Tag:New Orleans Saints
Posted on: August 10, 2010 9:58 am
Edited on: August 10, 2010 10:09 am

Hot Routes 8.10.2010

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

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--The Steelers don’t have much depth at outside linebacker. Which is why they drafted Jason Worilds in the second round and Thaddeus Gibson in the fourth round. Still, through a combination of problems , Pittsburgh isn’t getting much production from those two.

--Ravens safety Dawan Landry has been flat-out hurting people in training camp. He busted Willis McGahee’s lip and he smashed Derrick Mason so hard that Mason sprained his ankle. Without crazy-man FS Ed Reed in the lineup for the time being, Landry is exactly what Baltimore needs in its shredded defensive back corps. 

--The Dolphins released a preseason depth chart, and there a couple of interesting decisions on there. For one, Joe Berger is ahead of Jake Grove for starting center. Brian Hartline is listed as a starting WR. Chad Pennington is fourth-string QB behind Tyler Thigpen and Pat White. ESPN.com cautions none of this means much of anything yet.

--Jets coach Rex Ryan admits he made a mistake last year placing Vernon Gholston at outside linebacker. Gholston has been an absolute bust since New York took him in the first round of the 2008 draft – come to think of it, maybe we should wait at least one more year before giving him the big ol’ bust label, though Gholston has been pretty bad – but Ryan says he’s really excited about Gholston’s prospects this season. 

--Dolphins CEO Mike Dee wrote a letter to Miami’s fans and posted it on the team’s web site , apologizing for canceling Monday’s practice at Sun Life Stadium. Take it easy, Mike. I don’t think fans will blame you for the weather. Still, a class move from Dee.

--What will it be like when the Patriots and Saints hold a joint practice today? The Boston Herald has the FAQ and the answers . There won’t be a scrimmage, but the two teams will work together in individual drills and some down-and-distance situations. 

--The Browns players have 17 active Twitter accounts, but after Brandon McDonald’s crude Tweets in the past, the Cleveland organization will be paying a watchful eye at how the rest of the Browns participate in the social media world. Mangini, though, admits that he doesn’t expect his players to stop using Twitter

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Posted on: August 9, 2010 10:02 am
Edited on: August 9, 2010 10:32 am

Hot Routes 8.9.10: 'Drew, Barry. Barry, Drew.'

Posted by Will Brinson

Got a link for the Hot Routes? Follow us on Twitter or email will [dot] brinson [at] cbs [dot] com .
  • Rough morning for the Saints, huh? 9:05 AM -- sharp! -- is their arrival at the White House to "honor their 2009 season." Did you know that on the new Madden 11 (review coming soon!) if you win the Super Bowl you get to meet Barack Obama? Pretty awesome. Also, Gus Johnson does a monologue about "how far this team HAS COME!" Or something to that effect.  
  • In not-so-shocking news, Marvin Lewis says that his offense's performance was 'not what I wanted.' Really, Marvin. A rookie running back a punt 63-yards for a first-and-goal to set up your only points of the entire preseason game isn't something you like? REALLY. I'd be more interested in his answer to the question, "What happens if Carson Palmer gets hurt this year?"
  • The Cowboys won last night and their defense was spectacular, but it's absolutely worth discussing what the mess went on with the red zone offense , particularly in that four play nightmare that was the the first drive, starting with Felix Jones' fumble on the one. The logic behind throwing the ball three straight times is apparently "We don't want to show the stuff we're using [in the regular season]" according to Tony Romo. Uh, Tony, I think you just did.
  • Rave reviews are floating out of Pittsburgh for Mike Wallace's transition from slot receiver to split end. OC Bruce Arians points out that last year "he had a role for a rookie that was very easy: Go deep, clear the field ..." Now Wallace has the full receiving tree package to manage, in addition to bumps up in the opposing cornerbacks coverage he'll theoretically see. (Although my pal JJ Cooper did a superb job of pointing out that Wallace has already faced elite coverage and handled it well.) Still think he has a breakout year.
  • Cool profile at the KC Star on Dexter McCluster , who, as I told Matt Moore on our AFC North Podcast Preview, I think could end up being a beast this year. Apparently, he's already blown out four pairs of shoes so far in training camp with his explosive feet. There's a line in there that involves something about "The next Dante Hall except also effective on offense."
  • Aaron Schobel is a popular dude. The Patriots have 'strong' interest in him and Seahawks GM John Schneider joined John Clayton's radio show last week to point out that if he doesn't sign with the Texans (who are also very interested, duh), the Seahawks would be a contender for his services. Clearly, this is the type of guy that you want you cut from your team as quickly as humanly possible. SMH at the Bills.
  • Would you like to see Jerry Rice shoot the entire football-watching world the bird during a nationally televised football game? Excellent, I have just the YouTube link for you !
  • If you'd like to break your brain early on a Monday morning, I highly suggest reading J.J. Halsell's Rookie Contract write-up at Football Outsiders . I tried to logically comprehend everything he's saying two minutes after waking up from a post-brunch Sunday afternoon nap and dude, brah, let me tell you. The buzz was amazing . (Seriously though, if you have some free time today, read it. It helps in understanding why you should hate lawyers and agents so much.)
  • If I'm ever in a nationally televised commercial about my blog during halftime of an NFL game and a bunch of my blogging "friends" don't post a link to it, regardless of what network it's being aired on, I will be very disappointed. So, here's a link to Mike Florio's PFT commercial that aired last night .

