Fleur-de-Links - Dec. 17th: Saints Go Rapping at the Ravens' Chamber Door

Whenever I think about the Ravens, it's hard for me to not also think about Edgar Allan Poe's masterpiece, hence my title for today's link post. Here's a strangely appropriate taste of Poe's "The Raven:"

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
`Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,' I said, `art sure no craven.
Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the nightly shore -
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

Let's hope the raven's response above was to a question asking if the NFL Baltimore Ravens will once again defeat our New Orleans Saints.

Today there is good news and not so good news. The good news concerns the weather forecast. The latest report calls for only a 10% chance of precipitation and temperatures just above freezing. That's an improvement from earlier in the week. The not so good news is that TE David Thomas and WR/KR/Gunner Courtney Roby have been ruled out and RB Chris Ivory is questionable after not practicing for the second consecutive day. Come on 11-3!

TWEETS:

JonVilma51 T-minus 2 days and counting...who dat!!

Official_Saints http://twitvid.com/8NUMZ - Watch @LanceMoore16's reaction when one kid asked him "Would you be mad if I bought a Colts football?"

jeffduncantp An Onion editorial by A. Hamster: This Squeaky Wheel And I Are Pulling An All-Nighter: http://onion.com/fte8kg

dmcallister26 Good Morning twit fam. Do your best to make today great

AdamSchefter Latest evidence that sometimes this league is impossible to figure: Joe Webb is starting this week, Donovan McNabb is not.

Official_Saints Payton announced RB Ivory & DL Hargrove are questionable for Sunday. WR Roby & TE Thomas are out.

DeionSanders You heard it from Prime 1st. McNaab to Arizona. Back to the crib and you will be wanted and needed and you inherit 2 good backs and rec.

ochocinco Just leaving the stadium and im seeing McNabb was benched for Rex Grossman, can someone please explain the logic behind this please?

dmcallister26 Thanks to all who came to the R&L Carriers luncheon for Ohio and Troy Universities. Good luck to both teams tom

Official_Saints Brees is just the 4th NFL QB in 4 decades to win the annual AP award, which dates to 1931. He received 48 of 176 votes.

Official_Saints Brees in ‘10: SB MVP, Madden Cover, GQ’s Patron Saint of the Yr, SI’s Sportsman of the Yr, AP’s Male Athlete of the Yr. #NotBad

Official_Saints Most important accomplishment, Brees welcomed son Bowen into the world in 2010!

NFLPlayerNews #NFL #SPORTS Drew Brees of New Orleans Saints named AP's Male Athlete of the Year: That reco... http://es.pn/hz1XGM http://bit.ly/6WGcRd

Official_Saints #Ravens game status: OUT - TE Heap (thigh), S Zbikowski (back); QUESTIONABLE - FB McClain (illness), RB McGahee (ill) (via @1WinningDrive )

LanceMoore16 RT @Tayzabeth: Finally @LanceMoore16 is getting the shirts with his name on em! Just got "Moore is More" and "Moore ... http://tmi.me/4iR1z

NOLAfans Ravens TE Heap ruled out against Saints... http://fan.ac/1g83 #NFL #NewOrleans

Official_Saints The Saints commemorative Super Bowl license plates raised $117,526.64 for Operation Homefront Louisiana!

Official_Saints Plate No. 22 earned the highest bid at $10,524.22 - even @T_Porter22 got in on the bidding but said he stopped at $2,500.

 

PRACTICE REPORTS:

2theadvocate.com | Saints | Ivory's status still up in the air — Baton Rouge, LA

New Orleans Saints injury report: Chris Ivory questionable; Courtney Roby and David Thomas out | NOLA.com
If Ivory can't play, Pierre Thomas, Reggie Bush and Julius Jones will all share the Saints' rushing load. Tight end David Thomas (knee) and kickoff returner Courtney Roby (head) were both ruled out. Payton revealed that Thomas had arthroscopic surgery on Tuesday to repair the lateral meniscus in his right knee. He is expected to miss two weeks, Payton said.

