Fleur-de-Links - Oct. 8th: Saints to be Without Pierre Thomas @ Arizona

Looks like we won't have the Flying Frenchman in the lineup for at least another week. Pierre is being given a little more time to rest that ankle, but it looks like he'll probably be ready for the Bucs. Ladell Betts and Chris Ivory will have another week in the spotlight. Let's hope the Tusk has learned better ball security since last week. I really like that guy, but I'd soon love him if he learns how to stop putting the ball on the turf.

Be sure to check out the transcripts section. Today was Gregg Williams's day to talk to the press in addition to Sean Payton. Gregg has some advice for Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels.

TWEETS:

usama_young28 All about camaraderie RT @MalcolmJenkins: gettin ready to go to Dinner wit the Defense.nothing brings you closer together than breakin bread

HeathEvans If u want great food & atmosphere in NewOrleans u have to go Irenes! Amazing!! #fb

reggie_bush My mom just arrived going to spend some mother son quality time with her. She sent me this last night. Lol! http://plixi.com/p/49303835

JeremyShockey At work the off to AZ.... Hope Everyone enjoys the weekend!!

jeffduncantp Doesn't look good. Has not practiced. RT @milldogslim: @jeffduncantp How is Pierre looking for this weekend?

jeffduncantp A photo gallery of the new champagne-colored skin being installed on the Superdome, by Times-Pic ace Ted Jackson: http://bit.ly/azTYK2

bobbymccray Feeling dizzy from the early Rise and Grind workout trainer Dalvin Marshall put me through.I might have to fill uP ... http://tmi.me/24ipG

bobbymccray RT @Adam_Schefter: Condolences. Sad story. RT @espn Albert Haynesworth's brother killed in crash, police say - http://es.pn/bWj0G3

Official_Saints Who better to do a Twitter interview with today than our 46-year-old Kicker John Carney!Reply to us with a question for #3-we will ask 5!

T_Porter22 Just took some meds and I am FADED about to pass out in 3..2..1..

sharper42 Ladies! It only happens once,join Me and Reggie Bush Mon Oct 18 at the W Hotel-Football Camp 4 Women sign up today ... http://tmi.me/24FB7 Here's your chance, SarahT! Go get a personal view of that smile you love.

ChaseDaniel Sitting in the cold tub right now trying to get my legs back...it's extra cold today!

ChaseDaniel I like our chances this weekend Missouri fans..Blaine and the offense will dominate...Coach Stec will have the defense ready!

 

SAINTS @ CARDINALS:

New Orleans Saints final injury report: RB Pierre Thomas is out Sunday | NOLA.com
New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton delivered his final injury report Friday prior to Sunday's game with the Arizona Cardinals and while it contained few surprises Payton confirmed running back Pierre Thomas will not be active. Thomas, who suffered an ankle sprain late in the game against Atlanta, has not practiced the past two weeks.

Injuries continue to make Saints scramble | shreveporttimes.com | Shreveport Times
METAIRIE — Tailback remains an issue with the New Orleans Saints as starter Pierre Thomas missed another practice Thursday. Now, cornerback is a concern and possibly defensive tackle.

2theadvocate.com | Sports | Saints defense focused on improving — Baton Rouge, LA
"Right now, we’re not necessarily focused on who’s playing quarterback," Jenkins said. "We’re just really trying to get back to playing the defense that we’re used to playing. That’s forcing turnovers, getting pressure and being disruptive."

Red zone blues: Saints searching for touchdowns inside the 20 | wwltv.com | Eye on Black and Gold
It’s fairly well known that right now the Saints aren’t scoring points in bunches like they did a season ago.

Henderson: Saints hoping to speed up Cardinals' quick descent | New Orleans News, Local News, Breaking News, Weather | wwltv.com | Eye on Black and Gold
The Arizona Cardinals are a team that prides itself in bouncing back from diversity.

New Orleans Saints expect to play under closed roof in Arizona on Sunday | NOLA.com
Cardinals rarely open the retractable roof at University of Phoenix Stadium

New Orleans Saints cornerback Patrick Robinson is ready to be thrown back in the fire | NOLA.com
Rookie will play prominent role during starter Tracy Porter's absence

 

THE VIEW FROM THE OTHER SIDE:

Hall isn't your typical rookie QB
A 25-year-old who has experienced overwhelming success at every previous level and is recognized for his leadership abilities, Max Hall might give the Cardinals a better shot at winning than some are giving him credit for.

