Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Saints Nation: Saint Reggie Shows a Big Heart

I was approached by a story that I just couldn't keep to myself. As much as Reggie Bush has been a playmaker and deadly weapon on the football field, he's proven at times to be even more Saintly off of it. His donations to the community and contributions of his time have been plentiful and well documented. This story, though, trumps most benevolent acts I've heard from many athletes off the field and it's flown under the radar.

Thanks to Kathe N. for this story:

"I just want to let you know what an awesome human being we have in Reggie Bush.  We were able to make contact through his agent, and Reggie called my sister's terminally ill patient today. She was unable to talk, other than a very soft, "hello" but the smile on her face was priceless! Reggie took time to call from Germany today, and truly made a difference in the short life of a precious little girl. He fulfilled an end of life wish for a very sick little girl whose life was cut way too short. He's also sending an autographed jersey, overnight. Unfortunately, she passed away three hours after Reggie's phone call, but the jersey will mean the world to her family. A lifelong memory. I'm overwhelmed and want everyone to know the person Reggie Bush is. A true hero."

Reggie probably won't get much press or credit for this, but you know what, that's the way it should be. All great acts that do not go thanked are the best kind. This wasn't about Reggie getting good publicity, or boosting the public's perception of his character. If I didn't write about this, maybe no one would have ever heard about it. In a time where he's under a good amount of scrutiny for the USC sanctions, he could have easily mentioned something about this on his twitter account to let people know how great he is... but no mention. I applaud you, #25, for being a great and humble guy. What a heart warming story, and I believe we are lucky to have Bush in our community.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Saints Nation: Sean Payton's New Book is Now Available for Purchase

Saints' head coach Sean Payton's book "Home Team" is out today and now available for purchase. You can go to your favorite book buying location to seek it out, I'm sure it's available everywhere... but you can click HERE if you're having trouble finding it. I ordered mine already and I can't wait to get it as it should be a terrific read. If you've been paying attention to all the snippets that are surfacing out there, it sounds like it will be fairly candid and revealing. Speaking of which, does all the portions of the book that have already been revealed make you think that Sean Payton is a bit of a booze hound? Work hard, play hard, I guess. Anyway, I'm not trying to be critical of the man, clearly he's done a lot for the city of New Orleans and he's a fantastic football coach that seeks out high character and moral people to align himself with. You have to respect that. Besides, we don't want to be throwing stones when we live out of a glass house... just saying that alcohol (or vicodin) and Sean Payton do come up together from time to time (like the bottle of wine he stole from Jerry Jones) Anyway, I highly recommend checking this out and I will post a review as soon as I'm done with it.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Saints Nation: VOTE NOW as Your Saints are Up for Numerous ESPY Awards

The Saints are up for a large number of ESPY awards this year. Click HERE to go vote for them. Below are the Numerous categories you can find them in:

Best Male Athlete (Drew Brees)
Best Championship Performance (Drew Brees, Super Bowl XLIV)
Best Moment (New Orleans Saints, Super Bowl XLIV)
Best Team (New Orleans Saints)
Best Coach/Manager (Sean Payton)
Best NFL Player (Drew Brees)

That's 6 chances for the Saints to win a nationally recognized award. GO VOTE!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Saints Nation: Amit's Power Rankings

Below are Amit's offseason power rankings. 

1.Saints - Would you expect anything else? TWO DAT!
2. Vikings - Everyone knows Brett Favre is coming back.
3.Colts- With the loss of Tom Moore as their offensive coordinator, will Peyton Manning suffer a dropoff?
4.Packers - Aaron Rodgers is quickly making a name for himself as a top 5 elite quarterback, and with a great quarterback you're always going to be competitive.
5.Ravens- With the addition of Anquan Boldin and a spectacular draft which included Sergio Kindle, are the Ravens prepared to take over the AFC North?
6.Cowboys- With the addition of Dez Bryant, an explosive offense just became more explosive.
7.Jets - They appear to have gotten much stronger in the offseason, but will it translate on the field? Mark Sanchez will need to improve drastically for the Jets to have a real chance
8.Chargers - The LT era is over, but the Rivers era is as strong as ever.
9.Bengals- The additions of Antonio Bryant and Jordan Shipley will give this offense a potent passing attack to go along with a smash-mouth ground game.
10.Falcons- Will Matt Ryan’s progression be enough to lead the Dirty Birds to the playoffs?
11.Patriots- While Tom Brady is still the quarterback, the Patriots are still playoff contenders.
12.Texans- Will the addition of Kareem Jackson be enough to replace Dunta Robinson?
13.49ers- The additions of Anthony Davis and Mike Iupati will give the 49ers offense a better opportunity to move the ball down the field.
14.Dolphins- Will the additions of Brandon Marshall and Karlos Dansby send the Fins into the postseason?
15.Redskins - Depending on how healthy and performant Donovan McNabb will be, the Redskins will be dangerous, but good on paper has not translated well for them on the field.
16.Raiders - Can Jason Campbell resurrect the Raiders' previously dormant offense?
17.Giants- Can the Giants generate a pass rush to prevent other teams to pass all over them?
18.Titans- Can Chris Johnson repeat his 2009 performance in 2010?
19.Bears- Can Mike Martz help Jay Cutler fix his interception problem?
20.Eagles - How long before Kevin Kolb gives way to Mike Vick?
21.Steelers- Without Troy Polamalu, the Steelers’ defense was mediocre.  Will it be any better?
22.Panthers - Steve Smith being out for a big chunk of training camp won't help Matt Moore's development.
23.Broncos-Who will be their starting quarterback?
24.Cardinals- Matt Leinart has finally taken over the reins from Kurt Warner.
25.Seahawks- Is Pete Carroll just a college coach?
26.Bucs - The Bucs are still in rebuild mode and a year or two away from being competitive.
27.Lions- Can Ndamukong Suh be a dominant force for Jim Schwartz like Albert Haynesworth was?
28.Rams- Is Sam Bradford pro-ready?
29. Browns- Colt McCoy is the future, but Jake Delhomme is the present…present = bad
30.Chiefs- Can Jamaal Charles carry a team on his shoulders?
31.Jaguars- How can you justify taking a 2nd-3rd round prospect at #10 overall?
32.Bills- How will the addition of C.J. Spiller improve a team with an already crowded backfield?

