Fleur-de-Links - Nov. 23rd: Saints Prepare for Cowboys, Pierre Thomas Doesn't Practice

Today's injury report was another long one. Reggie Bush was limited and Pierre Thomas was out. Reggie is looking iffy for Thursday and it's probably pretty safe to assume that PT won't play. Sean Payton was his normal tight-lipped self when meeting with the press today, but he did seem optimistic about Bush being ready this week. He wouldn't offer any details on if Thomas experienced a setback with his long-running ankle injury. Ladell Betts is also nursing an injury and did not practice. Chris Ivory and Julius Jones might be in for a lot of work on Turkey Day.

In other news, LB Stanley Arnoux is placed on injured reserve, the Saints donate 1,200 turkeys to the needy, and Reggie Bush plans to trick out a smart car (see tweets).

TWEETS:

JonVilma51 Driving to work and theres barely any traffic...its almost thanksgiving but is anybody working 2day???

usama_young28 Good morn. Time to get this day started... Hope everybody has a good one

LanceMoore16 Up and at em. Doing work! Two days till game time again. Can't wait. Let's go.

LanceMoore16Almost forgot. Darren Sharper's womens football camp friday in Lafayette, Nite Town, 6-9pm. Get tickets at tcynow.org See u there ladies

Official_Saints @DrewBrees currently ranks No. 6 in Pro Bowl votes among all NFL players with 296,552

Official_Saints Still have 4 weeks left to vote! Vote for your favorite Saints players to the Pro Bowl here - http://bit.ly/SaintsProBowl

jeffduncantp FYI: New #Saints LS Justin Drescher played at Southlake Carroll HS, the same school as PK Garrett Hartley & holder Chase Daniel.

jeffduncantp The all-Southlake Carroll place-kick battery -- snapper/holder/kicker -- the #Saints will field Thurs. is believed to be a 1st in the NFL.

jeffduncantp New #Saints long snapper Justin Drescher will continue a club tradition, Jason Kyle notwithstanding, by wearing jersey No. 47.

Official_Saints Our media had a Thanksgiving Feast today! http://yfrog.com/b8lrfwj

jeffduncantp #Saints RB Pierre Thomas was not present at practice at all today. Can only assume that's a setback in his recovery since he worked lst wk.

Official_Saints Payton announced that LB Stanley Arnoux has been placed on Injured Reserve & QB Sean Canfield moved to active roster.

Official_Saints Payton said Reggie Bush was "limited" at practice today but he feels "pretty good" about his chances of playing Thursday

jeffduncantp LaDell Betts also did not practice today with a head/neck injury. So the Saints re-signed RB Chris Taylor to the practice squad for depth.

HeathEvans "@Official_Saints: @HeathEvans currently has the most Pro Bowl Votes for any NFC FB with 96,320"Thx 4all the support! Keep it going!

jeffduncantp Payton was tight-lipped on P.Thomas: "He wasn't @ practice. We'll just continue to monitor where he's at. But he didn't take any team reps."

Official_Saints @drewbrees - "I wouldn't want to tackle Chris Ivory. He is a big, strong, physical back."

Official_Saints Happy Birthday Mama Porter! RT @T_Porter22: The team sang happy bday to my mommy today! She was really surprised and excited.

Official_Saints @drewbrees on Cowboys "I think these last 2 weeks they have played as well as anybody in the league."

jeffduncantp Looks like the #Saints are wearing their regular white jerseys on Thursday. #Cowboys expected to wear blue throwbacks jerseys.

Official_Saints The Saints will wear white jerseys this Thursday vs. the Cowboys. Please, please not with the black pants!

reggie_bush My next car! Y'all think I'm playing! Imma black it out and put a Hemi in it with one 12 in the back! Let's go! http://plixi.com/p/58725284

reggie_bush Gas probably last about a whole month! Lol! http://plixi.com/p/58725500

 

INJURY REPORTS/ROSTER MOVES:

Saints RB PIerre Thomas sits out practice, Bush labled limited | New Orleans News, Local News, Breaking News, Weather | wwltv.com | Eye on Black and Gold
"He wasn’t out at practice," Payton said. "He was listed as did not. We’ll just continue to monitor where he is at. But he didn’t take any team reps."

