Who will kick and who will run? Those are still the two main questions surrounding the Saints leading up to this week's division game against the Panthers. Call me crazy, but I'm still expecting Payton to give Hartley another game to turn things around. I'm also thinking Pierre Thomas will play this week, even though he was held out of the first two practices and limited today with a sore ankle. Maybe I'm wrong on both counts. Media sources are speculating otherwise, but we all know their crystal balls can be a little hazy from time to time.
This was encouraging - Payton said today, "We have had a good week of practice & good focus." I know he says this a lot, but I'd like to believe this time it's more significant. Maybe that close loss to the Falcons gave the team a wake up call that raises their concentration level and reduces some of the sloppy play we've seen through the first three weeks. We can only hope.
In other news and to my surprise, Adrian Arrington cleared waivers and was added back to the practice squad today. Montez Billings was released to make room. I thought for sure some other receiver-needy team would grab Arrington off waivers, but they didn't. I guess my crystal ball is a little hazy too.
T_Porter22 Up early and feeling very tired...but in times of war u show no weaknesses that ur enemies can attack...so let's get it!!
alexbrown96 Good morning twitter!!! TGIF!!! Sunday will be here soon
LanceMoore16 Everyone have a fantastic friday lol
Official_Saints The Saints-Panthers game this Sunday is the No. 3 contest on the NFL Ticket Exchange’s "Buzz Index" - http://bit.ly/bbOMOi
Official_Saints But a few Panthers tickets remain for Sunday's Showdown! You can call (800) 745-3000 or order online at http://tiny.cc/9d51q
Official_Saints Payton - "We have had a good week of practice & good focus."
alexbrown96 Definitely for real!! RT @DeCon76: AB...you know best...are the Bears lucky or are they possibly for real?
alexbrown96 Gators win 21-17!!!! Someone becomes a star on saturday!! All 3 phases will score @SwampGator27: what's your prediction on florida vs bama?
jeffduncantp The #Saints have moved Williams' weekly briefing to Saturdays. @waldo_22: is gregg williams not doing his weekly press visit this year?
PANTHERS @ SAINTS:
Thomas, Harper listed as questionable for Carolina | wwltv.com | Eye on Black and Gold
Running back Pierre Thomas was limited in practice Friday and ruled questionable for Sunday’s noon home game against Carolina.
The Hand Off: What is going on with the Saints' run game? | wwltv.com | Eye on Black and Gold
The mailbag is back and Derrick Smith of Clinton, Tenn., took full advantage. He gets the questioner of the week honor. So he gets the first answer.
Henderson: Panthers struggles likely to get worse against Saints | New Orleans News, Local News, Breaking News, Weather | wwltv.com | Eye on Black and Gold
Thirteen is an unlucky number. At least it has been for the Carolina Panthers this year and it’s forecast to be again.
If Pierre Thomas can't play, all 'Betts' are on for New Orleans Saints
If Thomas cannot play against the Panthers (every indication suggests he’ll sit this one out), then veteran running back Ladell Betts is expected to become the featured back in Thomas’ absence.
NFL.com news: Payton: RB Thomas' status a game-time decision for Saints
New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton said he'll wait until Sunday to decide whether or not hobbled running back Pierre Thomas plays against the Carolina Panthers.
New Orleans Saints defense has been able to cut out the big runs against it | NOLA.com
They've been good at times against the ground game, but still too many yards allowed
New Orleans Saints haven't been pefect yet | NOLA.com
They need improvement in all phases of the game
New Orleans Saints expect a heavy dose of Carolina's running game | NOLA.com
With the quarterback problems, Saints know Panthers will run ... a lot
DT One Of Few Bright Spots For 0-3 Panthers - WWL - Sports
The Carolina Panthers defensive tackle rotation looks nothing like what the team thought it would be this offseason and is drastically different from what it was a year ago.
Steve: Saints Running Out Of Running Backs - WWL - AM870 | FM105.3 | News | Talk | Sports
THE VIEW FROM THE OTHER SIDE:
Saints coach: Fox would be a top free agent - CharlotteObserver.com
New Orleans coach Sean Payton has a message for fans of the Carolina Panthers, if they're wishing they were without coach John Fox.
Panthers ready to make a run - CharlotteObserver.com
Once we get it going, I think it will be a lot better for us," running back Mike Goodson said Wednesday. "The Falcons having a good game last week definitely is kind of encouraging.
Carolina Panthers mailbag - NFC South Blog - ESPN
The Associated Press: Panthers WR Smith downplays issue with QB Clausen
View From the Other Side: Panthers hope to follow Falcons' game plan | wwltv.com | Eye on Black and Gold
View from the Other Side is back and this week they welcome in Darin Gantt, who writes for the Charlotte Observer.
