Fleur-de-Links - Nov. 4th: Payton Calls Reports of Brees Knee Injury 'Completely False,' Porter and Greer to Play This Week

Not a good day to be Kenny Wilkerson. His report saying that Drew Brees is hiding a torn meniscus knee injury has been met with ridicule and skepticism from not only Sean Payton but from Peter King, Jeff Duncan, and most of the sporting news world. Payton called the report  "completely false" and Drew Brees not only laughed it off but did jumping jacks in front of his locker today to show that his knee is fine. OUCH! Even if Wilkerson was truly onto something about this injury and the Saints are doing a great job of hiding it, this causes his credibility to take a big hit. No one really believes Payton anymore when it comes to team injuries, but the display Drew put on at his locker was pretty convincing. Better luck next time, Kenny.

The best news of the day was on the status of Tracy Porter and Jabari Greer. Payton said that, barring any unforeseen setbacks, both will play this Sunday against the Panthers. It'll be the first time both are on the field together since week 3 against the Falcons.

In other news, Steelers LB James Harrison was fined $20k today for his late hit on Brees this past Sunday and Nov. 8th will mark the 40th anniversary of Tom Dempsey's record-setting 63 yard kick. The Sports Science video comparing Dempsey's kick with Jason Elam's 63 yard, record-tieing kick is a must see. Lots of video after the jump, including that of something that happened nine years ago tonight. Hint: it involves Aaron Brooks, a Jets helmet, and a large, tattooed offensive lineman who we all know and love.

TWEETS:

Official_Saints @SeanPaytonTV airs locally Fri./10:30 pm on FOX-8 & Sat./11 pm on CST. Check out this feature it did on Joe Horn - http://bit.ly/HornHall

Official_Saints Former Saints K Tom Dempsey is holding a press conference today. He booted a NFL-record 63-yard FG to beat Lions 19-17 on Nov. 8, 1970

Official_Saints Tom Dempsey at his presser - said he once kicked a 75-yd FG. http://yfrog.com/5l5h4jj

Official_Saints Dempsey recalls being on Bourbon Street when the Saints won Super Bowl. Said "it was phenomenal" to see the people celebrating

jeffduncantp Tom Dempsey said he celebrated his record FB w/2 cases of Dixie beer: "If there is one city to set a record, New Orleans is that place."

jeffduncantp Sean Payton said RB Reggie Bush practiced for the first time today since fracturing his fibula in Week 2. He's listed as limited.

jeffduncantp Payton on Bush: "He's still not moving like he needs to. But he did more today than certainly he did yesterday or up until now."

jeffduncantp Payton said he expects both starting CBs Jabari Greer & Tracy Porter to play vs. Carolina on Sunday, barring unforseen setbacks.

jeffduncantp Payton said Garrett Hartley returned to practice but RT Jon Stinchcomb missed his 2nd day of workouts. Zach Strief is working in his place.

jgoody76 All these conspiracy theories. Smh

Official_Saints @drewbrees reiterated he is fine. Entertained media with a few jumping jacks & high knees. Said he could drop kick 40 yds.

jeffduncantp Just talked to Brees about his knee. He laughed & told me he drop-kicked a 40-yard FG in prax. "I'm fine. Does it look my knee is injured?"

jeffduncantp Brees didnt wear a sleeve/brace in prax. When told some questioned arm strength on deep balls. Brees: I'd like to watch film w/those people.

jeffduncantp Brees also said, "I'm a hundred million billion trillion pct sure it would hurt if I tried to drop-kick a football w/a broken knee."

jeffduncantp Brees also performed a series of jumping jacks at his locker.

Official_Saints Probably RT @JuliaPretus: Stop moving train? RT @Official_Saints Brees did a few jumping jacks, high knees. Said he could drop kick 40 yds

jeffduncantp I co-sign. RT @injuryexpert: This report on Brees is so laughably inaccurate that I'm not even going to try and explain why it's wrong.

 

PRACTICE REPORTS:

Bush returns to practice; Greer goes full | New Orleans News, Local News, Breaking News, Weather | wwltv.com | Eye on Black and Gold
Running back Reggie Bush returned to practice for the first time since fracturing his right fibula on Sept. 20 in the Saints’ 25-22 win over San Francisco.

New Orleans Saints injury report: Cornerbacks Jabari Greer and Tracy Porter expected to play Sunday | NOLA.com
Tailback Reggie Bush returns to practice on limited basis but seems unlikely to play

Saints Notebook: Porter ready to return
Cornerback Tracy Porter returned to practice on a full-time basis for the first time in a month Wednesday as the New Orleans Saints began preparations for Sunday’s game at Carolina.

