Fleur-de-Links: The Crescent City Prepares for Vikings vs. Saints

UPDATED AT 4:50PM!

One more day to go and the 2010 NFL season will begin. One more day to go and the Vikings will have their rematch. One more day to go and we'll see the Super Bowl championship banner gloriously unfurl from the roof of the Superdome. One more day to go and I'll be insanely jealous of everyone lucky enough to be in attendance.GAAAAA! I hate you all!

Just kidding. A media source reported yesterday that Gregg Williams would be available for interview today, but I have yet to see a transcript posted. If I find it later, I'll update the post with it. (Found and added at 4:50PM) In other news, most of our key guys appearing on the injury report look to be probable for tomorrow, yesterday's Yahoo Sports story on Reggie losing his Heisman Trophy was premature (big surprise!), and NFL Network premiers "America's Game: the 2009 Saints" tonight at 8PM CDT. Don't miss it!

TWEETS:

OGOchoCinco @reggie_bush Bruh dont you give that damn trophy back, you earned that shhh, they better turn on the film, find someting else to take s***!

JonVilma51 Congrats John Lacarbiere 4 winning @playmakermobile "Meet Jon Vilma" contest — he'll meet me after Saints/Vikings and get to try on my ring

JonVilma51 check out brees' interview...we want the dome ROCKIN thurs night!!!!!

HeathEvans If you guys really want the fact on the pending NFL "Lockout?" follow @NFLPA You will get daily tweets about the real issues. Pls follow #fb

ChaseDaniel When @drewbrees holds his hands up after the coin toss at midfield and drops them down, start the "Who Dat" chant! Scream! #saints

drewbrees Congrats #PepsiRefresh #DoGoodfortheGulf! 32 ideas refreshing region w/ 1.3 million in grants learn how: http://gulf.refresheverything.com

drewbrees If you want to be a part of the Who Dat chant at the Dome on gameday, check this out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ld_gkJ7CwO8 #fb

jeffduncantp Lots of great ones here this week. All know their stuff, but none know the #Saints as well as local guys. We're there every day. @mvp1961:

jeffduncantp #Saints made a roster move yesterday. Cut CB Leigh Torrence and re-signed TE Tory Humphrey.

jeffduncantp #saints injury report: Players ruled out, LB Stanley Arnoux & RB Chris Ivory. OT Zach Strief is questionable. Vilma, Porter are probable.

jeffduncantp Payton on R.Bush: "He's had a great training camp. I think he's getting ready to play well and have a great season. I'll leave it at that."

jeffduncantp If you're going to the #Saints game tomorrow, make sure you're there at least 10 minutes before kickoff so you won't miss the banner drop.

jeffduncantp And an FYI, there will be just 1 banner unveiled, for Super Bowl XLIV, of course. In other words, no NFC championship or NFC South banners.

T_Porter22 Lmao RT @norseforce40: The Vikes are gonna destroy you cheating, cheapshot pukes tomorrow night!

JeremyShockey Pita Pit on way!!!! One of my favs.....

usama_young28 So ready for tomorrow to get here. Let's go!

Pierre_Thomas just relaxing now...lookin fwd to game day!! who dat! #saints

 

AMERICA'S GAME TONIGHT ON NFL NETWORK!!:

NFL Network's 'America's Game' is the finest Super Bowl Saints film of all | NOLA.com
Spectacular hour-long documentary premieres Wednesday night on the NFL Network.

 

vikings v. SAINTS:

Gregg Williams won't change approach to attacking Vikings | ProFootballTalk.com
"The number one criteria here when I was hired here was changing the attitude of the defense," Williams said. "Our players are going to play hard. They are always going to play hard. And if they don't play hard they are going to stand by me."

ProFootballWeekly.com Three Vikings concerns for Thursday’s game
The Vikings come into Thursday night’s season opener with some issues. Let’s take a look at three potential problems that could arise in their rematch against the Saints in New Orleans.

