Fleur-de-Links - Sept. 29th: Saints Prepare for Visit From Panthers, John Carney Added to Roster

After their disappointing loss to the Dirty Birds, our Saints today start the process of moving on with their first practice in preparation for the 0-3 Panthers. Both Drew Brees and Pierre Thomas are reportedly battling injuries, but Drew looks like he'll definitely play and Pierre is looking like he'll be either probable or questionable for this Sunday.

The biggest most recent news is of course the welcoming back of kicker John Carney to the roster. It's too bad they had to release Adrian Arrington in order to do that, though. Garrett Hartley is still on the team as well and I expect Payton to roll with him again for the Panthers game, provided he looks good enough this week during practice. Why not give the kid another week to get back into form when we have a winless team visiting us? I'm still holding out hope that he'll figure it out and once again be reliable. Carney was looking pretty bad last season when Payton made the shift to the stronger-legged Hartley. Let's keep our fingers crossed that the kid turns it around.

Let's also keep our fingers crossed and hope that Payton and the team threw those ugly black pants into the incinerator and will now only roll with the gold. I don't believe in curses, but those pants seem to always bring some bad mojo. My theory is the players don't much care for the way they look in them and this brings down their enthusiasm for game day just enough to where they make more mental errors than usual. You'd think the somewhat superstitious, Juicy-fruit chewing Payton would have already noticed this and abandoned the black pants look, but that doesn't appear to yet be the case.

TWEETS:

MalcolmJenkins just ate dinner...i think i'll get on some of this Carolina film... and take a break to try some of this chocolate cake lol gotta get it!!

MalcolmJenkins @sharper42 red neck jokes?... thats whats in nowadays huh? lol

LanceMoore16 Watching the biggest loser. One of my favorite shows. Really cool to see the improvements that these people make.

Official_Saints Anthony Hargrove spoke to NOLA students today on behalf of the Saints/Council on Alcohol & Drug Abuse (CADA). http://twitpic.com/2sx7mx

dmpressley Welcome backRT @TheRedzoneorg: Saints sign veteran kicker John Carney http://tinyurl.com/2wte6kq #NFL #Saints

T_Porter22 RT @dena_davis: Editing this week's Sean Payton Show! (Fri 10:30pm on FOX-8 - get there!) In this episode we go ... http://tmi.me/1NSGT

MalcolmJenkins time for that chocolate cake... @EricWhiteCEO ima run that glory off tomorrow lol

T_Porter22 I Am Not A Human and Incarcerated will be played all day tomorrow, but for now i'm headed to bed. #goodnight

ChaseDaniel Time to get to work!!

JonVilma51 Back at it bright and early... Who's workin?!??

 

DREW BREES HAS KNEE STRAIN, PIERRE THOMAS HELD OUT:

New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees nursing sore knee; expects to be fine come Sunday | NOLA.com
It's just sore," he said. "I'm very confident that by game day it will be fine.

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees practices; RB Pierre Thomas and S Roman Harper do not | NOLA.com
Brees is wearing brace on left knee but "functioned fine," according to Coach Sean Payton

Brees practices with knee brace; Thomas sits out | New Orleans News, Local News, Breaking News, Weather | wwltv.com | Eye on Black and Gold
Saints quarterback Drew Brees practiced Wednesday but with a brace on his left knee to help stabilize an unspecific injury he suffered on the final game-tying drive of regulation against the Falcons.

NFL News Updates - CBSSports.com RapidReports
Drew Brees has a strained MCL in his left knee, according to WIST-AM in New Orleans, which is citing a source familiar with the situation. The radio report also stated that the plan will be for Brees to play Sunday against the Panthers.

 

PAYTON'S NEVER-ENDING QUEST FOR CONSISTENT KICKING:

Coach Sean Payton said no decision has been made yet on who will kick this Sunday | NOLA.com
Well, obviously he's been here before. He's a seasoned veteran," Payton said of Carney. "And we'll see how those guys battle during the week and make a decision at the week's end as to who's gonna kick for us. You know, we did this a year ago. And each week we'll just evaluate the practice and how those guys do, and we'll go from there.

John Carney agrees to contract, returns to New Orleans Saints
Kicker John Carney is being brought back on to the roster of the reigning Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints as both a player and a mentor for Garrett Hartley, multiple sources told NewOrleans.Com on Tuesday night.