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Saints Nation: Starting Lineup by Position (Special Teams)

As the season approaches, I'm taking a look going into training camp at the Saints position by position.Below are our special teams starters.

K: Garrett Hartley (pictured) has put his 4 game suspension and bad game winning miss opportunity against Tampa Bay behind him with a spectacular performance in the playoffs, including the kick that sent the Saints to the SuperBowl and three solid field goals in the SuperBowl. The Saints haven't brought in any competition for Hartley, so unlike last year when Hartley had John Carney looking over his shoulder the job is his to keep.

P: Not only is Thomas Morstead a fantastic punter, he's also a terrific kick off man. His boots have terrific hang time, and like Hartley there's no competition being brought in for him. The job is his and that won't change for a very long time. It's nice that the Saints have such good young specialists. Hopefully they won't need to worry about upgrading either position for a long time. 

KR: Courtney Roby comes back as the main return man. He's also a terrific gunner, and he was pretty spectacular last year. Don't expect anyone to unseat him.

PR: Reggie Bush was very shaky last year returning punts, but having him as the punt returner is another way to give his breakaway speed another chance to score. Bush sees limited reps in the offense with Pierre Thomas and Lynell Hamilton also splitting the carries, so you want to get him on the field more. I expect the job to be his again, but don't forget Rod Harper who was electrifying on punt returns last preseason.

LS: Don't forget Kevin House appeared to be a lock after having the position to himself for about 7 years last year. So, while Jason Kyle appears to be the clear favorite to long snap for the Saints again this year after doing a solid job last season, don't count out rookie free agent Clint Gresham, who is apparently pretty good in his own right.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Saints Nation: Joe Horn Retires a Saint

Per Greg Bensel's twitter page:

"Saints sign WR Joe Horn to a contract; will retire a Saint!"

Bensel is the Saints' Vice President of Communications, for those of you that don't know him.

I for one am very happy about this news. I know Horn left the Saints on less than ideal terms, and his signing with the rival Falcons directly afterward really ticked me off. That said, Horn was arguably the best receiver in New Orleans Saints history, and he was a big part of the team for a long time. Glad to see him retiring where he belongs, in black and gold. Horn ended his career with the Saints as the #2 all time in receptions and yardage (behind Eric Martin) and the #1 all time in touchdown receptions.Horn was a Pro Bowl selection four times during his tenure with the Saints. He stuck it out during some tough times, especially in the Katrina season where I thought he stood up for the city. Thanks for the memories #87!

Saints Nation: Starting Lineup by Position (Defense)

As the season approaches, I'm taking a look going into training camp at the Saints position by position. Below are our defensive starters.

LE: Charles Grant is gone. Bobby McCray is gone. That leaves it pretty clear that Alex Brown will be the main man in charge on the left end position as a new starter in the lineup. Jimmy Wilkerson, Anthony Hargrove and Jeff Charleston will both rotate in, but the job is Brown's.

RE: Will Smith is coming of his best season as a pro last year. Clearly Gregg Williams' scheme has helped him blossom, as well as a full season of health, and he'll continue to get the lion share of reps because he's an elite end regardless of down and distance. There's no scenario where he's not the best defensive end on the team's roster.

DT: Sedrick Ellis had this starting spot on lockdown and that's not going to change anytime soon.

DT: Remi Ayodele is the incumbent starter, but I would say his starting spot is in more jeopardy than pretty much any starter the roster. That's not to say he's not a promising up and coming young player, but Hargrove, DeMario Pressley and Al Woods will all push for playing time.

WLB: Every year the Saints bring in some veteran to compete with incumbent starter Scott Shanle, and every year he remains the starter. Whether you love him or think he's replaceable, the bottom line is Shanle is one of the more dependable guys in the league. The coaching staff loves him because there are no unknowns with Shanle. I think the Saints are very lucky to have him.

MLB: Jonathan Vilma. He's the captain, and this will not change. Gregg Williams relies on Vilma as much as anyone to carry out his scheme and direct his troops.

SLB: Right now the job is Jo-Lonn Dunbar's to lose, who will replace recently departed Scott Fujita. Dunbar is young and somewhat unproven, though, so he'll face some stiff competition from veteran Clint Ingram and promising youngster Stanley Arnoux. It's entirely possible that Ingram ends up as the opening day starter. Arnoux has a little more to prove at this point.

CB: Tracy Porter has become in a very short period of time one of the best young corners in the entire league. His name recognition around the country has risen significantly with his pick six in the SuperBowl, but if you're a Saints fan you know his worth in so much more than that one play he made.

CB: The Saints are fairly deep at corner and have good competition going on for different spots in the rotation. The starting spots, though, are entirely set. Jabari Greer (pictured) is the other corner, and he's arguably a better man to man defender than Porter. The Saints have the best cornerback tandem in team history. Still, consider the promising players behind them: Randall Gay, Malcolm Jenkins (who will play some safety), rookie Patrick Robinson, and Leigh Torrence.

FS: I mentioned Jenkins who is being moved to safety and being groomed as the eventual free safety of the future for the Saints. That said, the job currently belongs to Darren Sharper, and he hardly needs an introduction.

SS: Roman Harper is a hard hitting, young up and coming player. It'll be interesting to see if Chip Vaughn can give him some competition, but it's hard to see Harper losing his spot.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Saints Nation: Starting Lineup by Position (Offense)

As the season approaches, I'm taking a look going into training camp at the Saints position by position.Below are our offensive starters.

QB: Drew Brees (pictured) is of course the unquestioned starter. The only real question is how the competition will shake out behind him, but barring injury Brees won't be leaving the field.

HB: In case there was any question last year, I think it's now set in stone that Pierre Thomas is the starter. Reggie Bush's role is becoming more clear with each passing season, and while he's a terrific playmaker, he's not a starter. That doesn't mean Reggie won't get his fair share of looks, though. Thomas is the main back that will carry the load. With Mike Bell gone he may even see increased reps. Don't forget about Lynell Hamilton either who will also see more snaps.

FB: If Heath Evans comes back healthy, the starting job is his without question. The Saints brought in Jason McKie for a reason, though, and he'll provide insurance if Evans' recovery gets delayed. McKie is a capable blocker and fullback, but the job is Evans' if he's 100%.

TE: Jeremy Shockey is still the main man, but this is the second straight offseason he's had health issues, combined with the fact that he always seems to be hanged up during the season. David Thomas is a very solid and capable backup, and don't forget the upside of Jimmy Graham. Still, you have to figure Shockey is the starter unless something significant changes.