New Orleans Saints sign new long snapper | NOLA.com
The 21-year old is from Colorado

New Orleans Saints running back Reggie Bush fully participated Monday | NOLA.com
Stanley Arnoux, Ladell Betts and Sedrick Ellis didn't practice

New Orleans Saints put linebacker Stanley Arnoux on injured reserve | NOLA.com
It is the second straight season the 24-year-old from Wake Forest wound up on the injured reserve list. Just the day before, the Saints still included Arnoux, who suffered an achilles tendon injury, on their injury report for Thursday's game against the Cowboys.

New Orleans Saints release Tuesday injury report | NOLA.com
The New Orleans Saints injury report remained stacked Tuesday, as Coach Sean Payton said things became clearer after what was merely a walk-through Monday in preparation for the team's Thanksgiving Day showdown in Dallas.

 

SAINTS @ COWBOYS:

Felix Jones limited, remains day to day | Dallas Cowboys Blog | Sports News | News for Dallas, Texas | The Dallas Morning News
The short week doesn't help Cowboys running back Felix Jones. He was limited to rehabilitation work in today's practice because of a hip injury that briefly sidelined him during last Sunday's game against Detroit.

New Orleans Saints Week 12 Game Release

Cowboys running more, better under Garrett
Garrett insists the revitalization of the running game stems from how the games have gone overall. In many of the early games, the Cowboys got behind early and had to throw a lot to try catching up.

Cowboys Corner: Same time, this year: It's another short week
The Cowboys are used to this routine, annually playing a game on Thanksgiving Day.

Fraley: Spoiler role tough to accept for team with as much history as Cowboys | Dallas Cowboys News | Sports News | News for Dallas, Texas | Dallas Morning News
"What we've done and how hard we've worked from March 'til now, to even entertain the whole spoiler idea is tough," James said. "It's still unsettling. We've got to win."

Jason Garrett is changing the culture with the Dallas Cowboys | NOLA.com
The back-to-back victories in Garrett's first two games while serving as the head coach are nice, but the Cowboys (3-7) haven't cured all their ills just yet, even if these are happier times in Dallas. They take on the New Orleans Saints Thursday at 3:15 p.m.

No time to waste for the New Orleans Saints with a Thanksgiving Day game | NOLA.com
"Now it's all on the Cowboys; now we're thinking about them, " Prioleau said. "All the focus is on getting healthy. Getting fresh, getting refreshed. It is a short week, and you do realize you don't have as much time cardiovascular-wise, or physically to get all your energy back. So every minute counts."

With or without Reggie Bush, Dallas Cowboys coach is impressed with the New Orleans Saints offense | NOLA.com
"They are awfully good (on offense)," Garrett said. "Their quarterback is outstanding. He has great command of that system. They use all of their weapons. They seem like they are running the ball a lot better than they had earlier in the year.

 

MORE ON SAINTS DEFEAT OF THE SEAHAWKS:

2theadvocate.com | Sports | MICKLES: Seattle win good enough for Saints — Baton Rouge, LA
With two games on their schedule in a five-day span, the New Orleans Saints had only one goal when they went into Sunday’s game with the Seattle Seahawks: Win.

Saints' final throw to endzone against Seahawks ill-advised
With regard to bypassing a field goal attempt, I would argue that by throwing on fourth down the Saints ran just as much risk of being on the receiving end of a possible interception and return for a touchdown by the Seahawks as getting a FGA blocked, scooped and returned for six.

Commentary: Hartley running out of excuses | New Orleans News, Local News, Breaking News, Weather | wwltv.com | Eye on Black and Gold
After suffering through a botched snap on an extra point and Hartley’s "doink" from 27 yards out, Payton chose to fore-go a 25 yard field goal on the Saints' final possession in favor of throwing a pass into the end zone on 4th and 6 Seahawks’ 8 yard line with a 15-point lead and 29 seconds left in the game – a pass that was intercepted. Payton said afterward he feared another such error in the kicking game could result in a "quick six" the other way. So there was no attempt to restore a little bit of confidence in Hartley when another wide left might have totally destroyed whatever remains.

Rookies starting to make noise for the New Orleans Saints: Film study | NOLA.com
Chris Ivory now leads all rookie rushers with 481 yards, ahead of more-heralded first-round picks C.J. Spiller, Ryan Mathews and Jahvid Best. Moreover, his 4.8-yards-per-carry average is tied for sixth among the league's leaders.

