Saints News: 7.17.08

There is a ridiculous amount of news to report today, so I am gonna make you jump over. This will also allow those fantasy football virgins and newbies to check out Stujo4's nice little introduction to flea flicker and fantasy football basics.


Has a local Mexican restaurant come out with Fujita Fajita's yet?. (Photo Source)

Alright, lets get this party started. The New Orleans Saints official website had two good in-depth articles. The first one is about LB Scott Fujita. I will let Scott do the rest of the talking.

On giving back to the community.

"Nowhere is what you do in the community more important than what you do there (in New Orleans)," Fujita said. "I’ve been around the country a lot with different teams, and just getting out and spending time talking to people has the most outreaching results than anything else you can do. Just hearing their stories and being back in New Orleans playing football has done a lot for me."

"Working with young kids is fun, because you get some of the most outlandish questions in the world, which are always great," said Fujita, who visits schools to talk about education, sports and healthy lifestyles. "When you get kids in the high school age, you feel like you’re actually having a chance to help mold them to a certain extent and get them really serious about school as they prepare to go on to college.

"That’s the most important thing—the more you can stress school to these kids and take care of that education, that’s the best thing I think we (athletes) can offer them."

"For me, throughout my life, I have countless great examples from people about how to make the best out of a bad situation," a pensive Fujita reflected. "With New Orleans, there are so many people who have been through so much more than I’ve ever been through in my life. I have no reason to complain about anything."

On playing in the NFL.

"Everyone in the world has dreams and I didn’t think all this would happen or I’d be in the league, but I just took care of school and played sports on the side and it kind of worked out this way. My ‘Welcome to the NFL’ moment … was my first preseason game and first time ever stepping onto the field. A 10-year veteran in front of me pulled me aside. I was just about to go onto the field and he said, ‘You earned this. You deserve the right to be here.’ I’ll never forget that."

On his performance as a player.

"I’m pleased, but never satisfied. It’s going to take a lot to completely satisfy me," he said. "All those things like the Pro Bowl are nice, but a lot of that is a hype contest at the same time. I just want to do my part and be the best player I can be for the team. Everything else will just fall into place."

On the team this season.

"All the pieces are really in place," Fujita said. "It’s just continuing to find the right guys that fit. That’s what Coach (Sean) Payton wants to do. I think he started that … as soon as he was hired—bringing in high-character guys and putting together a good, solid locker room. That’s what’s going to win championships," he added.

On his future.

"I’ve got a couple years left on this deal and ideally I can finish my career in New Orleans," Fujita said. "I’m glad they made a commitment to keep me here. I just want that and once I get a Super Bowl ring, I can retire peacefully."

By the way, Scott is no idiot. He actually has a Master's degree.


Craft Macaroni and Cheese. (Photo Source)

The second article from the New Orleans Saints official website goes one on one with CB Jason Craft. It's all about Jason's veteran status and all of the new faces in the locker room this year.

"There have been a lot of new faces in here," Craft said of the team’s locker room. "But I look around and you think of all the good guys in here that really want to win and how much fun it is to come to work and be working towards that goal of a championship. The offense really tests us on a daily basis and we test them back. There is a lot of pride in here."

"By nature, every player worries anytime a new player is coming in that could potentially take your job," Craft said. "But I think back during my career and think about some players that got caught up worrying about something they couldn’t control and it psyched them out and they mentally were not tough enough to battle through it. And, it cost them."

Here is what Craft had to say of Tracy Porter.

"Speed and talent," Craft said of Porter. "He is quiet, asks questions and is a good listener. He is going to be a good player. He’s picking things up quickly."

And this is what he said about Randall Gay.

"He’s a gamer," said Craft. "He makes plays and has instant respect because he has the ring and has played a variety of positions and played them well. He brings a lot to the secondary."

But what do other Saints players and personnel think about Craft?

Roman Harper:

"He’s a true pro," said third-year safety Roman Harper. "He’s smart and picks up things very quickly and then he can tell which of the young guys might struggle with a concept or scheme and he jumps right in to help them out."

"And, he’s one of the nicest guys I have ever met," Harper said. "He likes to laugh and kid around when it’s time, but he is dead serious about the game. You can rely on him and know that when it comes right down to it, he’ll be ready."

Coach Payton:

He’s done a good job in the offseason," Head Coach Sean Payton said of Craft. "He’s been here throughout and he’s familiar with what we’re doing. We’ve tinkered with a few things defensively and he’s handled that. He’s a pretty quick study, and he’ll be in competition with some of these other guys. Once we get into the heat of things, he’ll be in the mix and I think he knows that."

David Patten:

"Jason makes you reach into your bag of tricks," said WR David Patten, also a double-digit veteran of the NFL. "Just lining up against him, he can read where you line up on a field and start to eliminate the type of routes you are going to run, and that’s just something he has picked up on over the course of his career. Younger guys might not understand it quite yet, but a vet like Jason does, so you have to work even harder against him."

