Canal Street Chronicles: Fleur-de-Links 9.08.09

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jeffduncantp Practive observation: If Drew Brees is 6-feet tall (and he is), then Chase Daniel is 5-10 -- tops.

wwltvsports First pass of regular season camp: A drop from Drew Brees to Jeremy Shockey. And the fun begins.

jeffduncantp On the bright side, Reggie Bush did practice and looked 100 percent. Ran the ball with impressive speed and acceleration.

wwltvsports No.'s of Interest: Those still on the roster after preseas caught 56 passes for 778 yards and 5 TDs. Hamilton had 10 catches, Shockey had 8

wwltvsports Of the 6 TD passes caught this preseason, only 1 was caught by someone who isn't left on the roster? Yep, Skyler Green caught that pass.

FletcherMackel Payton says if grant and smith are not suspended by nfl today or tomorrow then he assumes nfl will not suspend them

jeffduncantp Payton was very cryptic about Pierre Thomas. Played the old "we'll wait until Wednesday" injury-update card. My gut says he's out for Sunday

jeffduncantp Best quote of open locker room. I asked DE Jeff Charleston his thoughts on playing rookie QB in 1st career start. Charleston: "Fresh meat."

jeffduncantp For all of you Saints' jersey numbers freaks, John Carney still had No. 1 today but said he plans to wear No. 3 for the season starting Wed

JeremyShockey Just got home from work... Cant wait till sun going to be a blast....

JeremyShockey "sinner to SAINT" ill alwaqys be a CANE...... enjoy your night going to eat with all SAINTS...... cant wait till sun @@@@@@

JeremyShockey @saints83 bill how did it go?? canes play tonight

saints83 @JeremyShockey good bro but I really miss you guys already you are going to have a great season and when u go to probowl I am going with u

Pierre_Thomas Sunday is around the corner! Is the Who Dat Nation ready to rock the Dome or what? @DrewBrees lets make it happen captain!

ChaseDaniel Been on the Saints for less then 24 hrs & I'm amazed at the type of player/leader #9 is...such a great opportunity to learn from him!

saints83 Congrats to our 2009 captains @drewbrees John V and Troy E

MalcolmJenkins just got done eating dinner with the team... had some great seafood! now im gonna relax and enjoy my day off tomorrow

Linkage

 New Orleans Saints salivate about getting after rookie quarterback Matthew Stafford in opener - Times-Pic

"It's fresh meat," Saints defensive end Jeff Charleston said of Stafford. "It's his first real game. He's our opponent, and you still have to respect him, but we're going to come after him."

-Jeff Charleston

"He's from Georgia, and I'm from Georgia Tech," Saints defensive tackle Anthony Hargrove said, smiling. "Any time I get a chance to go against a Bulldog, I'm definitely going to try to bring my 'A' game."

-Anthony Hargrove

"This isn't an internship," Schwartz said at a news conference. "This isn't a trial basis, you know. He's our starting quarterback.

"His command of the offense is very good. His command of what defenses are doing is very good. And what he needs to do is play. I think he had a very good preseason."

-Jim Schwartz

"Last year Matt Ryan kind of got on my nerves, and he was a rookie and he was kind of intelligent," Saints defensive end Bobby McCray said. "So therefore I'm going in with the same perception of Stafford. He's the No. 1 overall pick and probably highly intelligent.

"I'm sure they're not going to give him too much to handle in his first game, but it's our job to get after him no matter what. It's very important that we break his spirit early."

-Bobby McCray

"It's still football 101," Ellis said. "We have to keep the pressure on him and keep the ball in his hand as much as possible. Everybody knows that's the rule when you play against young players.

"Gregg is an up-tempo guy, so I'm sure we're going to be running around a lot and coming after him."

-Sedrick Ellis

"With a rookie you can do some different things to try to get him rattled and get him looking at the rush, instead of looking down field," Hargrove said. "Daunte is a guy who's been in the league a while, and he knows how to stay in the pocket. Plus, he's also a great escape artist, so you like playing against a rookie quarterback."