 

LAGNIAPPE:

NFC South at top, bottom in Power Rankings - NFC South Blog - ESPN
The 7-3 New Orleans Saints moved up one spot to No. 8 with their victory against Seattle.

NFC South High Energy Player of the Week - NFC South Blog - ESPN
Brees had a season-high 382 yards passing and four touchdown passes to help the Saints win their third straight game and get to 7-3. Brees completed 29 of 43 passes as the Saints matched their season-high point total.

Saints' Ayodele changes focus, helps change team's defense | New Orleans News, Local News, Breaking News, Weather | wwltv.com | Eye on Black and Gold
"In his mind, I think he thinks he is a running back," left guard Carl Nicks said. "He’s like, ‘man, they need to put me in the backfield. I can get a yard.’ Everybody thinks they’re something else other than what they really are. I think I can be a tight end."

Harper & Sharper Provide "Hope for the Holidays
Safeties encourage fans to donate to help rebuild hurricane-hit homes

New Orleans Saints donate 1,200 Thanksgiving turkeys to the needy | NOLA.com
People also got shopping bags filled with all the trimmings

New York Jets still No. 1 in NFL Power Rankings; New Orleans Saints remain fifth | NOLA.com

 

TRANSCRIPTS:

New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton

Post-Practice Press Conference

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Opening Statement:

"To cover the practice report for today, Reggie Bush (fibula) was limited; Patrick Robinson (ankle) was full; Jermon Bushrod (knee) was full; Junior Galette (shoulder) was full; Chris Ivory (shoulder) was full; Sedrick Ellis (quad) was limited; Jonathan Goodwin (back) was limited; Jeremy Shockey (rib) was limited; Malcolm Jenkins (neck) was limited; Anthony Hargrove (knee) was limited; Darren Sharper (hamstring) was limited; Usama Young (calf) was limited; Pierre Thomas (ankle) did not practice; Ladell Betts (neck) did not practice. There were a couple of roster moves: we released long snapper Jake Ingram and signed Justin Drescher. We placed Stanley Arnoux with his Achilles injury on reserve/injured and then brought up quarterback Sean Canfield from the practice squad to the active roster. In Canfield’s spot on the practice squad, we re-signed running back Chris Taylor. The roster is at 53 and the practice squad is at eight. With the short week, today was some base review and then a lot of third down."

Reggie was listed as full yesterday but limited today. Was there a setback?

"No, it was just with the amount of reps that we gave him. He’s doing well; he’s handling it. It’s just a matter of the team reps."

How do you feel about his chances for Thursday?

"Pretty good. He’s moving around and he continues to get better."

Dallas had a lot of success with their pass rush against you last year. Is their pass rush having a good year this season?

"It’s very good. They threaten you on the edges with (DeMarcus) Ware and (Anthony) Spencer, and then inside they have some of the better pass-rushing tackles that we’ll see. When they get into some of their five-man rush, they can isolate your linemen and create problems. They do a very good job in the nickel in regards to how they pressure the quarterback. It can be a simple four-man scheme and it can come out of their 3-4 package. But it starts with the edge and like a said, I think the uniqueness is not only the outside rushers but also the inside rushers."

What kind of season is Jermon Bushrod having for you?

"He’s playing solid. Each week he has been steady. He has certainly come along here in the better part of a year-and-a-half now and given us stability at a critical position for us."

Having been through this Thanksgiving week leading up to the game in your time in Dallas, how much does that help you with your preparation this week?

"More than anything else, it’s really paying attention to the film and the study and being cautious of the installation and understanding that you’re not going to get the full amount of practice. Yesterday was really an estimate, for instance, in regards to injuries. Yesterday was walkthrough; today was a little bit more; tomorrow we’ll have another short practice. It’s really more about getting guys physically and mentally rested and ready to play another game in a short period of time. From that standpoint, that’s the key and so far I think we’ve handled it well. We have another good day of work tomorrow that we have to take advantage of before we fly."

Do find yourself cramming things in?

"No. I think you try to have carry-over in your plan. You really try to get to the things that you normally have done and aren’t necessarily new. You tinker with formations. That’s the main thing."

We didn’t see Pierre Thomas out there today. What’s his status?

"He wasn’t out at practice. He was listed as did not participate."

Did he take a step back after last week?

"No. We’ll just continue to monitor where he’s at. He didn’t take any team reps."