C: Jonathan Goodwin will not only get competition from veteran Nick Leckey this year, but rookie Matt Tennant. Hard to see Goodwin supplanted based on the Pro Bowl type year he had, though.

LG: Carl Nicks. Period, end of story.

RG: Considering the fact that Jahri Evans rightfully became the highest paid offensive guard in the history of the NFL, I'd say his job is pretty secure.

LT: Jermon Bushrod will start the year, I would think, based on the fact that he started last year. Careful, though, because I'd say he's probably got the least secure hold on his job than any other starter on the Saints' offense. Zach Strief is a great backup, and honestly I think the difference between the two in terms of overall performance has been negligible. The Saints also drafted Charles Brown who will get a chance to compete.

RT: Jon Stinchcomb had his first Pro Bowl invite last year and arguably his best season as a Saint. The guy just keeps getting better every year. He's now a reliable and seasoned veteran. If the backups want to make some noise at tackle, they better vie for the left spot because Stinchcomb has the right on lockdown.

Check back tomorrow for the defensive starters.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Saints Nation: League Notes

Not much going on in terms of Saints news this time of year, but there's been a good amount of notable things around the league.

Steve Smith of the Panthers broke his arm playing flag football and is out as many as 10 weeks, which likely puts him out until close to action on week 1. Not that you ever root for injuries to other teams, but this certainly isn't bad news for the Saints.

The Rams re-signed free safety O.J. Atogwe. What was he thinking?

Lawrence Taylor got indicted on rape charges. Sad to see this guy continue to struggle with awful decisions off the field.

Marc Bulger signed with the Baltimore Ravens. He'll be a pretty valuable backup for young starter Joe Flacco. I guess my hopes of the Saints grabbing him can now end, but it still looks like Patrick Ramsey will be signed next month.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Saints Nation: Saints Part Ways with Defensive End Bobby McCray

Shocking news coming out of Saints camp today as the team cut defensive end Bobby McCray. The Saints also released Charles Grant this offseason, but they also added veterans Alex Brown and Jimmy Wilkerson. McCray struggled with a balky back for the majority of 2009, but he was responsible for knocking both Kurt Warner and Brett Favre silly in the playoffs. I guess this means Wilkerson is recovering from his injury better than the team expected, and Anthony Hargrove might see more snaps at end. The player that's probably most beneficent of this news is veteran Jeff Charleston, because all of a sudden his chances of making the team received a huge boost. Apparently the Saints saved a $1.25 million roster bonus that was shortly due to McCray with the move to release him. Perhaps the Saints will use that money, and the cash they saved by trading Jammal Brown, to lock up Pierre Thomas, among others. The Saints have a sticky cap situation, remember, and they'll have to make tough decisions like these to keep around the players they want to hold on to.

I'm sad to see McCray go. He was a fun pass rusher to watch, though he was a big of a one trick pony. He was a terrific role player in his first year with the Saints, but last year he regressed severely due to his back problems. Perhaps the Saints felt like he wasn't making much progress. All the same, he's no longer on the team and looking for a new NFL job effective today. 

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Saints Nation: Phone Interview with Saints' Linebacker Scott Shanle

I have the pleasure of sharing with you guys my newest interview with Saints' starting linebacker and SuperBowl Champion Scott Shanle. I can tell you from my experience of blogging on the team that Scott has been one of the most "real" and approachable players on the team. I hope those of you that don't know much about him will gain a little respect for him after hearing this interview. Many thanks to him for taking time away from his family on Father's Day to grant me this interview. Scott touched on a variety of subjects, including the recent team OTAs, the break leading up to training camp, his football journey that eventually landed him to the Saints, the improved Saints' defense, the departure of Scott Fujita, the young linebacker's development and the team's chances for next season. You can listen to the interview by clicking HERE (there's also an old Heath Evans interview from this offseason you can check out too). I hope you enjoy! Below is a transcript of the conversation in case you would rather read than listen.

(on OTAs)

You know I was kind of looking forward to OTAs this year, just because I think after we had a season like we had and win the SuperBowl, you kind of want to see what the rest of your teammate's mindset is as far as going into the next season. The way our OTAs went I'm very encouraged. I think the guys showed up with this attitude that "hey we want to do this thing again". It felt too good and it was too great of an accomplishment not to come back hungry and driven to try to repeat.

(on if the SuperBowl celebration distractions are behind the team)

Yeah I definitely think so. I think it can work both ways, obviously we had a good time and the city had a good time with their little champions. But throughout the process, and you know when I still go places and still hear people talk to me about how big of a deal it is to them and how important it is, I think the celebration has continued and it's developed the bond between the city even more when you find out that people are still so excited about it. It makes you feel good that you brought that much joy to the city.

(on what he'll do during this break period)

Right now you want to get away a little bit, but you can't get away so much that you get out of shape because of everything we worked for in the past three months preparing for the 2010 season. You don't want to lose your conditioning and your mindset in the 5 weeks we have before training camp. I'm going to take a little trip home and see some family, maybe go over to Destin and hit the beach for a couple of days with the kids. After that it's pretty simple: I'm working out every day and just getting my mind focused on the upcoming season.

(on his journey as a football player that led to being a starting linebacker on the SuperBowl champion)

Going all the way back to high school before going to Nebraska, I got recruited late in the process. The main thing, and you know I was recruited by a couple other big 12 schools, but I played 8 man football coming out of high school. Not too many division 1 schools are looking at guys playing 8 man football, it's hard to judge exactly how good they are or what type of competition they are going against. From the get go I had to prove myself, and like you mentioned, all along the journey I had I never had anything given to me. Everything I've accomplished being a starter and being on the World Champion Saints wasn't given to me. It wasn't given to me because I was a 1st round pick (he was drafted in the 7th round), it wasn't given to me because I signed a mega multi million dollar contract and they had to play me. At the end of the day it feels good knowing that everything I've gotten is because I worked hard for it. I've taken the opportunities given to me and the chances to show that I can play, and I made the most of them. That's why I think I am where I am right now.