Inside the playbook: blitzing Brett Favre | National Football Post
Inside the playbook: blitzing Brett Favre

Colston, Porter, Vilma probable for Saints opener versus Vikings
The New Orleans Saints have concluded their preparations for Thursday night’s long-awaited season opener against the Minnesota Vikings at the Louisiana Superdome. Coach Sean Payton put his team through a spirited 90-minute walk-through at their indoor facility Wednesday morning.

New Orleans Saints game, parade, concert: WHO DAT?! | NOLA.com
Pregame concert and parade were not designed for ticket-holders, who should head to the Superdome to make kickoff

Television coverage of Saints-Vikings game will reach epic proportions | NOLA.com
NBC describes its approach to this game as Olympics-level attention.

Gerry V: Stakes too high for Saints to lose | NOLA.com
It won't be easy, but team will get it done against Vikings

New Orleans Saints vs. Minnesota Vikings scouting report | NOLA.com
Vikings vow to protect Brett Favre, play more physical

New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton releases final injury report before Vikings game Thursday night | NOLA.com
Several guys are listed as probable

Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation adds local flavor to NFL Kickoff Game | NOLA.com
Organization, NFL to work together in coming years

Preview: Vikings (0-0) at Saints (0-0) | New Orleans Saints Review
Finally, the regular season is here.  And what better way to start the season than with a rematch of last year's NFC Championship Game between the Saints and

Drew Brees to start stadium-wide 'who dat' chant at Vikings-Saints game - The Huddle: Football News from the NFL - USATODAY.com

Saints Rants: Buckle Up, Saints Fans

Reggie Bush, Percy Harvin are wild cards in New Orleans Saints-Minnesota Vikings matchup | NOLA.com
Utility players force defensive coordinators to adjust

New Orleans Saints fans can factor in even more noise this season | NOLA.com
New NFL rule provides more leeway to crank it up

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees is 'a master at work' | NOLA.com
Brees' work with receivers in practice leads to success in games

New Orleans Saints know they have to keep quarterback Drew Brees 'clean' | NOLA.com
Minnesota will be coming hard at Brees.

New Orleans puts on game face for NFL kickoff | New Orleans News, Local News, Breaking News, Weather | wwltv.com | Eye on Black and Gold
New Orleans is the Super Bowl champion city, and this week it's getting the Super Bowl treatment from the NFL.

Brett Favre, New Orleans Saints brace for another collision - NFL News - FOX Sports on MSN
Brett Favre, New Orleans Saints brace for another collision

Saints intend to ‘storm the castle’ - New Orleans Saints - SunHerald.com
Minnesota Vikings coach Brad Childress has spoken his piece on the New Orleans Saints’ defense and in particular, their defensive coordinator, Gregg Williams.

Saints, Vikes game should be another good one | hattiesburgamerican.com | Hattiesburg American
So, here we are. A pair of sunsets away from kickoff at the Louisiana Superdome when the New Orleans Saints will begin its quest for a second consecutive Super Bowl title.

Saints, Vikings set to tangle in matchup of NFC's elite
The first time they met, it was a battle of epic proportions. Touchdown passes, big hits, players playing through pain, last-second turnovers - all of which led ultimately to an all-or-nothing field goal with the weight of an entire city on the kicker's shoulders and a spot in the Super Bowl on the line.

Injury report: Saints LB Vilma, CB Porter probable for Vikings game | wwltv.com | Eye on Black and Gold
Linebacker Jonathan Vilma and cornerback Tracy Porter were officially listed as probable for the Saints’ Thursday curtain raiser at the Superdome.

Bush focusing on Vikings, not Heisman | wwltv.com | Eye on Black and Gold
A day after various news outlets reported that Reggie Bush could possibly be stripped of his Heisman Trophy, the Saints running back was going through final preparations for New Orleans’ season-opener against Minnesota.

New Orleans Saints cut CB Torrence, re-sign TE Humphrey
On the eve of the regular season opener, the defending Super Bowl champions are still shuffling their active roster.