New Orleans Saints RB Chris Ivory gets injection to help heal stressed hamstring | NOLA.com
"I'm not really sure what it means, but I know what happens, the process," Ivory said. "They take blood out of your veins and they spin it in a machine and your red blood cells I believe drop to the bottom."

 

SAINTS @ RAVENS:

2theadvocate.com | Saints | MICKLES: Saints show their mettle on road — Baton Rouge, LA

Saints finding rhythm during six-game win streak | New Orleans News, Local News, Breaking News, Weather | wwltv.com | Eye on Black and Gold
Rhythm – some people have it, others don’t. The Saints didn’t early in the season on offense and now they do.

Henderson: Saints start fast while Ravens finish slow | New Orleans News, Local News, Breaking News, Weather | wwltv.com | Eye on Black and Gold
The Saints and Ravens are in similar situations. Each is a game behind the division leader. Each leads the wild card race in its conference.

View from the Other Side: Ravens could use win over reigning Super Bowl champs | New Orleans News, Local News, Breaking News, Weather | wwltv.com | Eye on Black and Gold
View from the Other Side is back and this week, we welcome Jamison Hensley.

Saints-Ravens Preview

Replay: New Orleans Saints Friday chat | NOLA.com
Talk to the T-P reporters about the Saints

Red-hot Saints worthy of Super-sized bet - BostonHerald.com
The streaking New Orleans Saints have rebounded from a lackluster start and, thanks to a six-game winning streak, appear headed back to the playoffs. But this season the road to the Super Bowl probably won’t go through the Superdome.

Ravens Insider: Ravens' unbalanced line strikes a chord with Saints' Payton - Baltimore Ravens news, schedule, analysis and opinion from Mike Preston, Jamison Hensley, Edward Lee and Ken Murray - baltimoresun.com

Safety has evolved into one of NFL's valued positions | NOLA.com
Playmakers such as Ed Reed, Darren Sharper changed perception

Two tough road games to decide New Orleans Saints' fate | NOLA.com
Sean Payton's team 13-2 in past 15 away from home

 

AROUND THE NFC STOUT:

Malcolm Jenkins emerging as elite safety - NFC South Blog - ESPN
Ever since he intercepted a pass and returned it 96 yards for a touchdown Sunday against St. Louis, New Orleans safety Malcolm Jenkins has been drawing even more comparisons to Darren Sharper.

A cheer for John Fox - NFC South Blog - ESPN
There has been a lot of talk in the Carolina media about how fans will respond to coach John Fox in what will be his final home game as coach of the Panthers. Newspapers, radio stations and websites are running polls and asking fans if they’ll boo or cheer Fox.

Final Word: NFC South - NFC South Blog - ESPN
The Domeless Saints. I’m looking at Sunday’s weather forecast for Baltimore and it doesn’t look as bad as it did a few days ago when snow was mentioned as a possibility. The latest forecast says there is only a 10-percent chance of precipitation and the temperature might be a little above freezing. This might be a good warm-up game for the Saints because they could have to go on the road to someplace like New York, Philadelphia or Chicago in the playoffs. They have that perception of being a "dome team." Might be a good time to start shedding that perception.

Film of the NFC South chat - NFC South Blog - ESPN
Question: "Which is the oldest and most traditional history team in the NFC South. Answer: Think the Saints would have to be the answer. Even in their bad years, they were loveable losers and fans have stood by them. Saints are a way of life in New Orleans, especially since Katrina. Are they the same thing the Packers are to Green Bay? Not quite. But they're not that far off.

 

LAGNIAPPE:

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees named AP Male Athlete of the Year | NOLA.com
NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson comes in second

New Orleans Saints license plates raise $117,526.64 for Operation Homefront Louisiana | NOLA.com
Nos. 2 through 99 were auctioned off, with the highest bid going to No. 22

New Orleans Saints secondary is holding opponents to eight TD passes: First and 10 column | NOLA.com
Jeff Duncan's weekly team observations

 

TRANSCRIPTS:

Sean Payton's Friday Presser:

The New Orleans Saints wrapped up their work week for preparation of Sunday's game at Baltimore with a two hour practice at the club's indoor facility. Following the practice, Payton gave a final injury report, discussed the kickoff return rotation and also talked about the status of rookie RB Chris Ivory.

