Canal Street Chronicles: Fleur-de-Links 8.27.09

Twitter

ltorrence24 Just finished a great day of Saints Football! We got a tight group, hate it or love it, but we are gonna shine!

reggie_bush Bout to get acupuncture for the first time! A little nervous

JeremyShockey Just got home from practice.... setting on sofa tunr into sleeping on sofa haha.. how is everyone?

MalcolmJenkins Getting a long needed hair cut... I'm over here lookin like the guy off cast away

drewbrees We play in Oakland on Saturday. Can't wait to play a great game and then get some In'N'Out Burger. Love those West Coast trips!

JeremyShockey today you will never get back.... what did you do????

Harp41 I wanna give a shoutout 2 all my followers-Sorry I've been slow responding-Been verybusy-Thank u 4 all the support-We're Focused! Who Dat!

GregBensel @drewbrees over 400 In'N'Out Burgers pre-ordered for Saints charter for flight home from Oakland, trust me i know, i ordered them

Pierre_Thomas Playing in Oakland Sat, then back home to The Dome the following week. But we gota stay focused and work hard every day. Gimme sum Who Dats!

Pierre_Thomas I love the support from all my fans! For those wondering - I am not playing this weekend. Nothing serious. Just giving it a few extra days

Pierre_ThomasTime for some rest. Thanks to the Who Dat Nation for all the replies! Let's get #WhoDat on the top twitter searches! G'night tweets   

Linkage

 93 OCTANE A report from Saints defensive end Bobby McCray - Times-Pic

New Orleans Saints cut punter Glenn Pakulak, receiver - Times-Pic

"I'm hanging in there," Pakulak said earlier this week. "Sometimes you can be too competitive, and that can get you away from what you are used to doing and comfortable doing. But I think I'm doing a good job."

-Glenn Pakulak

 

Saints 'D' in a taking mood - Times-Pic

New Orleans Saints may take running-back-by-committee approach - Times-Pic

News and notes from New Orleans Saints' Aug. 26 practice - Times-Pic

Hargrove capitalizing on chance - The Advocate

“I remember,” Hargrove said as sweat poured from his face after a recent training camp practice. “It’s not something that I sit around and dwell on, but it’s something that stays in the forefront of my mind.

“There are some things I keep in my locker that remind me. When I feel like these (training camp) days are a little too hard or it’s a little too hot out here, I remember where I was.”

-Anthony Hargrove

 

Video: Kincaid: Nice to see DE Grant back on field - WWL

Deke: STC 2009 in the books - WWL

Saints Practice 8-26-09: Injury report - Bush questionable, Thomas likely out - WWL

Next two weeks pivotal for Saints WR Adrian Arrington - The Canadian Press

"He's been so unhealthy," Saints wide receivers coach Curtis Johnson began. "We've just got to see more of him and feel comfortable that he's going to be here all year."

-Curtis Johnson, on Adrian Arrington

"From what I saw last year in training camp, he would have been one of the guys to line up for us (during the regular season) if he was healthy,"

-Curtis Johnson

"I've seen him make catches in traffic, catches down field, short catches," Johnson added. "He has no fear." -Curtis Johnson

"That's a big thing that I've got going for myself," Arrington said. "I can play all the positions, so if a guy goes down in a certain position, I think I can come in and fill that spot."

-Adrian Arrington

"He has no conscience, so he didn't feel anything," Johnson said. "He just got up and made another play."

-Curtis Johnson

"I wouldn't want to be any other place," Arrington said. "Being a wide receiver, of course I'd want to be in an offence that loves to throw the football. And with Drew, he doesn't really look at just one guy. He spreads the football out a lot."

-Adrian Arrington

 

 Saints' Bell staying humble, expecting unexpected - WWLTV

"The funny thing is that when I was in Houston, I felt like I had a good opportunity there and in Denver," Bell said. "Both times I got cut, I was like, ‘Really, I got cut?’ I think maybe that’s why I got cut – because I was thinking like it couldn’t happen.

"Now, I always expect the unexpected and I always work like that."

-Mike Bell

"Like a weight lifted off my back," Bell said. "I always knew I could do it again – and you can always say, ‘I’m going to do it again. I’m going to be back up there. I’m going to be running the ball again.

"I always told myself that I could do it, but to actually do it was an unspeakable feeling."

