Archive for December, 2009



First-and-10: New Orleans Saints’ Drew Brees nears another passing record

By Jeff Duncan, The Times-Picayune

December 31, 2009, 5:03PM

First (take) …

The extent of Drew Brees’ playing time Sunday against Carolina remains unknown, but it’d be nice he played long enough to have a chance to set some distinguished records within his reach.

Brees has a chance to break one of the oldest NFL records in the books: the mark for highest completion percentage in a season. He’s completed 363 of 514 attempts for a 70.6 completion percentage. That puts him on track to break the 27-year-old record of 70.55 set by Cincinnati’s Ken Anderson in 1982.

Brees’ completion percentage is impressive for a couple of reasons. First, he’s already attempted more than 200 passes more than Anderson, who played only nine games that season because of a labor strike. Second, Brees is not a dink-and-dunk passer. His 8.54-yards average per pass attempt ranks third in the league and he’s completed 29 pass plays of 25 yards or more, second best in the NFL.

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Will Smith discusses his being left off the Pro Bowl roster



New Orleans Saints linebacker Scott Fujita is named the team’s man of the year

By The Times-Picayune

December 30, 2009, 1:09PM

Among the most prestigious awards in the NFL, linebacker Scott Fujita has been named the 2009 New Orleans Saints “Man of the Year” for his dedication to community service, his charitable efforts and his performance on the football field. The honor is voted on annually by members of the media, Saints front office staff and local non-profit and business executives.

“There were a number of players we considered for this award because of the impact they have made on our community, but Scott’s contributions this year and throughout his time in New Orleans are particularly noteworthy,” said owner/executive vice president Rita Benson LeBlanc. “We should all be proud of Scott’s dedication – not only the members of the Saints’ organization, but the residents of our region – for his efforts to make where we live a better place.”

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No Will? No way New Orleans Saints defensive end should’ve been overlooked

By John DeShazier, The Times-Picayune

December 30, 2009, 11:03AM

My guess is that New Orleans Saints defensive end Will Smith didn’t whine on Tuesday and isn’t going to whine today over his Pro Bowl snub. (But you can tell us what you think, vote in the T-P poll)

But that doesn’t dismiss that fact that someone in the Saints’ hierarchy should be filing a police report over Smith being robbed by Pro Bowl voters. In the beauty contest that is Pro Bowl voting, no NFC defensive end has played any better this season than has Smith, who has a career-high 13 sacks entering the regular-season finale against Carolina. Throughout the season none have been any more disruptive or consistent or valuable.

But we know that the Pro Bowl isn’t always about knowledge of the intracacies of the game, even though coaches and players have an equal voting share as fans, and the former two are supposed to be more educated and rational than the latter. We know it’s not always about players who are respected by their teammates and opponents.

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New Orleans Saints sign defensive tackle Rodney Leisle and tight end Tory Humphrey

By Mike Triplett, The Times-Picayune

December 30, 2009, 10:03AM

The Saints signed defensive tackle Rodney Leisle and tight end Tory Humphrey to the active roster this week, while releasing cornerback Greg Fassitt and safety Herana-Daze Jones. Fassitt was re-signed to the practice squad.

Leisle, 28, spent his first three NFL seasons with the Saints after being drafted in the fifth round out of UCLA in 2004. He played sparingly, appearing in just 17 games with eight career tackles before being released in 2007. The 6-foot-3, 315-pounder spent the last two offseasons with the New York Giants and Arizona Cardinals but did not make the final roster cut with either team.

Humphrey, 26, was originally signed by the Saints last week but was released before Sunday’s game against Tampa Bay. The 6-foot-2, 255-pounder spent the last four years with the Green Bay Packers as a backup tight end and special teams specialist. He was released with an injury settlement after breaking his arm this summer.

Fassitt and Jones were both signed last week to add special teams depth, and both were on the field when Tampa Bay’s Micheal Spurlock broke free for a 77-yard touchdown on a punt return in the fourth quarter Sunday.



Five New Orleans Saints players tabbed to go to Pro Bowl

By Nakia Hogan, The Times-Picayune

December 30, 2009, 5:00AM

Tuesday was supposed to be family day for Saints right tackle Jon Stinchcomb. That meant no football practice, video study or football talk, just a quiet afternoon date with his wife Ali.

But minutes into the matinee of Sherlock Holmes, Stinchcomb’s cell phone lit up. It was offensive line coach Aaron Kromer. Stinchcomb decided to walk outside to call the coach back.

