And in the chartered plane, the Saints actually are going to Carolina.
It's the "Saints Travel Saturday" slow news links post, featuring tweets on the Hornets and the wheels on the plane going up, up, up. Up, up, up. Up, up, up. The wheels on the plane go up, up, up, all through the town. (Sorry about that, my preschool teacher song-mode kicked in.) This post also contains news from the Charlotte Observer, GW's Friday transcript, a fan(s) interview with D-Sharp, the NFL's official Saints-Panthers video preview, and various and sundry links.
Hope everyone's having a great Saturday and don't forget to post your prediction for tomorrow's game in the correct location so we can examine your prognosticating prowess...
See you on the other side of the jump!
ChaseDaniel Heat vs Hornets game tonight! Box seats with some of the team! Who is going to win
HeathEvans Taking the wifey to the Hornets vs Heat game then to dinner.....where should we go downtown? #fb
usama_young28 Been chillaxin since the end of practice. Time to check out the hornets game. U know I gotta go wit the home team
mack37 Bout to head to my lil bros @Jknox13 and @D_Hest23 80's party...lookin fresh to def.... Yeaaaa booooiii
robyslyfe At the Hornets vs. Heat game...N.O. showed up 2nite!!
T_Porter22 Chillen with "the feet on the wood" watching my#hornets beat up on the heat. 72-64
T_Porter22 Yeah if there're in Louisiana ur my team#homegrown RT @elvispooed: @T_Porter22 YOUR @hornets?
T_Porter22 Man CP3 is the truth...just crossed over 22-Jones for the Heat and made him fall then scored! #beast
T_Porter22 Some dude sitting behind me at the game talking about the Heat: "have them jokers miss a free throw? They 100 for 100 aint they?" Kmsl.
usama_young28 Done at the Hornets game. Still undefeated. Highlight of the game was CP3 crossin up Jones wit the ol' Iverson killa cross. #ohbaby!
ChaseDaniel What a crazy game! Congrats to the Hornets on a big win to stay undefeated! The #hive was rockin tonight!#Hornets
BillyMiller83 CP3 is a beast congrats Hornets!!!
robyslyfe Shout out to the Hornets for hold'n it down 2nite..!
LanceMoore16 Congrats to the hornets for such a great game tonight. Undefeated! Keep it going fellas.
BillyMiller83 My dog is sick looks like a long night for me
T_Porter22 On the plane get ready yo head to Carolina...pray for our safe travels. #pleaseandthanku
alexbrown96 Those look good lol RT @WindyCityGators: Gator cupcakes by Rosie! http://yfrog.com/5xharij
jgoody76 I'm still laughing at all this make believe stuff.
robyslyfe Wheels up to Carolina...WHO DAT Nation rise and grind!!
ChaseDaniel Wheels up! Carolina for a business trip!
MalcolmJenkins On my way to NC
From the Saints Sideline
Bush Upgraded - Thomas Frustrated | WWL AM870 | FM105.3
Carolina Panthers' offense can't find the 'easy' button | CharlotteObserver.com
Darin Gantt - Carolina Panthers offensive coordinator Jeff Davidson not only has the solution, but a corporate sponsorship idea for the team as well.
DeAngelo Williams doubtful for Panthers-Saints | CharlotteObserver.com
Joseph Person - If the Panthers are going to beat New Orleans on Sunday, it appears they'll have to do it without their leading rusher.
Panthers' plan: Limit Saints to field goals | CharlotteObserver.com
Joseph Person - Every armchair quarterback or barstool coordinator understands the best way to limit an explosive offense is to keep it on the sideline.
Saints rank 3rd in total defense - CharlotteObserver.com
Darin Gantt - It's not easy getting noticed in New Orleans when Drew Brees is on the other side, but the Saints defense has put up some impressive numbers of their own this year, despite enough injuries to sink a team.
Final Word: NFC South - NFC South Blog - ESPN.com
Pat Y - Five nuggets of knowledge about Week 9.
NFC South Saturday mailbag - NFC South Blog - ESPN.com
Pat Y. - Time for the weekend edition of the NFC South mailbag. Larry in Gastonia, N.C., writes: What is John Fox smoking? Why in the world is such a hapless...