-Mike Bell

"Coming into my rookie year I had the same attitude that I have now," Bell said. "A nothing to lose type attitude and I just loved the game. But when I got moved to fullback, I felt like I was betrayed and I felt like I didn’t even want to play anymore.

"That’s why I gained all that weight – not only because I was playing fullback, but because I just didn’t care and almost just let myself go. Then I tried at the last minute to hurry up and try to get back to that mentality but it was too late.

"I don’t blame them for cutting me; I would’ve cut me too. Nobody wants somebody that’s cancerous to the team with that attitude; someone that’s always complaining and saying that he deserves this or deserves that. In all actuality, I don’t think I deserved anything.

"It was a privilege that he even allowed me on the team; I was a free agent; I shouldn’t have expected anything."

-Mike Bell

"I worked my butt off this summer because I knew that I had to work like this was going to be my last year of playing," said Bell, who now weighs 219. He added, "I think it was a fight or flight situation. This probably would have been my last go. I haven’t really honestly played since my rookie year, so I had to show that I could still play a position."

-Mike Bell

I just have to go out there and do it again, run with that same chip on my shoulder," Bell said. "Run with that nothing to lose mentality. I honestly felt like every time I touched the ball I was going to score.

"I haven’t felt like that in awhile."

-Mike Bell

 

 New Orleans Saints linebacker Anthony Waters giving his all to make roster - Times-Pic

"I was pretty much in the same situation that they were in, the same household, the same neighborhood, you know, the same school," Waters said. "But I kind of saw how it tore down my family, saw how it tore down my mom, and just being young at the time, I kind of had to mature early and set my goals high. My whole thing was, I just didn't want to hurt my mom all over again."

-Anthony Waters

"I get letters usually every week, them telling me they're proud of me and glad to see me doing good," Waters said. "And they always tell me they wish they could be here with me, but unfortunately they can't. So my thing is to go out and show them that I represent them on Sundays and in everything that I do. So they motivate me, and I motivate them."

-Anthony Waters

"This is a big game for him coming up, and he knows it," Saints linebackers coach Joe Vitt said of Saturday's game at Oakland. "This game coming up is really going to dictate where his future is."

-Joe Vitt

"I think I've been catching on to the defense pretty good, but I think I just need to really study more and just get the whole concept and really learn what the offense is trying to do in certain positions," Waters said. "I've still got a long way to go, but I try to just get better every day as I come out. And I've just got to put my eyes in the right place and learn to trust myself and really let it loose out there."

-Anthony Waters

"I like my chances, because I'm getting an opportunity to get out there," Waters said. "What I do with the opportunities is up to me."

-Anthony Waters

"It's a mistake I had to learn from, but I just felt threatened at the time," said Waters, who said the case has still not been resolved. "You're driving down the street and somebody throws a rock through your windshield. It's kind of a 'react now, think later.' I did apologize for the whole situation, but like I said, I learned from it and moved on from it."

-Anthony Waters

"We liked the player a lot, both as a person and as a player," Vitt said. "I think he's a great kid, I really do. I think he's got a lot of character. He takes his work very seriously. He studies hard in the classroom; he takes it onto the field.

"I think what he's done best, he's tried to get better every single day. He's paid attention to detail. He's got somewhat of a learning curve in the passing game, but he's working hard to overcome that every day. He's making strides."

-Joe Vitt

"You know, the thing is, my grandfather and my grandma, before they passed, they used to always tell me that God isn't going to put you through anything that you can't handle," Waters said. "I had to jump a lot of hurdles throughout my life, so it's something where I just had to stay motivated and just kept telling myself things could always be worse, it could always be worse. And I just kind of kept my foot on the pedal and kept striving forward."

-Anthony Waters

 

 

Audio

Ralph, Kevin and I on Forecast Radio.

WWL's Sports Talk, including interviews with Billy Miller and Jabari Greer.

 

 

Sean Payton Press Conference Transcipt

From NewOrleans.com

Opening Statement: This is what we have today injurywise; (Scott) Fujita went today and is going to be fine. (Pierson) Prioleau went today. We held Pierre Thomas out. There's a good chance we'll probably hold him out of the game this weekend and give that knee some rest. Charles Grant got some work. He'd be questionable. Billy Miller got work. He'll be questionable for Saturday's game. Stanley Arnoux is out. Jammal Brown, out. Reggie Bush started and then we held him back. He'd be questionable for the game right now. Anthony Davis did not go. Lastly, Darnell Dinkins is probably about a week away with his ankle. Finally (Darren) Sharper did not practice. He's questionable for the game. Chip Vaughn and D'Juan Woods didn't practice. We mostly worked on third down and nickel work with some two-minute at the end.