What New Orleans Saints kicker Garrett Hartley is going through isn't new | NOLA.com
Former Saints kickers Tom Dempsey and Morten Anderson can sympathize

Kicker Garrett Hartley remains in the plans of New Orleans Saints | NOLA.com
Despite the fact that the New Orleans Saints are bringing in a veteran kicker to help with the kicking duties, kicker Garrett Hartley remains on the roster and still is in the Saints' plans, Hartley's agent said Tuesday night.

Saints waive Arrington to make room for Carney | wwltv.com | Eye on Black and Gold
The Saints waived receiver Adrian Arrington to make room for the recently re-signed John Carney on the Saints roster.

 

MORE WEEKLY (meaningless) RANKINGS:

NFP Power Rankings | National Football Post
5. (1) New Orleans Saints: 2-1 We are still big on the Saints, but the run defense is lacking in New Orleans.

NFL Power Rankings - Top 32 NFL Football Teams - FOX Sports on MSN
5. Saints: Something is missing from this team through three games. I can't put my oversized fingers on it, but I don't think the Saints look quite as good as they did last season thus far. Still, they will be competing deep into the playoffs this year.

ProFootballWeekly.com - Week Four power rankings
4. New Orleans Saints: Team will have short memory when deciding who will kick.

NFL Power Rankings: No Ben, no worries for Steelers - NFL - CBSSports.com Football
4. Saints: Well, they won't be talking about an undefeated season in 2010. Their defense hasn't played that well the past two games after impressing in the opener.

 

MORE FALCONS @ SAINTS ANALYSIS: 

Sean Payton played the percentages - NFL Nation Blog - ESPN
When Payton decided to kick on first down, my gut reaction was it was the right call. The Saints were tired and needed to put an end to the game. They had put Hartley in position for a chip shot. I didn’t think it was the wrong call.

Inside the playbook: the Saints' deep ball | National Football Post
Inside the playbook: the Saints' deep ball

Where the Saints rank in the NFL - Week 3: Red zone an issue | wwltv.com | Eye on Black and Gold
Each week here at the EOSB I like to break out a few rankings of the Saints as a team and individually. They're generally very telling. Here is where the Saints rank after Week 3's game against Atlanta.

Video Review: Leverage, poor coverage key in Saints' loss to Falcons | wwltv.com | Eye on Black and Gold
Watching the replay of the Saints’ 27-24 loss to Atlanta in overtime confirmed one thing to me, not that I needed to watch it to confirm this – New Orleans played poorly in this game.

New Orleans Saints Mailbag: What's wrong with the offense? | NOLA.com
The T-P's Jeff Duncan tackles your Saints questions

 

PANTHERS @ SAINTS:

A limited number of tickets are available for New Orleans Saints game vs. Carolina Panthers | NOLA.com
Tickets were returned from visiting team allotment

 

LAGNIAPPE:

Drew Brees' name is near the top of early NFL MVP mentions, but not real close | NOLA.com
The ever changing Vegas odds have the Saints QB tied for third

The Rich Eisen Podcast Episode 3: Uncurbed Enthusiasm | Rich Eisen – NFL Network
First up, Super Bowl MVP Drew Brees, who joined us coming off a loss Sunday AND a GQ photo shoot today. As we all know, good things come in threes. So for Brees, it’s the GQ photo shoot, an appearance on my podcast and thus free Papa John’s pizza. All good.

How I See It: NFC South Stock Watch - NFC South Blog - ESPN
FALLING: New Orleans’ defense. When it’s not forcing turnovers, this unit is rather ordinary. The first three games have shown teams can run the ball on the Saints and teams are going to continue to do that. Sean Payton and defensive coordinator Gregg Williams are two strong personalities. They co-existed when the defense was making turnovers and the Saints were winning big last year. But a few more losses could really put this relationship to the test.

ProFootballWeekly.com - MVP Meter: Vick makes the top 10
2. Saints QB Drew Brees (No. 2) — Despite 385 passing yards and a 78.9 completion percentage from Brees, the Saints lost to the Falcons in overtime in Week Three. He may be down now, but games against Panthers, Cardinals, Buccaneers and Browns over the next month should cheer him up.

New Orleans Saints have the third-best odds to win the Super Bowl this week | NOLA.com
The ever changing betting line still has the Saints ahead of Atlanta

New Orleans Saints fans should you behave differently with kids around? | NOLA.com
Is the atmosphere at the Dome appropriate for the littlest Who Dats?