Vikings-Saints: Great way to get going
In as juicy a season opener as the NFL could provide, Favre marches the Minnesota Vikings into New Orleans on Thursday night for a reprise of January's NFC championship game.

New Orleans Saints Vlog (September 8)

 

VIEW FROM THE OTHER SIDE:

Vikings hoping pass rush helps stop Saints offense | wwltv.com | Eye on Black and Gold
Weekly throughout the season, I’ll break away from regular Saints coverage and ask a writer who covers New Orleans’ opponent that week some questions about that team. This week we welcome in Kevin Seifert of ESPN.com.

Vikings aim to keep Saints offense off field | StarTribune.com
Brett Favre reiterated upon his return to Minnesota last month that Adrian Peterson remained the key figure in the Vikings offense

Will party end on Bourbon Street? | StarTribune.com
Lifetimes are spent dreaming about winning a Super Bowl

New Orleans Saints take credit for all of those Minnesota Vikings turnovers in last meeting - TwinCities.com
METAIRIE, La. — The disrespect card has become such a cliché in professional sports that players and teams routinely deal it to manufacture motivation instead of just shutting up and performing.

Minnesota Vikings still bitter about loss in NFC title game - TwinCities.com
Thinking about last seasons NFC championship game launches Vikings tight end Visanthe Shiancoe into his best Dennis Green impression.

Beating the Saints' pressure - NFC North Blog - ESPN
"The pressures?" Favre said this week. "We handled them pretty well."

 

LAGNIAPPE:

Great Debate: Will Saints repeat? - NFC South Blog - ESPN
John Clayton says definitely not. Why, you ask? 1. We can't possibly become a dynasty. 2. Cowboys are most talented team in NFC (I can't believe he's still singing that tune after the preseason they just had) 3. Saints don't face inexperienced QBs this year. 4. Sharper is out for 6 games. Can't wait to see this guy proven wrong!

Power Rankings: Saints No. 2? - NFC South Blog - ESPN
Somehow -- and this is beyond my comprehension -- the defending Super Bowl champions are No. 2 in the rankings. How’d that happen? Well, three voters did the only prudent thing they could and gave the Saints their No. 1 vote. The fourth voter ranked the Saints No. 5. Yes, No. 5. For the record, that voter is John Clayton and he and I will have a little discussion about this Wednesday when we roll out the final segment in our Great Debate series.

Power rankings: How the voters voted - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Oh Joy! John Clayton actually blessed us by raising the Saints to no. 5 in his power rankings. Oh, his wisdom casts a warm and glowing light over us all. Clayton be praised. (I wish I could use the sarcasm font here.)

Say it ain't so: Saints barely make the playoffs | New Orleans News, Local News, Breaking News, Weather | wwltv.com | Eye on Black and Gold
It’s finally here. The follow up act to every Saint fans dream season. While 2009 had nerve racking moments in the playoffs and Super Bowl the regular season was pretty smooth sailing for the fans.

A prayer for the New Orleans Saints from Rev. R. Tony Ricard | NOLA.com
The Team chaplain's preseason prayer worked so well last year that he has written a new one.

New Orleans Saints have released defensive back Leigh Torrence | NOLA.com
Move is reported Wednesday

Is Time Ripe for Reggie Bush? -- NFL FanHouse
Sean Payton, the New Orleans coach, said Reggie Bush is in terrific shape. Remember Bush in college and what a dominant runner he was for Southern Cal? He was in great shape then, too.

One man's NFL Predictions for 2010
There's only one thing that can logically keep any of the pundits from thinking the Saints can go back to the Super Bowl when it will be played in Dallas at this season's end- expectation. We've seen past Super Bowl participants and winners fall flat the next season, but people are especially scared of the Saints who have never been in this position going into a season.

Heisman committee says that reports of Reggie Bush losing the award is 'inaccurate' | NOLA.com
A report on Yahoo! said the award would be stripped. This report was a load of bull doody.

