Lots of news today and most of it is unpleasant. The worst news concerns injuries. Another day, another RB to injured reserve it seems. Pierre Thomas lands on the IR a day after Chris Ivory with the Saints signing RB Joique Bell from the Eagles' practice squad to fill his roster spot. I loves me some Flying Frenchman, so it's sad news to me. You have to wonder if he'll be on the team next year. I hope he is.
In almost equally troubling news, the Broncos are reportedly interested in interviewing Gregg Williams once our season is over. I'm sure I speak for most of us when I say, NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! We all knew it was just a matter of time before our fiery DC would be offered another HC job. Pat Yasinskas said in November that Payton and Williams "have co-existed nicely since Williams joined the Saints last season. But they’re not all that close." He thinks Payton might like to hire John Fox if the opportunity presented itself. Not sure if all this is true, but I'd rather keep Williams if possible because his defensive schemes work well more times than not and a new DC would mean a new system for the players to learn and adjust to for next year.
In other news, Chris Ivory will have surgery on his foot injury soon, Marques Colston, Jeremy Shockey, David Thomas return to practice, and Malcolm Jenkins, Jimmy Graham, Anthony Hargrove, and Danny Clark do not. In even more news, my optimism for a TWO DAT! this year is at an all-time low.
Brees on playing in Qwest Field "Only played there once in ’07, it was loud then & I am sure in a playoff atmosphere it will be even louder
Pierre Thomas out for playoffs after Saints place him on IR | New Orleans News, Local News, Breaking News, Weather | wwltv.com | Eye on Black and Gold
"With Pierre, last week during practice he had a setback," head coach Sean Payton said. "We got to that point in discussing it with him where it was at. He came back and was very effective for a couple of games, particular the ATL game. But the setback was substantial. "We’re at the time of year where you want to do what’s best. The doctors, trainers and ourselves, we thought it was the best move."
New Orleans Saints place tailback Pierre Thomas on injured reserve | NOLA.com
Saints sign tailback Joique Bell off of Philadelphia Eagles' practice squad
Saints reportedly sign running back Joique Bell | NOLA.com
The Saints have signed running back Joique Bell to their 53-man active roster from the Philadelphia Eagles practice squad, according to a report by Adam Caplan of Foxsports.com. The team is expected to make the announcement official when head coach Sean Payton conducts his regular post-practice press conference around 2:45 p.m.
New Orleans Saints' Chris Ivory faces new reality | NOLA.com
He doesn't say much about injury during fan appearance
Saints place RB Ivory on IR, re-sign RB Wynn
The Saints’ leading rusher suffered a Lisfranc injury to his left foot during Sunday’s 23-13 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the Superdome, according to league sources.
DENVER BRONCOS AND GREGG WILLIAMS:
Denver Broncos reportedly want to interview New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams | NOLA.com
John Elway also interested in Perry Fewell from the New York Giants
SAINTS AT SEAHAWKS:
New Orleans Saints focus on turnovers as playoffs approach | NOLA.com
Team was plus-8 in postseason turnovers last year
Where the New Orleans Saints and quarterback Drew Brees rank heading into playoffs: links | NOLA.com
What others are saying about the Saints
Charlie Whitehurst wants shot to lead Seahawks against Saints - Peter King - SI.com
A couple of points about the New Orleans-Seattle wild-card matchup in the Pacific Northwest on Saturday afternoon:
Seahawks.com Blog | Weather or not "
"The worse it gets the better," Coach Pete Carroll said during this morning’s team meeting. "If we have that mindset, we’ll be right no matter what the conditions are."
Carroll's change key in Seahawks reaching playoffs
Pete Carroll's charge of competition throughout helps get Seattle Seahawks to the playoffs
N.F.L. Playoffs Put Carroll and Bush in Same ZIP Code - NYTimes.com
Seattle Coach Pete Carroll and New Orleans running back Reggie Bush will meet again, on opposite sides of the field in the N.F.L. playoffs on Saturday.