(on what made the defense so much better in 2009 than previous years he was with the team)

You know I think there were a few variables that came into play. Obviously I think Gary Gibbs is a great football coach, and I think Gregg Williams is a great football coach. Obviously both of them had different approaches to the game. Gary is more of a laid back guy, and Gregg majored in the psychological part of it as far as motivating players, and (Williams') defensive schemes are more aggressive, more complex as far as looks that we give which I thought made us better on defense. Last year we knew every week we were going to cover a guy man to man most of the time that's what we do. Along with that the secondary played as well as any year that I've been (in New Orleans). I mean, Darren Sharper wasn't around the other 3 years I've been here, Tracy Porter emerged as one of the top corners in the league and Jabari Greer is one of the best man to man guys in the league. I think the play of our secondary really carried us to where we got.

(so the secondary was the main difference)

Yeah, I think when you look at the transformation of the defense. Obviously you do have to start with Gregg because I think Gregg did a great job of stirring things up when he got here, letting guys know he had a no nonsense approach. He didn't care where you were drafted or how much money you were making, the best guys were going to play on Sunday. As a player, you respect that about a coach. He did it before when he was in Washington: LaVar Arrington, 1st round pick, Pro Bowl year I think he had, and he didn't play the way Gregg wanted him to play or play in the scheme like he wanted him to, so he sat him down. I think as a player when you see a coach like that you gain a lot of respect for them knowing that they want to win every week and come Sunday they aren't going to compromise the other 10 guys on the field. You know, a lot of coaches may say "hey were going to play the best guys" but I'm guaranteeing you with 75% of the other NFL teams it's really lip service because a lot of times the general managers or the owners are saying who has to play based on their contract status or their draft status, you're not going to pay a guy a ton of money to sit. But Gregg has a lot of say here and he's shown that he's a man of his word when he says he's going to play the best guys.

(on the departure of Scott Fujita)

At the start of OTAs it really was different to me. For the last 4 years and even the year before in Dallas, I was used to looking over to that other linebacker spot and seeing him there on a daily basis. So it was weird at the start of OTAs, but a lot of the guys we have now, you know Jo-Lonn Dunbar played a lot in his spot last year when Scott had some injuries and he performed well. From the friendship side of it it does make it a little more difficult. When you develop a friendship with someone, when you develop a trust that every week and every Sunday you know exactly what you're going to get... you know, we would joke around at practice and stuff, we kind of have the same personalities and going back to what I was saying before we were both guys that weren't handed anything. Scott walked on at Cal, he was a 5th round draft pick, he earned everything he got. I think it was easy for us to kind of identify with each other and that kind of brought us together.

(on the young linebackers currently on the roster)

I've always been more of a leader by example guy. With Scott as more of a vocal leader, he's now gone, and Jonathan Vilma as our defensive captain, I've always sat back and let them kind of handle the vocal role. It's my turn to step up and help a lot of those young guys, get let them know what's helped me to play 7 years, now going into my 8th. I take that responsibility more seriously of being more vocal, because by nature that's just not me. I'm just not a vocal person. But you know after seeing those guys in OTAs, they've calmed a lot of, not fears, but let's say questions as far as "who can play this spot as well as Scott did". Jo-Lonn played a lot of snaps in his spot last year. Stanley Arnoux is a good player, he's very athletic, he just needs the experience and the reps. Jonathan Casillas played the last couple games of the last season when I was out. They have the experience and they're good athletes, it's almost like they kind of have to grow up in a hurry, but when you have the ability that they have you can do it.

(thoughts on the upcoming season)

You know, I'm gonna go out and I'm gonna say after we've been through OTAs, I was telling this to someone the other day, we are a better team right now in 2010 than we were at this point in 2009. The experience coming back, we've all had one year of experience in Gregg Williams' scheme, we all know what's expected. We can play fast, there is no hesitation in our play. I think defensively there's no reason we can't be a top 10 defense, that's for sure. Our offense, you know, they've given us the last 3 years a great advantage every Sunday. As far as the season, there' different variables as far as injuries and stuff, as long as we stay healthy I like the way our schedule looks. There's no reason we shouldn't be hosting a playoff game and a number one seed would be ideal, but I think we can do the same again.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Saints Nation Breaking News: Jammal Brown Traded to Washington Redskins

Former Pro Bowl Left Tackle Jammal Brown has been traded to the Washington Redskins, per ESPN analyst Adam Schefter. Per his twitter account, "Washington is trying to finalize a trade for Saints OT Jammal Brown. The trade is not believed to involve disgruntled DT Albert Haynesworth." He follows that with: "OT Jammal Brown landed in Washington minutes ago. He is scheduled to undergo his physical today. If he passes, the trade will be complete. No word on official compensation from Washington to New Orleans, but it's thought to be tied to Jammal Brown's performance in 2010." My guess is the Saints got a 2011 draft pick for Brown, most likely in the 3rd or 4th round, provided he meets playing time standards. I will update as soon as official word comes out for what the Saints receive in return. Brown was injured in 2009 and placed on injured reserve for the season. Youngster Jermon Bushrod filled in his shoes admirably, and with Bushrod's emergence, valuable backup Zach Strief on the squad, and new rookie draftee Charles Brown on the roster, Jammal Brown apparently became expendable.  Brown was the lone remaining unsigned restricted free agent, so with this trade the restricted free agent to-do list is complete, pending any extensions the Saints want to make.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Saints Nation: Saints Re-Sign Lance Moore to One Year Tender, Release Running Back Christian Ducre

Wide receiver Lance Moore, pictured outstretched reaching for a crucial two point conversion in the last SuperBowl, has signed his one year restricted contract tender and is now officially back with the New Orleans Saints team. Like Pierre Thomas and Roman Harper, he hopes to sign a long term deal in the not to distant future, but this contract will do for the time being. This news was confirmed by Jeff Duncan's twitter page, which also announced the corresponding roster subtraction of rookie free agent running back Christian Ducre of Mississippi State. I'm a little disappointed to see him go because I was looking forward to seeing him compete in the preseason, but evidently the Saints saw enough in OTAs to decide he wasn't worth keeping around.

None the less, it's great to see Lance Moore back and hopefully it's for more than just a year. With that signing Jammal Brown is now the lone remaining restricted free agent that's still unsigned by the Saints.

Saints Nation Fans Have Spoken: Marques Colston Is the Best 7th Round Draft Choice of the Sean Payton Era

Let's face it, it's a no brainer that Marques Colston won this Saints Nation poll. In fact, Colston may be one of the best 7th round picks in the last 10 years in the NFL. No shock that he received 90% of the vote. I do want to commend the Sean Payton/Mickey Loomis regime, though, for getting great value traditionally with that 7th round choice.

