Fleur-de-Links - Dec. 2nd: Saints Getting Healthy for Stretch Run

Today's practice report is the same as yesterday's: Pierre Thomas (ankle) and Anthony Waters (ankle) were limited while Ladell Betts (neck) was held out. Thomas looks like he'll be a game-time decision this week. That may not sound all that good but it's the most optimistic assessment of his potential playing ability since week 3. It almost seems like he hasn't suited up and played in years. I'm anxious to see him on the field again and maybe break off another one of those long screen pass runs that he does so well. When he does finally get healthy, it's looking like Ladell Betts may be the odd man out.

Is it just me, or does our team seem to be developing into another championship form? It seems we're getting healthy at just the right time. With Thomas back, our RB corps will be loaded with versatility (PT and Jones), explosiveness (Bush), and punishment (the Tusk). Throw in a healthy Jeremy Shockey and Darren Sharper and our outlook isn't merely good but outstanding. Let's hope we continue to fly under the radar and then burst through at playoff time like Mexican water through a first time tourist. I really like our chances.

TWEETS:

reggie_bush Long day but productive day! Getting ready for Cincinnati Bengals! Weather says it's suppose to snow Sunday! Should be a fun one! 

drewbrees Should be a chilly one up in Cincy this week. Any Who Dats out there making the trip up north for the game? #fb

MalcolmJenkins Woke up inspired today... Thank u lord!!! Today will be blessed

dmcallister26 Morning and welcome twit fam

dmpressley Another day at the office....

Official_Saints Team Photographer Michael Hebert will be at Barnes & Noble in Mandeville tomorrow signing copies of the "World Champs" book from 6-8 pm CT!

jeffduncantp A terrific, compelling column by former #Saints/Browns standout @LeCharlesBent65 on racism in the NFL: http://aol.it/ffkhiA

HeathEvans Congrats to my friend and QB @DrewBrees: A Faith-Filled Sportsman Of The Year -- http://ht.ly/3iZDX

Official_Saints Payton announced Thurs. Injury Report: RB Thomas (ankle) & LB Waters (ankle) – limited; RB Betts (neck) - did not practice

jeffduncantp RT @Official_Saints: When asked if he would like to fine the media for things they tweet, Coach Payton said "I would love to," with a smile.

jgoody76 Watching 2 dudes box at the barber shop. Hee-Larry-us

jgoody76 Thanks RT @vicsoto: Happy Birthday to fellow Michigan Man @jgoody76. Go Blue!!

jgoody76 Ok gotta get my cut so I can get back to meetings.

Official_Saints The Saints will auction off the 1st 98 SB license plates (number 2-99) to benefit Operation Homefront-LA. More info: http://bit.ly/PlatesA

ChaseDaniel Sitting in this cold tub, its freezing today!

Official_Saints Check out this hat @drewbrees signed for @CapsForKids! http://yfrog.com/jt530wj

Official_Saints @Pierre_Thomas said he doesn't know if he will play Sunday but laughed & said "I need to get back out there, it's been way too long!"

 

PRACTICE REPORTS:

Pierre Thomas still limited | New Orleans News, Local News, Breaking News, Weather | wwltv.com | Eye on Black and Gold
The Saints injury report remained the same Thursday as it was a day earlier as the team continues to prepare for Sunday’s noon game at Cincinnati.

New Orleans Saints small, tidy injury report stays that way Thursday | NOLA.com
Running back Pierre Thomas (ankle) and linebacker Anthony Waters (ankle) were both limited, as they were Wednesday. Running back Ladell Betts (neck) remains out of practice.

New Orleans Saints RB Reggie Bush to take on more duties gradually | NOLA.com
"We'll get him more and more work as he progresses," Payton said Thursday.

Thomas, Shockey and Sharper all at Saints practice | HoumaToday.com
Pierre Thomas senses his injury "nightmare" is nearly over.

New Orleans Saints tailback Reggie Bush hopes to bounce back on Sunday | NOLA.com
"I never like to make excuses," Bush said when asked if it was just a case of rust. "I think it was just a matter of not protecting the ball and not making some key catches. So I think that's all it is. There's no excuses. And try to get better this week."