-Anthony Hargrove

"I don't think the Lions' coaching staff is going to try to put too much on (Stafford) at first," Harper said. "At least I wouldn't want that as a rookie quarterback in the NFL. I don't think that would be the smartest thing to do. They'll try to run the ball a little bit and establish that and give him a nice little package that he has confidence in and understands."

-Roman Harper

"This team has changed," Hargrove said. "It has made a 180. It's not the 0-16 team from last year. They were the No. 1-rated offense in the preseason, and you got to take that into account."

-Anthony Hargrove  

 

New Orleans Saints running back Reggie Bush says he's ready for opener, but Pierre Thomas looks iffy - Times-Pic


"I feel like (my timing and rhythm) is good, " Bush said. "And if it's not good, it'll be good by Sunday."

-Reggie Bush

 

New Orleans Saints' Charles Grant-Will Smith saga deserves fast conclusion - Times-Pic

Saints Practice Mon Pre-Detroit, other thoughts/news (including Smith, Grant news) - WWL

Payton plans to play Smith, Grant, for now - WWL

Kristian: Are the Saints overlooking the Lions? Not a chance! - WWL

Mickles: Saints not looking past Lions - The Advocate

Stafford to start at QB in Lions season opener - Detroit Free Press

Dozens of new faces in Detroit - ESPN

 

 

Video

New Orleans Saints talk about taking on a rookie quarterback

 

 

 

Audio

Here are three clips from WWL's Sports Talk yesterday. 

 

Billy Miller's Surgery Experience

Saints tight end Billy Miller traveled to Vail, Colorado yesterday to have surgery to repair his torn achilles. He documented his experience using Twitter and pictures, all found below. Click each picture for a larger version and to read what Billy wrote to go along with it.  

My team including Dr Clanton and Dr Rachael Miller on Twitpic

 

My anesthesiologist, cool dude but has to tell me all the bad... on Twitpic

 

My 1st IV, crazy after playing in Houston,and New Orleans oh ... on Twitpic

 

Now all I need is XM radio and some spinners on Twitpic

saints83 Ok, Billy is out, it was successfull! He is very groggy and just wants to sleep. Great job Dr. Clanton! Great prayers from everyone! xoxo    

 

 

Sean Payton Press Conference Transcript

From NewOrleans.com

Opening Statement:

"Today - much like we have done in the past - was an additional day of preparation with the focal point just on Detroit. The players will be off tomorrow and we'll come back Wednesday and then resume preparation."

How do you prepare for a team that has a new coaching staff?

"I think you have to go back and pay close attention to the preseason first off, and then go back to Jim (Schwartz) and his staff and try to research in regards to their history. It's fairly common when there is a change in a coordinator or in a coaching staff. Until you start seeing regular season games on tape, you're going off the preseason and past places where the coaches have worked."

What is the situation right now with Charles Grant and Will Smith?

"Right now our focus is playing them in this game until we're told otherwise. They practiced today and both of them moved around well; that's our approach until the league tells us otherwise."

Do you have a contingency plan in case they are suspended?

"Yes. The two scenarios were that of the suspension taking place on the weekend and how that would affect the roster and then the second scenario is no suspension and how that affects the roster. To answer your question, yes, and we have to take the approach that here we are on Monday and those two are playing in this weekend's game until we hear differently."

To clarify, you're waiting on a federal appeals court to rule in their case?

"I think it's a state, and really we're waiting to hear from the league. That's really the proper channel. The league will keep us up to date and advise us as to how to proceed. Right now we're proceeding with the idea that those two players are playing."

Has the league given you any assurances that they won't suspend them on Thursday or Friday?

"That wouldn't be the case. Generally, they're mindful of the preparation time it takes to bring in players to replace them. I don't anticipate that being an issue. The key is just staying in touch and moving forward with the idea that both of them are playing and then waiting to hear."