WELL AIN'T THAT A KICK IN THE HEAD - HARTLEY EDITION:
Mark Sanchez's most impressive trait; 10 things to watch for - Peter King - SI.com
6. Garrett Hartley. I don't even know if Sean Payton is going to play his kicker Sunday against Carolina, or if he'll yank Hartley and kick the ancient John Carney instead. If Hartley plays, and he's anything but perfect, it'll be his last game as a Saint. Satch, IMHO - I don't think Hartley is in the kind of danger that King describes here. Don's opinion below makes more sense.
Michael Vick, Donovan McNabb matchup in NFL Week 4 is must-see game - Don Banks - SI.com
6. The Saints will be making a mistake if they over-react to Garrett Hartley's early season field goal misses and cut ties with him. Hartley will be kicking somewhere in the NFL for a long time to come, and guys who can produce -- and produce from long range -- under the pressure that Hartley successfully dealt with last postseason don't grow on trees. Sometimes you do have to grade on a curve when it comes to NFL kickers. They're all going to hit their slumps from time to time, but if you can ride out a bad month or so, you may wind up getting years of quality service from him. I still think the Cowboys gave up on Nick Folk too soon last season, and he's back on track and healthy again as a Jet this year.
Why can't the New Orleans Saints stop the tight end? Mailbag | NOLA.com
Jeff Duncan takes on your Saints questions
Sharper getting closer to 100 percent | ProFootballTalk.com
Per a league source, Sharper was able to run full speed before Sunday's game against the Falcons, though he had some soreness in his knee after doing so. Satch - Sorry for posting a PFT link, but I haven't seen this anywhere else.
NFL IDs bars warned about showing blacked-out Bucs games
Managers of a Beef O'Brady's in Palm Harbor wanted to cheer up football fans bummed about blacked-out Tampa Bay Buccaneers games.
New Orleans Saints Owner Tom Benson to Receive St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Award
New Orleans Saints Owner Tom Benson will receive the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Award from the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) during the 20th annual Seton Awards ceremony Monday, Oct. 4 at the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center in Washington, D.C.
New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Post-Practice Press Conference
Friday, October 1, 2010
"With the final injury report, Usama Young with his quad was full today and will be probable for the game. Roman Harper with his hamstring was limited today and will be questionable. Pierre Thomas with his ankle was limited today and will be questionable. Anthony Waters with his hamstring was limited today and will be doubtful. Reggie Bush (fibula) did not practice and is out. We had a practice squad transaction where Adrian Arrington came to the practice squad and Montez Billings came off the practice squad."
You’ve said that teams can be dangerous following a loss. Have you seen from your team this week the kind of intensity that would make them a dangerous team?
"We’ve had a good week of practice. We’ve had good focus. Sometimes when you follow a loss there is that sense of urgency; you hope that there is and I feel like we’ve had that type of focus and energy level at practice."
Do you get the sense that the players were craving the routine of a normal workweek this week?
"I think we’ve been able to handle the schedule to date and yet now you fall into a little bit more of a normal week. Overall, it has gone relatively smoothly."
Is Pierre Thomas still a game-time decision on Sunday?
"Yes. From both he and Roman (Harper) I’m going to have to see some positive signs to feel comfortable and yet I’m hopeful based on the fact that they got some work today. They were limited but they got work today and both of them are progressing quickly, but both of them will be game-time decisions."
When did Harper injure his hamstring?
"With a hamstring, I couldn’t point to a play, but he was off and then back on. It’s just making sure that there’s no threat of a reoccurrence that’s more serious."
You were throwing some passes today. Were the juices returning there?
"It’s always pat-and-go Friday. When you have two quarterbacks on your roster, you have to fill in."
Does Drew Brees still look good health-wise?
"Yes. Each day the soreness has gone away so he’s doing well."
If you decide on Pierre Thomas not being able to play, when is the latest you could bring DeShawn Wynn up from the practice squad?
"Saturday you can make a transaction and do that if you need to. You might do it regardless just so you’re prepared and have your options available."
With all these injuries to your running backs, do you lose a lot on special teams?
"It certainly has an effect. Going back to Lynell Hamilton, who really had a clear role as the third halfback and a guy playing on all four core special teams units, there’s a drop-off there because we valued him as a pretty good special teams player. A guy like (DeShawn) Wynn, if he comes up, will be able to do – just like he played in the first two weeks of the season – will be able to handle several special teams snaps. But you do shuffle a little bit, no different than in the secondary the same way."
NFL Videos: O-Line Confidential: Saints
The men who protect Drew Brees break bread with their QB and reminisce about winning Super Bowl XLIV and the excitement that followed bringing home the Lombardi Trophy.
Saints Vlog: October 1 - Final preparations for Carolina
|Drew Brees talks about the Saints running game|
|Remi Ayodele says the run defense hasn't been bad, but needs to improve|
|Drew Brees talks about his knee injury|