Archive for October, 2009



Saints video: Sean Payton’s post-game press conference

Saints video: Sean Payton’s post-game press conference



New Orleans Saints in midst of truly special season: Jeff Duncan

By Jeff Duncan, The Times-Picayune

October 25, 2009, 11:31PM

MIAMI GARDENS,  FLA.  —  Mostly in private and occasionally in public,  the New Orleans Saints have tossed around the word “special” to describe the remarkable start to the 2009 season.


G. Andrew Boyd/The Associated Press

Drew Brees gets some love from New Orleans Saints fans who had to be happy they made the trip to Miami to see their team come from behind to defeat the Miami Dolphins 46-34 at Land Shark Stadium.

Even before the first kickoff,  Drew Brees commissioned T-shirts with the word in big block letters across the back  —  SPECIAL  —  and distributed them around the locker room to teammates.

Now we know why.

If any doubts remained that the Saints are in the midst of one of the truly special seasons in club history they melted in the sultry South Florida heat and white-hot fury of their stunning come-from-behind victory against the Dolphins on Sunday.

Even the most cynical Who Dats must have converted to devout believers after watching the Saints outscore the shocked Dolphins 43-10 in the head-spinning final 30:02 of their 46-34 victory at Land Shark Stadium.

It was their sixth consecutive win by double digits and left them as the lone unbeaten team in the NFC. They are 6-0 for only the second time in franchise history. You have to go back almost two decades to find a better start to a Saints season. The 1991 bunch won their first seven.

“We have a great locker room,  a great team and we stuck by each other, ” running back Mike Bell said. “We had a great attitude coming into halftime. We weren’t feeling sorry for ourselves. We came back,  persevered,  stuck to the game plan and came up victorious.”

The classic ‘trap’ game

Everyone,  including myself,  thought this was the classic “trap” game for the Saints. Sandwiched between an emotional victory against the unbeaten Giants and a Monday night showdown against the rival Atlanta Falcons,  it seemed the perfect recipe for a letdown. The game was on the road. In the South Florida heat. In a place where they’d never  won a game.

And indeed,  the Saints opened the game as if they’d spent Saturday night partying on South Beach.

They  —  not the Dolphins  —  looked like fish out of water as they stumbled and bumbled through the first 28 minutes.

They committed three penalties before they made their fifth offensive snap. They couldn’t stop the run on defense and couldn’t protect Drew Brees on offense. By midway through the second quarter,  the NFL’s  No. 1 offense had more turnovers (two) than  first downs.

By late in the second quarter,  the Saints weren’t in a trap,  they were in a chasm. The Dolphins led 24-3 and were driving for another score just before halftime.

On the Saints’ sideline,  Brees stared at the scoreboard in disbelief: “How, ” he asked himself,  “did this get out of hand like this?”

Harper provided first spark

Then,  seemingly from nowhere,  came hope  —  a spark of life.

On a seemingly benign pass in the right flat,  Roman Harper made a diving stop and stripped the football from receiver Davone Bess. Scott Shanle fell on the loose ball. The Saints had life,  and their first break of the game.

A few plays later,  Brees looked like the Dolphins logo as he leapt over pile into the end zone for the Saints’ first touchdown. It was a do-or-die play,  from the one-foot line with 5 seconds left and no timeouts. And even then,  Brees had to convince coach Sean Payton to let him try it.

“I knew I could get the ball in on a QB sneak and I knew what a huge momentum boost that would be for our team, ” said Brees,  who spiked the ball emphatically to the turf after the score.

The defense came through again on the first series of the second half. Darren Sharper’s third interception return for a touchdown made it 24-17 and from there it was all Saints.

No punts in second half

New Orleans did not punt in the second half and scored 24 points on its final four possessions. The defense held the Dolphins without a first down on six of their first seven series of the half.

“I was just proud of the way we hung in there and hung in there, ” Payton said. “We talked about playing a full game  —  four quarters  —  and I think we did that today.”

Picked by most experts to finish third in the NFC South,  the Saints now have opened a whopping two-game lead on the rest of the division.

Moreover,  they’re making a case to be mentioned among the most prolific offenses in NFL history.

Their 238 points is the second highest total in NFL history for a team in the first six games. Only the 2000 Rams,  who scored 262,  scored more.