 

TRANSCRIPTS:

New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton

Post-Practice Press Conference

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Opening Statement:

"An injury update for today: Usama Young with a quad was limited; Anthony Waters (hamstring) did not participate; Reggie Bush (fibula) did not practice; Roman Harper (hamstring) did not practice; Pierre Thomas (ankle) did not practice. In roster moves, we signed placekicker John Carney and released wide receiver Adrian Arrington today and then in a practice squad transaction we signed tackle Jermey Parnell and released guard Jacob Bender."

How is Drew Brees?

"He’s sore but he was full in practice and did well."

Is he wearing protection on his leg?

"He put a brace on there but he was able to go full. He has some soreness but he was good."

Can you say exactly what his situation is?

"There’s no situation. His knee is sore from the game. There’s no specific injury other than that he has soreness. We didn’t put him on the report. He took all the reps. There’s not an injury to report. I was pleased with how he functioned. He functioned fine. It’s something that as the week goes on, I think he’ll have no problem with and he did a real good job in all the team stuff today."

You said two days ago that there wasn’t anything imminent at the running position but you’re always looking. Does Pierre Thomas missing practice today change that at all?

"No. We have flexibility with the players that are here right now. We’ll see where Pierre is at tomorrow. Really, he had some swelling. Fortunately the soreness for him is not as significant as you might expect with some ankles. It’s not a high ankle sprain; it’s not any of that, but there is swelling enough to where we held him out today. But there’s nothing that we’re looking to do right now but we’re certainly paying attention to it, starting with his health."

What went into the decision to bring Carney back?

"Obviously he’s been here before; he’s a seasoned veteran and we’ll see how those guys battle during the week and make a decision at the week’s end as to who’s going to kick for us. We did this a year ago and each week we’ll evaluate the practice and evaluate how those guys do and go from there."

After seeing how Pierre and Drew got hurt, do you feel lucky that there wasn’t something more severe?

"Certainly we’re fortunate that there wasn’t anything significant. It was a long game; it was a hard-fought game and to answer your question, yes."

Do you think you may have to bring DeShawn Wynn up from the practice squad?

"That could be an option. That gets back to the earlier question. That could be an option if we felt it necessary."

Is there a scenario where you’d have both kickers active for the game?

"We’ll see. There’s none specifically, but we’ll see."

What did you see from Carney in the workout?

"He was real consistent. He was 100% with the kicks. Both guys did a good job yesterday; both he and Kris (Brown) kicked well. His get-offs were good and he didn’t miss a kick. It was impressive."

Does the relationship that Garrett Hartley and Carney have a bearing in why you went with Carney?

"There’s that familiarity with the player in John’s case with us. You still try to really evaluate the workout and look closely at how those guys are kicking. Not going in with any type of bias, you want to evaluate the workouts – that’s why two guys are in there. But John did a good job. Like I said, he didn’t miss. That was something that you still need to see, even from someone that you’re familiar with."

Do you think having Carney here keeps Hartley’s confidence better than if you had gone with Brown?

"The one thing about John is his experience with the process. He helps all of us when it comes to the snap, hold, kick; that’s a strength of his. When you have kicked as long as he has – he’s my age – that’s pretty important and it’s helpful."

Has John been kicking?

"I think he’s been working out. I said this to him a year ago and I said to him yesterday, ‘For every player, you play until 32 teams tell you that you can’t,’ and then you eventually get on with your next job or whatever you’re going to do next. His preparation and his mindset has been to be prepared for an opportunity. You could see that obviously he had been kicking."

How is Tracy Porter doing?

"Good. He’s fine. 100%. He got all the reps and is doing well."

You said Monday that you saw Ivory as getting about seven or eight carries. Have you increased those numbers?

"A lot of that will be predicated on where we get to by the end of the week. Certainly he’s a guy that we feel comfortable with running the football. Our snaps were down offensively last week in terms of numbers to total snaps, but he’s someone that we feel like can give us a lot of carries. So we’ll see as we go and by the end of the week we’ll have a better feel for exactly the role for each of those players. A lot of that is predicated on Pierre."

 

Carolina Panthers Coach John Fox

Conference Call With New Orleans Media

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

From a Saints related question, is this a tough time to face a team coming off of a loss and do you think you maybe get a more motivated opponent, or do you not buy that?