Ranking the NFC South running backs - NFC South Blog - ESPN
We’re going to wrap up the NFC South position rankings with the running backs. 

2theadvocate.com | Sports | Busy as a Brees — Baton Rouge, LA
It was barely 48 hours before the New Orleans Saints were to begin defense of their Super Bowl title, and there was quarterback Drew Brees sitting in the team’s media room Tuesday, holding a news conference to tell fans how he wants to coordinate a pregame cheer this season.

Questions surround champion Saints, but they're still NFC South's best
Shortly after 7 p.m. Thursday, a Super Bowl XLIV Champions banner will be unveiled to a raucous and no doubt misty-eyed sellout crowd in the Superdome. A few minutes later the Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints will take on the Minnesota Vikings in front of a national television audience.

Element of surprise key to a successful onside kick | HoumaToday.com
The Who had barely finished their halftime show, highlighted by their rock anthem "Won't Get Fooled Again," when the New Orleans Saints pulled off the best trick in last February's Super Bowl.

Hung over? Not Brees; he's just getting started | thenewsstar.com | The News Star
Drew Brees does not look like he has ever had a hangover. Well, maybe after Lombardi Gras.

New Orleans Saints running back Reggie Bush says Heisman decision, public opinion out of his hands
"At this point it’s kind of out of my hands,’’ Bush told reporters Wednesday. "Whatever you guys report, you guys have to go with that. (But) if I’m not mistaken, I believe the Heisman Trust people released a statement saying that whatever was said (Tuesday) was inaccurate.

 

TRANSCRIPTS:

Coach Sean Payton, Wednesday, September 8th:

Opening Statement: "In a roster move yesterday we waived Leigh Torrence and re-signed Tory Humphrey back to the active roster. The final status on these guys today: Jimmy Graham is full, probable, Pierson Prioleau, full, probable, (Marques) Colston, full, probable, Jon Vilma, limited, probable, Tracy Porter, limited, probable, (Anthony) Hargrove, limited, probable, Zach Strief, did not practice, questionable, Stanley Arnoux, did not practice, he’ll be ruled out and Chris Ivory with the knee, he did not practice. He’ll be ruled out."

Can you discuss Anthony Hargrove’s injury?

"It’s something that he’s been dealing for about a week and a half or two weeks. He just started having some soreness, so we backed him off a day and added him to the report and then he was out here again today. He’ll be fine."

Can you talk about what it means to you, the city and the team to have the opener here?

"Number one, anytime you open at home to start the season, it’s always a positive. The schedule sometimes isn’t always that friendly. When you win the Super Bowl, you get to open at home and play on the Thursday night game. I think it’s a chance for certainly our city to celebrate what’s become an event now. There are a lot of potential distractions, yet a lot of excitement. I think that’s particularly good when it comes to kickoff and the crowd noise and the enthusiasm you want from your own fans."

What have you done to keep your team focused?

"It’s a smart team to begin with. They understand in a unique week which this one is. You play your preseason game. The rosters take effect Saturday or Sunday. Our first full practice is that Sunday. It challenges you a little bit with the practice squad and your active roster, but we’ve just really tried to pay attention to the game plan. All the other things that go into a game like this, I think we’ve become familiar with. The Monday night games a year ago, the Super Bowl, the NFC Championship. You get to where you can understand the routine, yet what’s important and what wins. I think that’s where we are right now."

Was the move to cut Leigh Torrence and bring Tory Humphrey back, is that related to the health of Tracy Porter?

"Yes, he’s probable and we feel comfortable that he’s going to play and play well."

Why did you decide to bring Tory back?

"We’re jiggling a spot here to get a tight end up to the roster. Like I said, this first week is a little more difficult dealing with the 53 and your numbers, so for us we felt like that was necessary as we head into this game."

Would the news surrounding Reggie Bush be a distraction for him or the club?

