It's Wednesday, and both the New Orleans Saints and Pittsburgh Steelers took to their respective practice fields today for the first time since Sunday's games. So, the fresh items we have on today's menu are practice reports, injury updates, media conference calls with Mike Tomlin and Ben Roethelisberger (hmmm, sounds like hamburger), and Payton's post-practice press conference.
Enjoy it! I'm not even going to tell you to make the jump.
drewbrees Shout out to my trainer, Todd Durkin, came out with his 1st book "The IMPACT! Body Plan". Proud of him. Check it out if you need an edge #fb
dmpressley There is nothing wrong wit @drewbrees.... He is the man!!!
ivory_29 Who likes the lakers?
ivory_29 Dont like em to much have to stay with my Texas teams bein a tx native all though I'm sure the hornets will grow on me tho nite yall
BillyMiller83 Who's dressing up for halloween? If so what are you going to be?
jeffduncantp There r myriad reasons for this @moosedenied: went on a "myriad" binge yesterday. Used it as an adjective each time. Nails down a chalkboard
BillyMiller83 RT @MDW21: I was thinking a fighting Bruin costume, but I remembered they have no fight & that powder blue & canary yellow made me yack.
jeffduncantp Saints injury report: R.Bush (fibula), DB J.Greer (shoulder), T.porter (knee), J.Goodwin, P.Thomas (ankle), did not practice.
jeffduncantp Payton said Reggie Bush ran on his own on the field but was not ready for practice work, Payton said. Will be monitored day to day.
jeffduncantp Jon Goodwin has a groin injury suffered in the game vs. CLE. Not serious & should be able to practice this week.
jeffduncantp Rookie OL Matt Tennant took the first-team reps at center today in Goodwin's absence.
jeffduncantp Payton said he cuts some snaps out of practice to give the team some extra rest. "Just taking a look at everything we're doing," Payton said
jeffduncantp Brees: "They don't get any bigger than this, I guess. ... We've played in a lot of games like this. We know America's gonna be watching."
jeffduncantp Brees: "We knew that this journey was not going to be easy going into the season. We knew there was going to be peaks & valleys."
jeffduncantp Brees: "I think we'll look back at this time at this 7-game stretch to start the season as a defining moment for out team."
jeffduncantp Brees (unintentional or perhaps intentional book plug) "This is our time to come back stronger as a team.
MalcolmJenkins I wonder what my body will feel like when I'm 60 b/c I'm 22 and it feels terrible lol...cold tubs for me
jeffduncantp Brees, asked if he had a favorite costume as a kid: "In the mid-80s. I was a punk rocker. I think I dyed my hair."
ivory_29 MAC truck I like that one folks u?
ivory_29 Is everybody ready for Halloween
dmpressley @T_Porter22 just flew past me "whistling"!!!! Lol
From the Saints Sideline
Bush, Thomas sit out practice again | New Orleans News, Local News, Breaking News, Weather | wwltv.com | Eye on Black and Gold
Bradley Handwerger - Five players were listed as did not practice Wednesday during the Saints’ first practice in preparation for Sunday’s game against Pittsburgh and that includes running back Reggie Bush.
New Orleans Saints injury report: Reggie Bush, Pierre Thomas, Jabari Greer, Tracy Porter still out | NOLA.com
Mike Triplett - All four players appear closer to returning, though.
New Orleans Saints S Darren Sharper and Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin go way back | NOLA.com
James Varney - New Orleans Saints safety Darren Sharper and Pittsburgh Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin have known each other for years but Tomlin wasn't willing to dish about it Wednesday.
James Varney - Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said Wednesday he understands the sort of up-and-down nature of the New Orleans Saints 2010 season coming off a Super Bowl victory, although it feels like he acquired his knowledge long ago.
Bradley Handwerger - You win some, you lose some and then you play and get outcoached like the Saints did on Sunday against the Browns.
The scores, the human interest stories, and the obituary | moosedenied.com
Grandmaster Wang. I love his writings!!!
Saints still bringing YAC - NFC South Blog - ESPN
Pat Y - In a season in which the New Orleans Saints have gone from Super Bowl champions to a huge question mark, one thing remains certain about this team.