Q: Do you want to feature Reggie more in this game?

A: I know I'm probably not going to be able to get Pierre work in this game. My goal is to get him some work in that last preseason game. With Reggie, we'll see. It's really the calf. He's making progress and at the same time it's like a hamstring where you have to be careful that you all of a sudden don't reinjure it.

Q: Did Malcolm Jenkins bank up his right hand a little?

A: Yes, it's nothing significant. They put a piece of protective padding on his wrist.

Q: Does Tracy Porter have the same problem?

A: Yes. He should be fine.

Q: Would you work a three-headed monster in the backfield?

A: I think a lot of people do.

Q: Why has it become popular?

A: You play a long season and I've just been taught that at that position you have to stack it up and have some depth. You're going to have some nicks along the way. I think the exception to the rule is the team that can feature just one back the whole season. When you understand what they do well and try to highlight what they do well it's very common. You can go through every team and see a rotation of some sort even in Minnesota where there's more than one back. It's a tough position.

Q: Is the nature of the game changing where you aren't seeing one bell cow back on a team anymore?

A: There's always room for a player like that (Jim Brown), but certainly with the size and speed, the health is a big issue for most teams at that position.

Q: What does Mike Bell bring to the table differently than Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas?

A: If you ask me what his strengths are I'd say Mike Bell is an upright runner who stays the course. He's pretty physical when he hits the hole. I think he has pretty good acceleration. He can lower his pads. Those are some of the things if you are paying attention to practice and watching us, you can see it in the goal line. Those are some of his strengths.

Q: Do you have any long term concern with Darren Sharper's health?

A: No, I just want to make sure he's healthy before we put him back out there.

Q: Was it a slight concern at one point with the rotation in the defensive line, especially for the first four games?

A: It was a little concern coming into the spring. Here are some of the things we've taken a look at now. (Anthony) Hargrove has taken some work with (Sedrick) Ellis at the three technique You've seen Ayodele compete at the nose position (Rod) Coleman's a guy competing for a position There are more guys taking snaps and getting work now to make it a positive.

Q: Are you happy with the blocking of the receivers?

A: Last weekend's game I was. Last weekend's game it was good. It led to some long runs. Devery (Henderson) does a good job on Mario (Williams), the defensive end at the point of attack and (Marques) Colston ties up the corner. I thought it was improved last weekend.

 

 

Gregg Williams Press Conference Transcipt

From NewOrleans.com

(on the game against Houston)

"It was good to have another chance to have teachable moments and corrections after a win. We still have a long ways to go. We had three takeaways on defense and I like those. They were created takeaways, which was good. Our guys are trying to take it away; they're called takeaways and not giveaways. We understand that we have to create those things. We had another caused fumble that we didn't get enough population to the ball to get that one back and it popped back to them. I thought we tackled a little bit better and I also thought we played the run well against a really good running team. I have a lot of respect for (Gary Kubiak) and what they've been able to do offensively over there. That's a good offensive football team and a good, skilled group over there. I thought we played pretty fast; I thought we played pretty physical; I thought we played with an attitude and I thought we played with some emotion, which was good because sometimes you can't get that in a preseason game.

"The things that we definitely have to improve on that will drive a defensive coach and a head coach nuts is that we had three defensive penalties on third or fourth down that continued a drive. That's ignorant and we have to get that corrected. Obviously you see in our practice tempos that we always practice at a high tempo, but those are things that turn into points on the board. Both of their touchdown drives, we were supposedly off the field either on a third- or a fourth-down stop, but yet we had a penalty to continue the drive. We can't have those kind of things; that's not very smart football. We did allow an explosive pass on a touchdown. I thought, ‘Malcolm, welcome to the NFL.' He got baptized on that and one of things on that particular play was that he was in perfect Big Ten college covering technique, but he has to understand that people are going to throw the ball in this league when you're in perfect technique. He let the guy get off the line of scrimmage too easy on him, he caught up - he showed great ability to catch up - and he honestly, in my opinion, didn't think the ball was going to be thrown because he had him covered. Again, there's a welcome to the NFL to a young guy on that one.

