Fleur-de-Links - Dec. 8th: Pierre Thomas Finally Puts in Full Practice

It looks like Pierre Thomas will definitely play against the Rams this week. After Chris Ivory has performed so well recently (254 yards rushing and 5 TDs in last three weeks), it'll be interesting to see how touches get divided amongst the two. Pierre seems very anxious to get back on the field and prove he's still capable of the excellent play he displayed last season when he led the team in rushing. The rumors that he was almost traded to the Patriots just before the trade deadline will also add further fuel to his fire. I don't expect him to come out rusty like Reggie did against Dallas. Judging by his quotes after practice, it sounds like he's been doing everything possible to get himself ready for game action again.

Payton seems very impressed with Ivory, but he pretty much only rushes the ball whereas Pierre also provides a receiving threat out of the backfield. He may not be the bruiser back that Ivory is, but he's notorious for breaking tackles and rarely going down after the first hit. It'll be anyone's guess how Payton uses them this week. The Rams are probably thinking the same thing.

TWEETS:

JonVilma51 I swear we brought the cold back with us....not feeling it at all

alexbrown96 Good morning tweet world! Headed to work and focused on having a very productive day!!

reggie_bush Good Morning Peeps. Have a great day!

Official_Saints Check out what a Saints employee’s son gave @T_Porter22, which now hangs in his locker... http://twitpic.com/3e2ikm

Official_Saints RT @shopatlakeside: Hall of Famer Rickey Jackson coming 2 Lakeside! This Friday 4p-7p: Hallmark Store @Official_Saints

Official_Saints 14 RBs were taken in the 2010 NFL Draft, Chris Ivory was not 1 of them. He leads all RB rookies in rushing YDs & tied for lead in TDs

jeffduncantp Saints sign a LB to replace Betts. @wwltvsports: Have a #Saints roster change. Team puts RB Ladell Betts on IR, signs LB Kawika Mitchell.

AdamSchefter Five teams officially eliminated from NFL playoff chase: Carolina, Detroit, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Denver. Wait 'till next year.

SeanPaytonTV Interviewing Malcolm Jenkins today!! Of course, we'll talk to him about his incredible play in the Cowboys game... http://fb.me/PYp1L7nj

 jeffduncantp New #Saints LB Kawika Mitchell will wear jersey No. 94 for those updating their rosters at home.

Official_Saints Need a break from work or finals? Check out the 4 NFL Games we just put on our site! They are quite addicting - http://bit.ly/SaintsGames

Official_Saints Brees has 25 RT @NFLfootballinfo: There have been 570 TD passes in 2010 – most of any season in NFL history through Week 13

jeffduncantp I would think so. RT @schleifnet: @jeffduncantp good sign that pt will dress and play then eh?

Official_Saints Latest Pro Bowl numbers are out: @HeathEvans still leads NFC FBs with 132,694 votes & @DrewBrees is 8th overall with 498,079 votes!

Official_Saints Keep voting for all the #Saints to the Pro Bowl as many times as you want here - http://bit.ly/b37Qfq

jeffduncantp #Saints injury report: P.Thomas (ankle), J.Jones (ankle), were full; C.Brown (back), was limited.

jeffduncantp Payton said the signing of Kawika Mitchell was an experienced linebacker who will add depth. SP: "We felt like his workout was very good."

HeathEvans RT @official_saints: Latest Pro Bowl numbers are out: @HeathEvans still leads NFC FBs with 132,694 votes! Thanks guys!! http://ow.ly/3m4JR

Official_Saints Payton announced that the Saints have put RB Ladell Betts on IR & signed LB Kawika Mitchell

Official_Saints Payton announced Wed. Injury Report: RBs Jones (ankle) & Thomas (ankle) were full. OL Brown (back) was limited.

Official_Saints When asked if he has considered using @reggie_bush at KR, Payton said it's not something they have discussed.

alexbrown96 Talk about a sad day!!! We will always love Coach Meyer!!! Thanks for the memories..RT @GatorRIVALS: Confirmed by UF, Urban Meyer done as HC

Official_Saints Brees at his weekly press conference http://yfrog.com/h2u3gj

Official_Saints Brees said Rams defense has improved from a year ago by increasing their pressure on the QB

Official_Saints @Pierre_Thomas draws a media crowd, said he is anxious about potentially playing Sunday http://yfrog.com/h08b201j

Official_Saints @alexbrown96 sporting a UF shirt,said he is disappointed Meyer is stepping down but confident UF will stay strong http://twitpic.com/3e5gm5

HeathEvans (video) @HeathEvans Foundation Softball Showdown Recap with @DrewBrees @JeremyShockey @pierre_thomas and many more! http://ow.ly/3m98o #nfl

 

PIERRE THOMAS + REGGIE BUSH + CHRIS IVORY = Ohhhhhhhhh YEAH!:

Pierre Thomas ready to return for New Orleans Saints | NOLA.com
Thomas, for his part, clearly thinks he'll be in the mix. He was all smiles at his locker room, and said he feels able to do all the things that made him both the team's leading rusher in its championship 2009 season as well as a potent receiver coming out of the backfield.

 

ROSTER MOVES:

Saints place Betts on IR, sign MItchell to roster | New Orleans News, Local News, Breaking News, Weather | wwltv.com | Eye on Black and Gold
The Saints placed running back Ladell Betts on Injured Reserve with a neck injury and signed linebacker Kawika Mitchell to replace him on the 53-man roster.