"I think he’s done a great job of dealing with that, because it’s been ongoing since he’s arrived. Certainly from a timing standpoint you get disappointed. It’s just a report, but his focus and his maturity level have been fantastic. He’s had a great training camp. He’s smart enough to understand the challenges this team presents rather than to answer to any of his critics, so I think he’s getting ready to play well and have a good season."

Can you talk about how big it is to have had the skill position players in your system for a few years now for the most part, what advantage that provides and what more they can do now?

"When you have continuity in a system, in an offense, in a quarterback and have like you said a number of players that have been involved in this terminology, an offensive line that has been together, it allows you certainly to be farther along and there are some basic things we try to do in regards to experience and that you try to establish each and every week. The repetitions in regards to certain play designs, the formations, and your ability to play multiple personnel groupings…All of that helps when you’re dealing with the same characters and same people in those spots. In our case, that’s a plus for us."

Do you sometimes go back to plays or designs you used years ago?

"I finished telling them, this is an imperfect game. Early in the season, you want to make sure your mistakes are as a result of energy and effort and not a result of maybe a mental error. With all the distractions and emotions that can potentially come into this game, it still comes down to how you block, how you tackle, the execution of playing football, taking it away. Those are the things you try to harp on. On Friday, we’ll have a chance to look at the tape and make the corrections."

Why did you want to go to the dome yesterday?

"Just a chance to get in there and check out the surface, and make sure we got comfortable with the surroundings. It was something different from the normal routine and we brought them in there, had good work. The surface every year in there is new. We play with it with how firm we want it to be. We can change that. It’s the same surface that’s in here, only this is different with the padding we put in there for practice. We have a chance to get in that facility and if you look at it we’ve only been in there three times and you play a whole season in there. It was a changeup for us and it went well."

 

Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams, Wednesday, September 8th:

What did you think of the Superdome practice?

“I’ve said it before about this place, that I think Sean (Payton) covers everything. We went down there yesterday and got a chance to practice down there again. It’s supposed to be your home stadium. They’ve done some renovations down there to our locker room this year. They’ve done some renovations in the seating capacity and the field being different. We try to cover all those things we can. There’s really no excuse when a guy’s not wearing the right kind of cleats. Field turf changes from one venue to the next venture. The fact that we have that hassle done and that our guys aren’t packing the wrong shoes in here or packing the wrong equipment is good. It was a little break in the routine. We got them down there maybe a little more focused again. “

Can you talk about having to juggle the linebacker position in camp and even more with the injury to Jonathan Casillas?

“You guys asked me about that in camp with (Scott) Fujita leaving. One of the things I said was that we’re going to piece out throughout our 28 packages of defense that we have and piece everybody in. One of the things this staff does a good job with. It’s one of the better staffs I’ve had I inherited this staff and what I had to sell to them is that we take the strengths of a guy and don’t necessarily focus on the weaknesses of a guy. You have a weakness, I have a weakness. Every player does. What we try to do and Sean does a good job of it on offense and we do it on defense too is to put in packages and have them do the things they do best. Casillas was only in on certain packages, so he wasn’t in on every package anyway. Of all the linebackers that dress for this ballgame, it will be pieced out through all of them, so usually if you watch us on game day, whoever we dress on game day, there’s a package for that particular guy that’s in and it’s called. Morale stays high when they all know they’re going to play. It’s just another way for us in team building and also utilization of bodies, and reps and wear and tear with bodies through a long season. We can highlight a lot of different packages. To be honest, it’s going to depend on what Minnesota plays. We match up two or three different types of packages versus two or three different types of packages of them too. It’s going to be dependent upon what they play.”