You said after the game that on the missed field goal, the snap and hold were good. Do you still feel that way after watching the film?

"Yes. We pulled it. Where Garrett (Hartley) has had his struggles has usually been with that pull. I think it’s just working through that. The mechanics were clean though."

Are you going back to Thomas Morstead at holder? We saw him working with the kicker and snapper today on the side.

"No. He does that when Chase (Daniel) is take quarterback drill work. We’re not making any change at holder."

Has Devery Henderson’s role changed as the season has gone on?

"No, it’s been pretty much the same. He’s in and out. We have four receivers that play and a lot of different personnel groupings. Devery will be in the base alongside of Marques (Colston); he’ll be in the nickel; there will be snaps where Robert (Meachem) is in in place of him; there will be snaps where Robert and Devery will both be on the field. So his role has been the same. Depending on the week – last week was a good example where Robert had pretty good production with two touchdowns – but his role has been the same. Those guys have all been real good at handling that; They’re unselfish players; they’re guys that communicate well; they understand what we’re doing offensively."

Marques Colston seems to be the polar opposite of the many attention-craving receivers in this league. Can you talk about how down to earth he is?

"That’s his personality to begin with. He’s as competitive as the vocal players. I think guys that play in those positions want touches, want opportunities and he’s someone that certainly had a real good game for us last week. He has real strong hands in traffic; he’s very intelligent, so he can play outside and he can play inside. He’s versatile and he gives you that size that you like at the position."

What are your thoughts on Jason Garrett through his first few weeks as a head coach?

"I coached him when we were in New York and he was an exceptional person to be around, to have in the room as a player. He’s very intelligent. I would say that he’s a close friend in the profession. He’s someone that having had a chance to work with him in New York that we’ve always stayed in touch and he’s someone that’s doing a great job with this opportunity and that’s not surprising. He’s been very well prepared for it. He has a great feel for what winning football is about, having been a part of a lot of successful teams and I think that’s serving him well right now in the position that he’s in."

Are they the same team on film the last two weeks as they were before?

"There are a few nuances. When you start with their defense, Paul Pasqualoni and I worked together in Dallas and Paul’s doing a great job filling in as the coordinator now. There a few wrinkles, but they play their package; they believe in it and they play it well. The last two weeks, they played it very well. They really pose a lot of problems for you, starting with the protection issue we discussed earlier; they have very good cover guys outside with confidence and you can see starting with the New York win on the road and then last week that they have momentum going. Paul’s someone that knows this system very well; he’s very thorough in his approach. There’s less transition on offense with Jason still handling what they’re doing. When you look at the skill positions, there are a lot of guys that can beat you. Dez Bryant is having an outstanding season; Miles Austin and Jason Witten, you have the running backs that have a lot of different skill sets. They’re putting it together and this is going to be a big challenge for us."

How is Jon Kitna fitting into that offense?

"He’s a smart player and he’s a veteran with a lot of experience. He understands the system very well and he understands who he’s playing with. I think one of the things that you see from him on tape is his understanding of trying to give his skill players opportunities, whether it’s in space, underneath or down the field, and he has done a good job. They have been aggressive that way. With a player like that, he can manage the game and yet understand when to take his shots. I think he has handled the injury to Tony (Romo) very well and has provided just what you’re looking for with a guy coming off the bench. He’s been able to get two wins now in the last two weeks."

Your defensive backs faced some big and strong receivers from Seattle last week. Does that help to prepare for another big, strong receiving corps from the Cowboys?

"There are similar sizes. (Dez) Bryant is a big, physical player that can run; he’s explosive. Miles Austin has great transition; he’s very smart and has good speed as well. Sam Hurd is a guy that gets involved. When you look at the various packages that they get in, you can’t just roll to one player. And (Jason) Witten inside is one of the premier tight ends in our league and has been. Those are the challenges you’re faced with; it’s not just one player. It’s really formationally a multitude of guys that are involved and Kitna has done a good job of finding those players."

When you have defensive backs that have a size disadvantage against receivers, how do you approach them after they give up plays even if they were in good position?

"You’re always putting yourselves in position. Our guys – whether it’s man or zone coverage – understand the principles and the leverage. There are times when you get out-jumped and there are times where we do the same thing offensively. You just keep coming back. One of the things about our corners is that each week you see the competitive nature with which they play. I think you just keep coaching week to week your fundamentals and what the technique and what the coverage scheme is – whether it’s cloud, whether it’s bump-and-run man, whether it’s off-zone. It all depends on what we’re doing defensively."