The Saints scored 45 or more points in a game five times in the first 642 games of club history. They’ve now done it four times this season. And none in more incredible fashion than Sunday.

The Saints entered the game having not trailed in any of their first five games. Yet on Sunday,  they found themselves behind for most of the afternoon. They trailed from the 7-minute mark of the first quarter until 8:35 of the fourth quarter.

An uncharacteristic dunk

That’s when Brees snuck into the end zone from the 2-yard line to put the Saints on top for good and continue their quixotic quest during this seeming season of destiny.

After Brees scored,  he bolted to his feet,  coiled his 6-foot frame toward the turf and vaulted skyward to dunk the ball over the goal post. It was an uncharacteristic display of emotion for the normally businesslike Brees.

“That’s all we’ve talked about,  finishing football games, ” Brees said. “We hadn’t been in a situation like this in a while. . . . We all knew that they had given us their best shot . . . and all we had to do is string a few drives together. Honest to god,  we knew it was going to happen,  and sure enough it did.”

Special,  indeed.



New Orleans Saints’ incredible comeback gives them a 46-34 win at the Miami Dolphins

By Jeff Duncan, The Times-Picayune

October 25, 2009, 3:09PM

We’ve wondered what it would be like when the New Orleans Saints had to come from behind. We found out.

ek Shanle.jpg
Eliot Kamenitz/The Times-Picayune
Scott Shanle’s fumble recovery set up a late first half touchdown for the New Orleans Saints.

The Saints fell down 24-3 against the Miami Dolphins at one point in the first half, but fought back to win 46-34 to remain undefeated at 6-0.

Quarterback Drew Brees threw two first half interceptions, finished with 298 yards passing, two rushing touchdowns and one more passing.

Jeremy Shockey had four catches for 105 yards. Mike Bell ran for 80 yards, all in the second half.

And, Darren Sharper had another interception for a touchdown, his third this season.

Here’s the in-game updates:


1:53: Tracy Porter”s 54-yard interception return for a touchdown should just about do it. Incredibly, the Saints lead 46-34 and the Who Dat cheers have broken out at Land Shark Stadium. Saints have outscored Miami 43-10 in the last 28:09 of the game.

3:27: John Carney’s 20-yard field goal extends the Saints’ lead to 40-34. It’s going to be up to the Saints’ defense to close this one out.

8:35: The good news: The Saints have come all the way back to take the lead: 37-34. Brees sneaks in 2nd TD, then dunks ball over the goal post. The bad news: A bad snap on the extra point causes John Carney to shank it wide. It’s only a three-point lead instead of four.

13:23: The Saints answer on a spectacular leaping 10-yard double reverse by Reggie Bush. The score was set up by a 66-yard catch-and-run by Jeremy Shockey. It’s 34-31 Miami, but the Dolphins defense looks very tired.


0:07: And just like that, Miami regains the momentum. Ricky Williams’ third TD extends Miami lead to 34-24 late in third. Brian Hartline’s 67-yard catch-and-run set up the TD. Hartline beat Tracy Porter in single coverage, slipped Porter’s tackle and dodged Darren Sharper en route to the big gainer. The Dolphins scored just three play after the Saints trimmed the lead to three points.

1:15: Marques Colston’s 10-yard TD catch capped an 82-yard scoring drive by the Saints. It’s 27-24. Somehow the Saints have rallied back into this one.

5:59: The Dolphins had to settle for a field goal after the big fumble recovery. Carpenter’s 33-yarder makes it 27-17.

7:17: Jason Taylor with the sack and strip of Brees. Dolphins have ball deep inside Saints terrority. They’ve now forced four turnovers.

13:56: Huge turnaround. Tracy Porter deflection leads to 42-yard pick six by Darren Sharper. It’s 24-17 now after officials uphold the ruling on the field. The Saints could be back in business.That’s the sixth interception and third one he’s returned for a touchdown this season.


0:02: BIg turn of events before halftime. The Saints get a big fumble recover by Scott Shanle in the final two minutes then drive down to the Miami red zone. A big pass play to Marques Colston gives them first-and-goal from the Miami 1-foot line with 5 seconds left after an officials’ review reverses the original touchdown call. Sean Payton elects to go for the touchdown instead of trying the field goal and Drew Brees sneaks over the top for the touchdown with 2 seconds left. It’s 24-10 at the half. The Saints have a glimmer of hope.