 Opening Statement:

"We’ll hit the injury report first: Tracy Porter (shoulder) was full and is probable; Zach Strief(knee) was full and probable; Malcolm Jenkins (rib) was full, probable; Jeremy Shockey(groin) was full, probable; Remi Ayodele(ankle) was limited and he’s probable; Jonathan Vilma(quad) was limited and probable; Jermon Bushrod (ankle) was limited and he’s probable; Chris Ivory (hamstring) did not practice and he’s questionable; Courtney Roby (head) did not practice, he’s out; David Thomas(knee) did not practice, he’s out; Anthony Hargrove (knee) was limited and he’s questionable."

Have you made a decision on kick returners with Roby being out?

 "You’re going to see Pierre (Thomas) and (Robert) Meachem as the primary guys that we’ll put in and go from there."

 Do you anticipate Chris Ivory being a game-time decision?

 "Yes, I do."

 What is David Thomas’ injury?

 "He has a lateral meniscus. We had a scope done on Tuesday. The estimate is two weeks so he’s certainly out for this game and where he’s at next week we’ll just have to see. The procedure was relatively small, but nonetheless it was a scope that was done. It was a lateral meniscus on the right knee."

 Does that mean that Tory Humphrey will be active for the game on Sunday?

 "Not necessarily but that’s a possibility. There will be one of two options with regard to that spot."

 The procedure that you mentioned with Chris Ivory yesterday, had you done that before?

 "It’s pretty common. I think most every team…it’s not unique or unusual. It’s very common. It’s used weekly to help speed up recovery."

 Did it do what you had hoped it would do?

 "Yes. He’s progressing and he’s feeling better. The question is if he’s ready to play a game and that’s why he’s listed as questionable. But it certainly helps speed the process up."

 Did he do as much as you thought he might do today?

 "Today he did not practice. Like I said, he’s feeling better and come game-time we’ll see where he’s at."

 Was that what you expected going into today?

 "Yes."

 How careful do you have to be with a hamstring injury like that?

 "It all gets back to the strength of the muscle and if you feel like it’s strong. You don’t want to hurry those things or you’ll have a setback. It’s that type of injury where a lot of it is just the strength come Sunday. That’s the main thing."

 Is it tougher to warm up a hamstring in cold weather and could that effect his availability?

 "That’s a good question. I don’t know if playing in colder weather hinders a player with a hamstring injury. The routine normally would be – and we’ve done this with a number of players – to see where he’s at that morning, see how he’s moving, see how the strength of the muscle is and how it’s firing and then make a decision based on that."

 So you will work him out before the game?

 "Yes."

 Ivory said that he had had this procedure done earlier this year. Is that common?

 "A number of guys have. We’ve done this with double-digit players throughout the season. I made light of it and I know it became a big story, but the point is that it’s something that’s done often with a hamstring."

 Why wouldn’t you have done it earlier in the week?

 "You do it when you feel like the recovery hasn’t been as quick. You’re not going to do it just randomly. You do it to help speed up the recovery when you feel like it needs to be done. It’s not like early in the week we said, ‘He’s got a hamstring, we’ll go right to this.’ It’s fairly minor."

 

Coach Payton Meets the Media on Thursday

 

AUDIO:

New Orleans Saints | All Audio

 

VIDEO:

NFL Videos: On the Beat: Saints hitting stride
Mike Triplett of the New Orleans Times-Picaynue discusses the Saints' playoff chances and their upcoming game vs. the Ravens.

NFL Videos: Week 15: Saints vs. Ravens Preview
A preview of the Week 15 matchup between the Saints and the Ravens.


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