Chris Ivory ran very hard and very physically on Sunday. Has it been your experience that that type of style is difficult to keep up at running back without facing a lot of injuries over time?

"With the length of our season, it’s a challenge at that position and you have to have depth and guys that can share in the workload. That being said, I was real encouraged with his energy level and his pad level. He runs with real good strength and power; you can see that. I thought he gave us five or six real special runs that came out of want-to. You just monitor the carries. He’s feeling good today but with the short week and this being Tuesday, for a running back, a Tuesday can feel pretty sore still. That’s why we just have to watch what we’re doing in practice."

Do you think that he has a chance to be a good player for a while in this league?

"We feel like there is a tremendous amount of potential with this player. We’re obviously excited to have found him after the draft. He’s come in and really been excited about the opportunity from early on and was very impressive in training camp and has been impressive with his opportunities from the preseason and the same way in the regular season. He’s another good young back for us that we feel like fits into what we’re doing."

How can a guy like that slip through seven rounds of the draft?

"It happens a lot. When you look at the Texans’ running back (Arian Foster), who we were real close to signing a few years ago, when the draft ends you go back and forth almost in a phone recruiting mode with various teams. The same thing with Pierre Thomas four years ago, and it’s not just at running back. It can happen at other positions and historically each year you can say that there are a handful of guys taken in the first round that teams would regret and there are a handful of players that never get drafted that you’d look at and say that they were worthy of a draft selection. It’s not an exact science and you hope that you’re able to find those players. It’s a credit certainly to our college scouting staff and Rick Reiprish and those guys having the reports written and having a strong opinion about what they’ve seen and their vision for the player, to communicate to the people in the room making the decision that possibly haven’t seen the player. There’s an art to that."

Do you think the depth on this Saints team is exceptional?

"I think we have good depth. For us, it has been important with the injuries we’ve had. You go into a season and you hope to be as healthy as possible. One of the things that happens when you begin to have injuries is that you begin to develop your depth. That has happened to us at safety; it’s happened to us at some degree at corner; it’s happened at running back; it’s happened a little bit at tight end. Because of injury we’ve been forced to develop those guys maybe earlier than we normally would have planned, and maybe not. But when you can do that and still win, that’s encouraging because guys gain experience, they gain playing time, they gain confidence and you have a better picture of the player now when you consider rotating him in."

What are the implications when guys come back healthy at those positions?

"Each week we go through the depth chart and we talk about where we think they are at the beginning of the week and are flexible enough to pay attention as the week goes on and really look closely at that game that we’re playing and who gives us the best chance."

You’ve coached in all the primetime games, the Monday night, the Thursday night, the Sunday night games. Does the Thanksgiving Day game bring a little something extra?

"I would say that it would be similar to those other games that you mentioned. When you talk about the Sunday night, which is a relatively new tradition, Monday night, which is an older tradition, Thanksgiving is an older tradition. I think all of us following this game prior to being involved in it had opportunities to watch Thanksgiving football and had opportunities to watch Monday Night Football – maybe not so much Sunday Night Football because that doesn’t have the same history. It just gets back to it being a national game and it is unique because it’s on Thanksgiving Day. All of us can remember, regardless of whether we were watching the game or not, that the TV was tuned in to whatever game was on while we were with our families."

Do you have a favorite Thanksgiving football memory?

"I can’t think of anything specific. It was that time of the year where you were probably playing a pick-up game when you were little as well. You were probably going out after the games were over with. You’re in the fall and that’s what I remember. The games were on and like it has been, it was always Detroit and Dallas and that was something that you watched and you watched more if one of the teams you were rooting for was playing."

Is the pregame meal on Thanksgiving turkey or would that make the team tired?

"Is that a myth? I think that’s a myth. We’re creatures of habit so I’m fairly certain that our pre-game meal will be similar to what it always is. That wouldn’t change."

Is there anything special about preparing to play in this stadium?

"That’s a good question. We talked about maybe going there to practice first and then to the hotel but because of the short week, we’re not going to do that. I think more than anything, we know what kind of surface it is. We know it’s a magnificent building. I’ve never seen it; I’m sure it will be the first time for most of our players to play in it so we’ll do a little stadium profile tomorrow morning and talk about the history of it and the size of it. Yet still when you get there you kind of go through the nuances of a new venue. If it was a longer week, we might go in and work out there and then go to the hotel, but with this schedule we’re not going to do that."