G. Andrew Boyd/The Times-Picayune

Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints are having a lot of trouble against Miami’s defense

8:55: The Dolphins just scored again. It’s 24-3 now and the Saints look like they’ve been hit by a sledgehammer. Ronnie Brown ran threw a Jon Vilma tackle attempt and scored from 8 yards out. The score was set up by an interception by Reggie Torbor at the Miami 19 on the previous Saints’ possession. It was Miami’s second interception of the game. Both turnovers led to touchdowns.

11:25: Dan Carpenter’s 32-yard field goal makes it 17-3 Dolphins. This one is starting to look ugly. The Saints look helpless against Miami’s offense. Dolphins have driven for scores on their past three series.


0:00 Miami is driving again as the first quarter comes to an end. It’s been a total seal-clubbing so far. Miami has outgained New Orleans 124-27 in total offense and six first downs to one. The Saints are 0-for-4 on third down and have committed four penalties.

4:47: Ricky Williams’ 68-yard touchdown puts the Dolphins on top 14-3. He as untouched on the play. That’s the longest run of the season against the Saints’ defense. The Saints look asleep at the switch. Everyone predicted a trap game and it’s certainly looking that way early for New Orleans. MIami has scored two touchdowns on their past two plays.

5:06: John Carney’s 46-yard field goal cuts the Dolphins’ lead to 7-3. Courtney Roby set up the score with an 87-yard kickoff return. He was tripped up from behind by Vontae Davis at the Miami 16 to save the touchdown. The Saints were forced to settle for a field goal after losing 7 yards in three plays. Carney’s field goal gives him 2,000 career points, making him only the fourth player NFL history to reach the scoring threshold.

7:25: Ricky Williams just took a direct snap from center and scored standing up from the 4 to put MIami on top 7-0. It’s the first time all season the Saints have trailed.

7:37: Really ugly start for the Saints. Three penalties in first five snaps from scimmage on offense, then an interception on snap No. 7. Drew Brees and Devery Henderson had some kind of miscummunication on that play beause Henderson broke in and Brees’ pass went out, to the sideline. Safety Tyrone Culver made the easy interception at the Saints’ 27 and returned it to the 4.

Andrew Boyd/The Times-Picayune

New Orleans Saints running back Reggie Bush warms up before the game against Miami.

11:29: Bad break for the Saints. The instant replay machine “malfunctioned” preventing officials from reviewing NO challenge that Davone Bess dropped an 8-yard pass. It looked like he dropped the pass on the big screen at the stadium. But officials couldn’t review it. Thus Miami gets a first down.

12:36: The Saints’ streak of scoring on their opening drive just ended after five games. Saints had four touchdowns and one field goal on their first possession in their first five games.



First-and-10: New Orleans Saints are on record offensive pace

By Jeff Duncan, The Times-Picayune

October 23, 2009, 9:02AM

First (take) …

Last year we had the Brees/Marino pace to chart. This year, we have another historic offensive mark to monitor.


Chuck Cook/The Times-Picayune
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees and the offense are on a record pace.

It’s early, but the New Orleans Saints are on pace to set an NFL record for scoring. With 192 points in five games, the club is averaging 38.4 points a contest and is on pace to score 614 this season. The NFL record is 589 set by the 2007 New England Patriots. And lest you think it’s out of reach, the Saints still have games left against the Redskins, Rams and Bucs (twice).

The Saints have already posted three of the 10 highest single-game scoring outputs in club history. They’re on pace to shatter the club scoring record of 463, set last season. The Saints scored only 138 points in their first five games last season. Previously, the most the Saints had scored in the first five games was 143 in 2002.

Asked if he thought the Saints could continue to play at this current pace, quarterback Drew Brees did not discount it.

“Anything’s possible,” he said. “I feel like this is a special group. We could do something that has never been done before.”

Stay tuned.