NFL.com news: Saints have clear advantage all across the field on Seahawks
Who has the edge? Saints vs. Seahawks
Seattle Seahawks QBs split reps at practice | NOLA.com
Team holds first practice for game vs. New Orleans Saints
Seattle Seahawks place two on injured reserve | NOLA.com
TE Chris Baker, G Chester Pitts had been ruled out of game vs. New Orleans Saints
NFL playoffs bracket | NOLA.com
Print and fill it out
NFL playoffs: Breaking down the AFC | NOLA.com
Key stats, players to watch from the six teams in the AFC
NFL playoffs: Breaking down the NFC | NOLA.com
Key stats, players to watch from the six teams in the NFC
Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck owns most of the team records | NOLA.com
He needs one more win to tie for the franchise lead
Saturday's game will pit two top-4 quarterbacks in two-minute passer rating | NOLA.com
New Orleans Saints' Drew Brees and Seattle Seahawks' Matt Hasselbeck are two of the best in moving the ball when it counts
Undrafted free agents buck the odds with New Orleans Saints | NOLA.com
Several key contributors started as free agents
New Orleans Saints film study: Law of averages catches up to team in loss to Tampa Bay Buccaneers | NOLA.com
Three first-half plays exemplify misfortune
New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Post-Practice Press Conference
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
“With today’s practice, first the transactions: yesterday we put Chris Ivory on injured reserve and we signed running back DeShawn Wynn – he’ll be in jersey 35. Today we placed running back Pierre Thomas on injured reserve and we signed running back Joique Bell from Philadelphia’s practice squad – he’ll be in jersey 43. For today’s injury report, Anthony Hargrove (knee) did not practice; Anthony Waters (ankle) was full; Alex Brown (shoulder) was full; Marques Colston (knee) was full; David Thomas (knee) was limited; Danny Clark (hamstring) did not practice; Jeremy Shockey (groin) was limited; Jimmy Graham (ankle) did not practice; Malcolm Jenkins (knee) did not practice. With the shorter week, we worked on our base and our third down today and had a pretty good practice. We had some good work. Tomorrow will be a condensed version but we’ll get on to our red zone and goal-line and short-yardage segments and go from there.”
Can you discuss the running back situation? Are you confident you can overcome those injuries?
“Yes. With Pierre, he had a setback in practice last week and I think we got to that point in discussing it with him where it was at. He came back and was very effective for a couple of games – particularly the Atlanta game – and yet the setback he had was substantial and we’re at that point in the season where you want to do what’s best and yet you want to be mindful of the injury the player has. So I think on all fronts – doctors, trainers, the player and ourselves – we felt that this was the best move.”
Will you have the ability to make up for the losses of those two guys?
“Like anything else, the role changes for the other players. They practiced well for two days, with yesterday’s walkthrough and then today, and we’ll continue to get those guys up to speed. DeShawn has been here, Joique is new, but there’s a lot of carryover to what Joique knows in regards to terminology and what we do here.”
Is running back a position where you can get up to speed a little quicker than others?
“It depends. The protections are the big issue so those are the main things.”
Marques Colston practiced full today. Was that the plan all along?
“Correct. It’s just how we thought it would.”
Will surgeries be required for Ivory or Thomas?
“With Ivory, we know for certain it’s a Lisfranc and so he will have a surgery. We’ll announce later where we’re at with Pierre without anything specific on the calendar yet.”
Is it a good sign that although Jimmy Graham and Malcolm Jenkins didn’t practice that they aren’t on IR? Are you hopeful to get them back at some point?
“Again, they’re just as we listed.”
Reggie Bush was effective on Sunday. Can you talk about his progress late this season and what you expect heading into the playoffs?
“I thought he played well last week. He’s healthy and is doing well. Coming back off of the injury, he’s fully recovered now and I thought the carries and the touches he had last week were encouraging.”
Drew Brees has twice as many interceptions as he did last year. Any concerns considering you did such a good job of taking care of the ball last year?
“The one thing that we talked a lot about in the meeting to start this week was how we handled the turnovers in the postseason a year ago. We were plus-eight to lead teams in the postseason and certainly that’s going to be an important part of this game this weekend. It’s an emphasis on ball security at all positions, not just the quarterback position. The takeaways defensively and the opportunities offensively to protect the football, in the postseason the numbers jump statistically in regards to teams that win in the playoffs.”
Do you see these injuries as being a rallying cry for your team?
“I don’t know that it’s a rallying cry at all; I think that it’s pretty common in our league that the next guy up gets ready to play. We’ve gone through this before and really it’s not uncommon. It’s more of the norm and making sure that through preparation that the players that maybe haven’t played more significant roles at one point or another are now ready to play those roles. More than anything else, I think it’s the preparation and the teaching and the coaching that goes on. The players work week-to-week regardless of what their status might be that week and it’s understanding that all of these guys are on hand and ready to contribute.”
Are assistant coaches allowed to interview for other jobs, or is that only those teams who are on a bye week?
“There’s a window for the staffs that have a bye. For the staffs that don’t, they don’t have that same opportunity.”