Pierre Thomas says he's '90 percent' and hopes to play for the New Orleans Saints this week | NOLA.com
He still might have to sit out this week against Cincinnati

 

SAINTS @ BENGALS:

In the Numbers: Saints facing tough battle against Cincinnati | New Orleans News, Local News, Breaking News, Weather | wwltv.com | Eye on Black and Gold
New Orleans hasn’t strung four consecutive regular season victories together since its 13-0 start in 2009. The Saints did, however, win five straight, technically, when considering the three playoff wins and two to start this season.

Saints beginning to get on roll, 2009 finally behind them | New Orleans News, Local News, Breaking News, Weather | wwltv.com | Eye on Black and Gold
New Orleans travels to Cincinnati (2-9) on Sunday for a chance at a fifth-straight victory, the first such streak since the Saints won this season’s Week 2 game when counting last season’s playoffs and Super Bowl.

Saints wideouts Colston, Moore better Super Bowl combo than Ochocinco, Owens
Hands down, give me the Colston/Moore tandem. Why? Because I don’t care for male divas, prima donnas, whiners or "me’’ players, all of which Colston and Moore are not.

NFL Week 13 picks including Jets-Patriots, Steelers-Ravens - Peter King - SI.com
Welcome to the Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year anti-jinx. Five days after Tom Brady won it in 2005, he threw for two touchdowns in a 35-7 win over Buffalo. Five days after Brett Favre won it in 2007, he threw for two touchdowns in a 38-7 win over Oakland. This game will be played five days after Drew Brees won Sportsman. Ergo...

New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton more worried about wind than cold in Cincinnati | NOLA.com
While he acknowledged the appearance on the 2010 schedule of two outdoor December games in potentially cold weather cities wasn't ideal, New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton said the wind is generally the one environmental factor that can impact a game. The forecast for the Saints game Sunday in Cincinnati calls for temperatures of around 37 degrees - 11 degrees lower...

Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints building steam | cincinnati.com | Cincinnati.Com
It has been a whirlwind week for New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees. He directed the Saints to a comeback win last Thursday, then was honored as Sports Illustrated's Sportsman of the Year on Tuesday. Now he has to prepare for a game on Sunday.

Ochocinco scorched Saints last time | cincinnati.com | Cincinnati.Com
The last time the Bengals and Saints met, Chad Ochocinco was still Chad Johnson and he had one of the best games of his career in a 31-16 Bengals win in New Orleans.

Bengals/Saints Not Expected To Sell Out: Cincinnati Region Will Have No Football On TV During 1PM Time Slot - Cincy Jungle

N.F.L. Week 13 Game Probabilities: Patriots Over Jets - NYTimes.com

New Orleans Saints safety Darren Sharper gets into war of words with Cincinnati Bengals receiver Chad Ochocinco | NOLA.com
"You'll see when his helmet comes off on the first time I hit him whether it's fun. See how much smiling there's going to be happening then. Then you'll see if it's fun or if it's games," Sharper told the media. "I don't play games when it comes to the field. You tell Ochocinco that. You got to see me on Sunday, believe it. ... Twitter king."

Brees walks off cover to another PBS start
How close was Brees to starting for Cincinnati that day instead of Gus Frerotte? Preparing for the 2001 draft, Bengals president Mike Brown felt Brees worthy of the fourth pick. But in a draft room just two years removed from drafting a failed quarterback at No. 3 and unconvinced that a 6-foot quarterback out of a spread offense qualified as top five stuff, his idea got no traction.

Saints look to duplicate past shutout of Terrell Owens as a Bengal
The last time Hall of Fame-caliber wide receiver Terrell Owens faced the New Orleans Saints, he was playing for the Buffalo Bills and ended up with a big goose egg - as in zero receptions.