Tracy Porter back to work with New Orleans Saints | NOLA.com

 

IT'S THE BREES KNEES:

Report: Saints hiding fracture, torn meniscus in Brees' knee | ProFootballTalk.com

New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton says report of Drew Brees' knee injury is 'completely false' | NOLA.com
"It's inaccurate. It's not right. Completely false," Payton said of the report by WIST radio, which had begun to circulate among some national media outlets.

Payton: Report of Brees knee injury is 'completely false' | New Orleans News, Local News, Breaking News, Weather | wwltv.com | Eye on Black and Gold
Saints head coach Sean Payton strongly denounced a report on a local radio station that quarterback Drew Brees is playing with a torn meniscus in his knee.

 

SAINTS @ PANTHERS:

Bad season leaves Panthers WR Smith feeling small
"When I came across the middle and I was stumbling a little and the ball hit my facemask, man, that was horrible," Smith said. "I'm 5-9, I probably felt like I was 3-foot-2. I wanted to crawl into a hole."

Saints go for two straight against Panthers for first time in five years | New Orleans News, Local News, Breaking News, Weather | wwltv.com | Eye on Black and Gold
New Orleans hasn’t strung two wins together since Weeks 1 and 2 of this season, beating Minnesota 14-9 and San Francisco 25-22. Since then, it has been lose one, win one, lose one, win one, etc.

Saints-Panthers Preview - Nov. 3, 2010 - NFL - CBSSports.com Game Preview
A matchup with the sputtering Carolina Panthers looks like an ideal send-off for the New Orleans Saints before their bye week, but nothing has come easily for the defending champs against opponents with losing records.

 

TOM DEMPSEY AND THE 40TH ANNIVERSARY OF HIS RECORD-SETTING KICK:

Tom Dempsey's 63-yard field goal - ESPN
Tom Dempsey's 63-yard field goal is an NFL record that has stood uneclipsed for 40 years, but the former Saint considers himself more than a one-kick pony, Seth Wickersham writes.

Tom Dempsey - Inside a Moment in Time - ESPN
Includes a great video interview with Tom Dempsey.


 

LAGNIAPPE:

Drew Brees gets back on track with his excellent second half against Pittsburgh | NOLA.com
He was 20-of-22 in the second half

Forecast: Season hasn't gone as planned, but that's not necessarily bad | New Orleans News, Local News, Breaking News, Weather | wwltv.com | Eye on Black and Gold
If I would have told you in August against the Steelers Leigh Torrence would make game winning interception and Julius Jones will lead the Saints in rushing, what would have been your reaction?

Video Review: Saints bounce back as offense gets on track against Pitt | New Orleans News, Local News, Breaking News, Weather | wwltv.com | Eye on Black and Gold

2theadvocate.com | Sports | Reserve Torrence delivers for Saints — Baton Rouge, LA
"I’ve never been through that situation before," Torrence said. "Sometimes, you just kind of have to swallow your pride a little bit and do what’s best for the team. I was glad to be able to do that and remain a part of this situation.

New Orleans Saints' Marques Colston 'getting better each week' | NOLA.com
After so-so start, receiver clicks into high gear

Saints' Jenkins playing critical role on defense
Malcolm Jenkins need not worry about his job security any time soon.

James Harrison of Pittsburgh Steelers fined $20,000 for hit on Drew Brees - ESPN
Steelers linebacker James Harrison has been fined $20,000 for a late hit on Saints quarterback Drew Brees.

Could Payton, Fox end up together again? - NFC South Blog - ESPN
If you’re at the league meetings or the scouting combine, you almost never see Payton without Fox. Payton and Williams have co-existed nicely since Williams joined the Saints last season. But they’re not all that close. If Williams gets a head-coaching job and Fox is sitting out there, Payton and Fox might be together even more often.

 

TRANSCRIPTS:

New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton

Post-Practice Press Conference

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Opening Statement:

"To go through the injury report first, center Jonathan Goodwin (groin) was full; Tracy Porter (knee) was full; Scott Shanle (hamstring) was full; Marques Colston (hand) was full; Chris Ivory (head) was full; Jabari Greer (shoulder) was full; Pierson Prioleau (ankle) was limited; kicker Garrett Hartley (ankle) was full; Reggie Bush (fibula) was limited; Jon Stinchcomb (knee) did not practice; Patrick Robinson (ankle) did not practice; Pierre Thomas (ankle) did not practice. Like with most Thursdays, most of our work was third down and nickel oriented."