There’s a report that John Elway in Denver wanted to interview Gregg Williams for their head coaching job. What’s the protocol on that?
“Wanted would infer that we didn’t give him permission. He wants to. I haven’t read the report; I’ve heard about it and so you would wait until the season is completed and then go through that process.”
Would it be accurate to say that Elway has asked and you’ve said no?
So he hasn’t asked you?
If you got to the Super Bowl, could he interview during the bye week?
“I believe when there’s a bye in place that that is allowed. The basic protocol is that during a bye week the interview could take place and until there’s a bye week it would not.”
Could you explain to us your understanding of the new overtime rule?
“It’s very simple. It only becomes different if the team with the first possession takes the ball down the field and kicks a field goal. Then the team that was on defense now gets that same opportunity. If they kick a field goal, then you’re into what we knew as sudden death on that next possession. If on that next possession you scored a touchdown, then the game is over. If on the very first possession a touchdown was scored, the game is over. If you kicked a field goal and then elected to onside kick and recovered, the game is over. There are some twists to it, but the rule was put in place to give the opponent an opportunity if you went down the field and kicked a field goal. Ironically this season, there have been I don’t know how many overtime games but there have been multiple possessions in almost 85% of them. But that’s a whole other subject.”
Would a kickoff return end the game?
“If the opening kickoff goes back for a touchdown, the game is over. We’re only talking about if the first possession is a field goal that the rule comes into effect.”
How different is Seattle now than when you played them in November? Have you seen improvement?
“Yes. They’re different in a number of areas. I thought they ran the ball well last week; their defense played extremely well on Sunday night. Then they’re a different team when they play at home statistically in every area; turnovers, point production is almost a touchdown difference; holding opponents to almost a full touchdown difference at home compared to on the road; win-loss record. So it’s a different team now and it’s also a different team in that they’re playing at home.”
Have you ever run into anything comparable to this injury situation you have at running back?
“We ran into it last year at cornerback. This is not unique. At times it happens at one specific position and then you have to get the rest of those guys ready and it might be guys that you have to sign and prepare to say. Off hand, I can’t think specifically at running back but I know there have been weeks where other players have had to step up and play a more prominent role because of injury.”
Did you work out a number of running backs before signing these two?
“No, we did not. DeShawn Wynn has been here and then Joique Bell came from the Philadelphia practice squad and you can’t work a player out when you’re putting him on your roster.”
Scott Shanle said that in the offseason the defense talked about not making the offense have to carry the team. Do you sense that there is more balance this year between the defense and offense?
“Clearly. I think that the one thing that I like most about this team is that both sides of the ball and in the kicking game, they value the importance of winning as a team. Each week that varies. How we go about playing or winning a specific game is not the same every week. So there’s a plan; there’s a message as to what we want to accomplish in the game in playing complementary football with all three phases. There’s a tremendous amount of confidence in what we’re doing defensively by the rest of the players and vice versa and I think that leads to winning football.”
When you put together the game plans are you leaning a little more on the defense this year than you have in the past?
“With each opponent you look closely at what you think or how you think a game might unfold or how you might want it to unfold. Clearly we have the confidence in the way that unit is playing and that’s something that is a big reason why we’re in this position now playing in the postseason.”
Can you talk about the difference in the way you are being defended? Early in the year it seemed that teams were giving you more plays underneath and now teams seem to be pressuring more. Can you contrast what has happened there?
“I think two of the three – I don’t know if it was as much from Tampa Bay – but with Baltimore we got more pressure than we had seen and then with Atlanta clearly that was different. Each week we have to be prepared offensively, no different than the way the defense would have to be prepared for how a team is going to attack them and be ready to adjust. As we gameplan third down or gameplan our base packages, we talk about the first drive or second series and what we’re seeing and what we think the opponent is wanting to do. The key is making sure that we’re able to digest that and then communicate to the players what we’re seeing and this is what we want to get to because of it.”
What impresses you about Pete Carroll as a head coach?
“Not knowing him, I think that his track record and the success that he’s had it shows that he’s a good teacher. His enthusiasm and very quickly turning the fortunes of a team like Seattle around, you take note of that and those are things that from afar you see right away.”
Can either of these new running backs return kicks?
“I wouldn’t say that we would use these two guys in that role.”
Did you like what you saw from Devery Henderson as a kick returner?
“Yes. He and Robert (Meachem) have gotten a lot of work and will continue to do so.”
Reggie Bush is sometimes used as a receiver. How could his role change with Ivory and Thomas being out?
“We just have to package him the right way and look at the snaps and what we’re trying to do when we put him in that position.”