Consider that out of that round they've also added indispensable backup lineman Zach Strief, Marvin Mitchell who's been Jonathan Vilma's primary backup, and promising receiver Adrian Arrington. No doubt none of these guys are nowhere near the scale of accomplishment that Colston has made, but they are solid value at the place they were chosen none the less. Most teams don't find those kind of quality players that late in the draft on a consistent basis.

Thanks for participating in the Saints Nation poll, and please vote in the new poll on the right side of the site: Which 2010 offseason addition will have the biggest impact on the Saints upcoming season?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Saints Nation: Team Receives Their SuperBowl Rings, Tweets From the Evening

So the team finally got their rings! Check it out! Not bad, huh? Below are some tweets from the evening to get you all caught up on the festivities:

T_Porter22 I'm bout to get my ring!!!!!!


TylerLorenzen this is unreal  

T_Porter22 GOT IT!!!! OMG!!!!  

ChaseDaniel Super Bowl XLIV Champions!!!  

usama_young28 We got the rings! Here is Dunbar showin his off  

JeremyShockey Wow what a great RING.. good Luck everyone!! Try to get 1... what a great goal to reach.... Night Night ill br sleeping with  

drewbrees My wife Brittany and I after our Super Bowl Ring party tonight. This is a special night. We love you New Orle  

Pierre_Thomas super bowl champs baby!! 

cgrant94 Its fareal
LanceMoore16 Had a great night tonight. Got the super bowl ring n for those who have not seen it there will be a nice twitpic in the am. Good night all!  

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Saints Nation: Saints Wrapping Up OTAs

The Saints are wrapping things up today at OTAs before they take a break for a lengthy stretch leading into training camp (which starts on July 29th). The team is scheduled to receive their SuperBowl rings today, and I'll post the comments the players make on twitter once that happens here. I have a feeling we'll be getting lots of feedback. It'll be nice for the players to get a little break from football and relax. The one tricky thing about winning a SuperBowl is your season is extended much further than the competition, which means you get less downtime in the offseason. Since winning the big game the Saints players have been flooded with appearance and media requests. It's all very draining and time consuming. It comes with the territory, sure, but one must never underestimate the need to recharge batteries. Hopefully they'll get an opportunity to do that now.  The OTAs were all about installing the playbook and getting the group on board with the terminology and system. Getting through that portion of the offseason is an accomplishment, and the players can now enjoy a well deserved break. Once training camp hits on July 29th, the real fun (and work) starts!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Saints Nation: Roman Harper Re-Signs with Saints

Starting strong safety Roman Harper followed suit with Pierre Thomas and signed his one year restricted free agent tender today. Cornerback Greg Fassitt and receiver Roy Hall were apparently both released to make room for Harper and Thomas on the roster.

Now that Harper is on board it just leaves Lance Moore and Jammal Brown as the remaining restricted free agents that have yet to sign contracts. Nice to see our boys back in the fold. Hopefully Mr. Loomis will make that more long term soon!

Saints Nation: Pierre Thomas Signs One Year Tender to Remain with Saints

Pierre Thomas has signed his one year tender worth $1.7 million, officially making him part of the Saints' 2010 roster. While the running back still hopes to get a long term deal done, this at least guarantees he'll be on the team in the short term. Nice to see him back!

The article also says we should expect Roman Harper and Lance Moore to sign their tenders in the very near future. While I still hope Thomas can get a deal done before feelings get hurt and bad blood develops, at least he's on board. Thomas has been the team leader in rushing yards the past two seasons, as well as the team leader in rushing yards in the 2009 playoffs. He's also found the end zone 20 times in the last two season, which is a very impressive number. That's not counting the 3 scores he had in the postseason. It's a no brainer that we keep this guy.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Saints Nation: Heath Evans Expect to be Close to 100% by Training Camp

Good news coming out of Saints' OTAs as Heath Evans is "ahead of schedule", according to Saints coach Sean Payton. It sounds like he'll be pretty close to 100% by training camp and good to go for week 1 against the Vikings. Don't forget the Saints also added fullback Jason McKie as insurance for Evans in case he's not ready to go. Hopefully the Saints' running game will be in great shape by week 1. The Saints ran for around 35 yards less per game last year with Evans out of the lineup. He's an integral part of the team, and a useful weapon at times as a security valve in the passing game.

Nice to see!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Saints Nation: Are Offseason Issues Signs of a Bigger Problem for Saints?

Times-Picayune writer Jeff Duncan has suggested in his most recent article that, paraphrasing, the Saints are in the midst of a SuperBowl hangover that will cost them a disappointing upcoming season. He wrote THIS ARTICLE, entitled "New Orleans Saints' offseason distractions continuing to mount". He's correct that there's been some items of note happening lately, but are they truly worthy of major concern?

Here are the items that Duncan lists as part of the "mounting distractions":

1. Jeremy Shockey (pictured) having a bad attitude at a fan signing.
2. Shockey having "seizure like symptoms" in the weight room.
3. Pierre Thomas' contract situation.
4. Vicodin-gate.
5. Reggie Bush's involvement in the USC scandal.
6. The team wide visit to Plaquemines Parish to witness the oil spill.

No doubt, the items listed above a each concerning to various degrees, and they can add up to one big problem. But are they different from any other offseason? Let's recap the offseason before the SuperBowl run:

1 This isn't the first time Shockey has been accused of being disassociated at his signings. The guy is a little bit shy socially. I realize he has a number of fans, and a responsibility to respect them, but this is nothing new. We shouldn't expect all Saints players to act like Drew Brees. Shockey caused news when ran his mouth publicly last offseason, inappropriately. We should be used to this.
2. Shockey passed out in Las Vegas from "dehydration" last offseason, which was the same diagnosis for the weight room incident. 
3. Contract situation? Are you kidding me? Every single team in every single offseason deals with contract issues. Malcolm Jenkins had the longest holdout in the past decade for the Saints last year.
4. So Vicodin-gate, especially if true, sounds very serious. Let's not forget, though, the Kevin Houser tax fiasco was a pretty big scale distraction that had/has legal implications too.
5. So USC got caught cheating and Reggie Bush was involved in the violations. While this issue is a little more unique, this is something that happened 5+ years ago. It's coming to a head now, but it's out of Bush's control and I think he's done a good job to ignore the situation.
6. The oil spill. Seriously? First of all, the Saints help the community every single offseason, and they made the NFC Championship a year after Hurricane Katrina. That was the most devastating natural disaster in American history, and almost wiped the city of New Orleans completely off the map. I think the oil spill pales in comparison to how it affects the players.

