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Fleur-de-Links: Friday, December 23


jvarneyTP Ingram was out today but did not participate in team drills, thus "did not practice." Payton sez Ingram did more today than yesterday

jvarneyTP Payton stopped short, however, of saying Ingram has "turned a corner." Vilma is "managing what he has," as he still recovers from surgery.

jvarneyTP With Vilma limited at times due to knee, Payton v. pleased with Jo-Lonn Dunbar. Particularly Dunbar's "versatility," at either MLB or SAM.

jvarneyTP Saints will have walk-through and meetings Christmas Day, but Payton/players pleased with having holiday largely open.

miketripletttp Great line by #Saints Coach Sean Payton on this weekend's unusual NFL schedule: "I don't even know when Saturday is. Is that tomorrow?"

JonVilma51 U kno ur workin hard wen.....u Completely forget today was fri til u c ur #ff mentions on twitter lol

Official_Saints Rita Benson LeBlanc & Deuce McAllister at the Saints & @USMC Bike-Toy Drive at the Saints Facility!

iWillSmith Congrats to the final 4 of the contest.. I will pick the winner by drawing names tomorrow.

Official_Saints @Pierre_Thomas on the Saints running game "We are doing well distributing the ball right now. Everybody is eating."


From the Saints Sideline

Saints RG Evans sits second day, RB Ingram still out |
Bradley Handwerger - Right guard Jahri Evans missed his second consecutive day of practice, resting his left knee after it was rolled up on in the second quarter of the Saints’ win over Minnesota this past Sunday.

QB to QB: Drew Brees - MVP Stats, But Still Wanting To Get Better | wwl radio
Jay Vise (includes audio of entire interview with Bobby Hebert).

Drew Brees' passing game against the Minnesota Vikings: Graphic |
Dan Swenson - A look at Drew Brees' passing accuracy during the New Orleans Saints' 42-20 win over the Minnesota Vikings last Sunday.

Drew Brees making second run at NFL's single-season yardarge record |
James Varney - New Orleans Saints QB can etch name in record book, clinch NFC South crown vs. Atlanta Falcons.

Brees tries to downplay looming milestone | The Advocate
Sheldon Mickles - When the New Orleans Saints returned to work on Thursday to begin prepping for Monday night’s game with the Atlanta Falcons, which could clinch the NFC South title for the Saints, much of the talk centered on Drew Brees’ pursuit of the NFL single-season record for passing yards.

New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham on pace to break Kellen Winslow's 31-year-old record for receiving yards |
Mike Triplett - Graham needs 119 yards to be most prolific tight end in NFL history

Saints get job done on big stage | The Advocate
Sheldon Mickles - It started a little more than five years ago, on a memorable night in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome (HansDat note: only it wasn't the M-B Superdome back then).

Atlanta secondary hopes to limit Brees' damage | The Advocate
George Henry (AP) - A week after manhandling Jacksonville rookie Blaine Gabbert, the Falcons must defend the NFL's hottest quarterbacks.

Atlanta Falcons Head Coach Mike Smith Conference Call With New Orleans Media - Dec. 22 |
Justin Macione


Falcons' Roost

Falcons have their ‘Jordan rules' for Brees |
D. Orlando Ledbetter – Falcons head coach Mike Smith is approaching New Orleans’ offense, with its vast assortment of weapons, much like old NBA coaches use to approach Michael Jordan.

INJURY REPORT: Michael Turner returns to practice |
D. Orlando Ledbetter - Falcons running back Michael Turner, who has a groin injury, returned to practice on Friday.

Dec. 23 Injury Report |
Staff report

Matchup: Falcons’ rushing attack vs. Saints’ run defense |
D. Orlando Ledbetter - Here is a look at how the Falcons’ running backs match up against the Saints’ linebackers.

Time Machine: Confidence Plays a Big Factor |
Frank Kleha - Since 2008, the Falcons' record against the Saints is misleading.

Transcript: Mike Smith Post-Practice Interview - Dec. 23 |
Jay Adams - Mike Smith said Friday that the Falcons will certainly be excited to go play a team like the Saints on a national stage, but the matchup won't be a measuring.



Biggest NFL games of Week 16 - John Clayton's First & 10 -
The Saints-Falcons game comes in at #3.

Another chorus of 'Drew Brees for MVP' - NFC South Blog |
Pat Y. - Colleague Ashley Fox has a column that says New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees is a worthy candidate for the Most Valuable Player award.

Don't overlook Brees for NFL MVP -
Ashley Fox - Rodgers' season is excellent, but assault on Marino's passing record may be better.

Around the NFC South - NFC South Blog |
Pat Y. - Time for a look at the Friday morning headlines around the NFC South.

Final Word: NFC South - NFC South Blog |
Pat Y. - Five nuggets of knowledge about Week 16.

Life-changing experience | Saints | The Advocate
Brett Martel (AP) - Saints lineman Zach Strief has found an unusual New Orleans restaurant where he can satisfy both his cravings for Creole cooking and his hunger to give back.

New Orleans Saints won't get better draft pick based on Reggie Bush's performance with Miami Dolphins |
Mike Triplett - Specific trade details remain undisclosed, but they aren't tied to Bush's performance.

Saints WR Moore pleasing everyone with touchdown dances |
Bradley Handwerger - It’s not that Saints receiver Lance Moore scours the internet looking for the latest dance craze to sweep across America.

Saints and the United States Marines Hosts Christmas Bike and Toy Drive at the Saints Facility |
Official release

New Orleans Saints, U.S. Marines host toy giveaway this afternoon |
James Varney


V-Roll Roll Call