Posted on: August 2, 2010 2:12 pm

Darren Sharper's starting job in jeopardy?

Jeff Duncan of the Times Picayune writes that Saints All-Pro safety Darren Sharper finds himself battling just to keep his starting free safety job. The man after Sharper’s job? Last year’s first-round pick Malcolm Jenkins.
According to Duncan, this surprising competition is less about Sharper’s age (34) and knee (recovering from minor microfracture surgery) and more about Jenkins’s impressive play. Coaches tried Jenkins at cornerback last year but quickly learned that the ex-Buckeye doesn’t have loose enough hips or fast enough direction-changing footwork to handle NFL receivers in man coverage. Fortunately, the Saints drafted Jenkins with the idea in mind of ultimately playing him at safety. Duncan writes:D. Sharper (US Presswire)

To Sharper's credit, the competition hasn't become personal. Jenkins said the two remain good friends and teammates. Jenkins considers Sharper, a 14-year-veteran, a mentor and soaks up every word he utters.

"He's teaching me everything he knows," Jenkins said. "He usually tells me things before I have to ask. I couldn't have a better guy to learn from."

Trouble is, this gridiron version of Grasshopper might be surpassing his Master Po in the process. Long considered the heir apparent to Sharper's spot, this truly could be Jenkins' time just as the Saints consider this season "Our Time." The heir just might be apparent sooner than expected.

"Entitlement is not a part of the National Football League," (defensive coordinator Gregg) Williams said. "You have to re-prove yourself every year in this league. And the best thing for Darren Sharper's rehab is to see Malcolm Jenkins play so well every day."

Intriguing as Jenkins looks, let’s remember that Sharper, still recovering from knee surgery, has not been in action yet. Opinions could change once the veteran hits the field.

--Andy Benoit

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Posted on: July 29, 2010 1:41 pm

Belichick has an interesting explanation

Wading through the Bill Belichick news conference transcript, and I found a couple of interesting comments. Belichick doesn’t seem like the kind of coach who wants to share any information with anybody outside the Patriots organization. Media, obviously, but also, other teams as well.

That’s why it’s a little surprising – at least, to me – that New England will practice against other teams during training camp. Belichick was asked about the thought process about holding dual workouts with the Saints and the Falcons.

“I think it starts with just having a real good relationship with both organizations,” Belichick said. “We’ve talked about that from time to time, not just this year, but it just worked out. We’re playing them early in the preseason, and right away we talked about it as something we would want to do that would be beneficial. I think that’s the most important thing – the logistics and then having a good working relationship with the team. Not that we didn’t have good working relationships with Andy (Reid) in Philly or John (Harbaugh) at Baltimore – teams we’ve opened up with in the past – it just didn’t logistically work as well for both of us, but maybe that’s something in the future we could do.

And how does this help from a competitive standpoint? Does this add a little bit of excitement to an otherwise monotonous training camp?