Please don't misunderstand me as saying these things should be ignored, or that they are not a big deal. They're all serious in their own right. My only point is these "offseason issues" are really not that different from the "offseason issues" that confronted the Saints last year. We all know how that season turned out. Every team faces offseason distractions. The bottom line is it won't affect how the team performs on the field unless the team lets it. I think the Saints have enough focused professionals to avoid that. They may or may not win the SuperBowl again this year, but it won't be because Reggie Bush got his Heisman taken away, or because Jeremy Shockey is a meanie.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Saints Nation: SuperBowl Ring Raffle!

The Saints are offering a raffle for a chance to win an authentic SuperBowl ring the players will wear! All proceeds go to the oil spill relief. Click HERE to enter in the raffle!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Saints Nation Fans Have Spoken: Mike Hass Is the Best 6th Round Draft Choice of the Sean Payton Era

Pretty sad that Mike Hass is voted as the best 6th round pick of the Sean Payton era. Consider the other choices, Josh Lay and Taylor Mehlhaff, are no longer in the league. Maybe next year Payton can make a decent selection with that round, the achilles heel of the coaching staff's drafting. The good news is the 7th round had a lot better picks. Please vote on the right side of the page for your best 7th pick in the Payton era.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Saints Nation: Saints Raise Awareness of Oil Spill

The entire Saints' roster and coaching staff spent yesterday visiting Plaquemines Parish to see first hand the damage that the oil spill has caused to the coast. Above you can see several Saints players peaking at the rescued pelicans covered in oil that are in desperate need of cleaning. The media was in full force to cover the event, including national outlet ESPN, so it was great to see our boys raise awareness about this tragedy. The Saints also announced they will be raffling off an authentic Super Bowl Ring, with all proceeds going to help the cleanup efforts. You can read more about the Saints' trip and player's thoughts about the experience on NOLA and on the Saints' official website.

Is it just me, or are the Saints by far the most community active sports franchise out there? Maybe I'm biased, and maybe I'm more aware of the things they do because I follow them more closely than anyone else, but it sure seems like it. Like Drew Brees said, "If people didn’t see a bond between the team and the city and region before the Super Bowl, I think everybody sees that now". The experience of rooting for the Saints is like no other sports team in the world. It's almost like there's a connection between the team, players and fans that goes beyond sports. It's great that the entire team went on that visit, but it's even more touching to see how much all of these guys care. It's pretty remarkable seeing as how the vast majority of these players aren't even from the area, but during their time in the city New Orleans has adopted them as their own.

Make sure you enter the raffle for your chance to win an authentic Super Bowl ring while donating to a very important cause. If you're a Saints fan, there's no way this tragedy hasn't affected you in some way, so donate to the cause and raise awareness. I know I am!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Saints Nation: Saints Add Another Ex Bear, Guard Terrence Metcalf

8 year veteran Terrence Metcalf has signed on to join the Saints with a one year deal. He joins Alex Brown and Jason McKie as former Bears to sign with the Saints this offseason. With the recent release of Jamar Nesbit, Metcalf is the lone proven veteran backup guard on the team. Given his competition, he could easily end up on the team's final 53 as interior depth on the offensive line. The Saints released rookie free agent Joe Tonga to make room for Metcalf on the roster.

I like the move. Metcalf is a proven veteran that's a capable player in the league. With the loss of Nesbit this offseason, the Saints needed a player to step in and provide depth behind Nicks and Evans. Should anything happen to those two stud guards, God forbid, I feel confident Metcalf could be the guy to give the Saints a good to adequate fill in performance.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Saints Nation: Patrick Ramsey to Saints a Foregone Conclusion?

Former Tulane standout quarterback Patrick Ramsey (pictured) seems to be destined to become the backup quarterback to Drew Brees this upcoming season. ESPN analyst Chris Mortensen had this to say on his twitter account:

"2 things you can basicallly bank on : Mark Brunell to the Jets & Patrick Ramsey to the Saints come mid-July as backup QBs."

Ignoring the fact that Mortensen adds too many L's to the word "basically", the guy does know what he's talking about. We already know the Saints host both Ramsey and veteran Josh McCown early this offseason. The timetable for signing him makes sense, because mid July is when the top 8 rules on signing unrestricted free agents are lifted. Ramsey must have outperformed McCown in those recent workouts, which means he'll likely make a return to New Orleans after spending his undergraduate days playing in the Superdome for the Green Wave. It sounds like 2nd year quarterback Chase Daniel hasn't been lighting things up in mini-camp, either, so I'm sure that's done little to make the Saints re-consider bringing in Ramsey.

Ramsey is a solid backup that I believe would represent an upgrade over Mark Brunell at this point in their respective careers. The Ruston, LA native is entering his 8th season in the NFL, playing as a starter for the Washington Redskins, and a backup for the Jets, Broncos, Titans and Lions. Ramsey was originally the 32nd pick overall in the first round by the Redskins in 2002.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Saints Nation: Review of "Saints: Road to Super Bowl XLIV"

Thanks to Jim G., I was able to get a review on the Blu-Ray Saints' disc that's out there. A copy of the Blu-Ray disc can be found HERE, on sale for $38.99. Here's his take:

"I just finished screening my copy of "Saints - Road to XLIV". It's a two-disc set with 4 complete games. The Redskins in the regular season, the two playoff games and the Superbowl.

The disc I got was Blu Ray and I watched it on my Vizio HD 42" screen. The picture quality was excellent.

The games are the original network broadcast with the original announcers and have been edited a bit for time. If you've seen NFL Replay games that come in at an hour and a half, these games are similar, but have less cut out. They leave all the plays, but cut out time outs, reviews, sometimes a huddle here and there, and of course, commercials. It is therefore, non-stop Saints action. There is very little on the disc other than the games.

The first two games, which are the Redskins and Cardinals on Disc One, have no pregame or postgame at all. There are also no special features.

Disc Two features the Vikings, and the Superbowl with the Colts. They've included the pregame two-shot of the announcers on both, but there is no postgame on the Vikings game and only a few wide shots on the field (about a minute's worth) after the Superbowl. The only Special Feature is a pop-up trivia option for the Superbowl. At first I found it a bit annoying, but I shortly got used to it and there are a few comments I found interesting.