 

AROUND THE NFC SOUTH:

Atlanta Falcons mailbag - NFC South Blog - ESPN
I hear a lot from readers about how the NFC South doesn’t get a lot of national attention and this is an example of why that perception exists. I can’t speak for television networks. But I think this demonstrates that, winning or not, the Cowboys and Peyton Manning have star appeal and that’s why they get the exposure they do. Not saying that’s right or fair, but that’s the way it is.

Falcons leading in fewest penalties - NFC South Blog - ESPN
The rest of the NFC South also fares pretty well when it comes to penalties. The New Orleans Saints have been called for 68 penalties and had 55 accepted. Only three teams have had fewer penalties accepted.

New Orleans Saints mailbag - NFC South Blog - ESPN
The New Orleans Saints are the final stop in today's series of team-by-team mailbags. Rum in New Orleans writes: I read the other day that Saints fan

 

LAGNIAPPE:

Racism Alive and Swell in NFL -- NFL FanHouse
by former Saint LeCharles Bentley

Priceless to the Saints, Drew Brees in line for new contract
We were reminded once again this week how valuable an asset quarterback Drew Brees is to the New Orleans Saints’ organization, its sprawling and devoted fan base, a city on the mend and a region in recovery.

NFL Power Rankings for Week 13 has Chargers climbing into top 10 - Don Banks - SI.com
5. Saints - Tell me again how much the Saints offense missed Reggie Bush, who returned to the lineup last week in Dallas after missing eight games with a fractured fibula. He never really got a handle on the ball all day against the Cowboys, and nearly gave the game away. He's known for instant impact, but none of it was of the positive variety in his long-awaited return. If and when I figure out my all-overrated team, Bush will be my starting running back.

Saints quietly lurking in NFC South race - NFL - CBSSports.com Football
So Brees then stopped himself. Maybe in that split second he realized the mistake in his oratory. So he quickly thought back at what he said. But instead of ducking to hide, he repeated it with a higher pitch and a laugh almost making the claim for all of the NFL world to hear: "We are who we think we are!"

Forecast: Brees kept Saints from leaving town | New Orleans News, Local News, Breaking News, Weather | wwltv.com | Eye on Black and Gold
If Brees had gone to Miami or didn’t recover from shoulder surgery where would the Saints be? They would have drafted Matt Leinart if Brees had been a Dolphin. Leinart’s so bad Arizona cut him to let Derek Anderson lead them. Leinart as a Saint would have taken his place along side Heath Shuler and Danny Wuerffel as Sunday ruining signal callers. The only thing worse than having to watch Sean Payton find a quarterback to run his offense would have been Saints fans’ drinking on Sundays.

Saints to hold "World Champs" Book Signings

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees said he was awed by Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year honor | NOLA.com
"It was unbelievable, it really was," Brees said. "Just looking back on it, I feel like it's one of the greatest honors that you can receive, because when you think about who's eligible for that, it's every sport, man, woman, team, throughout the course of a year. And you think about all the great things that have happened in sports in 2010, to be even considered amongst that group, it's humbling.

New Orleans Saints defensive end Will Smith stands by his statement after domestic battery arrest | NOLA.com
"There's nothing I can really talk about. I released a statement and that's final. I don't want to talk about it," said Smith, who released a statement on Tuesday night, in which he said "an unfortunate misunderstanding led to my arrest."

Drew Brees is a sportsman for the ages: An editorial | NOLA.com
The Saints quarterback, who led the team to its first Super Bowl championship, was named Sports Illustrated's Sportsman of the Year on Tuesday. There's no athlete more deserving of an award that puts him in the company of greats like boxing legend Muhammad Ali, tennis great Arthur Ashe and quarterbacks Tom Brady and Terry Bradshaw.

New Orleans Saints Super Bowl license plates selling briskly | NOLA.com
No sellout: There are still plenty left

New Orleans Saints are eager to heat up red zone efficiency | NOLA.com
The Saints rank 25th in the NFL

Jeff Duncan's Top 10 New Orleans Saints plays of all time | NOLA.com
We won't know the magnitude of Malcolm Jenkins' huge play against the Dallas Cowboys until this season plays out.

 

 

VIDEO:

Saints Vlog: December 2 -- Weathering the storm at Cincy




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