Fleur-de-Links - Oct 21st: Pierre Thomas Still Sidelined

Can Chris Ivory keep the Tusk Train a rollin' against the Browns? With Pierre Thomas looking like he'll likely miss yet another game, let's hope so. The Browns have lots of problems right now, but they aren't quite as bad against the run as the Bucs are. Their greater weakness is defending the pass, so it might be a big day for Drew Brees.

In other news, Jeremy Shockey is six catches away from becoming the eighth TE in NFL history with 500 recs, Jabari Greer is held out of a second straight practice but is not yet ruled out for Sunday, and Alex Brown sues an investment firm.

TWEETS:

JonVilma51 so....tired....i'll check back with everyone tomm after i get some much needed rest.

LanceMoore16 Definitely making today a great day.

reggie_bush The illegal hits throughout the NFL have been a huge controversy. What do you guys think about the rules? Fair not fair? Should be changed?

Official_Saints @JeremyShockey has 494 career recs, 10th all-time among TEs. He is six catches away from becoming eighth TE in NFL history with 500 recs.

reggie_bush Worst case scenario you get hit up top=concussion. Worst case scenario you get hit down low=knee surgery or possible end of career.

reggie_bush I'll take a concussion any day before getting blind sided in my knees.

Official_Saints Browns LB Scott Fujita, who spent the past 4 seasons with Saints, talks about his return New Orleans http://bit.ly/FujitaTalks

Official_Saints There are a limited amount of tickets available to Sunday’s game at Dome! Browns returned some of their tix-Click here http://bit.ly/dtQ5Kw

jeffduncantp No changes to #Saints injury report: Did not practice, S.Shanle, P.Thomas, R.Bush, J.Greer & T.Porter.

jeffduncantp Saints guard Jahri Evans was back at practice today. He's full. Limited guys: Will Smith, Julius Jones, Roman Harper, P.Robinson (knee).

 jeffduncantp Enlightening... RT @Official_Saints: Payton said @sharper42 "moved around well" in practice today & rotated w/ other safties in first team.

reggie_bush Hey Twitt Fam what are some good apps to compete against friends in? I already have "Words with Friends" I need some other ones

Official_Saints The @nfl released this video that explains what is considered a legal & illegal hit - http://bit.ly/PlayerSafety

 

PRACTICE REPORTS:

New Orleans Saints injury report: cornerback Jabari Greer, linebacker Scott Shanle still sidelined | NOLA.com
Neither starter has been ruled out for Sunday's game against Cleveland Browns, though

Saints hold out Greer for second day in a row | New Orleans News, Local News, Breaking News, Weather | wwltv.com | Eye on Black and Gold
The good news for the Saints is that the same players who missed practice Thursday were the same ones who missed Wednesday. The bad news? The same players continue to miss practice.

2theadvocate.com | Sports | Sharper gets in first practice of season — Baton Rouge, LA
"He looked pretty good," Payton said. "He got some reps and got some work with the scout team as well. We’ll just keep evaluating him day-to-day.

New Orleans Saints Notebook: Super Bowl hero Darren Sharper practices in full gear
Pro Bowl free safety Darren Sharper was in full gear Wednesday for the first time since Super Bowl XLIV.

Darren Sharper is off the PUP list, and back with the New Orleans Saints | NOLA.com
Randall Gay, though, is out

New Orleans Saints' decision to place Randall Gay on injured reserve was 'admirable,' according to Gay's agent | NOLA.com
Agent Albert Elias said Gay is disappointed, but Saints had his best interests at heart

New Orleans Saints safety Darren Sharper is hoping to play this Sunday against Cleveland Browns | NOLA.com
He said he felt good I first practice, but team has not decided yet whether to active him

 

BROWNS @ SAINTS:

In the Numbers: Browns have edge over Saints in series | New Orleans News, Local News, Breaking News, Weather | wwltv.com | Eye on Black and Gold
Not a rich and proud history versus the Browns for the Saints. In fact, in 15 all-time regular season games, New Orleans is 4-11 against Cleveland. Then again, the two teams have only played twice since the millennium changed.

Browns-Saints Preview - Oct. 20, 2010 - NFL - CBSSports.com Game Preview
The Saints' rushing attack helped provide a previously unseen offensive balance in a Week 6 blowout, building momentum the team shouldn't have difficulty sustaining Sunday when it hosts the banged-up Cleveland Browns.