Is it likely that any suspension that would come this week would happen tomorrow then?

"I think that would be a good assumption. Past tomorrow, it would get difficult."

Did their status weigh at all on your roster moves this weekend?

"It did because hypothetically had the two of them been suspended, then the roster would look different with two more players. That's the challenge of a suspension - or two suspensions in this case."

Would Paul Spicer be likely to return if the suspensions do go through?

"Potentially. He's someone who has gotten a lot of work. I visited with him two days ago on the day that we made the releases and we'll stay in touch with him and make sure he's staying in shape. The key is really just trying to monitor and wait for word."

If they are going to be suspended, would you prefer it happening at the start of the season and not delaying it?

"It's all out of our control. There is really no other way to put it - we wait and proceed forward with them planning to play and stay in close contact with the league and follow their lead as it pertains to this."

Do you feel that the league is taking a sympathetic approach on this?

"I think they're just trying to gather the information as best they can and that's a big reason why nothing has been done to date, officially."

How did Rod Harper stand out over the other receivers in making the team?

"He had the two punt returns - which is one thing - but when you spend time watching him in practice and in the games, you see that he's someone that can run, someone that catches the ball pretty well. He still has a lot of room for development. There are a number of things that he has to improve upon but we did like what we saw from his speed and we liked what we saw in the returns and his consistency in catching the football."

Would you be looking at him to possibly return kickoffs?

"We'll see as we get closer to the game who we'll feature back there. He's certainly a guy that's comfortable and has good ball security and can handle that part of it."

Who are other options for that role of kickoff returner?

"Robert Meachem, Devery Henderson, Rod Harper - we'll look at a bunch of these guys. Potentially one of the running backs - certainly Pierre Thomas has had a lot of experience doing it so he would be another lead candidate."

Is there an update on Pierre Thomas' health situation?

"Nothing right now. We'll wait until Wednesday and then go ahead and give you the injury status on these guys. We're hoping that he's making the progress necessary so we can play him in this game, but we'll see."

Did you hold him out today since it was a bonus day?

"We held him out today, tomorrow will be a day off and then Wednesday we'll have a chance to practice him and see."

Is it the same injury he had on his knee?

"He has a laceration that took place in the last three days that's not real significant, but nonetheless something that he had to get some stitches on and he's battling through that. I'm optimistic; we'll see Wednesday where he's at and go from there."

Is that in the same area?

"No, a different area. Just a cut from a fence."

Going into training camp, did you always plan on just carrying two quarterbacks on the active roster?

"We didn't go into it with the idea that we were going to keep two. You go in developing and training and evaluating, and those are always tough decisions. We felt like when it came down to it, looking at the 53 and the decisions that we had to make in a number of areas that that was one area that allowed us to protect another player and we went that direction. We then went and signed Chase Daniel to the practice squad. He arrived last night; David Thomas arrived last night and they practiced today."

What is Randall Gay's situation?

"He has the flu. We sat him out today with the fever and we'll see where he's at Wednesday."

What do you like about Chase Daniel?

"He had a good training camp. I was familiar with him in high school where he played in Texas. We thought when we evaluated him on Missouri film that he was a big part of that program's turnaround. But equally as important was the film that we had on him at Washington in the preseason. He's a guy that is smart and competitive and can make some plays with his feet. We'll have a chance to look at him now."

Did you make a run at him after the draft?

"He would've been one of those guys; I can't recall exactly where we were at as far as signing him after the draft, but certainly we had evaluated him as a guy that you'd like to have in camp."

He has drawn comparisons to Drew Brees. Do you see any of that?

"For us it's a chance to look at a young prospect and see if we can develop him. The important aspect was really how he played in the preseason. He separated himself from some of the other practice squad quarterbacks that we were looking at."

Does David Thomas immediately vault to the second tight end spot?