Stay tuned. … And 10 (more observations)

1. Casual locker-room observation of the week: The Saints’ locker room is a largely a jovial place these days, what with the 5-0 start and all. Few players, however, are happier than defensive tackle Anthony Hargrove, who walks around with a perpetual smile on his face. Considering his troubled background, he’s just “I’m so grateful for everything that’s happened. To be here with this team in this town at this time, sometimes I have pinch myself to make sure it’s real.”

2. Tweets of the week:
“Who Dat!!! No really Who Dat?” – Billy Miller, 8:35 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 18.

“Need a massage!!! so happy for our city!!! new orleans is back… the best fans in the world… Im so glad the trade happened!! thx nyg.” – Jeremy Shockey, 1:31 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 20.

“What a day! Had a great wildlife adventure today, our guide caught a gator and I got to hold it! Never thought that would happen!” – Chase Daniel, 6:31 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 20

3.Quote of the week: “They’re undefeated, they’re probably smelling themselves, rubbing each other’s balls, all that (stuff).” – Dolphins LB Channing Crowder.

4. Didya notice of the week: Remi Ayodele has usurped Kendrick Clancy as the starting nose tackle. Clancy was healthy Sunday for the first time in weeks but Coach Sean Payton listed him on the eight-man inactive list. He acknowledged this week that Ayodele will be the regular starter there until someone beats him out. “You just knew when you were watching him, at some point he was going to be able to grow into the player that I think he’s grown into right now,” said Dolphins coach Tony Sparano, who coached on the Dallas staff when Ayodele was a member of the Cowboys practice squad in 2007. “(He) had a big sack in the game the other day, so this guy is a strong, powerful, explosive type of a guy in there.”

5. Fact of the week: The Saints are establishing a lot of “firsts” this season and will try to accomplish another one Sunday: Win a game in Miami. The Saints are 0-3 in three games against the Dolphins at the Orange Bowl and Pro Player Stadium. The club has only played there once since 1980, a 30-10 loss in 1998.

6. Encouraging stat of the week: The Saints have rushed the ball on offense more times than they’ve passed it. Their 173:159 run/pass ratio makes them one of just six teams in the NFL to have run more than passed. Carolina, Miami, Oakland, the New York Jets and New York Giants are the others. Through five games last season, the Saints had passed the ball 194 times compared to 125 rushes.

7. Disturbing stat of the week: Just when you thought it couldn’t get worse, Reggie Bush’s punt return average dived even lower to a pedestrian 3.9 yards a return. Bush, who was on track to perhaps earn the NFC Pro Bowl nod as a return man before being injured, ranks 28th out of 29 returners in the NFL.

8. Something I liked from Week 6: Marques Colston is getting down the field for big pass plays. His 15.8-yards-per-catch average is close to his career-best 16.2 mark of a year ago. One of the knocks on Colston around the league has been that he’s not fast enough to beat NFL corners deep or physical enough to get off the jam at the line of scrimmage. But the fourth-year receiver is putting together a resume — 25 receptions, 394 yards, four touchdowns — that’s Pro Bowl worthy.

9. Something I didn’t like from Week 6: The special teams coverage was atrocious. The Saints made Domenik Hixon look like Devin Hester for most of the day. The club’s coverage units have been shaky all season and now rank 30th in both punt and kickoff return average allowed.

10. Fearless prediction for Week 7: I’ve picked the Saints to win every game this season but I’m hesitant on this one. The Dolphins are exactly the kind of team that should give the Saints fits. A powerful running team with a salty defense and tons of motivation. The Saints are playing on the road after a heady rout of the New York Giants and before a big Monday night showdown with the archrival Falcons. It all adds up the classic “trap” game? Dolphins 28, Saints 27.



New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton’s messages getting through to his players

By Peter Finney, Times-Picayune

October 21, 2009, 12:34AM

Before last Sunday’s game,  Sean Payton told his football team a true story about some nuns,  longtime members of the Who Dat family,  reminding the coach they were offering prayers for the Saints in their upcoming battle against the Giants.

Which was no surprise.

But what was Payton’s response?

“You should be saying prayers for the Giants, ” he said.

Well,  the locker room rocked.

Whereupon the Who Dats who carry the flag scored touchdown after touchdown after touchdown,  slaying the Giants piece by piece.

What does this say?

To me,  it says Payton,  the winning coach,  knows he has a very good football team,  that he was going to battle with a very good plan.