Saints, city looking forward to Fujita's return | New Orleans News, Local News, Breaking News, Weather | wwltv.com | Eye on Black and Gold
The text messages began flooding Scott Fujita’s cell phone mere moments after the Saints finished off a 31-6 win over Tampa Bay this past Sunday. Not that Fujita wasn’t looking forward to it in a way.

Saints’ offense wants back-to-back big games | New Orleans News, Local News, Breaking News, Weather | wwltv.com | Eye on Black and Gold
Jon Stinchcomb sat at his locker and smiled, almost as if he hoped the question would be posed to the Saints starting right tackle at some point.

NOLA.com: NFL statistical comparison of the Saints and Browns

Studs and duds: Steven Jackson is bad news for stuggling Bucs' run defense - Fantasy Joe: Fantasy Football News, Draft Information, and Player Rankings - USATODAY.com
Chris Ivory, RB, New Orleans: The Saints can afford to let Pierre Thomas sit after Ivory got a grip on the backup job with a strong 158-yard game. This week's foe, the Cleveland Browns, finally allowed a rushing TD but is only 23rd vs. the run.

 

THE VIEW FROM THE OTHER SIDE:

Browns' McCoy gets to face his hero in New Orleans - Canton, OH - CantonRep.com
In discussions of shorter NFL quarterbacks, Colt McCoy is about the same height as Drew Brees. The rookie from Cleveland says the comparisons end right there.

Tony Grossi and Mary Kay Cabot preview Cleveland Browns vs. New Orleans Saints: video | cleveland.com
Plain Dealer’s Cleveland Browns beat writers Tony Grossi and Mary Kay Cabot preview Sunday’s game against the Saints at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans. Colt McCoy will make his second NFL start after his debut at quarterback last week in the loss to Pittsburgh.

NFL crackdown on violent hits gets mixed reviews with Cleveland Browns | cleveland.com
The NFL's crackdown on dangerous hits has wrought confusion in the locker room and allegations of hypocrisy by at least one outspoken Browns player.

 

LAGNIAPPE:

Ex-Bear Alex Brown sues investment firms for misuse of funds :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Metro & Tri-State
Former Chicago Bears defender Alex Brown is alleging Anthony Delfre, the owner of the Wealth Capital Management Group, misused a $750,000 loan Brown gave him and his investment firm Players Group LLC, in a lawsuit filed Sept. 9 in Cook County Circuit Court. On Wednesday, the suit was moved into U.S. District Court.

New Orleans Saints players say its going to be tough to change on defense | NOLA.com
NFL is cracking down on big hits

NFL crackdown on hits makes New Orleans Saints think lower
"Fair warning needed to be given to players and clubs before increased discipline starts to include game suspensions," said Greg Aiello, the NFL senior vice president of public relations. "A communication (has gone) to the clubs, coaches, and players about the increased discipline for violations of player safety rules.

"Bush Says He's Shooting For Return In Pittsburgh Game - WWL - AM870 | FM105.3 | News | Talk | Sports

FURTHER REVIEW: New Orleans bounces back - Gonzales, LA - Gonzales Weekly Citizen
The New Orleans Saints got their mojo working once again.

Saints’ Ivory humbled by past | thenewsstar.com | The News Star
"I try to stay away from stuff that's been said about me," Ivory added after practice on Wednesday, speaking in a soft, raspy voice that at times barely rises above a whisper. "I don't Google or nothing like that because I don't want to see all that and I just try to stay focused. The more you stay focused on what you need to do, I feel like the harder you'll continue to work."

The Canadian Press: Saints see great potential in RB Ivory, who says he's just trying to stay grounded

Drew Brees Welcomes Son Bowen Christopher – Moms & Babies – Moms & Babies - People.com
Drew Brees and wife Brittany welcomed their second child, son Bowen Christopher Brees, on Tuesday, Oct. 19, the New Orleans Saints quarterback announced.