You say Reggie Bush was limited today. What does that mean?

"He was limited. He’s still not moving the way you’d like but I think he’s making a lot of progress quickly and so each day we try to give him more to do. More than anything, it’s still getting to where he’s real confident and comfortable planting and driving off of that leg. But he certainly did more today than he did yesterday or up until now."

With Jabari Greer, you had indicated that he’ll return when you feel comfortable that he can take contact. Is that where he is now?

"He practice and took all the snaps today. The joint is strong and I’m encouraged with where he’s at. I think he’s going to play. It would hard to be full today and not be involved."

So both he and Tracy Porter will play you think?

"Yes."

What does Malcolm Jenkins’ role become then?

"We’ll see how we move guys around. We have position flexibility and that’s a good thing."

Is Patrick Robinson getting better?

"He is. We just have to get him healthy here. Fortunately, if you’re trying to look at good news, his injury has occurred when the other corners are coming back. But I think with him, the early part of the rehab has gone well but he’s still unable to practice right now."

Has his play also improved each week?

"I would agree with that."

Could you talk a bit about your draft picks and how they’ve done through the first half of the season?

"Starting with Patrick, he’s contributed quite a bit in the first half of the season. Charles Brown continues to work and do a good job. In practice he’s giving us quality reps, not only on the scout team but also filling in for our guys offensively. Matt Tennant and Jimmy Graham, we’re encouraged with what we’re seeing from those guys after eight games so far. I don’t know if I’m missing anybody, but it has been a solid group. You get to this point in the season and you get a lot of evaluation done on film, whether it’s scout team or in the games. We just keep developing those guys and making sure that they’re ready when they’re called upon. In Patrick’s case, it was fairly soon with the injuries."

Do you think fans are sometimes a little too quick to expect things out of rookies?

"I think it varies. Sometimes it depends on the players ahead of them. I think that in two or three years, it’s a lot easier to grade a draft class than it is in the first year. We’re encouraged with the rookies on our roster clearly."

Is Thomas Morstead growing on the impressive rookie season that he had?

"He’s doing a real good job. He’s consistent. He’s athletic. He has a strong leg. The fact that you just asked that question the way you did is a tribute to the job he’s done. He’s been very consistent and he has a routine each week. He prepares very diligently. If that involves kickoffs some weeks, or if it doesn’t,  he’s prepared to do that with his primary focus with punting."

Did he do a good job in terms of directional and field position punting on Sunday?

"He did a good job, no question."

Did he get a special teams game ball?

"No, he didn’t, but then again he’s playing at a high level."

Was Garrett Hartley back kicking as usual today?

"Yes, he was full."

Will he kickoff on Sunday?

"No, I’m probably still leaning on kicking off Thomas (Morstead)."

Can you talk about Jon Stinchcomb’s situation, since he hasn’t missed a start since you have been here?

"Tomorrow will give us a lot more information. Zach (Strief) has been getting a lot of the snaps. I’m optimistic he’s going to be able to come in and get some work."

Is Patrick Robinson’s ankle injury, not a high ankle one?

"I wouldn’t say that. I think with Patrick the symptoms would be that it was a high ankle, so I don’t want to put a time on it. The first week after it he’s been doing pretty well. It’s sore. It’s going to take some time."

Did it happen in the first play of Sunday’s game?

"Yes."

There’s a report out saying that Drew Brees’ knee injury is more serious than previously discussed and that he would probably need surgery and is impacting his play. Could you address it?

"It’s inaccurate. It’s not right. Completely false."

Do you think the injury has affected him?

"This week he’s without the brace, sleeve, anything. He’s off the list."

 

Drew Brees

Post-Practice Press Conference

Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2010

What are your thoughts on Randy Moss?

 "Just like every team, that was kind of a shocking thing that he was available and obviously there’s a claiming process. We’re at the bottom of the list at that. Obviously when you have a chance to go out and potentially look at a guy like that…I’m very happy with our guys. I love our guys. I wouldn’t trade our guys for anything in the world. Anytime a guy like that becomes available you’re going to take a look. I know everybody has."

 Along those same lines, are you frustrated or surprised you haven’t been able to get the ball down the field as much as this team is accustomed to?