New Orleans Saints sign LB Kawika Mitchell, place RB Ladell Betts on injured reserve | NOLA.com
Mitchell was starter with Bills, Chiefs, Giants during first seven seasons

 

RAMS @ SAINTS:

Rams lose Diggs for the season - Turf Show Times
Bad news for the St. Louis Rams on the injury front? Which starter is lost for the season?

Video - NFL.com Blogs " Blog Archive Spagnuolo: Rams learned from 1-15 season "

Spagnuolo impressed by confidence of his players and their one-game approach - St. Louis Rams - bnd.com
Coach Steve Spagnuolo believes the St. Louis Rams are developing many of the traits of the teams he has coached in the past that have qualified for the playoffs.

New Orleans Saints vs. St. Louis Rams scouting report | NOLA.com
A year after going 1-15 in Coach Steve Spagnuolo's first season at the helm, the Rams (6-6) have won consecutive games to pull into a tie with the Seattle Seahawks for first place in the NFC West.

 

MORE ON SAINTS DEFEAT OF BENGALS:

moosedenied " Blog Archive " Might as well jump.
"For crying out loud, it was the Saints' first cold-weather game in a full calendar year, and only their second or third in two full calendar years. We all know full well that the Saints aren't built for that. It was their second straight road game, it was on the back end of yet another spate of funky scheduling, and if you'll indulge me in a little mainstream media/message board hackery, it was "the Bengals' Super Bowl."

" NFC South Report Episode #4 The NFC South Report
Episode #4 of the NFC South Report is here! Tune in this week for a discussion of the Falcons/Bucs game, the Saints’ close win against the Bengals, and more on the problems with the Panthers. We also predict games and rank each team’s running backs.

New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees a finalist for NFL's FedEx Air Player of the week | NOLA.com
For the second time this season, New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees has been named a finalist for this week's NFL FedEX Air Player of the Week for his performance against the Cincinnati Bengals.

New Orleans Saints defense has been giving up some yards lately | NOLA.com
"Getting the win is the most important thing out there, " cornerback Tracy Porter said. "(But) we still have a lot of things to clean up that, if we keep doing them, teams are going to beat us.

 

AROUND THE NFC SOUTH:

How I See It: NFC South Stock Watch - NFC South Blog - ESPN
Robert Meachem, Saints wide receiver. In Sunday’s victory against Cincinnati, he caught only three passes, but they went for 106 yards. That’s 35.3 yards per reception. Meachem’s day was highlighted by a 52-yard touchdown. He has become a true deep threat for the Saints and probably should start getting a few more passes thrown his way.

Here's how Falcons can clinch playoff spot - NFC South Blog - ESPN
At this time of year – and sometimes even earlier – the NFL office starts sending out releases with scenarios of how teams can clinch playoff berths, division titles and top seeds.

Checking Rookie, MVP Watches - NFC South Blog - ESPN
Now, let’s hop over to Sando’s MVP Watch. He has Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan at No. 4 and New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees at No. 6. Each of those guys dropped one spot from last week and I have no problem with that.

NFC South lags in Pro Bowl voting - NFC South Blog - ESPN
Memo to NFC South fans: If you don’t want to be griping about how the division got shorted in Pro Bowl berths in a couple of weeks, jump over here and vote (often).

 

LAGNIAPPE:

ProFootballWeekly.com - MVP Meter: Running from the backs
2. Saints QB Drew Brees (No. 3) — On Sunday vs. the Bengals, Brees threw a three-yard TD to Marques Colston with 31 seconds remaining to give the Saints the lead, but his performance on the previous play was also crucial. Facing a 4th-and-two, Brees used a hard count and wound up drawing Bengals DT Pat Sims across the line, moving the chains and putting New Orleans in position to win their ninth game of the season.

NFL Power Rankings for Week 14 has Patriots, Falcons 1-2 - Don Banks - SI.com
3. New Orleans Saints (9-3) So the Saints ran their "No-Brainer Freeze" play on the Bengals, and predictably, Cincinnati defensive lineman Pat Sims had a brain freeze, jumping offside to hand the game-turning first down to New Orleans in the final 34 seconds last Sunday. Most NFL coaches will tell you there are games you have to go win for yourself, and games in which you just have to hang around and wait for the other team to hand you the victory.

NFL playoff races and other musings

NFL.com news: Colston, Saints flying under radar despite late-season surge
"People are just starting to realize that last year we were 13-3 and (that) we're sitting here with an opportunity to be in the same spot," wide receiver Marques Colston said.

New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson wants the Hornets to stay in New Orleans | NOLA.com
"But, to answer your question about me buying the Hornets, my plate is full right now. My only focus is on the Saints, doing all I can to help them win another Super Bowl. I've always been a hands-on owner and my hands are full, all day, every day."

 

VIDEOS:

 

 

Sorry, no transcripts today. My usual source - neworleans.com - appears to be down and I've been getting browser warnings that they have attack problems at their site. If you're anxious to read Payton's daily musings, check the Saints' official site later for transcripts. They usually post them around 7pm CST:

http://www.neworleanssaints.com/news-and-events/latest-news/team-news.html

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