Beanie Wells, Ken Whisenhunt discuss playing time
Beanie Wells, Ken Whisenhunt discuss playing time, Notes: Arizona Cardinals running back Beanie Wells finds out his coach has a few things to say, too.

Thoughts on Max Hall as Cardinals' starter - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Hall won over coaches during the offseason and exhibition season. Hall is not the typical rookie. He's married, 25 years old and carries deep NFL and Arizona bloodlines. His uncle, Danny White, played quarterback and punter for the Dallas Cowboys. His grandfather, Wilford White, played running back for the Chicago Bears in the early 1950s. Danny White and Wilford White both played at Arizona State.

azcentral.com blogs - Dan Bickley - DanBickley - Mad Max to the rescue?
Max Hall is a polarizing figure. Some think he's the next Joe Montana. Some think he's incapable of taming NFL defenses. Debate is pointless, for the truth is coming.

Hall Gets Call At Quarterback

 

LAGNIAPPE:

Drew Brees shining in shotgun formation - NFC South Blog - ESPN
There’s been a lot of talk about how the Saints haven’t been as productive offensively as they were last year. No argument here. However, there’s one area where Brees and the Saints are really shining.

The Hand Off: Has the offensive line lost its fight? | New Orleans News, Local News, Breaking News, Weather | wwltv.com | Eye on Black and Gold
With the Saints’ offense still stuck in first gear when we’re all accustomed to it being in fourth by now, you’d think the questions would be about the unit that likes to score points.

John & Holly Carney see return to New Orleans Saints as part of divine plan
Last Monday night, at a gala benefit for the Blessed Francis X. Seelos canonization cause at the Audubon Tea Room, Holly Carney provided a riveting testimony of miraculous proportion and a compelling explanation of her husband’s unexpected return to New Orleans.

New Orleans Saints defensive lineman Sedrick Ellis is lean and mean this season | NOLA.com
He has three sacks and a disruptive force in opponents backfield

Usama Young To Host Football Clinc
Kids clinic to take place at Academy Sports and Outdoors

 

TRANSCRIPTS:

Head Coach Sean Payton

Friday Press Conference

Opening Statement: "We’ll go through the final injury report before Arizona. The following players are probable: Stanley Arnoux, full, probable, Drew Brees, full, probable, (Marques) Colston, same, full, probable, Randall Gay, full go, probable, Jimmy Graham, full, probable, Chris Ivory, full probable, (Jon) Stinchcomb, full, probable, Zach Strief, full, probable, Leigh Torrence, full, probable, Anthony Waters, full, probable, Jimmy Wilkerson, full, probable, Usama Young, full, probable, Roman Harper, hamstring was limited. He’ll be questionable. Pierson Prioleau, chest was limited. He’ll be questionable. (Jeremy) Shockey, knee was limited. He’s probable. Reggie Bush, fibula, did not practice. He’s out. Tracy Porter, knee, did not practice. He’s out. Will Smith, groin, was limited. He’s questionable and last Pierre Thomas, ankle, did not practice. He’ll be out. We’ll take a peek at those questionable guys prior to game time. They’re all making the trip. We’ll work them out and get a better feel for where we think they’re at and make a decision for game time with Roman, Pierson and Will."

 Did Pierre Thomas make progress this week?

 "Yes, I think so. I think without jumping ahead, he’s right at the corner here. The swelling’s gone down. By the nature of the position he’s playing we’re trying to keep the weight off it. He won’t make the trip. The guys that are out for us won’t make the trip. He really needs to keep it elevated. He’s real close."

 Did you ever specific if it was a high or low ankle sprain?

 "It’s not a high ankle sprain. The only thing I commented on was that it wasn’t that. It was more of a typical sprain. It’s looking a lot better. He’s feeling a lot better. He’s doing some light jogging, all those things. I think he’s going to have a good shot at playing next week."

 Can you talk about welcoming the Vandebilt Catholic football team to your practice?

 "We were approached a week ago about having an opportunity to visit with their team with everything that’s gone on and one of their coaches worked for us in ’06, Josh Constant. He had touched base with me. They have a game tonight in Belle Chasse. We thought it would be maybe somewhat convenient if they came by here first and visited with our players. They’re going to have a little walk through right now (in our facility) and I had a chance to spend ten minutes with them and I think more than anything else it’s trying to help them through a difficult time and it was great to see them and their team and the families were there as well. Certainly our prayers are with them and yet they seemed in good spirits and ready for a game tonight, so I thought it was a good deal."

 Can you talk about how Chris Ivory is doing on ball security?