How confident are you of Malcolm Jenkins starting at free safety

“He’s really come a long way. I really like the look in his eye and like how he’s prepared as a rookie, how he prepared this whole offseason and the kind of camp he’s had. I like studying people and I step back and watch our people accept him. It doesn’t matter how much I like him. Roman’s (Harper) got to feel comfortable with him. Jabari’s (Greer) got to feel comfortable with him. (Jonathan) Vilma’s got to feel comfortable with him and that camaraderie and that chemistry that has already been there is good. Will there be a learning curve? Sure there is. There’s a learning curve and he went through several things just this preseason, where I don’t think he’ll make that mistake again. He’s not a repeat mistake offender. That’s one of the things I like about him and what I liked about when I researched him up in college. I told you before I thought I’d be making this move in his third or fourth year, we just had to do it out of necessity in his second year, but the reason I fell in love with him and really liked him as our draft pick last year was because I felt he could do this and I felt mentally he could do this. I knew physically he could do it, but I needed to see mentally and from a chemistry standpoint, would he fit in from the leadership at that position and I got no worries about it. I really am anxious to watch him play.”

Will he be doing the same things that Darren Sharper did in terms of calls and stuff?

“Yes. We’re really not changing our coverage’s, assignments, any of that stuff. He does certain things better than Darren. Certain things he can’t do better than Darren, but guess what? (Marvin) Mitchell doesn’t do some of the things Vilma can do. Vilma can’t do some of the things Mitch can do. Whoever’s playing that spot, they’re not robots. This is a game where human error comes into anyway. There are a lot of things he can. He can certainly cover a lot of ground. Instincts on the ball, I think Darren’s rare. I would have liked to have coached him his whole career and we put a couple of new wrinkles in to our package of coverages that I learned by watching Darren, not that he wanted us to but, but I said I was going to try this and see if he could fit in. Now we’ve taught that same thing to Malcolm. We’ll see.”

Do you have him deeper off the line of scrimmage?

“No, we really don’t. We play deep for a reason back there. It’s the way our technique is. If you watched there, the coaches in my family tree and you look at them with the Redskins and the Seahawks and Texans, if you look at places where guys have coached with me before, that’s a valuable resources in how we play that guy back there, some of the other coaches have taken that other places and I see it. Interesting enough I see the Dolphins and some of the other teams come in here and watch what we do and why we do it.”

Is it easier to prepare for the Vikings this year than last year?

“I think personally they’re one of the top two talented football teams in the league top to bottom. They’ve done a great job there in the last four or five years in assembling a roster that is as talented as there is in the National Football League. The fact that we had the numbers and could transpose those numbers from last year…I don’t think they’re an easy team to prepare for because they have an awful lot of weapons and I think they’re very well-coached and in that respect, but probably from the memory of a matchup maybe you’d have to ask that of our players. Our players will remember them a little bit sooner than we were on the field the last time competing against them. Those were the things that when you start a game, I worry most about. We’re going to do things the same way. The other team’s going to have the same type of play they had the week before, but the guy you’re matched up on is different. There’s a different body strength, a different quickness, a different height, a different weight, so the guy getting acclimated to his matchup, maybe he’s going to get quicker acclimated to his matchup because he has a memory of it, if that answers your question.”

How serious do you take some of the complaints of Brad Childress and some Vikings players about your style of defense?

“Brad and I are friends and all that stuff. The number one criteria when I was hired here by Sean was about changing the attitude of how we play defense here. If you go back to wherever I’ve been I’ve had some of the most dominant defenses in the National Football League and there are a lot of good teams before I started coaching defense. I love what Bud Carson did in those days with the Pittsburgh Steelers. I love what Buddy Ryan, who’s probably my closest protégé of what we do schematically. I love Dick LeBeau. We play hard and that’s just how we play. It had nothing to do with those kinds of things. Brad has to say what he has to say for his own team. Our players are going to play hard and always are going to play hard. If they don’t, they’re going to stand by me. I’m one of those coaches that have enough stroke in the league that the reason an owner hires me is he can’t coach the team, so when he wants to coach the team, he can coach the team, but if my players don’t  play a certain way, they can stand by me.”

VIDEO:

Gregg Williams on Jo-Lonn Dunbar

New Orleans Saints video: Jeff Dunca's 4-Minute Drill

Jeremy Shockey says the Saints have to be focused

New Orleans puts on game face for NFL game tomorrow

New Orleans Saints Black and Gold Report

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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