"I don’t buy into all that. People on the outside look at records. I look at the team. They’re obviously still a very, very talented team. It’s hard to win all of them. They’re a very, very, good football team, defending world champs at their place."

I know you guys have made the quarterback switch and it didn’t lead to a lot of points last week, but do you like what you’re seeing?

"Yes. We’re a young football team. I think we’re getting better each week. Unfortunately for us, it hasn’t carried over to a win, but when you’re minus six in the turnover ratio and have 12 turnovers after three games, I I’m not sure if you’re going to win no matter how talented you are."

The Saints have struggled at times against the run and both your guys had big runs against them last year. Is it a matter of guys have been loading up against your run game or are those guys just a couple holes from getting unleashed this year?

"We’re still pretty efficient running the ball. We’re maybe a little short, but we were up over 150 a game last year. Part of it is we’ve been behind. That always staggers your run totals. We need to get that fixed."

How have the turnovers affected that also or have they affected that also?

"Yes, I think if you look at New Orleans at 2-1 they didn’t have a turnover until last week and had three. They have three after three games and we have 12. It does give away possessions."

Aare a lot of the turnovers a byproduct of being a young team?

"I can’t answer that. I wish we weren’t at 12. We have six fumbles and six interceptions. We definitely have to be more secure with the ball and these are things we’re looking to improve."

Is there anything you can implement in this game Sunday afternoon based on some of the things the Saints offense has struggled with in the first few games?

"Each one of these takes on its own personality. I think this week against the Saints Gregg Williams gives you a variety of looks and different blitz packages, things that can be confusing. I think we’ll just try to adjust and game plan to the type of team we’re playing. As far as the first three games, they all had their own personality. The thing that’s been recurring to us is ball security. We’ve done it two different ways. We’ve fumbled two snaps this past week. Those are things, the reason why you practice and why you play the game."

What have you seen out of Malcolm Jenkins that impresses you in taking over the reins from Darren Sharper?

"I think he’s very, very athletic. It hasn’t been long since he came out. The evaluation process watching him and evaluating him coming out, we hold him in high regard."

I’m sure you and Sean Payton have had talks about the stages your teams are in. Is that just the cycles that teams have to go through in this league?

"Yes, it’s my 22nd year. I’ve been through a few cycles, but the game’s always changing. You look at the job Sean’s done there in turning that program around to getting the ultimate of all goals. I think every player, coach, owner and management team’s goal is to win the Super Bowl. To be able to accomplish that is quite a feat.

 

Carolina Panthers QB Jimmy Clausen

Conference Call With New Orleans Media

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

What was it like getting your first start?

 "It was a fun experience but at the same time when you go out there and lose you don’t have a good feeling. I have a sour taste in my mouth about the loss and you just want to go out and make plays on the field every time you can, but sometimes you can’t make plays. Hopefully this week we’ll be able to make more plays on the field rather than bad ones."

 Does anything jump out to you about having to play the defending champions in their own building?

 "They’re obviously a really good team, the defending world champions. The thing we have to do is eliminate mistakes and turnovers and we have to play a perfect game to have a chance to beat the Saints."

 How much urgency do you have right now in Carolina for this season?

 "A lot of urgency. Obviously starting 0-3 is not what we envisioned or expected. We’re trying to change it, change around as much as we can as fast as we can. We just got off the practice field and had a pretty good first day out there. We just have to keep getting better out there each day."

 How are you feeling personally physically?

 "I’m feeling good. I’m healthy. I’m 100 percent. I have some bumps and bruises from the last game but I feel good now."

 How does it come in and change a team mentally after a loss, especially if you are a team like the Saints that hadn’t lost one in a while?

 "Yes. I would. It’s kind of the same thing for us. We haven’t had a win this season. We’re really hungry to get that first victory. Obviously the Saints are coming off a loss as well and they’re looking to get back on track. We’ll have to play a perfect game offensively to have a chance to win the game."

 What do you think is holding your team back offensively?

 "I don’t know if it’s one specific thing. I don’t think its one specific thing. I can only talk for myself, but there are plays out there I made that I shouldn’t have made, like the interception, the two fumbles out there. Hopefully if we eliminated those mistakes right there we would have had a chance of winning the game last Sunday. I think just the little things and each player doing their own job and executing the game plan will give them a chance to win the game."

 

VIDEO:

New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton on Chris Ivory

New Orleans Saints kicking situation is interesting

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