So much for family day.

After hanging up with Kromer, Stinchcomb, a seven-year veteran of the NFL, returned to his seat like a giddy teenager with exciting news for Ali. Stinchcomb was selected to his first Pro Bowl.

Stinchcomb joined quarterback Drew Brees, right guard Jahri Evans, free safety Darren Sharper and middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma on the NFC roster.

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Pro Bowl announced tomm !

There was a record 89.87 million votes cast on NFL.com and on wireless phones. Fans cast 84.87 million votes on NFL.com and five million votes on their wireless phones.

The AFC and NFC All-Star squads are based on the consensus votes of fans, players and coaches. Each group’s vote counts one-third towards determining the 43-man rosters that represent the American Football Conference and National Football Conference in the Pro Bowl. NFL players and coaches will cast their votes on Dec. 22-23.

The teams will be announced on Tuesday, December 29 on a special NFL Total Access 2010 Pro Bowl Selection Show on NFL Network.

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (1,485,397) ranks second overall, while Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre (1,466,687 votes), Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (1,393,688 votes) and Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (888,002 votes) round out the top five on NFL.com.

The 2010 Pro Bowl will be played on Sunday, January 31, 2010 and televised live on ESPN at 7:20 PM ET from Dolphin Stadium in South Florida, also the site of Super Bowl XLIV a week later on Sunday, February 7



Tampa Bay Bucs shock New Orleans Saints 20-17 in overtime

By Jeff Duncan, The Times-Picayune

December 27, 2009, 4:40PM

Welcome to our in-game update from the New Orleans SaintsTampa Bay Buccaneers game at the Superdome. Hit your refresh button to get the latest news from the game.

8:06: Connor Barth’s 47-yard field goal in overtime capped a stunning comeback by the Tampa Bay Bucs, who rallied from a 17-0 deficit to upset the Saints 20-17.


0:05: Garrett Hartley shanked a 37-yard field goal wide left with 5 seconds left that would have given the Saints the win. We’re going to overtime. Bucs have the momentum and will get the ball first.

2:25: Huge turn of events here. The Saints had a fourht-and-1 and elected to not go for it. They tried to draw Tampa Bay’s punt return team offsides and looked like they did but officials ruled the Saints had jumped instead and penalized them 5 yards. Morstead then shanked his punt and Michael Spurlock returned it 77 yards for a TD. It’s now tied at 17-all. The Saints had 17-0 lead in 2nd qtr

4:57: Charles Grant with the play of the day. He batted down a Josh Freeman pass on fourth-and-1 to give the ball back to the Saints. Tampa Bay was at the Saints’ 19-yard line.

5:01: A huge turn of events here. Bucs coach Raheem Morris with the play of the day. Got a timeout right before the stop on fourth-and-1 by Jon Vilma. That was very close and Sean Payton argued vociferously with officials that Morris did not get the timeout in time.

13:14: The Bucs are officially back in it. They just drove 98 yards in 8 plays to make it 17-10 on a 23-yard TD run by Cadillac Williams. The Saints offense needs to answer. They have punted on three consecutive series.

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A View From the Other Side: Are the Bucs fighting for Raheem Morris’ job?

by Bradley Handwerger / Eyewitness Sports

When New Orleans hosts the Bucs on Sunday, you’ve likely read as much about the Saints as you possibly can.

But what do you know about the Buccaneers?

That’s where A View From the Other Side comes in. Every Friday during the Saints’ season, WWL-TV.com will ask five questions to at least one beat writer covering the Saints’ opponent that week.

Today, friend Pat Yasinskas of ESPN.com is kind enough to help us out. Yasinskas is in his second season of covering the NFC South for ESPN.com. Prior to that he covered the Carolina Panthers for The Charlotte Observer for nine seasons. Prior to that, he covered the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the NFL for The Tampa Tribune from 1993 until 1999.

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New Orleans Saints players weigh in on NFL’s latest hot-button issue: concussions

By Mike Triplett, The Times-Picayune

December 25, 2009, 10:00PM

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees has been fortunate to suffer only one significant concussion in nine NFL seasons.

It happened in 2004, when he was with the San Diego Chargers, and he got clobbered by the New York Jets’ Jon McGraw. Brees blacked out momentarily and felt plenty woozy and wobbly when he got up. And he remembers how hard it was to focus on the play calls coming in from the sideline.

But he didn’t leave the game right away. He played two more series and even threw a touchdown pass before people started telling him he didn’t look right when he came back to the sideline.

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