I already have "Super Bowl XLIV Champions" the NFL recap of the '09 season including the Superbowl and that disc has plenty of extras, enough to satisfy, but no entire games. I'm really happy with the "Saints - Road to XLIV" because I wanted the Superbowl in its entirety. The other 3 games are an excellent bonus. If you're a Saints fan like me, you can never get enough, so for the Superbowl-winning year I find that the two discs by NFL Films, "Super Bowl XLIV Champions" and "Saints - Road to XLIV" are super satisfying and an absolute must addition to my video collection."
Much thanks to Jim for the excellent review. Sounds like I'll be buying my copy right now and I recommend Saints fans out there do the same!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Saints Nation: Pierre Thomas and Jammal Brown Still Absent, This Time for Minicamps

Jammal Brown (pictured) and Pierre Thomas are both MIA for this weekend's minicamp according to ESPN (story). No real surprises there but I don't really see a deal getting done for either anytime soon. In Brown's case, I don't see a long term deal getting done at all. It's interesting that Roman Harper and Lance Moore, while in the same position contractually, continue to take the approach of showing up to practice. Technically none of these four players are under contract, so they are under no obligation. The question we're all wondering is how long Mickey Loomis will allow these deals to drag along. He'll need to turn his attention towards signing the Saints' draftees in the not too distant future, so one would think he'd want to get these veterans locked up before focusing on getting the rookies into training camp. Camp is officially set to commence on July 29th, so realistically we should expect that for the next month this is Loomis' priority. Traditionally the Saints haven't really started signing rookie draftees until the week before training camp or so. Sometimes a little earlier, but Loomis historically waits till the 11th hour on that task. Don't expect any of the rookies to ink a deal until well into July, unlike the Bears who I believe have close to the entirety of their draft class already signed. That leaves a window that's relatively sizable to sign Moore, Harper, Thomas and Brown, but it's closing by the day.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Saints Nation: The Sharper vs. Shiancoe Fiasco

I've purposefully tried to avoid talking about this ongoing twitter battle because it's stupid. Visanthe Shiancoe (tight end of the Minnesota Vikings) and Darren Sharper are friends, and the twitter war back and forth between the two was supposed to be nothing more than a couple friends joking around. In my mind that was hardly newsworthy, and the media has totally blown this out of proportion. But then Shiancoe had to go ahead and drop the terrorist reference and now the story is getting heavy national exposure. For those of you that are lost, the Vikings and Saints play on Thursday, September 9th in the season opener and rematch of the NFC Championship. Sharper used to play for the Vikings, and had a lot of relationships from his time there, including one with Visanthe Shiancoe. To catch you up on what went down, below is the documented back and forth of their twitter trash talk:

Darren Sharper: Well y'all seen Brett had surgery on that ankle we got after in the championship game. Come Thursday night 1st game. X marks the spot. I've seen him play on one leg, but not against the WHO DAT nation.

Visanthe Shiancoe"That's all good. But Sharper had surgery, too. And it was a knee. If 'X' marks the spot on Brett, I wonder what marks the spot on Sharper?"

DS: So visanthe stankoe X marks the spot on me, how bout X marks the spot for how many catches and TDs you'll have come Thursday night. X = zero

VS: You went for my legs twice in the championship game.. it was mano y mano, I would think that the mighty "Sharper Shaker" wouldnt shy from a little thudding.

DS: If you feeling yourself put your game check on it. No TDs and less than 3 catches you give me your game check. Now whose talking.

VS: TRUE STORY! Before target practice a soldier suggested a custom target for me. Guess he wanted to start my engine early for the SAINTS game! "X- marks the spot".. Loved the idea, ehhh so I went for it   

DS: ok homeboy you done went too far, making me out to be something that has brought this country alot of heartache. Imma bust you right under your chinstrap from the first play on. I don't care about the fine. F the money Imma do it for the red,white&blue. And you'll see me cuz I'll be dressed in black & gold. Protect your neck that's all the warning you get.

VS: Those statements were the epitome of a crooked politician.. have some class "homeboy". That target was already set up for me... No insult was intended to anyone. You are the FURTHEST thing from a physical safety.. even you know that your sofT with a capital "T!" You remind me of a growling chihuahua. don't get your jaw broken trying to be a tough guy. Stay "sofT" and be yourself.. a ball hawk 

My take is it's still just two friends jarring at each other that got a little personal. This kind of talk happens for entire games on the field. The only difference with this is it's posted on a social network and it's in plain sight for all to see. Trust me, much worse gets said by the second on the football field. You think this is offensive? Spend 2 seconds in an NFL locker room or huddle. The back and forth does add a little hype to the game... I'll give it that. I'm looking forward to seeing how Sharper performs and what kind of stats Shiancoe puts up. But I don't recommend reading anything into these comments. Did Shiancoe take it too far? Maybe, maybe not, but that's the direction their back and forth was headed if they kept going. It's not like Sharper is free of blame because he started all of this to begin with.  

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Saints Nation Fans Have Spoken: Carl Nicks is the Best 5th Round Draft Choice of the Sean Payton Era

Carl Nicks tallied 70% of the vote to pull away with the designation of being the best 5th round draft choice in the Sean Payton era. Punter Thomas Morstead did receive a respectable 24% of the vote, but there's no denying how valuable Nicks has been to the Saints' line. Thanks for your participation and please vote in the new Saints Nation Poll on the right side of the site: Who is the best 6th round draft choice of the Sean Payton era?

Fair warning: The choices are AWFUL, and none of the 3 guys remain with the team. In fact, only one is still in the league (receiver Mike Hass).

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Saints Nation: Top 10 Most Valuable New Orleans Saints in 2010

Going into each season, I put together a list of the top 10 most valuable Saints. Last year, my top 10 picks were the following.What a difference a year makes, right? Jammal Brown was 3rd, and now he's not even in the top 10. Here's my list for 2010:

1. Drew Brees: No surprise here, and this much is indisputable. He's arguably the best quarterback in the NFL, and by far the best player on the team. As always, the Saints will go as far as Drew Brees takes them (2009 pick: Drew Brees).

