to miss the playoffs when the quarterback had to sit out against New England -- a game Green Bay nearly won with Matt Flynn under center -- last year, so it's not unheard of for Rodgers to get knocked around a bit.

If he can stay on his feet and remain untouched during most of Thursday night's game, though, he'll end up finding Jennings, Jermichael Finley, Donald Driver and James Jones and Jordy Nelson plenty of times, and probably end up giving Williams a new highlight reel to show his defense.

6. The Saints will win if ...
They can establish the run and keep Green Bay's talented linebackers from attacking too much. It's something that's doable -- the Packers ranked just 24th in the NFL in rush defense in 2010. But despite the stereotype that the Saints are a passing team, they truly found success (and a Super Bowl victory) in 2009 by running the ball extremely well, as they finished sixth in the NFL with 131.6 yards per game on the ground.

That dipped off tremendously last year, which is precisely why they jumped up in the draft to grab Mark Ingram. If he, starter Pierre Thomas and the speedy Darren Sproles can generate a substantial ground attack, the Saints have a very good shot at prevailing.

"There’ll be plenty of touches not only for Pierre, but for Mark and Darren," Saints coach Sean Payton said. "And it’s our job to mix those up and also to let the running back get comfortable and get in a rhythm when he's in the game."

That (those?) comfort zone(s) will be key for a potential Saints win.

7. Prediction: Packers 24, Saints 21

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Posted on: September 5, 2011 5:00 pm

Podcast: Peyton Manning's injury, Tressel, Week 1

Posted by Will Brinson & Ryan Wilson

CBSSports.com's Pick-Six Podcast never takes a break. Or we thought that Labor Day meant we were supposed to work and accidentally showed up to the office. Whatever. While we're here: get your iTunes subscribtion on right here.

You can also listen below, when we talk about Peyton Manning's injury, Jim Tressel's non-suspension suspension, whether Randy Moss is coming back, whether Matt Cassel will start in Week 1, Sean Payton's contract, why Tiki Barber is so laughable and much, much more.

Hit the play button below to listen (and did we mention that you should subscribe to the podcast via iTunes?). If you can't listen to the podcast below, download it here. And if you'd like to keep working while listening in your browser, pop that puppy out in a new tab here.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.

Posted on: September 5, 2011 12:12 pm

Sean Payton, Saints reach extension through 2015

Posted by Will Brinson

Sean Payton has very quickly risen up the ranks to become one of the elite head coaches in the NFL, and within just a few years of his first head-coaching gig, applied a Super Bowl victory to his resume.

Which is why it makes perfect sense that the Saints signed him to a contract extension, which the team announced on Monday.

"I am very pleased to announce this contract extension today for Sean that will run through the 2015 season," Saints owner Tom Benson said in a statement released by the team. "Our goal is to continue to build a TRADITION of winning here in New Orleans and Sean represents that tradition."

Payton, along with quarterback Drew Brees, represent a very different era for New Orleans football. Not only did they win the Super Bowl in 2009, but they revived a moribund franchise in the middle of the most devastating of times for the city, immediately following Hurricane Katrina's devastation.

Though they couldn't follow up that success with a repeat in 2010 and though the Saints did lose in crushing style to the Seahawks in the playoffs last year, there's little question that Payton's success in New Orleans is something that will continue throughout his tenure there, primarily thanks to his incredible offensive mind.

Which is why the Saints wisely locked him in for the next half decade.

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Posted on: August 31, 2011 12:08 pm
Edited on: August 31, 2011 12:50 pm

Brees: Contract talks with Saints are 'ongoing'

Posted by Will Brinson

Drew Brees might not be the most popular guy with retired players, but he's certainly well-liked in New Orleans, thanks to his leading the Saints to a Super Bowl victory in 2009 and generally making them awesome ever since they signed him.

Brees contract is up after the 2011 season, so there's some concern about making sure he doesn't bounce from the bayou. Fortunately, the quarterback recently said that the Saints and his agent Tom Condon are in the process of working out the details.

"They've been in discussions," Brees said, per Nakia Hogan of the New Orleans Times-Picayune. "That's been ongoing."

The scrutiny around Brees' deal heated up primarily because of the recent six-year, $100 million deal that Philadelphia handed quarterback Michael Vick. Brees is, naturally, aware of that deal.

"I did see it," Brees said of Vick's deal. "It looks like a nice contract. Obviously I don't know any of the details other than the six years and $100 million."

And that's all we really need to know (although Vick may be making less than that). Peyton Manning got a five-year, $90 million deal from the Colts and Tom Brady also received $18 million a year with $78 million in total money for the life of the contract.

Brees, then, seems like a good bet to get something around and/or in between the $16-ish million a year Vick gets and the $18-ish million that Brady and Manning are scheduled to receive over the life of their extensions.

It doesn't hurt, of course, that Condon also represents Manning -- pretty clearly he's an agent who understands the relative market value of Brees more so than anyone else right now.

The Saints know that, which is it shouldn't take them all that long to lock down the 32-year-old for the remainder of his career.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com