To me,  it also says Tom Coughlin,  the losing coach,  knew the same thing,  but Coughlin could not get his message across when it came to dealing with how many ways the Saints can beat you  —  with offense,  with defense,  sometimes with a 40-yard touchdown pass,  sometimes with a 99-yard interception return.

Five victories into this season,  it’s not that Payton keeps sending messages to his players. It’s more a matter of his messages being received by welcoming ears.

What Payton has going for him extends beyond his offensive smarts. It’s a coach-quarterback relationship that extends beyond offense.

“It makes a big difference, ” said Drew Brees,  “when you have veteran guys who have been part of good teams,  bad teams,  teams that have gone on winning streaks,  losing streaks,  players who know how to handle different situations.”

Brees talked about being part of teams who have won four,  five,  eight,  nine in a row,  but you’re still “only as good as your next performance.”

After watching his head coach make decisions over the past four seasons,  Brees has seen someone “with an aggressive mentality,  an ability to read the situation in games,  to understand who’s hot,  how you want to spread the ball around,  putting every guy in a position to succeed according to their strengths. Something we learned the hard way the last three years is the turnover ratio,  what that means between winning and losing.”

It’s a mindset Brees watched build during the offseason and in training camp,  the starting offense going against the first-team defense,  creating game-like conditions that helped players feed off one another.

This week’s No. 1 storyline has to do with how successful Gregg Williams’ defense will be against the Miami Dolphins’ Wildcat offense,  which embarrassed the Patriots last season and limited the Indianapolis Colts to 15 minutes of possession time this season. The Colts managed to pull out that game because of the magic of Peyton Manning.

“You might say the Dolphins invented the Wildcat, ” Brees said. “They’ve won two in a row,  and they’re coming off a Monday night win against the Jets when the Jets played about as good a game as they could play.”

Obviously,  what makes the Wildcat special is the personnel,  running backs Ronnie Brown and ex-Saint Ricky Williams.

“When you have the quarterback under center,  you’re playing 10-on-11, ” said Payton. “When the ball is snapped to a runner,  it’s 11-on-11. Miami has good design,  good personnel,  and that becomes very challenging.”

It’s always challenging for one of four unbeatens in a 32-team league. It’s unbelievably challenging when you’ve got the No. 1 offense and you’ve never once trailed through 20 quarters.

As Payton looks around,  his vote for the “the biggest surprise of the season” goes to the 6-0 Denver Broncos.

As everyone looks around,  it’s probably unanimous the 0-6 Tennessee Titans,  who were 13-3 in the regular season last year,  are the biggest disappointment. The Titans gave up five touchdown passes by Tom Brady in the second quarter of a 59-0 loss to the New England Patriots. That’s the biggest shock so far.

As fans check their schedules,  there is another shock on the way  —  the Monday Night Football offering,  a showdown between the 2-4 Washington Redskins,  whose coach has been stripped of his playcalling duties,  and the 3-2 Philadelphia Eagles,  who are coming off a 13-9 loss to the Oakland Raiders.



The 504 Boss….



Brees Named Player of the Week

by Dave Lawrence,
NewOrleansSaints.com Tuesday, October 20, 2009 – 4:00 PM

The NFL will announce Wednesday that quarterback Drew Brees has been named NFC Offensive Player of the Week for his hand in the undefeated Saints’ 48-27 win over the previously unbeaten New York Giants on Sunday. Brees led a potent offensive attack that cut through the league’s top-ranked defense for seven touchdowns (scored by seven different players), completing 23 of 30 passes (76.7%) for a season-high 369 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions for a near-perfect passer rating of 156.8. The Saints scored touchdowns on their first four possessions, with Brees finding Jeremy Shockey, Robert Meachem and Lance Moore on scoring passes to help put up 34 points in the first half. He later threw a TD strike to Marques Colston to round out his day. During the high-powered first half, Brees completed 15 consecutive passes, which set a team-record for the most consecutive completions in a single game. He also holds the franchise mark of 17 straight completions over a two-game span, a record he posted in December of 2007. The honor marks the ninth time Brees has been named NFC Offensive Player of the Week since joining the Saints in 2006 and his 11th career POW award. He was Player of the Week following the win over Detroit in the season’s opening game and went on to win NFC Offensive Player of the Month honors for September.