James Varney - 2009 fifth-round pick ranks fifth in NFL in punting.
Les East - Does anyone else think Tom Dempsey might actually be the original Fat Punk Kicker? He was, after all, an end converted to kicker...
New Orleans Saints Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams - November 5, 2010
What are you guys happy with midway through the season and what do you feel a need to improve on? "I said back in training camp. I was able to quickly see the way we had our offseason program, the way the guys came back on April 19, I thought we had a chance to be better and we do. I think we played very solid. It's been fun to be around these guys and to see their tenacity to improve. They're thinking so much faster than last year, because everything is routine as far as what we do. We always have to be better to play situationally. We always have to be better understanding the opponent's offense and their personnel. That's an ongoing thing and it will never, ever stop, even if you're as old as (Darren) Sharper. Because I tell him that. That's always going to work. The other thing is that when you take the ball away we'll be extremely dominant. We've had opportunities and I look back on those games where we caused numerous fumbles. It's hard to cause a fumble. We're up there pretty high in the league in causing them, but you need to get them to bounce your way, as well as putting our hands on interceptions. I never make excuses in this respect, but you need to study how conservative people are. That is a show of respect on our DBs. That is a show of respect on how fast they're getting the ball out and on how fast they're holding the ball. Last week, they cooperated with us. I was in the old AFC Central and had to play those guys (Steelers) twice a year, a Chuck Noll team and Bill Cowher team. Whoever has come in there has had their way about playing offense, but the consistency has been amazing, no matter who the coordinator is and what they believe they are going to do in that organization. I thought we'd have some chances to get after the quarterback a little bit in that game, because they're down the field throwing teams. They're not a quick, fast, throwing team. So, I feel like we've been playing very solid. We've been playing very stingy. Our best football's still in front of us. You take another positive in battling through the injuries. Just like we battled through the injuries last year, that's a positive. That's not a negative. Look at the depth we've created under stress. The depth that we have created, now when a guy goes in, he has game stress reps. He doesn't have practice reps. We try to practice that. We try to practice under what I call organized chaos. I'm under them hard trying to get them to block me out and all that kind of stuff, so it's like what you have in a ballgame. You can't simulate that. We try to. You can't. These guys have gotten some good reps, a lot of different guy, in different situations. The second half of the season will be upon us quick. This is the most important game that we've had this year coming up. Our guys have done a very good job of blocking out (distractions), not looking ahead. This is a divisional game. History here has been pretty tough to win over there. John Fox is a tremendous football coach. I have a lot of respect for him and his coaches. They've kept them fighting hard. We're in for a tough tussle. We're in for a tough ballgame over there because of the pride on that team and that it's a divisional game for them too, not only for us, but them too."
You talk about how you like having the players that have the flexibility to play more than one position. Has that paid off? "It really has paid off in huge dividends in the season and a half I've been here and I adopted that many, many, many years ago because this is a violent game, a contact game. You have to be able to plan ahead and play all the what-ifs. This staff is really good. I don't know if you guys have given Dennis Allen enough credit. Dennis Allen's done a great job and I was a culture shock to him coming in here, on how we're going to play in the secondary. The secondary needed tremendous improvement. He has done a great job on dual and triple teaching these guys, in fact there are a couple of guys that will have to be prepared to play four different spots coming into this weekend. That's not easy. There are a lot of early bird meetings, what we call late bird meetings. There are guys getting a lot of individual attention. I tease the coaches and say you just call early bird meetings because you don't want to set meetings with me anymore. You're tired of being around me; you'd rather be around the players. It's true. Dennis and Tony Oden have done a great job in cross-training these people as has Bill (Johnson) and the D-Line. We have several packages where our defensive ends come in and play tackle in certain packages. All of our linebackers have been multiple in what they have to do. When I got here, I really had 22 packages of defense two years ago. Now I have 31 packages of defense. We've invented some new ones here to take care of or highlight some of the strengths that these guys play. They've done a good job. The staff has done a good job in that respect in cross-training and dual-training these guys."