 "(I’m) not frustrated. Would we like to be getting eight or more big plays a game? I think at one point we were averaging eight a game…Yes, it’s nice when those happen. That’s whaen you’re typically able to light up the scoreboard, but for whatever reason we just haven’t had as many opportunities. I feel like what we have done a great job of is keeping the ball and sustained some really good drives. We’re leading the league in third down conversions right now, which I think is saying something when you talk about the length of our drives and the balance when we’ve been good. I think that's been one of our strengths. I think your mindset is always about moving the chains and getting first downs and making it when we have an opportunity for a big play. All of a sudden a guy breaks a tackle and takes it 50 yards. That’s great, but be prepared for a long drive."

Has it become evident to you that defenses have gone into these games saying that it is something that they are going to take away from you?

 "Yes. I’d say definitely early on. Maybe whether we’ve played a couple 3-4 teams where their mentality’s about a little more pressure, for whatever reason, lately we’ve been getting a little more pressure than that soft defend stuff that we’ve been getting early on, but it is what it is. We’re not going to try to force anything. We’re not going to try to get talked into anything. We’re just going to take what they give us. I hope we evolve to getting back to six to eight big plays a game. That would be great."

 Was the interception on Sunday intended for Devery Henderson a forced throw or was it just a miss?

 "It was one of those timing kinds of throws. You try to get it there before the corner is able to overlap on it. Unfortunately it was so far down the field. Typically you would like to complete that a little bit, maybe at 30 yards instead of 40 yards to give him a couple of steps to cover. You get it out a little bit earlier."

 Marques Colston had a clutch game on Sunday night. Do things seem to be loosening up for him?

 "We have a lot of guys that we like to spread it around to. Marques has been a mainstay, the number one guy here for a long time. But, when you have a guy like Lance Moore playing the way he’s playing, Devery (Henderson) and Robert (Meachem) getting their touches and obviously the tight end position the way that we’re rotating those guys through, you just feel like there are a lot of guys and you wish you had more balls to go around. I think you made a pretty good point there. Definitely he came up in some big times in the game and I just see him continuing to be a little bit better each week. Hopefully there will be lots more big plays for him."

 Is he a guy that you can still throw it to when he’s covered and other guys are covered because of his size?

 "Yes and physics. He’s 6-5 and can jump out of the gym. He has great range, great body control, catches the ball extremely well, all those things where you say even if there’s a guy right on him, there’s a place I can throw it to him at even where he can get it. He’s done that many times."

 Does it surprise you that you haven’t had a 40 point game eight games into the season?

 "No. Does it surprise me? I’m not worried about it. I guess at this point last year we had four. But, last year at this point we were on pace to set the NFL record for points, so there’s a lot that goes into that. If you score 40 points, maybe there’s a special teams touchdown, a defensive touchdown or you get a couple turnovers way down in their territory. It’s hard. Very rarely do you go six possessions where you drive the length of the field and score all touchdowns. That’s rare, very, very rare. I’m not worried. As long as we win games, it doesn’t bother me."

 Are you waiting for that giant breakout game?

 "Yes. We’re chomping at the bit to rattle off a couple games of 30 plus points each. That’s when you’re clicking. I feel like in Tampa, that’s probably as close as we had gotten to where you score on your first three possessions. We get one touchdown called back and end up missing the field goal. That’s another seven points. That’s 38 points, all offense. There wasn’t a defensive or special teams touchdown. It was all offensive points. I’d love to get back to where we’re rattling it off in the thirties every week. As long as we’re getting W’s."

 What goes into clicking?

 "I think it’s a combination of the run game, pass game, being balanced and effective at both. Rarely do you go out and score 40 points just from throwing or just from running. It’s got to be a combination of the two and how each one complements the other and then obviously you need possessions, opportunities, field position. There are all kinds of things that go into (it)."

 Was Sunday’s game clicking in the second half?

 "That was probably one of our better halves of football, especially if you look at the level of competition, the atmosphere and what was on the line, just being a tight game, really being a tie. Then you come out in the second half and have those four possessions where we sustained drives. We were great on third down, six-of-eight or six-of-nine. You don’t count the kneel down at the end. That’s good. That’s something to build on, something to be encouraged by."

 Did you take more hits than at any other game this season?

 "I’d say maybe over a two week span if you want to throw Cleveland into the mix too, just because if you throw it 56 times, you’re probably going to get popped a few times, but obviously that’s pretty good with the front seven, when you talk about the Steelers and the multiple pressures and players they bring. They do a good job of getting after the quarterback. They’re going to hit you from time to time. You just try to get it out in completions and make sure you have it when it’s all said and done."