The New Orleans Saints Hall of Fame luncheon is Friday | NOLA.com
Joe Horn will be inducted and will speak

 

TRANSCRIPT:

New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton

Post-Practice Press Conference

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Opening Statement:

"On the injury front, Drew Brees today was full with his knee; Jon Stinchcomb (shoulder) was full; Zach Strief (knee) full; Anthony Waters (hamstring) full; Leigh Torrence (shoulder) full; Jahri Evans was full today; Julius Jones (shoulder) was full today. Limited were cornerback Patrick Robinson (knee), defensive end Will Smith (groin), we limited safety Roman Harper (hamstring). The following players did not practice: Scott Shanle (hamstring), Jabari Greer (shoulder), Reggie Bush (fibula), Tracy Porter (knee) and Pierre Thomas (ankle); those five players."

You’re playing another team with a tight end as its leading receiver. Does that speak to the way that position is emerging across the league?

"Everyone’s looking for a guy that can be a threat in the passing game. You get some favorable matchups and maybe some higher-percentage throws when you have one. It seems like in the past few years that each year the drafts have featured a handful of those types of players. I wouldn’t say a hybrid, but guys that are pretty good in the passing game. You’re seeing a number of teams in the league that feel like they have someone they can throw to with confidence. I don’t know if that’s a result of anything new in the college game, but we are seeing more tight ends that are ready to play in regards to the passing game. The trick always is when you’re looking for one is to find one that can function well in one area and then excel in another. But I think that certainly we’ve seen more in recent years."

Does the fact that your opponents have looked to their tight ends more reflect the fact that you’ve played some inexperienced quarterbacks?

"That’s a good question. I don’t necessarily think that because the quarterbacks are younger that they’ve altered and changed the passing game. I know that we view the tight end as a valuable asset to us what we do, certainly in the run and in the passing game. I think it just gets back to when you’re choosing to throw the ball on earlier downs, you’re wanting to look for higher-percentage throws."

Do you remain optimistic on the chances of Jabari Greer and Scott Shanle playing this week?

"I do. It’s Thursday and we have a lot of time, but with both players, I do."

How did Darren Sharper respond today after his first practice yesterday?

"Pretty good. He moved around again well and got some work. Today we featured a lot of third down and we’ll just keep taking it day-to-day."

Is he taking any snaps with the first unit?

"Yes. We’re rotating. We constantly rotate these guys in. But day-to-day, we’ll just see how he feels. We’ll see how he feels tomorrow after today’s work and just keep paying attention to that."

How special was the victory over Cleveland for you the last time you played, being that it was your first win as a head coach?

"It seems like 10 years ago. What I remember is coming out of training camp, and certainly that first year you really don’t know what you have. You’ve had a hard camp and you’re getting ready to play your first game. I know it was a close game that went back and forth and we were able to get the win late. Certainly you remember it because it was your first win and it was ours as a team together. Aside from that, there are not a lot of specifics that I remember from it."

Was it a big sigh of relief to get that first win?

"To get that win, starting off at 1-0 on the road – we had two road games and were coming back against Green Bay and you start feeling confident that you’re going to be able win some games. I think that early start certainly helped us."

Is Jabari Greer can’t go, is Leigh Torrence a consideration in the base defense?

"No question."

Could you talk about Torrence and the career that he’s had?

"He’s a veteran player who understands who he is and we feel like is a big asset in the kicking game and is someone that plays in the nickel and can line up and play. I would describe him a little bit like Terrance Copper that we had a few years ago who played in the special teams units and and at times started for us at receiver. He’s versatile and he can do a lot of things. There’s value in the player when that’s the case."

Do guys like him endear themselves to you in the sense that he’s fought to be where he is?

"I think the most important thing a player like him can have is that ability to recognize exactly who he is. Whether it’s a gunner, whether it’s a guy in coverage on kickoffs, a guy playing in punt return; a guy that can do those things and do them and execute them well and also give you snaps defensively, those players become valuable as long as they can do their jobs well. He’s someone who has been able to do that."

Are there guys like him and Pierson Prioleau who have discovered their niche in this league?

"That’s important, because generally the ones that don’t figure that out don’t play as long."

Is there an AFC North style that you notice, especially since you don’t play these teams but once every four years?

"Three of the four teams are based out of a 3-4 front, so with that being said, you have a little different body types in the front – a bigger front when you look at the defensive linemen. And certainly with the weather that they play in they have to be able to run the football. And more than that, it’s a very competitive division. If you look at it, two of the teams right now – Pittsburgh and Baltimore – are playing real good football. I don’t know if there’s necessarily a style but certainly there’s a lot of confidence because of the strength of that division."

Have you guys had to get more physical on offense to counter these physical 3-4 defenses?