Saints-Steelers Preview | neworleanssaints.com
With Smith out, Steelers turn to Ziggy | steelers.com
Bob Labriola - Steelers Digest
Steelers' Emmanuel Sanders also awarded - AFC North Blog - ESPN
James Walker - The AFC North is cleaning up with awards this week.
A primetime game in Week 8 is the subject of this week's Take your Pick. James Walker invites you to comment and explain who you think will win the Sunday Night Spooktacular.
James Walker - Here are the most interesting stories Wednesday in the AFC North. (HansDat note: the final item is about the Steelers)
New Orleans Saints chain crew member improving after collision in the Superdome | NOLA.com
Mark Waller - He wants to get back on the sideline, his son says. (HansDat note: I went to high school with that guy's son. He was a couple of years younger than me and we were on the soccer team together.)
Evans Making His Mark | neworleanssaints.com
(Courtesy our friends @ neworleans.com)
New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton Post-Practice Press Conference
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
"Going through the post-practice injury report, this first one with Pittsburgh: tackle Zach Strief with a knee, was full; linebacker Anthony Waters (hamstring) was full; Leigh Torrence, with a shoulder, was full; Darren Sharper (knee) was full; running back Julius Jones (shoulder) was full; defensive end Will Smith (groin) was full; guard Jahri Evans (ankle) was full; Scott Shanle (hamstring) was limited. The following players did not practice: cornerback Jabari Greer (shoulder), running back Reggie Bush (fibula), cornerback Tracy Porter (knee), Pierre Thomas (ankle) and center Jonathan Goodwin (groin) did not practice. Just one practice squad transaction: Chris Taylor was re-signed to the practice squad for quarterback Sean Canfield. Most of everything was base today with our preparations."
Reggie Bush had said he wanted to try to run on his own yesterday. Has he been able to do that yet?
"Yes, and he did some today as well. We just keep taking it day-to-day and monitoring the progress, monitoring the next day after the workout and kind of go from there."
Given that you're playing one of the NFL's storied franchises in the Pittsburgh Steelers, is this game a chance for you guys to quiet the doubters?
"Each week we get an opportunity. Clearly when you look at this team that we're playing, they're playing very good football. They have been one of the storied franchises for good reason when you look at their history. But really, we try to pay attention to the team that we're playing specifically this year and I think you're seeing a team that's playing well in all three phases. Offensively, they're getting a lot of production from their running game; they have speed outside, they have versatility at the tight end position; (Rashard) Mendenhall is playing very well; (Ben) Roethlisberger is back. They're playing with a lot of confidence. Defensively, they're as good as anyone in the league right now. When you watch them on film, they tackle extremely well and they're extremely physical. They have a ton of different players that if you're not careful can turn a game around in one play. In the kicking game, you're seeing a lot of balance and all the numbers reflect that. As we point to an opponent, when you watch the tape - and our players have begun that process already - you see all of that. They're very well-coached. Mike (Tomlin) does a great job with his staff and they're a tremendous challenge."
Is this game similar to the New England game last year where you're trying to gauge yourself against an elite team?
"I don't know. We clearly had a lot of respect a year ago when we played the Patriots for many of the same reasons. It's a different type of team and yet from a respect factor and just from film study, you see all the things that allow you to be winning, just as they are."
Cleveland used tricked plays to their advantage on Sunday. Do you see Pittsburgh as a team that needs to do that?
"They're a team - like any real good team - won't be afraid at all to pull out all stops. That's part of football and we've looked at gaining an edge that way against each opponent we play, regardless of their record. I think it's something that you have to be prepared for. You find out who's right-handed, who can throw the football, what plays have they shown, whether it's in the kicking game or offensively where it's a little bit out of the norm. You always try to prepare for that."
Were Tracy Porter and Pierre Thomas able to do more this week than they've done?
"It's still the normal rehab process, and certainly not enough to put them on (the injury) list any differently. They go through the rehab, they do the light field work and each day we monitor how they feel, not only in the morning but also after their training session activities."
Shaun Rogers seemed to have a good game on Sunday. Did Jonathan Goodwin suffer his groin injury during the game and did that contribute to Rogers' performance?