 You talked about how your drive at the end of the first half carried over into the second half last week. How can you carry over the second half into the first half on Sunday?

 "I think from a confidence standpoint…I think more so than anything at this point for us, it’s just a sense of urgency realizing that this is a huge game we’re about to play against Carolina, divisional game on the road. We haven’t put together back to back wins here for a while, so what type of team are we? An inconsistent team that’s going to show up one week and then put together a  lackluster performance the next week or are we a team that’s going to put together a solid victory after solid victory and get on a roll here. Obviously getting into the bye week we know we’re going to be able to get a lot of guys healthy. Take what we have right now and put together our best performance this year on Sunday. Especially after coming off an emotional victory, typically that’s when I think most teams would not let up, but have a little bit of a letdown. Obviously that’s what we’re trying to avoid."

 Is it frustrating at all to be 5-3 at this point in the season compared to last season or is that par for the course?

 "I think that’s par for the course. We’re used to it at this point. It’s hard if you’re not 13-0. If we were sitting there at 12-1, people would probably be asking why you’re not 13-0, so it is what it is. I don’t think we should get caught up in comparing ourselves with last year. Last year was 2009 and this is 2010. Just because we’re sitting there at 5-3 and we were 8-0 last year doesn’t mean this isn’t a better team. I believe that we have the ability for this team to be a better team. Are we playing as well as we can right now? No. Will we? I absolutely believe we will and we’ll play our best when it counts and as the season progresses. I just want to get a little better each week. At this point, this thing’s wide open. I’m not going to dwell on the past where there are some games I wish we had back or wish we had played better. There’s nothing we can do about it now. It’s about what we can do for the future and to be able to go into the bye week at 6-3, 3-1 in the division would be a big deal."

 What do you feel you need to work on to get better this time against the Panthers?

 Another fact is that we haven’t beaten these guys twice in the regular season. For us, I think that you obviously take a look at the film from the time we played them the first time. I think we understand the way that they try to play us and the factors that are most important in a game like this. They are a very physical team both offensively and defensively. They’ve always played very, very good defense. I think they’re a top five team in defense when you talk about yards and turnovers. They’re doing some things very, very, well despite their record. They’re a prideful bunch. I have a lot of respect for John Fox. I think he’s a great coach, a great defensive coach and motivator. We know they’re going to be ready to play us. Their offense runs the ball extremely well. I know to this point in the season if you look at the stats you’d say it’s not as good as what they’re used to, but I’m sure they’re sitting here just like you’re asking me about the big plays in our offense, they’re waiting for that breakout game or to get going with their run game and offensive attack just like we talk about wanting to get more big plays and all those things. We know we have our work cut out for us."

 What have been your impressions of how Julius Jones has adapted to the offense?

 "I think he’s done great. Having been with Sean (Payton) for a couple years in Dallas definitely helps, because there’s familiarity there. Sean knows what he can do and he’s a veteran player who’s very smart, with his carryover and recall from the (Dallas) offense. He’s very smart and picked things up pretty quickly. I think he provides a little bit different element. He’s a little bit of a slasher. He has some juice to him. I think that was evident in the second play of the game when I threw that little wide route to him. He makes (Troy) Polamalu miss and all of a sudden 15 yards later that’s a big play in the game. I like what he brings to the offense."

 Last year you had an early bye week. This year you have the latest possible bye week. You’ve probably experienced everything you could with scheduling. Do you have a preference for when it would fall?

 "Midseason’s always good, seventh, eighth or ninth game because it breaks up the season. It really doesn’t matter because you don’t have a say. I’ve had week nine bye weeks. I’ve had a week two bye week before, which is a little unusual. You look at our schedule. We play Minnesota on Thursday night and we get that weekend. We’re getting this bye week and two weeks later we’re (playing on) Thanksgiving at Dallas, so then you kind of have a funky schedule that week and the week after. You play a couple Monday night games on the road. I think we’re used to having to juggle the schedule and we’re good with it."

 

VIDEO:

Saints Vlog: November 4 - Rumors and Anniversary Addressed

New Orleans Saints were fortunate to have depth at cornerback: video

QUESTION: Who the hell dresses Varney for these videos?

New Orleans Saints passing game on the rise: video

New Orleans Saints begin preparations for Carolina: Jeff Duncan's 4-minute drill video

Drew Brees says the New Orleans Saints offense is learning patience

Saints Black and Gold Report video: looking at Carolina game

This happened nine years ago today


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