"We had to burn a timeout on a substitution - nothing chaps me more than having to do that. There's no excuse for that. That's poor coaching; that's poor listening; that's poor playing and there's no reason for a defense ever with as many multiple packages that we're going to play to ever have to burn a timeout on a substitution package.

"All in all, we did take a step forward but again, I'm really happy that we have two more games because we still have a long ways to go in order to do the things that we want done on defense here."

Did Anthony Hargrove get a negative mark on the facemask or was that the kind of aggressive play you're looking for?

"That one is one of things where they were pretty touchy-feely on that one. He'll get a negative mark on the production because it ends up going that way and that's how the referee ruled it. But he got an ‘atta boy' on getting to the quarterback. I do think that he continues to show flashes of us giving him more opportunities to play."

It seems like you've been throwing a bunch of guys in at defensive tackle in the top defense. Is that correct?

"We're going to do a whole lot of that here in the next two weeks too. Again, the roster has not been made. The depth chart has nothing to do with who's going out there first and who's going out there last. I think Coach Payton has a done a good job of letting the entire team know that the depth charts don't mean anything; they're just an organized way for us as a staff to give a fair appraisal of a number of reps. Defensively, I've been real pleased with the staff in giving fair reps - giving a lot to certain guys that we need to see. Certain guys, we don't need to see as much and some guys we need to see quite a bit more. So we have given those guys that we have identified that need to have more playing reps so we can see them in game stress."

What have you noticed in Sedrick Ellis out there?

"Sedrick is improving. I think he'll thrive in Bill Johnson's techniques and I think that you'll see an extremely versatile tackle. It's not always just going to be a three-technique tackle. You're going to see him play nose too; he has a lot of power in that short, little, squatty body of his. You're going to see us have a lot of flexibility because he can do more than just one type of defensive tackle-type action. I really like what I've seen so far but he has to continue to make strides because he has some habits he has to break. He's had the same kind of through college and through here so we have to break a couple of the habits that he has learned. He's done a great job of buying into those things and he's improving every week. I know that he is very receptive to the improvement that he's getting. He's getting to try some new things that Bill is helping him with."

What are those habits that you have to break him of?

"You can watch the film."

Do you like what you've seen from Anthony Waters?

"He has done very well. He's playing hard and competing. That's going to be a real competitive pick all the way down to the last final cut. Obviously that big play that he was able to make when everybody likes to play beat me, stab me, kill me defense in that situation down there - we're not going to do that - we brought the house on that particular play and he ended up making a difference-making play. We call that an impact play and to be able to rise up and make an impact play in those conditions right there is important. It's going to be a big battle all the way down until the end. He has to prove himself in special teams also."

What have been your ideal numbers position-wise for a final roster?

"Every single player has got to play more than one position. As far as numbers at each position, the most important thing we have to do as a staff - and I'm so impressed with Coach Payton and so impressed with Mickey Loomis - is picking the right 53. If that means keeping 39 on offense and 11 on defense and us playing 11 the rest of the year, you have to do that. But we have to keep players that can help us win. There's not going to be a set number of DBs, a set number of linemen; it's people that earn the right to play in the National Football League. One other thing that Sean has done a very good job of talking to our guys about is that every day is an interview; every day is an audition for these guys. They're competing against guys on other teams too. There are 31 other teams that we're looking at to get ready to take a guy off of that team to replace a guy that's here. They have to understand that the only thing they can take care of is the interview that they're on right now, the audition they're on right now, so make a good impression and hopefully you're here and if not, maybe some place else because we're looking at the rest of the league also."

How important will versatility be to these guys making this team?

"I'll tell you this - the more you can do, the better chance you have of making the team. You have to be able to play more than one position. I don't care if it's an offensive position, a special teams position or a defensive position - but especially defensively. We're going to have injuries throughout the course of the year; last year they had a bunch of injuries on defense. You have to be able to have a guy and put another athlete in the spot instead of knocking the athletic ability down and being afraid to put a better athlete into a position that he's not as comfortable with. I'm a high school football coach; I'm proud of the fact that I've had to coach high school kids to get into a stance. Some of these guys are going to have to learn to get in a stance and some of these guys are going to have to learn to play positions that maybe they've never played before because we're going to give Coach Payton, we're going to give the Saints, we're going to give Mickey and Mr. Benson the best shot we can of trotting a healthy group out there on defense and playing the most athletic people we can, and they have to play more than one position."