As a head coach, you’ve coached against people who have mentored you. Does it seem strange to be coaching against Jason Garrett, who you are the mentor of?

"It only ages you. After having had that opportunity to work with Jason, and I can recall that very first night that he arrived on the free agent visit, I took him to dinner and we had the chance to spend some time talking football and signed him shortly after. He had had a long career with the Cowboys and was briefly here in New Orleans. It wasn’t long after that as we got into the coach-player relationship that you understood that he had some great attributes that if he chose, would lend themselves to coaching. He’s always been someone who in the offseason and even during the season, we’ve always exchanged text messages and voicemails. He’s had a lot of great experiences when you look at who he’s played under and then who he’s coached for and worked with. I think those things all combine really to help round him out to what I think is a real special coach. As a player, he would be the one guy when the meeting would be over with that I might as what he thought and he’d have great feedback, great insight and I always valued his opinion because it was well thought out and it was usually right."

 

 

New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Is this a game where there is adjustment based on everything from an unconventional work week to playing in a new stadium?

“I definitely think being prepared as best as you can (is important). I don’t think any of us have been to this stadium before, maybe a guy that we signed as a free agent this year that played there last year, but all I hear is that there’s so much going on at this stadium, that the jumbotron is as long as the field almost. There are all these potential distractions. I think once the game starts it’s football. It’s all about the game. The fact that it’s a short week and it’s going to be here before we know it is another thing. Also the fact that it’s a Thanksgiving day game. I’ve never played in a Thanksgiving day game. I remember watching just about every one of them when I’m with my family at home eating turnkey. I know that as Sean (Payton) said, the television’s on and you’re watching it throughout the day.”

Have you ever played on a midseason Thursday game at all?

“We played Chicago two years ago on a Thursday.”

Were you on a four-day turnaround?

“Yes, we were. It was on a Thursday night.”

Is that tough?

“Yes, it is, because you don’t get all the practice reps that you would normally get. So much of the preparation is mental. It’s five or six days of preparation kind of condensed into about three days. It’s a lot more time consuming with a lot packed into it.”

Is your play list a little shorter?

“I think by the time gametime comes around it will be. Since we had the bye week a few weeks ago, I think the coaching staff was able to put down a lot of thoughts on Dallas when we had that free time. Last week it was all about Seattle and then you had that stuff waiting for you when you came to work yesterday. I think that the list at this point is just like it would normally be. As you get closer to gametime you chip away at it and trim it down to what you really feel good about it.”

Can you talk about the power of Chris Ivory. It seems Marcus Trufant of Seattle got a concussion in the game trying to tackle him?

“I wouldn’t want to tackle Chris Ivory. The guy’s a big physical guy. He runs hard. You rarely see him go down with the first hit. He’s a young back who’s strong and runs hard. He has a lot of natural instincts when it comes to running the football.”

Do you think defenders fear that collision?

“I think they have to know who they’re hitting. A lot of these 3-4 teams are built with these big outside backers and big inside backers. I think that’s something that they pride themselves in, tough physical matchups. I think that will be a good test for Chris Ivory.”

Is it our imagination or is he running lower? At one time he seemed like more of an upright runner like Mike Bell. This week, it looked like he was running with a lower pad level and breaking more tackles?

“Yes, he can stay at that low level and still generate a lot of speed and force, especially on impact and you always talk to running backs about that pad level and being able to square your shoulders to the line of scrimmage and that way when you’re taking on defenders, if you’re square to the line of scrimmage, you’re giving them more of a pop than they’re probably giving you. They’re coming at an angle to hit you and you’re coming at them shoulders square to the line of scrimmage. That makes you very tough to tackle and might have some guys thinking twice about how they’re going to hit you.”

Is it tough to think that maybe only 19 players have thrown for more yardage than you and that you have the all-time Saints completion record?

“I try not to think about it, because I hope there’s quite a few more years left for me and we can count it up in the end. Certainly as those things come about, it’s a pretty neat deal.”

Is Dallas’ pass rush as good as it was in years past and can you talk about the season Jermon Bushrod’s having?