"He is always working with the younger players at his position," Patten said. "But the thing that impresses me the most about what he does after a play is that he will pull a young receiver aside and work with him and explain things to him. That’s pretty rare, and it’s a sign of a true team guy."

Whew. Enough info for ya.

For those of you wondering what former ESPN NFL analyst Sean Salisbury 's feelings on Reggie Bush are, have no fear. The Houma Courier has the info you crave.

"He is real close to being special. He just has to stay healthy. He is tough and plays bigger than he is. If the Saints get to where they want to go, he has to step his game up," Salisbury said. "Reggie wants to hit the home run every time he touches the ball and that is OK. But he has to learn to take the short runs and turn that into big runs. A bust after two years? I’m not going there."

"He made it look that we thought it was easy, and he was surrounded by great players," Salisbury said. "I said the same thing about Matt Leinart. They never faced adversity. What, they lost one game in four years. (Bush) averaged 8 yards a carry, surrounded by great quarterbacks and receivers. (In the NFL) you miss the hole by inches and in a split second you are thrown for a loss. At USC, he would make the guy miss then go for 60."

"He is a utility guy, like in baseball, you can put him in centerfield, left field, or shortstop. Could you imagine him lining up in six different areas? (Saints coach) Sean Payton is a smart guy, it is just getting Reggie comfortable," Salisbury said. "Once Payton can define what he wants to do with him and get him in a comfort zone, then he will just react. You saw what Peterson did last year, and he was just reacting."

Finally, Sean gave his opinion about the Saints future and their 2008 season.

"I had them going to the Super Bowl last year. I think they have the quarterback in place with skill people. They have a chance, but you can’t give up 35 points a game," Salisbury said. "If the Saints play defense, they have a chance. If not, they can still win nine to 10 games, but they will lose in the playoffs."


Maybe less of this in 2008. (Photo Source)

Now here is a guy we haven't heard anything about this offseason, TE Eric Johnson. Pro Football Weekly has heard something.

igns pointing to a better year for Saints TE Johnson

Saints TE Eric Johnson is a strong candidate for a bounce-back year after a disappointing debut season in New Orleans, the way we hear it. Sources say he’s bound to be better this time after scuffling through ’07 while battling a case of the drops, which went against the reputation he had built during the six previous seasons with the 49ers. Word is Johnson looked more comfortable in the Saints’ offense during OTAs and is working on carving out a more defined role in the passing game. The Saints clearly think he has more to offer than what he showed last season, since they re-signed him to a one-year deal in March. Nevertheless, Johnson will share snaps with Billy Miller and Mark Campbell, who missed all of ’07 with a back injury. Campbell’s return could relieve Johnson of some pressure — he’s the team’s best run-blocking tight end and will likely allow Johnson to focus more on his pass-catching duties.

An improved Eric Johnson would be excellent news.

 

 

NFL.com did a little breakdown of the Saints and examined some of the important issues facing the team going into training camp. Same old story. We have all heard these same questions so many times they are coming out of our ears. I can't wait until some of these questions actually get answered.

The Sporting News had another position breakdown. This time it was wide receivers, and you know who was on that list.

11. Marques Colston, New Orleans Saints. Colston gets plenty of chances to show his wares in the Saints' aggressive passing attack. He matched Moss in catches (98) last season and only continues to improve. What a steal of a seventh-round pick.

Sports Illustrated released an article telling us the three non-playoff teams from last year that they believe will not miss out on the big dance this year.

New Orleans Saints

The Saints are another team that has improved this offseason. With a Pro Bowl player at quarterback in Drew Brees, and a schedule that has them playing the AFC West and the NFC North, I really like the Saints chances to take over the NFC South from the Buccaneers.

The Saints know how to score points on offense, ranking 12th in the NFL last year. When they can play with a lead like they did in '06, they can become very dangerous. In 2006, the Saints had a plus-66 point differential in first-half points scored and allowed. In 2007, that margin was only 10.

This year, they don't have to deal with the rugged opening schedule that was the result of their remarkable 2006 run. Brees will not be able to start the year as he did in '07, throwing nine interceptions and only one touchdown in the first four games. My only concern is that the Saints need to find a big back between now and the end of the preseason. Once they add this player to their offense, they will be tough to slow down.

Add the Saints to the 2008 playoff roster.

Postscript: I know I am going to get e-mails from diehard Browns and Vikings fans, and the truth of the matter is I like those teams as well, but my editor only wanted three. So it is not that I don't love those teams; I just happen to love these three a little more.

They're on to us!

Apparently, the folks over at the Tampa Tribune didn't get the memo. They think the Bucs are the clear favorite to win the division in 2008. Get ready for me to rip these guys a new one.

The Saints have made some significant defensive pickups, signing free agent LB Jonathan Vilma and drafting DT Sedrick Ellis, but the secondary is still lousy.

So they are just glossing over the signing of Gay and the drafting of Porter. Hmmm.