Coaches talk about reliability and dependability. Is that what Pierson Prioleau brings?

"I know Pierson. I've known him on four different teams and when he finally decides to hang his cleats up, he's going to be a really, really good football coach. He's going to have to dumb down to be a coach - you're always smarter as a player than you are as a coach - but he's going to be a really, really good coach. I believe this: I believe the two most important words to being a pro football player or a pro athlete are accountability and availability. Some of these guys over here in Club Med pedaling on bicycles need to understand that you have to be available. We have enough coaches on this staff, we need players that are healthy and playing on the football field."

Players kid Prioleau about his relationship with you. Do you hear that at all?

"It's amazing I haven't gotten more tax deductions out of him. I got some for a little bit on my own children but I've never been able to get anything back on him and since I'm not his agent, I haven't been able to get a fee out of bringing him from place to place. But I will tell you this, it's not by accident that he's here. It's because I have tremendous trust in him and I know that he is a very good mentor. As an aging player, one of the things that you have to be able to do...this league is going to go on without us - it's going to go on without you guys as writers, without me as a coach, without some of these players; it's been going on for a long time before us and it will go on for a long time after us. You have to be able to leave your mark and your influence on other people and turn it over to some of the other young guys in the league. Pierson is one of those guys that takes great pride in being a real good leader behind the scenes. If you could see him in the locker room, if you could see him in the classroom, if you could see him just doing the subtle little things even as he's trying to tell the guys how to handle my temperament - it's very good. In practice, we as coaches try to put as much stress on them as we can. You watch in the game - I'm not on them in a game; I'm not trying to be a distraction to them in a game. In practice, I am. In practice, I'm trying to get us to focus better so that we understand that you have to block out the crowd, you have to block out the fear of failure, the fear of making a mistake. You have to be able to block those things out. Pierson helps a lot because he has been through that with me before in so many other situations with me."

Is cutting a player the toughest thing you have to do?

"The hardest thing I've ever had to do was as a high school coach, a college coach, a pro coach has been telling somebody that they aren't good enough. It is by far. It's never, ever easy. When it becomes easy to me, then it's time for me to get out because I care about every single one of them, especially the ones that I see laying it on the line; the ones who give everything they have. The guys that think they have arrived and are only half-way doing things, it doesn't make any difference to me - ‘Adios. You don't have the right picture and you're selfish anyway.' But the guys that really are laying it on the line - and usually it's that down-the-line guy, the guy that's fighting for that last roster spot - you can't help but fall in love with those guys because they're doing every single thing that you ask them to do, so it is real hard."

Sean Payton has had a lot of low draft picks and undrafted players make this team. Do you see that continuing?

"I've had undrafted guys make Pro Bowls. I've had 12th-round guys - back in the days when they used to have 12 rounds - make Pro Bowls; 8th-round guys make Pro Bowls. You never know where you're going to get them. When they're here, this is their opportunity. We promise them as a staff - and Sean does a great job of this - that we're going to fairly judge them; we're not going to look at their draft status, we're not going to look at their payment status, we're not going to look at their All-American status, we're not going to look at how many Pro Bowls they've played in before - it's really about what they're doing today because we have to move on. He has done a good job with the culture here that way."

How do you handle your temperament? Do you give your players advice?

"No, basically I let them learn through experiences. It comes in meetings and there is a lot of psychological and a lot of experiences that they have to go through in the meeting room before they ever get out here also. I do believe that a person can't fake who he is under stress. We get conned by people who you let glide through life; who you let go half-speed through life. You get the true evaluation of the person when you put them under stress. When they're under stress, you get the true evaluation of what they are. We do that in the meeting rooms; we do that on the field too because I want to see them handle the most stressful situations in a game. When we do those types of things and when we're handling those things, we're going to win close games. We didn't win enough close games here last year. We have to win those close games and that's making a play here or there at the most impactful time of the ballgame and we have to be able to do that. That's how we're trying to do the meetings; that's how we're trying to do the game sequences and practices too."

What led to the pushups today?

"It was just an attention deficit disorder. Sometimes you have to imprint their memory to pay better attention the next time. If we're not getting better at learning football skills, the only chance we have to win football games is by being in phenomenal physical condition. We chose to condition at that point in time because we weren't getting any better mentally on football skills."

How many did they do?

"They did a few."

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