 "So far, so good. It’s hard to simulate some of the things they’ve done in a game, but he’s carrying it the right way. He’s focused on it. We’ll have a chance to see again on Sunday, but he’s done well."

 With the safeties being game time decisions are you likely to sign a defensive back from the practice squad?

 "I don’t see that happening. I think we’ve been able to train some guys that if necessary could go back, but I don’t see that. It wouldn’t be out of the question, but I doubt that would happen."

 If both guys couldn’t go are you covered?

 "Yes, we have a plan. You work through it. But certainly we’d be ready."

 You didn’t’ make Chris Ivory carry a ball around the facility like some college coaches require players to do around campus?

 "No, I think the big thing with ball security on Wednesdays and Thursdays is the emphasis of technique of getting used to it. It’s different for guys growing up getting used to it. All the years he’s played running back he’s probably used to a certain way of carrying the football. It’s probably been okay. It’s a bigger change. The way teams are taking the ball away now, it’s obviously a bigger point of emphasis for anyone touching the ball."

 Is it a big change?

 "Yes, when you start carrying it the way we are coaching, which is high and tight against the ribcage, it takes a little getting used to and becomes a habit."

 Have you made a final decision on who will handle placekicking duties?

 "No, we’ll take a peek. We’ll probably stick with John (Carney) right now. Depending on game day inactives, it would be possible we could carry two (kickers) if some of these questionables are inactive. That would be a possibility although not a probability. I think the plan is to stay in the direction we’re headed in right now with John right now."

 

Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams

Friday Press Conference

It seems like Sedrick Ellis is having a good start to the season. What are your observations?

 "Before I got here I was really excited about coming here and getting a chance to coach him because I really liked him coming out and I had him rated as the top tackle coming out (of college). I’ve had a chance to catch up with him. I mentioned back in training camp that if he stays healthy I thought you all would see a tremendously productive there; a guy that has a chance to be a Pro Bowl player. When you get drafted that high, that’s what you hope your talent equates to and I think he’s having that kind of a season. I think he’s having a very impactful season. He’s in the trenches so he’s going to get chances to get rolled up on and all that kind of stuff and really the only thing that has set him back in his first two years is health. When he stays healthy and can stay on the field, I know we’re a better defense when he stays on the field. He’s played well. In fact with that article from today that had him real lean and everything, I think I’m going to play him at corner this week in place of Tracy Porter."

 Speaking of who’s going to play corner in place of Tracy Porter, what are your thoughts on that?

 "We’re going to have several packages. We’re going to share it with all of our guys. Like I’ve said before we have a multitude of ways to do things. One of the things that you saw last week is that we have a multitude of ways in that we went from Roman (Harper) to Pierson (Prioleau), Pierson to Chris (Reis), and Chris to Usama (Young). I think the big picture teaching and coaching that we do – I have a really good staff here and we do a lot of coaching on the what ifs. We do a lot of coaching on making sure that you have a couple of guys groomed up to fit. We always say that with all the packages we have, we want to make sure that until it gets to two injuries at a position before you go out of a package. We don’t want to have one injury take you out of a package. In order to do that, you have to cross-train. I’ve been on record before here saying that I like guys that can do more than one thing – an end that can play tackle; a tackle that can play end; a linebacker that can play all three; a safety that can play corner; a corer that can play safety. With all that being said and done, that’s how we’ll handle this particular week and we do that every week. One of the things that we try to do too – and I think Sean (Payton) does a great job of it offensively here, in all the years I’ve gone against him he did this well – and we’ve been kind recognized as doing this defensively in that we change what we’re doing defensively according to who we’re playing. Certain guys can’t do certain things. Certain guys can play certain ways. So our style of play changes depending on who’s in the ballgame at what time of the ballgame and all that kind of stuff because we’re going to try to put them in a situation. Now you can’t always protect all of them – at some point in time they may all be on an island – but for the most part, we adapt and change as coaches. I’m not the kind of guy that says you have to play this way. I’m supposed to have some flexibility too and we recognize that. That’s why we have culture; we have good attitudes in our room because our guys like that. They like that they have some say too."

 How is Patrick Robinson coming along?