"It happened during the course of the game. We held him back today but I think he's going to be able to practice this week. Fortunately for us, I don't think it's a significant groin injury and yet it's painful enough to where we wanted to rest him today. When you have to block Shaun (Rogers), whether you're completely healthy or you're nicked up, you have your work cut out for you. There were some times where he got isolated one-on-one without guard help and that's something that we look at closely to see how we can help the center in those odd situations where the front is odd and there's someone directly over him."
Who would play center in the event that Goodwin couldn't go?
"Matt Tennant. Matt's the guy that comes to the game as the backup swing guard and center and he took the reps today."
What is the reasoning behind bringing Sean Canfield back-and-forth onto the practice squad on the weekends?
"When we go on the road for instance, there are some times when if something happened or if one of the quarterbacks took sick, he's in a position where when we put him on the practice squad, we can then move him to the active roster if we needed to. It would have to be Saturday before 3:00 but when you look at the San Francisco trip or you look at the Arizona trip, those taking place on Friday, you have a player like that ready. Now if you're traveling on Saturday, generally you have to make that transaction prior to you leaving."
Is it a matter of keeping him around and keeping him involved?
"No question. That being said, when he's on the practice squad you see him out there practicing and when he's not, he can't be a part of any of that."
Fans get concerned about Drew Brees being in the game at the end of a one-sided game. Is there thought to taking him out when a game is out of hand one way or the other?
"I'm always paying attention to that. When you're down, you pay attention to how far and if you have a chance to get back in it and when you're ahead, how much are you ahead? We pay attention to that and don't ever take for granted that we just leave him in there. If ever we feel like we're ahead enough or we're in a position where there's no way we can get back in it, then of course we'd play the other quarterback."
What kind of advice do you give Drew after a game like he had on Sunday?
"I think more than anything it lies within the plan and the preparation. I've said before that his bar and what he expects of himself is high, no different than the rest of us, but he's very competitive. But he's also very resilient, and that's a great strength."
Must you be careful not to put too much emphasis on this game Sunday night?
"I don't think you put additional emphasis on it. You look at your work schedule and you look at when you're playing the game and you still understand that we're running a long race here. We're 4-3 and that's the bad news, yet to some degree what's encouraging is that we haven't played our best football and we're a game off our division lead and a game off the NFC's best record. You keep looking at the improvement during the course of the week."
We asked Mike Tomlin about the things he was able to draw on from his championship year and use the next year and he said he consciously didn't do that so each season could stand on its own. Does that reflect your experience?
"Mike and I talked about this in the offseason, and you don't take anything for granted. Specifically I can recall visiting with him about some of those challenges; he was one of the guys that I had a chance to fire a few questions at about what he felt were the challenges looking back. He's someone that has stepped in there...what's amazing is that with the history of that organization they've had three head coaches and that's something else. He's done a great job of following Bill Cowher after Bill had success and won a Super Bowl and shortly after, Mike won one. When you look at the make-up of that team, they've had that staying power year-in and year-out. They've had teams each year that you have to contend with and are a threat."
Why are the Steelers so effective at getting to the quarterback and what kind of challenge is that?
"In this 3-4 defense, the two outside ‘backers are guys that rush the passer very well so it challenges your protections trying to figure out who's rushing and who's dropping or if they're both rushing. They do a very good job with some interior dogs at trying to crease your offense. They're very well-coached and they're very talented. All those things factor in to what you're seeing now, which is their success at getting to the quarterbacks, the success at run defense, total defense, points per game. They're playing as well as anyone."
How big of a loss is Aaron Smith for them? He seems to not get the notoriety of some of their other defensive players.
"Those inside ends in that defense oftentimes don't and he's one of them that has done an outstanding job of being stout. He probably doesn't get the league-wide attention and yet people in our circles that watch and pay attention to the film and the coaches' tape, clearly view him as one of the tops at his position with what they're asking him to do and how effective he does it."
It seems like you learned everything you could about the pitfalls of the post-Super Bowl season. Is it frustrating that those still seem to be hitting you?