New Orleans Saints First-and-10: Jeremy Shockey says it’s not about him

By Jeff Duncan, The Times-Picayune

October 15, 2009, 12:48PM

Here’s Week 6’s First-and-10 column:

First (take) …

It’s not about me, all right?

Those were Jeremy Shockey’s words on Wednesday. The New Orleans Saints tight end insisted he harbored no personal vendetta against his old team, the New York Giants, who the Saints face on Sunday at the Superdome.

“I want to make that clear,” Shockey said. “There’s already been some references about vendettas and stuff like that. It’s about two teams. It’s two great teams playing against each other.”

Trust me, of all the players on the Saints’ roster, Shockey is the one who wants to win this game the most. He can deny the fact until he’s Giant blue in the face, but the fact is Shockey, rightly or wrongly, is resentful of the way he was treated by management and media in New York. He admitted as much to Times-Picayune reporter Nakia Hogan last week, saying his controversial departure in New York left a “bitter taste in my mouth.”

To avoid potential bulletin board material, Saints officials have monitored Shockey all week. They’ve shielded him from the New York media, just as they did Jon Vilma two weeks earlier from Jets reporters. They took exception to an ESPN report on Wednesday that they claim misrepresented Shockey’s comments about the game and aggressively confronted the ESPN crew about it.

Shockey, basically, is playing the good soldier, saying all the right things, trying to deflect attention from himself, a dramatic behavorial shift from the outspoken, self-centered guy who played in New York for six seasons.

“I just want to win for the team,” Shockey said. “It’s really preached hard around here.”

Regardless, Shockey wants to win this game badly. He knows it. The Giants know it. And the Saints know it.

“I think any competitive person will have a little extra juice, a little extra fire,” Saints quarterback Drew Brees said Wednesday. “Jeremy Shockey is a guy that doesn’t have any shortage of energy during the week or on game day. … So really for him it’s just going to be about staying poised and composed while at the same time playing the type of football he’s used to playing — which is just kind of somewhat of a wild man mentality. … I’m confident he’s going to be just fine.”

And he’s going to be a marked man by the Giants defense, as noted by longtime Giants beat writer Ernie Palladino in his blog this week.

“Forget the sentiments,” wrote Palladino, who covered the Giants for 20 years as a reporter for the Journal News of Westchester, N.Y. “Betcha a nickel the (Giants) defensive coaches are telling their units that, if Shockey invades their territory, don’t be afraid to knock his little head off.”

The emotional Shockey definitely is going to be amped on Sunday. The key for him — and indirectly, the Saints – will be to keep his cool and stay focused. If so, he could have a big day.

The Giants have struggled to defend tight ends this season. As noted in the New York Times’ Fifth Down blog, tight ends have led each of the Giants’ five opponents in receiving this season:

Week 1, Washington: Chris Cooley, 7 receptions.
Week 2, Dallas: Jason Witten, 5.
Week 3, Tampa Bay: Kellen Winslow, Jr., 3.
Week 4, Kansas City: Sean Ryan, 5.
Week 5, Oakland: Zach Miller, 4.

Shockey quietly has taken the lead among Saints receivers with 18 catches. He’s on pace for 72 receptions, 648 yards and eight touchdowns, which would mark his best season since his rookie campaign in 2002.

“I feel great,” Shockey said Wednesday. “Here is good.”

It’ll be a lot better for Shockey with a win on Sunday.

… And 10 (more observations)

1. Casual locker-room observation of the week: Reggie Bush spent a few extra minutes after his Wednesday briefing with reporters to talk about a TV spot he did for St. Jude Children’s Cancer Research Hospital. He’s paired with a 5-year-old girl named Anna in the ad. Bush tweeted a photo of himself and Anna, who he called his “new best friend.” On Wednesday, he talked about the experience, “It’s very humbling to see a little 5-year-old girl with so much pride and joy at a tough time in her life,” Bush said. “It definitely changes your perspective.”

2. Tweets of the week:

“Al Sharpton writes to NFL about Rush Limbaugh, if that’s not the pot calling the kettle black. I’ll pass on both.” – Billy Miller, 10:55 p.m., Oct. 12.

