Tag:New Orleans Saints
Posted on: September 10, 2010 12:17 pm
Edited on: September 10, 2010 12:28 pm

Three thoughts about NO-MIN

B. Favre and the Minnesota passing offense had a rough game (AP). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

My take on Thursday’s Saints 14-9 win against the Vikings.

1. I loved the “We are one” salute at the beginning of the game, signifying the players’ solidarity with each other as they enter the final season of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement. Some people didn’t like it – they thought it was too showy or too much of a flick-our-noses-at-the-owners kind of moment (and I’ve seen a joke or two on Twitter about how the owners should show solidarity by turning off the lights for a minute)  – but I thought the move was pretty damn cool.

"Even though five minutes from then we were going to go out and bash each others' heads in," QB Drew Brees told reporters after the game, "we're all one voice."

2. Jeez, how much did the Vikings miss WR Sidney Rice last night? More importantly, how much will they miss him until he can return from hip surgery? Percy Harvin was mostly invisible (one catch, 12 yards), and Bernard Berrian was, somehow, worse (one catch, three yards), and aside from TE Visanthe Shiancoe, Minnesota’s passing game was terribly unimpressive. Greg Camarillo made a nice catch, and even Greg Lewis recorded a reception. But originally, I thought Harvin and Berrian would be OK until Rice returned. I might have been totally wrong. And if Shiancoe is the only receiving threat – he was Thursday, at least – and the Saints figured out a way to shut him down in the second half, it’s not far-fetched to think other teams will do the same.
P. Thomas had a big second half for New Orleans (AP).
You also have to wonder about Brett Favre. Not just that he might be too old (finally), but that his decision to miss most of training camp cost his team dearly. As Camarillo said after the game, the offense had no chemistry. A couple extra weeks of practicing together might have helped solve that.

3. The Saints ran the ball just three times in the first half, but the coaching staff switched gears in the second half and made a point of giving the ball to Pierre Thomas. He rushed 19 times for 71 yards, and he helped New Orleans eat up huge chunks of time in the fourth quarter to keep the Vikings at bay. The big run came with 1:59 to go when, on a second and six, Thomas broke a Ben Leber tackle (which would have stopped him behind the first-down marker) and made the first down to seal Minnesota’s fate.

Of course, much of the credit must go to New Orleans interior linemen. Guards Jahri Evans and Carl Nicks were outstanding against one of the best defensive lines in the NFL.

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Posted on: September 9, 2010 3:45 pm

Payton's comments about Favre add to intrigue

Posted by Andy Benoit

Larry Holder provided an excellent Saints-Vikings preview to CBSSports.com earlier today . Holder focused primarily on the war of words between players and coaches regarding how the Saints went after Brett Favre in the NFC Championship. This was a hot issue earlier in the offseason when Darren Sharper and Visanthe Shiancoe exchanged jabs via Twitter. The issue recently gained more steam when Vikings coach Brad Childress reached into Phil Jackson’s bag of tricks and decided to publicly gripe about the officiating before the game was even played.

Now, you can add another battle to this war of words. Jeff Duncan of the New Orleans Times Picayune wrote a story Thursday, revealing what Saints head coach Sean Payton said to his players about Favre before facing Favre in the NFC Championship:

"When you get older in life, you tend to get very careful, and a little more fearful," Payton said, according to players and staffers who were there. "You start thinking about your own mortality. If it rains outside you might not go to the store, especially at night. You figure you'll just wait it out. You might have somewhere to go and you tell yourself I don't want to go there. You don't want to get in a wreck.

"If you keep hitting him (on Sunday) he'll make a mistake. If we keep putting pressure on him (Sunday night) he'll start being careful, he'll start doing anything he can to avoid getting hit and he'll make a mistake. I promise you, if we hit him for four quarters, he'll turn into that old man who's scared of the rain."

It should be noted that Favre and Payton are friends (they spoke a few days after that epic NFC Title Game).

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Posted on: September 7, 2010 12:38 pm

Hot Routes 9.7.10 priming for Week 1

Posted by Andy Benoit

With Johnathan Casillas on Injured Reserve (foot), the Saints are trying to figure out who to start at weakside linebacker.

The Ravens aren’t sure who will be available at right tackle against the Jets on Monday. Top option Jared Gaither has been battling back problems; backup Oniel Cousins is still recovering from a concussion.

This is the time of year where quarterback J.T. O’Sullivan usually latches on with a new team. This year, he chose the Chargers. This is O’Sullivan’s ninth different team in the past nine years.

Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens have joined forces for a reality show on Versus. They both had shows on VH1 that recently came to a close.

If, by chance, you care about a bunch of low-level Bronco players getting new jersey numbers, then click here.

Mike McCarthy is willing to use his starters on special teams this season. He must have watched the ’09 Steelers closely. (Most notable starter on special teams: cornerback Tramon Williams, who will be returning punts.)

Nice story here: Dolphins CB Sean Smith reunited with his sisters after 14 years.

Vikings CB Cedric Griffin is ahead of schedule on his ACL recovery and could play against the Saints. Griffin tore his ACL in the NFC Championship game. With Wes Welker and Jamaal Jackson returning, as well, it’s time to reexamine the way we view ACL injuries.

The Jaguars avoided a blackout for their season opener. (The Broncos are coming to town; the Tebow factor?)

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Posted on: September 3, 2010 5:34 pm
Edited on: September 3, 2010 5:47 pm

Darren Sharper on PUP, out first 6 weeks

Posted by Andy Benoit

The New Orleans Saints have placed Darren Sharper on PUP, according to Brian Allee-Walsh of NewOrleans.com.

The star safety is still recovering from an offseason microfracture procedure on his knee. Sharper will miss the first six games of the season.
D. Sharper (US Presswire)
This is a significant blow for the Saints. Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams’ aggressive blitz tactics are dependent on having an imposing secondary. Sharper is New Orleans’ rangiest pass defender. His playmaking prowess is what enables the Saints corners to be the aggressors in coverage.

Malcolm Jenkins, with stiff hips and slow change-of-direction abilities, struggled mightily as a rookie at corner last season. But coaches are confident he can replace Sharper in centerfield. Jenkins is a more natural zone defender. Ostensibly, he’ll be better at safety, where he can play in space and see all the action in front of him.

Nevertheless, we’re talking about an untested 22-year-old replacing a five-time All-Pro (and possible future Hall of Famer). The Saints defense now has a bit of an uphill climb to start the season.

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Posted on: September 3, 2010 5:18 pm
Edited on: September 3, 2010 7:02 pm

Notable cuts from Friday

Posted by Andy Benoit

With teams having to trim their rosters to 53 by Saturday, we’re seeing some familiar names showing up on the cut lists. Here are some of the headliners so far…
B. McCray (US Presswire)
Cody Brown, OLB, Cardinals

He was a second-round pick just one year ago. Second round! But injuries and bankrupt playmaking skills led to his quick release. This speaks volumes about Brown. The only other backup outside linebacker on Arizona’s roster who was even drafted is Will Davis (sixth-round pick 2009).

Bobby McCray, DE, Saints

No surprise here – the Saints cut him once already in June. They brought him back in July, but anyone who has dated their ex-lover knows how scenarios like these generally play out. McCray still has quickness off the edge – any team looking for pass-rushing help should give him a look.

Damione Lewis, DL, Patriots

Lewis has spent his entire career as a 4-3 defensive tackle. At 32, he was trying to make the transition to 3-4 defensive end. The Patriots are fairly thin on the edges up front after the loss of Ty Warren, but obviously not thin enough to keep the ex-Panther/Ram. Lewis started 31 games over the past two seasons. Don’t be surprised if he becomes one of those regular mid-season veteran acquisitions (ala Darwin Walker, Hollis Thomas or Grady Jackson).

Monty Beisel, ILB, Cardinals

This one is a true shocker. Beisel is by no means a star, but the Cardinals are by no means stable at inside linebacker. Obviously, they feel good about second-round rookie Daryl Washington. And, they must feel a lot better about Paris Lenon then those of us who have watched the fairy-footed veteran on film the past few years. The Cardinals are counting on Washington and Lenon to start, as inside linebacking mainstay Gerald Hayes is on PUP with back problems.

One would think Beisel would have started ahead of Lenon – or, in the very least, would have provided veteran experience off the bench. Instead, it looks like the Cards are prepared to roll the dice with former undrafted free agents Pago Togafau and Reggie Walker.

Jason Hill, WR, 49ers

Hill, a third-round pick in 2007, was a developing possession receiver, but he never quite developed rapidly enough. The Niners have recently grown fond of Dominique Zeigler, which made Hill expendable. Also, the Niners said goodbye to backup running back Michael Robinson. This suggests that Brian Westbrook will make the final roster.

Kris Brown, K, Texans

Texans newcomer Neil Rackers has won the team's kicking competition. Brown was the last original Texan.