“I think the Dallas pass rush is exceptional when you look at those two outside linebackers in DeMarcus Ware and (Anthony) Spencer and inside with (Jay) Ratliff and some of the other guys they rotate through. You see them getting pressure with a four-man rush. More than anything you see that every game the team they’re going up against has a plan for how they’re going to defend that rush. I think it’s something where you play these guys, priority number one has to be protection.”

“Bush is having a great year. Playing that left tackle position, you typically face the best pass rushers in the league. Go back to Bush’s short career here, starting every game last year and then this year, you see him getting better and more confident each week. It’s fun to see a young guy like that who’s working at it just continue to improve.”

How much do you draw upon watching last year’s game with Dallas to watching more recent tape or do you draw upon both?

“Yes. You definitely watch last year’s game, how they defended us, what worked, that kind of thing. There are plenty of things we wished we would have done differently coming out of that game. I felt like they played very well. We didn’t execute very well at all, especially on third down. This year, it’s interesting, because it’s the tale of two teams when you look at pre-Jason Garrett and then the last two weeks. You’re able to study their personnel from this year, but obviously, (you look at both) how did they defend us last year and how have they defended lately. You try to take a peek at all of it.”

The Cowboys are 3-7 and have made a coaching change. How dangerous are they?

“These last two weeks I think they’ve played as well as any team in the league and I think we knew it was only a matter of time before they turned it around and got things figured out and started playing with more confidence. It seems like Jason Garrett’s done a really good job. (Paul) Pasqualoni on the defensive side (has done a good job). You see a renewed enthusiasm. They have a lot of veteran players on their team, leadership, guys that have played a lot of football. You knew it was only a matter of time.”

Have you seen a difference on tape from Wade Phillips to Jason?

“Yes, you can in the scheme a little bit, but I think more so than anything, when a change is made for the most part, you as a team take a deep breath and say we can wipe the slate clean. It’s starting new and fresh. I’m sure in their mind, they’re preaching that they’re 2-0 right now. They’re not talking about the 1-7. We’re undefeated. That gives you a lot of confidence as you move forward.”

 

 

Dallas Cowboys LB DeMarcus Ware

Conference Call With New Orleans Media

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Is there anything from last year’s game that you can take into Thursday?

"You’re looking at and playing the Super Bowl champs. You’re going to have your hands full. You can’t look at anything that’s positive. We won the game, but we’ll have our hands full with Drew Brees, the leader that’s leading their team. They’re trying to get a win."

What has been different for you guys after Wade Phillips’ firing and Jason Garrett’s elevation? Have you been motivated differently?

"I don’t think it really motivated us. It’s change. When you’re going through adverse times, the change of a new coach and new philosophy around here gave us a new spark."

Do you guys feel a chip on your shoulders given that a lot of people have written your team off for the season?

"Every game you’re backed up against the wall. Win, lose or draw you have to give it your all. That’s the mentality that we have. It’s knowing that every game you play you have to get it done."

Can you talk about some of the things the Saints offensive line does that makes it so successful?

"They don’t give up many sacks. I was looking at some of their plays. Drew Brees gets rid of the ball pretty well. They don’t give up a lot of pressure on him. They give him a chance to make big plays down the field. The receivers they have, they’re the best corps in the league I think."

From watching Jermon Bushrod on film, do you see a more grownup version of the one you saw last year?

"I see improvement as a whole offensive line in general. Sometimes when you have new guys come in there’s a little not discomfort, but now all those guys are picking up their reads, especially blitz reads, when you run stunts up front, they’re picking it up well. They’re playing really well up front."

Last year the Saints admitted they were caught a little bit off guard after you played as much and as well as you did after your injury. Do you remember going into that game knowing all along you were going to play or almost being surprised at how quickly you recovered?

"I was surprised in that going into the game I didn’t think I was going to play at all and going out there, I felt really good about the situation, but the thing is going out there and having a good game. They now know I’m playing and to get ready for me, but they’re saying they have to get ready for the Cowboys. I know they’ll be ready."

Has the pass rush been happy with the way they have performed this year?

"Right now with the last two games, yes. We’ve been up and down all season. We’ve played two pretty good games. There are some things we need to work on. Right now we’re playing at a high level and trying to get the job done and get the ball for our offense back as much as we can."

 

 

VIDEO:

Saints Vlog: November 23 - Cowboy up for Turkey Day


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