Payton’s a sharp coach, but the Saints have some huge question marks, particularly on defense.

The Bucs boast the best defense in the division, by far, and Tampa Bay has done a nice job of retooling on the fly. The only returning defensive starters from 2006 are DT Chris Hovan, OLB Derrick Brooks, CB Ronde Barber and S Jermaine Phillips. That’s quite an overhaul in a short period of time for Monte Kiffin’s proud unit.

So the Bucs have practically a whole new defense, yet the Saints aforementioned "significant defensive pickups" are a question mark? Hmmm.

By the way, that is the only thing they mention in the article about the Bucs.

Then they go on bashing the Panthers for a bit (which I'm cool with) until ending with this.

Add it all up and the Bucs have fewer issues than their division peers as they seek to become the first NFC South champion to repeat.

First of all, I am pretty sure the Bucs have their own issues. What's going on with the quarterback situation? What about your receivers? Second of all, is that really the attitude you have regarding your team? "Well, we just have less problems then the other teams, so we will win this division by default."

Ridiculous.

More news to get me riled up. This one is from Scout.com and it looks at the possible teams that might make the move to Los Angeles.

Next up are the New Orleans Saints. Now, I know this is a touchy subject now that New Orleans residence are all the sudden Saints fans again after Hurricane Katrina ravaged the state, but the Saints have a long legacy of a lack of fan support and an owner who wants to move out. There is fear that New Orleans may never become as populated or as big business as it once was, and that leaves the NFL and the franchise in a hard place. Back in 2005, the Washington Post reported that the NFL considered relocating the Saints to Los Angeles if New Orleans is unable to recover from Katrina; not much has changed as New Orleans still struggles to rebuild. Before the storm, it was reported that the Saints had only sold around 25,000 season tickets. Not to mention the fact that previous to Katrina, the Saints were making moves to void their lease with the Superdome, which is beyond outdated even now with its 200 million dollar refurbishments. Saints owner Tom Benson told the city they had until November 27th of 2005 to exercise a clause in the lease of the Superdome that would enable them to void the lease, forgoing the $81 million in subsidies if the Superdome was deemed "unusable". Couple this with the fact that while temporarily stationed in San Antonio, Benson was accused of trying to negotiate a permanent stay in Texas for the Saints. Moving the Saints to Los Angeles now would present a public relations nightmare however, all of the financial conditions seem to point to the Saints moving at some point. It remains to be seen how long their new found fanfare and love of the Saints will last if the Saints get back to their losing ways.

Okay, I know attendance had been lacking during certain years, but I don't think the city ever stopped loving the Saints. I don't think this is a "new found fanfare and love of the Saints." We have always been there, it's tough to love a loser. Put this team in any other city and they would have packed up and moved out a long time ago. Why does the onus get put on us? Why doesn't anyone ever blame the actual franchise for sucking so bad and so often!

Archie, godfather of modern football, says that his son Peyton is fine after surgery to remove an infected bursa sac. This info comes from IndyStar.com. The godfather would like to address you now.

"I think he's doing fine, really," Archie Manning, the father of the Indianapolis Colts quarterback, said this morning. "Peyton will deal with it. He'll rehab and go at it 100 percent.

"I know Peyton and he'll make the best of his days and try to contribute."

"When you play pro football, this is something you deal with," Archie said. "Ninety-nine percent of the players deal with injuries.

"But Peyton's been fortunate through the years. He's been lucky as far as injuries."


Mmmm...delicious. (Photo Source)

Too much tush for Bush. Oh I went there. Tacky I know, but I couldn't help it. Everyone else did it! Apparently Reggie thinks Kim is fat! The NY Post's Page 6 had the story.

"He's been pushing her to work out hard," said our source. Sunday, Kardashian was overheard telling a friend at the opening of FUSE nightclub in Nashville that Bush made her run the dunes at Manhattan Beach in California.

Ooooh, that is too funny! Running the dunes. I know this is Page 6 and its the NY Post so this story has as much validity as 2+2=5, but I have all of these funny conversations and scenario's between those two running through my mind. Feel free to share your own in the comments. I hope Reggie isn't one of those guys who doesn't know how good he's got it.

After I read this, I decided to do my own research and check out Kim's official blog and get the real truth. Turns out, the rumors from Page 6 were "TOTALLY FALSE." Seems Kim uses this blog a ton to defuse rumors and put out media fires.

Speaking of our favorite celebutantes (I just made that up. Has that been done before?), Kush was seen at what I think was a video game promotional event in Santa Monica. Heard it here. This was also on Kim's blog. Thank God for that!

The Hills co-star Brody Jenner, E!’s Kim Kardashian and New Orleans Saints running back Reggie Bush then took to the stage, challenging one of the players in a match of Forza Motorsport 2 on the Xbox 360. Not surprisingly, they lost.

For someone who claims to be more focused this offseason, I sure to spend a lot of time writing about his off the field antics.

Told you there was a lot. That ought to get you through your day.

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