“I think there is definitely an element of that,” he said. “I also think that it gives you a different look at their plays that they run that we don’t run. There are looks that New Orleans and Atlanta will give us that we will see in the preseason games, but we’ll also have a chance to practice against them and I think that is healthy too. You get to evaluate your players against not just your own players, but against other players at a high level and see how you (match up). It’s not always just ability; it’s how a certain player matches up against a player or type of player. I think that’s valuable.

“The other thing that’s always a problem is trying to get your team ready for the first preseason game. You’ve got 75, 70 guys – however many are going to play in the game – and trying to get them practice reps where they are really prepared to play. It’s a lot easier if you can just practice against the team. That is the scouting report; that is the preparation. And then let them go out there and play and the same thing for their team. Rather than us trying to simulate you guys, we’ll be us, you be you, and we’ll let them go out and play in the preseason.”

--Josh Katzowitz

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Posted on: July 28, 2010 5:10 pm

Saints finally find a backup for Brees

WWLTV in New Orleans is reporting that the Saints have finally found a backup for Drew Brees: ninth-year pro Patrick Ramsey. The former first-round pick of the Redskins is a native of Ruston, LA. Ramsey started off and on the first three years of his career, but he was often hindered by injuries.

When Ramsey’s career hit a crossroads in ’05 (his final seasonin Washington), it was thought that he would dwindle into a backup. That’s what happened – sort of. Over the last five seasons, Ramsey has been with the Jets, Broncos, Titans and Lions. He has made zero starts and has appeared in only four games (none since 2007).

--Andy Benoit

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Posted on: July 23, 2010 6:35 pm

Saints upgrade pass-rush with McCray return

Some general NFL news upkeep: Yesterday the New Orleans Saints re-signed veteran end Bobby McCray to a one-year contract. McCray started for an injured Charles Grant during the playoff run last season. Surprisingly, he was released earlier this offseason. B. McCray

McCray’s presence is potentially crucial to a New Orleans pass-rush that would have been little more than decent with only Will Smith and Alex Brown. Expect McCray’s primary role to be sharing third-down reps with Brown. It’s not entirely out of the question that McCray could start ahead of Brown. McCray is a limber athlete with good initial quickness. He plays upright, though, which gives him problems as a playside run anchor. Brown, however, with his questionable strength, has the same issue.

--Andy Benoit 

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Posted on: July 20, 2010 10:25 pm

Paging R. Bush Mr. Bush to the courtesy phone

R. Bush after winning the Heisman Trophy (Getty). So, Southern California said today that it will return its copy of current Saints RB Reggie Bush’s Heisman Trophy for his role in the recruiting scandal that led to severe NCAA sanctions against the Trojans.

In a memo in which he also said he was replacing former USC athletic director Mike Garrett with Pat Haden, school president-elect C.L. Max Nikias wrote the following:

The Trojan family honors and respects the USC sporting careers of those persons whose actions did not compromise their athletic program or the opportunities of future USC student-athletes. Accordingly, I have instructed the senior vice president for administration to remove athletic jerseys and murals displayed in recognition of O.J. Mayo and Reggie Bush by mid-August -- before the incoming class of students moves on campus -- from Heritage Hall, the Galen Center and the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The university also will return Mr. Bush's 2005 Heisman Trophy to the Heisman Trophy Trust in August.

But what about Bush? Will he give back his trophy as well?

Well, we don’t know. Bush hasn’t updated his Twitter account since the news broke. Bush also was supposed to participate in a chat on eastbay.com , but strangely enough, this is the message on the web site:

“Unfortunately we have had to postpone our online chat with Reggie Bush today. We apologize for the inconvenience. We are currently working with Reggie to reschedule.”

--Josh Katzowitz

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter.

Posted on: July 12, 2010 9:01 am

Saints selling books

Saints head coach Sean Payton is a Super Bowl winner AND best-selling author. Payton’s book, Hometeam, debuted at No. 8 on the New York Times best-seller list for Hardcover non-fiction.

Drew Brees also has a book out (co-authored with Mark Brunell, by the way) titled Coming Back Stronger: Unleashing the Hidden Power of Adversity. It is currently No. 5 on Amazon.

Brees had three book signings in New Orleans, Saturday, which, according to the Times Picayune, attracted not just legions of readers, but roughly 1,000 tailgaters.

--Andy Benoit 

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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