"You can't dwell on it. You have to get ready for the next challenge. You look closely at it and pay attention to your practice schedule and your reps. You pay attention to all the things that you're doing within the work week, just as you ask the players to do. But that's where we're at right now. We cut some snaps out of practice today and we'll be ready to go tomorrow in the nickel."
Did Jabari Greer do a little more today than he did last week?
"Again, similar to the earlier question, yes and yet not enough to where he was in a practice mode. I think the progress with both Jabari and Tracy (Porter) has been significant and positive and on schedule."
Do you feel like you've been less lucky injury-wise than last year?
"I'd have to go back and look. The uniqueness is that it happened at two position groups. When you look at the three corners with Randall Gay, Jabari and Tracy and you look at the running backs in Reggie (Bush) and Pierre (Thomas). That's not uncommon, so the other guys step in."
You said you cut some snaps today. Is that typical for this point in the season?
"Yes, but also just looking and making sure that we're getting the film study but also resting and making sure that we're looking at everything we're doing."
Did you get an explanation on the rulings on the two fumbles from Sunday?
"The one think you can't do - and the official was correct - is that you can't challenge who recovered a fumble. You can throw a flag and the official can come over and explain it to you and you still don't get the challenge, which is what happened, but you can't challenge who recovered it. You can challenge whether it was fumbled or not and if you do, the only way you're awarded the ball is if they see in the film study that you recovered it."
On the other challenge that you won, did you know that the penalty on Malcolm Jenkins would be assessed so you just went to gain the seven yards?
"Yes. Looking back at it, I felt real confident that we were going to win it so I challenged it. Had I not won the earlier challenge, I probably wouldn't have challenged it over seven yards. But there was enough evidence to where we felt like the contact made by Darren Sharper was clear."
Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger - Conference Call Transcript
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Now that you've been back for a little while. How are you feeling? Are you in the proverbial midseason form?
"I don't know. Maybe the bruises on my body are midseason form. I've always tried to strive to get better, even later in the year. Things are coming along. We still have a ways to go but (I'm) trying to make progress every week."
You and your teammates have been in the Saints' position every week as defending world champions. Can you talk about getting the best shots of other teams every week? Did you guys face that coming off your championships
"Yes, you definitely do. A lot of people want to beat the champs. That just goes along with the territory. You're going to get everybody's best shot. Everyone wants to get you. A lot of your games are primetime. I don't think you'd trade it for the championship, but it's something you have to be prepared for. It's never an easy thing."
Did you guys have a hard time getting your groove back and into the swing of things after that title run?
"A lot of the hard part about it is your off time is so short. You play so longer than anyone else, the time to heal, rest, get your body right...A lot of times after championships, there's a lot of turnover on teams. Other players get a chance to go to other places. There's a lot of expectations on you. You kind of put the pressure on yourself just as much as anyone else does."
When you reflect on the slumps you guys had after your titles, are you able to pinpoint things that happened internally in addition to getting the best shots of people from other teams?
"Those things were a while ago. I think a lot of it was feeling worn down and feeling beaten up. The added pressure of trying to do a repeat."
Are you not necessarily surprised the Saints aren't having an up and down early season?
"It's early. They're a great football team, one of the best in the league. They have some really great players and coaches and everything. I don't think it's time to panic if I'm a Saints fan."
Is there also something to that with the balance of the NFL, the bounce of a ball might go your way one year and might not the next?
"Absolutely. Coach (Terry) Hoeppner. My college coach said is that no matter how great a football team is, there's still an element of luck involved. Whether a ball is going into the end zone, hits and bounces out or hits and bounces in, or do you get one or two feet in. Little things like that sometimes make a difference in one game or one play that could be the turning point in a game."
Can you talk about the year Mike Wallace is having and how he benefits you as an outlet?
"Mike's a great player. He's come a long way from just being a guy who runs down the field really fast. He's running great routes. His role has evolved on this team. You just see him growing every day."
Did he recommit himself or something he did in the offseason that indicated he'd have this kind of year?
"when you say recommit, I'd look and say he was doing something wrong initially. He's just growing. Last year you have to remember was his rookie year. It's hard for a lot of rookies to contribute right away. He used the talent that God gave him which is to run really fast. That was his number one trick as coach (Mike) Tomlin says. He still has it, but we're moving him around. He's running different and better routes. He's growing as a football player."