“The big game is just days away, the Giants are tough. It’s going to be fun! Getting work in today and looking forward to rockin the Dome!” – Pierre Thomas, 7:01 a.m., Oct. 15.

“Man I get so irritated watching Cash Cab cuz the questions are so hard yet these random people know them! It’s gotta be rigged! Lol!” – Reggie Bush, 5:43 p.m., Oct. 12.

3. Quote of the week: “It’s already a big game, the fact that it’s two undefeated and a very good opponent. The Giants have been a playoff contender here for the last three or four years in a row. I think we all expect to be in the playoffs and I guess certainly there would be those implications, but let’s just take it one game at a time and not take it too far ahead. It’s only the fifth game of the season for us, the sixth for them. It’s not like this is the week 12, 13 or 14 where you could very much see that on the horizon.” – Saints quarterback Drew Brees.

4. Didya notice?: After playing the entire Bills game in a three-man defensive front, the Saints did not play one snap in the alignment against the Jets. They played exclusively in their base 4-3 defense and rarely blitzed. Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams insisted his defense would be “multiple” and so far he’s held true to his word. Like the offense, the Saints’ defensive game plan changes dramatically each week depending upon the opponent.

5. Fact of the week: Saints coach Sean Payton has always cited statistics showing that Reggie Bush is the team’s best short-yardage runner. Now comes another surprising stat about the Saints’ slippery scatback: He’s their best runner up the middle. ESPN.com NFC South blogger Pat Yasinskas, citing research from ESPN Stats & Information, reports Bush actually is second among the division running backs with a 5.1-yard average on runs up the middle. That figure ranks 12th in the NFL, although the numbers are skewed somewhat because he only has seven of these types of carries and one was a 19-yard touchdown run in mop-up duty against the Eagles. Still, it’s positive news for Bush, who is off to a slow start by his standards.

6. Encouraging stat of the week: Courtesy of the Saints’ crack P.R. staff, the defense has allowed 243 and 244 total yards in their past two games, respectively. It’s the first time they’ve held consecutive opponents to fewer than 250 yards since games 11 (vs. Carolina, Dec. 2) and 12 (at Atlanta, Dec. 9) of the 2001 season.

7. Disturbing stat of the week: While everyone is excited about the Saints’ improved defense, the reality is the Saints have yet to face a top quarterback. Kevin Kolb, the backup to Eagles starter Donovan McNabb, is actually the highest ranked signal caller to face the Saints this season, and he only ranks 15h in the league with an 88.9 passer efficiency rating. The others: Mark Sanchez, No. 26, 74.1; Trent Edwards, No. 27, 71.4; and Matthew Stafford, No. 31, 65.5.

8. Something I liked from Week 4: Darren Sharper’s ballhawk skills. Next to Marques Colston, the veteran free safety might have the best pair of hands on the team. As noted by cornerback Randall Gay, when Sharper has a chance to make an interception, “he finishes it” and catches the ball. Sharper leads the NFL with five interceptions and undoubtedly is looking forward to his matchup against the Giants. He’s returned two interceptions for touchdowns against Giants quarterback Eli Manning, the only player to do so. He had a 92-yard return for a score in 2005 and a 20-yarder in 2007.

9. Something I didn’t like from Week 4: For the second consecutive week, the Saints receiving corps has been taken out of the game. The quartet of Marques Colston, Devery Henderson, Lance Moore and Robert Meachem combined to catch just seven passes for 74 yards against the Jets. The foursome was shut out of the end zone for the second consecutive week.

10. Fearless prediction for Week 6: It’s breakout time for Brees. He has been kept under wraps for the past two weeks, throwing for just 172 and 190 yards against the Bills and Jets, respectively. Brees hasn’t been held under 250 yards passing in three consecutive games in his Saints career. Moreover, the Giants might be more vulnerable in the secondary than people think. Starting safety Kenny Phillips is out for the year and starting corner Aaron Ross remains sidelined with a hamstring injury. They haven’t been tested by a passing game as proficient as the Saints’. If the offensive line gives him time, Brees could exploit Giants defensive backs C.C. Brown and Aaron Rouse in coverage.



New Orleans Saints beat reporters talk about Jeremy Shockey and the matchup with the New York Giants



Who Dat ?!?!

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