Would Malcolm Jenkins and Usama Young be the guys that have to play both positions? "They'll be two of them. Pierson (Prioleau), after playing on four different teams with me, he's played every position back there. Leigh (Torrence) played so well last week that people didn't realize that Pierson had to play the packages that he played. Also they don't realize that he severely hurt his ankle in the ballgame. He's over there on the sideline and people are talking about that maybe he shouldn't go back in. He wasn't going to hear about that. His mental toughness is amazing. He goes in and plays on a tough ankle the whole ballgame. Darren's (Sharper) ball skills are amazing, but he started in this league as a corner, so he understands how to play and how to play multiple positions. Roman (Harper) had to play like a nickel corner last week too. When you're down to one corner on your roster, who played those positions this past week? You guys look out there in the regular package and you look out there in some sub packages and you think the guys on the edge are the only people playing corner. The guys in the middle of the defense are playing corner on some of the calls too, and Roman did a phenomenal job in that. He wasn't very good last year when we started out doing that with him. To be honest, in training camp he wasn't. But his pride was that he really started working on that towards the end of training camp and he has gotten much better on his man to man cover skills as a corner and I don't feel hesitant of putting him in those situations now. It makes the defense more flexible when you don't have to adjust to all the multiple personnel, up, down and that kind of stuff. You can keep on trucking."
What has Remi Ayodele meant to your run defense this year? "First off, I think he's in better condition. I really do believe that. They listened to me last year when I said we were going to be the best conditioned team on that side of the ball, but they really don't know until you put them through it and you shock their bodies on how hard they have to go everyday and how hard they have to play every day. Otherwise they don't play. I'm one of the few guys in the league where I'm not going to argue with them. I'm not going to play them period. He came in in really, really good condition. He's down (in weight) and he's quicker than he was last year. He's been powerful in his past. I think he's playing with excellent technique. And I also believe his comfort level is he understands what we want him to do, especially in the run downs. He's a terrific run player and he has allowed a lot of hits behind him by (Scott) Shanle and (Jonathan) Vilma, because he's taken up two blockers, sometimes three at times. He's made a significant step for us. His next step would be to improve his pass rush skills. Right now I've improved them for him. I don't play him on pass downs.
If Jabari Greer and Tracy Porter are healthy enough to start does Malcolm Jenkins return to free safety? "I'm going to take a look on how they come out of practice today because we did more contact and all that kind of stuff. We're going to move them around. They're going to play all those positions and again, we're going to play them all in different packages too. We have packages in this week that Malcolm's going to play safety and corner. We have packages where each one of those corners is going to play the nickel alignment. It depends on who we match up with and how they cooperate with us over there. They're all going to move around, every single one of them."
Where specifically would Malcolm play? "Malcolm's going to play. I will not answer the question. Malcolm's going to play. John (Fox) and those guys don't need to know that. They don't need to know. Guess what, we'll be there. One of those guys will line up at corner."
Sharper's Facebook Fan Interview
S Darren Sharper answered five questions submitted by Saints fans on the team's official Facebook page (www.facebook.com/neworleanssaints) Friday afternoon. In the interview, No. 42 discussed his favorite experience in the Superdome, his fumble recovery against the Steelers, the "Sharper Shake", his favorite pregame music and what his career choice would be if he wasn't playing football.
Q: What is your favorite moment in the Superdome? (Submitted by Angela Beckner)
DS: "The NFC Championship game - to end it with confetti coming down tops everything."
Q: How did you come up with the "Sharper Shake"? (Submitted by Shaval Nicole Stewart)
DS: "That dance has evolved since my rookie year (1997). I scored during my rookie season and I was so excited I did some weird gyration in the endzone. Some teammates told me they liked it and asked me what the name of it was. A couple guys started calling it ‘Sharper Shake.'"
Q: How did it feel to get that fumble recovery against the Steelers last Sunday? (Submitted by Lucas Curole)
DS: "It was good to get back into playing mode. Whenever you can make a big play in a win, it makes you feel like you contributed."
Q: If you were not playing football, what would you want to be doing as a career? (Submitted by Amanda Pennington Prados)
DS: "FBI or Secret Service. No question."
Q: What do you listen to before games to pump yourself up? (Submitted by Jack Dupre)
DS: "A lot of R&B and rap music. A lot of Lil Wayne and Jay-Z. I listen to some new artists that are pretty hot right now. Lil Jon is always someone that gets you excited and gets you going. It's just a combination of songs I have picked over the years."