2. Tracy Porter: This pick is going to shock some people, but Porter proved to me all season and in the playoffs last year that he's one of the premiere up and coming young corners in the league. Don't get me wrong, Jabari Greer is valuable as well because he keeps quarterbacks throwing to Porter's side a bit thanks to his own good play, but Porter has turned into an elite playmaker on defense. Porter helps Darren Sharper make plays, and he helps Will Smith get to the quarterback. He makes everyone around him better, and he's a catalyst in the Gregg Williams defense (2009 pick: Jonathan Vilma).

3. Jahri Evans: Evans is the best player on the offensive line, no doubt about it. He's equally dominant on running plays as he is passing plays. Brees stepped up in the pocket more than ever last year to avoid pass rushes off the edge, and it was Evans' impeccable interior blocking that allowed him to do so without getting hit. Evans was just rewarded with a massive new contract and he'll anchor the Saints' line for a long time (2009 pick: Jammal Brown).

4. Darren Sharper: He's getting older and there's questions about how he'll rebound from microfracture surgery on his knee, but how can anyone deny the impact he had on and off the field for the Saints' defense in 2009? The guy had 9 interceptions, which ties a career high, 15 defended passes, which is a career high, and he broke the NFL record for most interception returns yards in a season with 376. I wouldn't bet against the guy coming back to have another incredibly productive season.(2009 pick: Pierre Thomas)

5. Pierre Thomas: In three seasons with the Saints, Thomas averaged a staggering 5.1 yards per carry, which includes 5.4 yards per carry in 2009. He keeps the chains moving and he's often finding his way into the end zone. Last year I think Thomas successfully made the transition from a seldom talked about role player around the league, to a well recognized legitimate playmaker. Granted the Saints are a pass first offense, but that's opened massive lanes for Thomas take advantage of. He's been by far the most successful runner for the Saints the last three years. Hopefully the Saints can get his contract situation resolved soon. (2009 pick: Marques Colston)

6. Jonathan Vilma: As you've noticed, Vilma's stock has dropped a little bit in terms of how important he is to the Saints compared to last year when I had him ranked #2. But the drop to #6 does not reflect a drop off in performance from Vilma, it reflects the fact that a lot of players on the team have become more valuable thanks to improved defensive play and team play overall. In 2008, Vilma was one of the lone bright spots on the entire defense. In 2009, you could name him along with several others that made a difference. His tackle tally did drop off from 2008 (110 vs. 132), but his interception total rose (3 vs. 1). Vilma is still the captain of the defense and the primary tackler. (2009 pick: Will Smith)

7. Will Smith: Don't worry Will Smith, I haven't forgotten about you. Smith had a career high 13 sacks in 2009. Great to see him bounce back after what was a disastrous 2008 campaign for him. I still had him ranked as the 6th most valuable Saint going into 2009, and despite a career year he drops 1 place. That should tell you how much better the Saints have gotten as a team. If he had had that kind of season in 2008, Will Smith would probably have been rated #2 behind Brees last year. Smith represents the best pass rushing threat on the team, and he's also very good against the run. It's nice to have such a well rounded defensive end that is living up to his contract (I'm looking at you Charles Grant). Expect great things out of Smith again this year with so many good players around him doing their part. (2009 pick: Darren Sharper)

8. Sedrick Ellis: I didn't have him in the top 10 last year, but I think it's clear he's developing into a crucial element on the roster. His play continues to improve, and I believe he has the talent to be a perennial Pro Bowler. Ellis is without question the most instrumental piece in helping the Saints improve against the run. If there was one statistical place that left the Saints lacking in 2009, it was their run defense. Ultimately, we'll need an even better season from Ellis to improve in that area. He's not too shabby getting pressure up the middle, either. (2009 pick: Jahri Evans)

9. Reggie Bush: The "X factor" moves up one spot from #10 last year. I think the Saints have finally understood his place in the offense, and they've found the number of reps they're comfortable giving him that keep him healthy throughout a season. Bush showed major improvement in the running game last year, averaging a very impressive 5.6 yards per carry. Prior to last year, his highest average per carry for a season was 3.8, so that was a major difference. Bush is also a terrific security valve in the passing game that can turn a short flare pass into something deadly. His breakaway speed is something that needs to be accounted for at all times. Bush as a decoy is as deadly as Bush with the ball, because it creates huge plays for other offensive weapons. Bush did see a major drop off in his punt return performance last year, and that was the one area I was very disappointed with. That said, he did take one to the house against the Cardinals in the playoffs, so hopefully he can build from that. (2009 pick: Bobby McCray)

10. Marques Colston: Colston has had some injury issues as of late that have stunted his development a little bit. I still think he's an elite receiver in the league, but Brees made it clear last year it does not matter who's on the field. He will find the open guy, rack up stats, and put up points for his team. Still, Colston has a huge frame that's essential for moving the chains and making tough catches in the red zone. He's still Brees' primary target and plays a big part in the team's passing success, but he hasn't yet been able to duplicate the peak performance we saw from him in his second season. He's been steady and valuable, just not as dominant. (2009 pick: Reggie Bush)

There's definitely a lot of very good players that could have made this list, but didn't. It's fun to see how things change from year to year, so I'm looking forward to doing this again next year.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Saints Nation: Mark Brunell to Jets?

Rumor around the league is that Mark Brunell has a handshake agreement in place with the Jets, and he'll sign with the team as soon as he is able to. The Jets are handicapped by the same "final 8" rule that the Saints have been dealing with in free agency. Simply put, they cannot sign an unrestricted free agent unless they lose one of their own. That regulation comes to an end on July 22nd, at which point the Jets would be free to sign Brunell. Some believe this is a foregone conclusion, and the official announcement of the signing will be made once July 22nd passes.

Personally, this bothers me zero. Brunell made it clear in his start against Carolina last year that he's done. I've met him before and he's a super nice guy, a smart player, and he has a decorated career. But, at this point, I don't think he's capable of coming in and holding down the fort should something happen... I'm not even going to finish that sentence. Let's face it, the guy is 40 in September and it's time to move on. Right now Chase Daniel is Brunell's heir as the #2 quarterback, but Times-Picayune press continues to suggest a veteran will be added to the mix eventually. Like the Jets, I think the Saints are waiting till July 22nd so they are free from the shackles of the uncapped season free agent market. Based on the visits that went well with Patrick Ramsey and Josh McCown, I believe one of those two men will be the backup. While I think McCown is the better quarterback of the two, word has it Ramsey had the superior visit. My prediction is the Saints will sign Patrick Ramsey on July 23rd. Stay tuned...