What are your impressions of the Saints defense?
"So afar and I have a lot more film work to do on it because of the complexities of the things they do, but they are a great defense. They do so many things and they pressure the quarterback. The number one thing I noticed is pressuring the quarterback."
A lot of people flipped out here this weekend because the Saints lost to the Browns. What is your take on that given your familiarity with the Browns?
"This league, in my opinion I don't think you can ever go into a game and say there's a guaranteed win, because the NFL's completely different. It's truly any given Sunday. Any team can win anywhere any Sunday. The line, the favorites, all that stuff, I think you have to throw it out the window, whether it's the bounce of the ball, a team showing up to play, another team not, who knows what it is? Any team can win any Sunday in this league."
Did you feel you needed to re-establish yourself as a leader in Pittsburgh after your suspension as well as your public image?
"I don't think I needed to do too much in the locker room because of the relationships I had with the guys and they all knew and know me. It's just the perception of people who don't know, who think they know things, so I think our relationship is so strong in this locker room. That's what I think is so special, the relationship we all have and the friendship and brotherhood."
What do you think Halloween night in New Orleans will be like?
"It's going to be crazy. This will be my first game down there. I've heard so many things. Put Halloween on top and Sunday Night Football on top of that. The moon's going to out. It's going to be electric I believe."
What are some of the words some friends of yours have used to describe the environment in the Superdome?
"Loud, amazing, electric, just things you kind of fear as another quarterback knowing it's going to be very loud and that there's going to be a lot of fans. It's going to be fun to see. I couldn't tell you, I wasn't here, the last time the Steelers played in New Orleans. So, I would expect there to be a lot of Steeler fans there."
It's not only two good teams, but it's the last two Super Bowl champions. Does this add any element to the game?
"I forgot about that until you said it since it's been so long since we've done that. People will the next couple days find every single way to add to this game, whether it's the quarterbacks, coaches, both young coaches. Who knows? They'll find every little element. Really it boils down to the Steelers vs. the Saints. I think it's going to be a great game."
Pittsburgh Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin - Conference Call Transcript
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
The Saints have talked about research they have done about pitfalls Super Bowl winning teams have faced. I'm sure you've done the same and had some guys in your organization who had done it before, but no matter what, what are some of the pitfalls you encounter that preparation couldn't have prepared you for?
"I think we're all off the mark. Repeating is not what's difficult, just winning is difficult. It doesn't matter whether you've done it the year before or not. There are 32 teams vying for the World Championship and it's a difficult journey. You kind of start anew. I think the level of expectations kind of change, but my experience was that we were simply trying to walk the journey to win a world championship and become world champions. I'm sure New Orleans is and it's touch doing it. The fact that you're defending champs, probably is an issue from those on the outside, but just walking the journey itself is a difficult one."
I know you and Darren Sharper had some history. Have the two of you talked this week? I know he's kind of outspoken guy sometimes, especially with his former teammates and best friends. Have the two of you talked?
"Darren and I have known each other so long that talking is irrelevant. I hosted him on his recruiting trip when he was 17 when he came to visit William & Mary. I was 19 or so. We've been friends since we were kids. This is just business. This is what we do."
What were your impressions of 17 year old Darren Sharper?
"He was more talented than the rest of us. He had no business on William & Mary's football team. His career's beared that out."
For teams that have had past success and have been successful year in and year out, how much can that success end up playing against them? Is there something that jumps to your mind of what's going on here and why you're not doing it like before?
"No. I don't believe it hurts you. I believe it helps you. I truly believe that. I think past success puts belief in yourself, belief in one another in the midst of adversity. There's no such thing as a football season without adversity. All teams go through it. Your ability to navigate it and respond to it and ultimately push through it is what's going to determine your levels of success. I think past success, all that does is increase the probability of that happening. I don't see it as a negative thing."
I don't know how much you got the see the Saints offense last year, but they were very successful. How different are they this year. What is the difference if there is one?
"I didn't see much of those guys at all last year, so I probably can't make an accurate comparison between the two."