 "I said last week or two weeks ago that he’s really coming on and he has been. He’s been coming on and he’s been improving. He’ll be in some packages. Athletically, he’s as talented as last year I said Malcolm (Jenkins) was. Malcolm had a process that he had to grow through and it’s the same thing. I jumped on Patrick pretty good early on here and that was for a reason. It’s because the other things that were going unnoticed were going unlistened to behind the scenes. My job is to affect change. Sometimes mom and dad and sometimes college coaches create habits that are acceptable that aren’t in pro football so we had to change some habits. The young man has done a great job, he really has. He’s done a great job of falling into line here and doing what we want to do. I’ve had a lot of DBs like that – Nate Clements, Sean Taylor, Carlos Rogers, Antoine Winfield, Samari Rolle, LaRon Landry; you go on down the list of first-round DBs that took a while. I think the hardest position to play in this league right now – outside of quarterback – is a corner matching up with the talented wide receivers that are in this league, and also matching up with the wide-open passing game in this league because the rules are set that they want to see the ball thrown through the air. Fans want that. So it takes a while; it does. And he’s done well. I’m pleased with his progress."

 What are your thoughts about facing another rookie quarterback for the second week in a row?

 "When we scout an opponent, we don’t just look at one or two games, we look at lots of things. Because we played them in the playoffs last year, we had looked at every single game of the season last year. What we’re doing this year is we’ve taken all of that information from the 2009 season and combined it also, or separated or juggled it into this season. When you look at it different ways, what you see is that we’re going to have to play the Cardinals offense. It’s really not about that quarterback, especially since the quarterback that really made it click is in the broadcaster’s booth this week. Kurt (Warner) is doing the game out there. I’ve gone against him at the Rams, at the Giants, at the Cardinals and I think he’s – in my opinion – a first-ballot Hall of Famer. So they’re doing similar things to when he played that quarterback position. They’re going to ask (Max Hall) to manage the game. As you take a look at the quarterback position, does because you’re young mean that all of a sudden that the running game becomes all the more important? Does it mean that (Larry) Fitzgerald becomes more important that you have to play? You have a veteran that Coach Whisenhunt has stood up and said has to protect that quarterback. We can’t get focused in on just playing the young quarterback; we have to play the Cardinal offense. That’s what we have to do and we’ve done a good job of that other times. It was similar to that last week; we had to play the Carolina Panther offense. We had to play the New York Jet offense last year when Sanchez came in, or any young quarterback. They do a lot of things that limit what he has to do. The opportunities that he’ll get maybe will be to make a tight throw and he’s done well. We’ve gone back and taken a look at every preseason game; we’ve taken a look at the games in the regular season when he’s been in; we’ve take a look at some college film that he’s been in to try to get mannerisms. We’re pretty thorough when we go back and look at an opponent."

 You have coached with Jeff Fisher. This past week, Josh McDaniels claimed that the Titans played dirty. Can you answer that?

 "I’ll say this and I’m not putting words into Jeff’s mouth, but the two best guys that I’ve ever worked for – ever – are Sean and Jeff. And with the fact that Jeff and I are best friends, what I would say to Josh is to be careful what you say and be careful what you wish for because there are other coaches in this league also and Jeff Fisher’s not that way. You have to coach your own team. I’d be worried about coaching my own team before I talked about somebody else’s team."

 What are your options if Will Smith weren’t able to play on Sunday?

 "We have flexibility there. Alex (Brown) played right end his whole career before I made him play left end. Jeff Charleston – as I said last week – I think is one of the most improved players we have on this football team and he’ll get some reps. Jimmy Wilkerson was brought in here to be able to play both sides there too. Again, because of that position flexibility and what we attracted in here to start with, we have pieces. Will practiced today and I’m anxious to see how he felt after the practice. Our offense vs. defense – which is my favorite period of the week – my favorite period of the week is when we go 1s vs. 1s against the offense in the red zone on Fridays. That’s the only period where we get after it just like training camp. He was in that period and was rocking and rolling in that period so I’m anxious to see how he felt afterwards. We have to be smart. Just like we were last week with Roman (Harper), we have to be smart. When their body is talking to them, they trust me in knowing that they don’t have to impress me. Let’s be smart in knowing where we’re at in the season. But he did go today and that was a positive thing to see him out there competing in the red zone against Drew Brees and the guys."

 Is Junior Galette an option?

 "Yes. He’s another guy. Here’s another guy that’s on the team for a reason. Could he get in the game? Sure he could. He’s been deactive and we’ve been grooming him for a particular spot there. With Junior, he has some position flexibility. Here’s one of those guys like (Anthony) Hargrove and like (Jeff) Charleston who also can play in the special teams. So is he a guy? Yes, to answer your question. He could get up and get some time. And if we dress them, we’re playing them."

 

VIDEO:

Drew Brees says Arizona's defense isn't necessarily poor

Pierson Prioleau discusses coming back from the bruised lung

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