Ladell Betts, RB, Saints

Half of you realize this is probably the end of the road for Betts. The other half of you are still surprised to learn that he’s been on the Saints roster these past few weeks.

Anthony Becht, TE, Cardinals

The long-armed veteran is a reliable blocker, but with younger, more athletic options Ben Patrick and Stephen Spach both healthy, Becht became expendable.

Kraig Urbik, G, Steelers

Maybe you don’t recognize this name. That’s precisely the problem. Urbik was a third-round pick last season. With the Steelers being resoundingly mediocre at right guard, it was expected that Urbik would push for playing time right away. Instead, he did absolutely nothing.

Al Afalava, S, Bears

Afalava saw time as a starting sixth-round rookie last season, but he did nothing to stand out. The Bears are crowded in the secondary anyway. Still, we’re talking about a young player with starting experience getting cut.

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Posted on: August 31, 2010 12:10 pm
Edited on: August 31, 2010 12:53 pm

Saints DL coach will miss the next month

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

On the heels of the news that Browns NT Shaun Rogers won’t face a suspension, Saints DL coach Travis Jones will be harshly punished for his role in a real estate scheme that affected more than 40 people in Texas, costing them millions of dollars while making him more than $85,000.

So writes the New Orleans Times Picayune , which quotes GM Mickey Loomis as saying that Jones is cooperating with federal agents and will participate in a program that will educate others in the NFL about his experience.

In case you forgot what happened, the Associated Press has a good recap of the crime Jones committed (Jones, for the record, already has pleaded guilty).

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Posted on: August 28, 2010 5:45 pm

Jonathan Vilma, Trent Cole injuries not serious

Posted by Andy Benoit J. Vilma

Saints fans held their collective breath after middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma left in the third quarter of Friday night’s game against the Chargers with a groin injury. No need to worry. Vilma wrote on his Facebook page , "Thanks guys for all your posts wishing me luck. "i'll be fine, i'm not letting ANYTHING stop me from showing up to the party sept 9! believe that!!"

Vilma battled knee problems as a Jet, but he has missed only one game since joining the Saints in 2008. He’s the signalcaller and most viable run stopper (by far) on the New Orleans defense. His leadership is especially important early this season, as the Saints are breaking in a callow new weakside linebacker (undrafted second-year player Jonathan Casillas) and moving Scott Shanle over to the strong side. T. Cole

In an unrelated note, Eagles defensive end Trent Cole, who left Friday night’s game against the Chiefs with an ankle injury, is also fine. An MRI revealed no structural damage. Cole is listed as day-to-day (like the rest of us).

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Posted on: August 27, 2010 4:32 pm

Friday's preseason action: what/why to watch

Posted by Andy Benoit

Four preseason games on the docket tonight – all considered “dress rehearsals” for Week 1. Here’s what/why to watch.

Falcons @ Dolphins

You have brothers Peria and John Jerry squaring off. You have cornerback Benny Sapp’s highly-anticipated Dolphins debut. You have a forecast for rain (which, in Miami this time of year, usually means a downpour).

Strictly football-wise, Dolphins young cornerbacks Vontae Davis and Sean Smith have struggled this preseason. If they have another rough night, you may start to here serious whispers of concern coming out of South Beach.

Redskins @ Jets

There’s always the Haynesworth watch (which is a reason to tune in for the postgame coverage, as well). There’s also the Hard Knocks drinking/gambling game (predicting which plays make it on next week’s episode of Hard Knocks – the payout from this obviously has to wait until Wednesday night, but you can lay the groundwork for it now).

Donovan McNabb is not playing, which means you get to see Rex Grossman square off against Rex Ryan’s defense. Watching Grossman at the line of scrimmage against the swarming Jets will be like watching a rattled foreigner ask for directions in the middle of oncoming traffic. Should be entertaining.

Chargers @ Saints (8:00 ET, CBS)

We’d play the “Drew Brees versus his former team” angle here, but one has to assume Brees’s Super Bowl ring – and San Diego’s lack of Super Bowl rings – makes that rivalry somewhat of a dead issue. Especially in the preseason.

So, instead, we’ll watch this game to once again see how the Charger offense performs without star left tackle Marcus McNeil and wide receiver Vincent Jackson. For most fans, this will also be the first glimpse of first-round rookie running back Ryan Mathews.

Eagles @ Chiefs

Some are saying Matt Cassel has something to prove and a chip on the shoulder and whatever else it is that athletes supposedly find for motivation. Tonight will be Cassel’s truest test thus far in Charlie Weis’ system.

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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