"We feel like we’re physical and we understand the importance of playing that way and that’s something each week that sooner or later the battles up front offensively and defensively along the lines are critical within the fronts of both teams. Certainly this 3-4 defense is different than some 3-4’s that we’ve played already. This is a two gap front, which is different than some of the 3-4 under defenses that we saw from San Francisco, so we’re familiar with it. We practiced against it with New England. It seems like we’re playing more and more of those teams."

Is this defense a lot like the one both the Jets and New England play?

"Yes, there would be some similarities."

You talk about players responding to adversity or success. How is Chris Ivory reacting to this big game with people writing articles of him becoming the next Jim Brown?

"I think he’s handling it fine. I think he’s pretty level-headed and I think he recognizes the challenges of playing week in and week out in this league, so his week as far as I can tell has been very normal and very much like it has been the prior week. I think he’s handled all that fine and he’s still working on the things he knows he has to improve on."

How important is it for you guys to be able to show you can continue to run the ball consistently, especially with Cleveland having some issues with their run defense the last couple games?

"I think it’s important for us to have that balance. I think it helps us when it comes to third down conversions. You find yourself in manageable third downs. Whether it’s on the ground or through the air on early downs, the efficiency of those early downs is critical. We feel like one of the strong suits of our team is our offensive line. It’s a group that’s been together and it’s a group that‘s physical. Whether it’s in pass protection or whether it’s blocking for the run, it’s a unit we have confidence in."

Who did you give your game balls to?

"Defensively the two safeties, Malcolm (Jenkins) and Roman (Harper). Offensively Chris (Ivory) and in the kicking game, Pierson Prioleau."

No offensive linemen received game balls?

"No, they got attaboys."

With Mike Shanahan coming back, Eastern Illinois now has three head coaches. Eric Mangini’s alma mater has only two. Has Eastern Illinois supplanted Wesleyan as the intellectual center of the football universe?

"We have a lot of Miami of Ohio coaches here who claim that’s still the cradle of coaching. I think more than anything else there’s some coincidence to it. If Mike Heimerdinger were to get going here he’d be the fourth head coach from Eastern. We pull for him at Tennessee. That was good learning grounds for all of us that went there and had a chance to play there and certainly advance our careers. I’m not too familiar with Wesleyan."

Do you think playing at a smaller school or in that environment helps develop good coaches as opposed to people from big schools?

"Jeff Fisher was a really good player at USC and he’s probably the longest-tenured head coach in our league. I think just like players, they come from all schools, big and small, all regions, the south, east and west. I think playing ability and coaching ability is not prejudiced at all to where you’re from or the size of the school you’re from. Some coaches hadn’t played football, but have become very good head coaches. I think much like playing they come from all areas."

Did you see the article that ranked the playing careers of NFL coaches where you were ranked eighth?

"I didn’t see that."

Mike Singletary was number one.

"Nobody would argue with that."

Tomorrow Joe Horn, Dan Simmons and Silky Powell are going to be inducted into the Saints Hall of Fame. What are your thoughts on all three?

"All three are certainly well-deserving. Yesterday we had a chance to sit down with Silky and Chief, Archie Manning came by. We just spent some time just talking in Chief’s office. When you look at the tenure and the time those guys have invested in this program and the jobs they have done, it’s very impressive. When you look at Joe Horn’s career, certainly the best part of it was as a New Orleans Saint. For our players and our staff to have an opportunity to work with him in ’06 and to see him still play at that high level was exciting. All three are passionate about what they do. That’s the one common denominator and a big reason why I’m sure they’re being recognized. We’re excited and happy for all three of those guys."

Can you discuss all three of those guys being a part of your building process here?

"Number one, I think having been at a few other places with good football tradition. I do think the uniqueness of the Saints Hall of Fame is unlike other places. That doesn’t exist at most if not all of the 32 NFL teams. The group that’s in charge of that and their efforts in making it something uniquely special is impressive. I know they take a lot of time and take it very seriously. I think the people that are inducted into it, that’s a great honor."

 

VIDEO:

Jeff Duncan's 4-Minute-Drill: video

New Orleans Saints' Pierson Prioleau on illegal hits: video

New Orleans Saints' Sean Payton on Randall Gay's injury

New Orleans Saints Black and Gold Report Video

Saints Vlog: October 21 - Blowing the Horn for Joe

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