Can you talk about Mike Wallace. Are you surprised at how he's blossomed and how you're using him in the offense now?
"He is a detail guy. He's a hard working guy. He's a humble guy and he has a great deal of talent and I think that's a good recipe for a young guy getting better and improving and he's done that. He's capable of more, but we like where he is. This guy comes to work every day. I think this guy has the desire to be a great player. Equally important or more important than that, he does the things on a day to day basis to try to make it a reality. He's not a finished product, but we like his approach to pursuing it and along the way he's helping us win."
Darren Sharper's only played in one game this year. Have you gone back to look at film on him last year and what do you think he means to that defense?
"I saw the highlights of last year. You touch as many balls as he did in significant games and score touchdowns not only what it does for your team in terms of the scoreboard, but from a mentality standpoint, just watching highlights and so forth from that defense a year ago, they took on the opportunistic personality that Darren Sharper has always had since I've known him. That's what good players are capable of doing. They make the ones around them better and they see him. Darren has always been opportunist and optimistic as a player."
I know that the Steelers organization has set its own bar and set it pretty high. With that being the case, did Ben Roethlisberger have to do things with the Steelers and the teammates to re-establish himself, separate from what the league and people in New Orleans and coast to coast wanted out of him?
"Certainly, there was a level of what we wanted looking forward and moving forward. That required some actions, an approach, mentality. He's met all of those requirements and continues to."
Last year, Hines Ward kind of spoke out. Maybe if you're a player like Hines Ward you get more leeway than someone else, but were you surprised he said that and did that give any indications about Ben and his leadership and status within the Steeler locker room?
"We deal in honesty. That's the way to approach one another. You're not legitimately close unless you can tell someone the truth as they see it and I preface that by as you see it. There's nothing wrong with communicating even if it's somewhat critical. We have to peel back the layers, if we want to be as good as we're capable of being and truly coming together. Hines is about winning, always has been, always will be. If he said anything it was done with that in mind."
Do you have any good Darren Sharper stories for us?
"I'll take them to the grave. Because I would expect him to do the same."
What do you expect the Superdome to be like in Halloween for a matchup between the last two defending Super Bowl champs?
"I expect it to be a playoff-like atmosphere. I do recognize how that city has gotten behind their football team and rightfully so. We're excited about coming down there into that environment and that challenge. If you're a competitor, it's a challenge that we seek. We're just excited about the opportunity. Is it going to be difficult? Absolutely, but that's what you sign up for in the National Football League. We're genuinely excited"
You mentioned how it was a separate journey each year. Last year at any point was there a point where things weren't going so well, where you were able to reference the Super Bowl journey and talk about what you had done right the year before that you could draw on from that standpoint?
"I personally try not to do that. I make a conscious effort not to. Each season starts anew. I think that when you talk about the past and things of that nature you start assuming and assuming is a dangerous thing. Each year's a new group, although many of the faces are familiar. Nothing stays the same. Roles change. There are new people added to the mix and so forth. It's probably prudent to just address issues that are just relevant to the present."
I assume you've watched the last two Saints games on film. What was the difference between Drew Brees and the offense in the Tampa Bay game and the last game?
"Not much to be quite honest with you. Of course they turned the ball over some and when you turn the ball over you increase your chances of losing. They're a potent group. Drew uses all his eligible. His play action pass game, his misdirection pass game, his quick game. He has a complete game. At times when you do those things, the ball is going to get turned over for one reason or another. That's football. That's why people have the amount of interest they do in these games week in and week out, because anything can happen. What happened last week isn't a measure of what that team's going to be. I'm sure that the more distance they put between last weekend and the present will become a distance memory. They're that good. They're a talented group."
You guys have a defense a lot of teams would like to emulate. From your perspective what do you think of Gregg Williams' defense?
"He has a personality. I think his defense to a degree takes on his personality. That's coaching. They're attacking. They get after people. They pressure the quarterback. They create opportunities for themselves and they play with a great deal of energy and enthusiasm and as a coach, that's what you're always looking for. Coach Williams has done a great job down there, but quite frankly he's kind of done a great job wherever he's been. His reputation precedes him. He needs no endorsement from me."
V-Roll Roll Call
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