"Sooner than later. The key is getting him up to speed with everything we're doing."

Detroit named Matthew Stafford their starting quarterback today. How overwhelming can it be for a rookie to start from day one?

"There is so much transition anymore. When you look at last year, there were a couple good examples of guys in Baltimore and in Atlanta, there were two guys that were selected fairly high that led their teams to not only good seasons, but postseasons. Having spent a lot of time on evaluating that position in the draft each year, (Stafford) is someone that has real good arm strength. I'm sure that as Detroit looks at it, they're looking to really make a decision based on who gives them the best chance to win - whether that's a first-year player or a veteran player, we have to prepare accordingly. He's a tremendous talent and someone from whom on Georgia film you saw a lot of good things."

Does having Grant and Smith available at this point almost feel like a luxury?

"It is what it is in regards that we're planning on them playing. The good news would be a reduced or no suspension down the road, but again it's really in the league's hands and it's something that if there is a suspension, there are going to be four games, so you could argue it either way."

How is Charles' hamstring?

"He practiced pretty well today and it looked pretty good. We'll see how it feels tomorrow when he's in for treatment but today he went and took a lot of snaps."

Was he held out of the game for injury reasons?

"Mainly because of that."

Do you have an update on Jammal Brown?

"Nothing new right now. He's back out east having another exam - we're having his hip looked at. The sports hernia surgery went well, but before they can examine the hip area, the sports hernia needed to heal. There's really nothing new to report. We'll find out if there is any additional work that needs to be done. He's rehabbing and we're planning to play Jermon Bushrod."

What is Reggie Bush's status for this weekend?

"He looks good."

Have you ever been around a quarterback that has the physical and mental command the way Drew Brees does?

"He is exceptional in those areas, so to answer your question, no. It would be hard to make a comparison to other players that I've worked with. He's unique and there are so many things that go into his preparation. He's accurate and he's a quick decision-maker. Those are the things that you can see when you watch him play. It would be hard for me to draw a comparison to another player."

Where could he get better, if he can?

"I think he can. Certainly you look to reduce the turnovers, that's one area that he has worked on and I think ultimately we tend to measure quarterbacks by championships so that's an area that he certainly has as a challenge ahead of him, and all of us. There are parts of his game that he has worked hard - especially this offseason and training camp - to improve on."

Is there a potential for your team to possibly overlook the Lions since they didn't win a game last season? How would you guard against that?

"I think the focus is really on ourselves and our preparation. This league is too good - it's not like college where you can look past someone. Every week you prepare and you focus on playing your best game regardless of who the opponent is. This is an entirely different team than a year ago when you look at their roster and their coaching staff, the make-up of everything is really completely different. The focus is really on us and playing our best football and eliminating the mistakes and the things that keep you from winning."

Do you have to remind your players that this is a new team?

"I think we have players that are pretty intelligent and they understand that they need to play well to have a chance to be successful. I think that's really the key objective as we head into this game or really any game that we play."

Does it put your mind at ease that you seem to have so much depth at running back?

"Mike Bell certainly is a guy that has had a good camp and played well for us. We kept Lynell Hamilton because we thought he had a good preseason. He came back after the fumbles early in the preseason and he has worked hard. It gives you some depth at a position that where often times it's necessary."

Are you anxious to see your new defense in its full regular season form?

"There have been some encouraging things already in regards to the takeaways and you've seen it each week. The key is being sound and having the proper plan in place week by week for the opponent you're playing and that can vary. I think all of us collectively and everyone in the league is excited now. This is the first week of regular season games and there's always a level of excitement. The key is still doing the things well - blocking, tackling, protecting the football - that end up really winning games for you."

Are you leery at all about playing against a young quarterback?

"You try to spend as much time on the tape that you've seen and find what are his strengths and weaknesses. Our players - with the additional day of this Monday's practice - will have plenty of opportunity to study the film and do all the homework necessary."

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