New Orleans Saints News: Regular Season and Preseason Updates
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3/25/15: It has taken a few weeks, but those who follow the NFL are starting to get beyond the shock of trading all-world tight end Jimmy Graham and are now focusing on the return that the New Orleans Saints got back - namely all-pro center Max Unger, a first round pick and salary cap relief. In all, that is a pretty good return and the Saints should be pleased. Of course, the team is still in a salary cap crunch and there are still some moves that need to be made before they are really comfortable. Unfortunately, that puts the long term future of franchise QB Drew Brees in doubt.
3/18/15: New Orleans is broke. No, that is not a headline for the city (though it could be for any day over the past several decades). The Saints are simply well over the salary cap and had to make some tough decisions to get in compliance. That included trading away star tight end Jimmy Graham to the Seattle Seahawks. Apparently, QB Drew Brees was surprised and not happy with this move. The Saints got some salary cap relief from the deal, but did alright otherwise. They did receive two time all-pro center Max Unger and a first round pick in the deal.
3/11/15: The New Orleans Saints may be running out of running backs. A year ago, they traded Darren Sproles to the Eagles and this year they are releasing Pierre Thomas. Thomas is a study in determination. He was an undrafted free agent when he signed with the Saints in 2007. In eight years with the team, he totaled 3,745 yards rushing with 28 touchdowns and 2,608 yards receiving with 12 touchdowns. But, now at age 30, the Saints are looking to save money and go younger. The move likely opens up more playing time for Travaris Cadet, if the Saints elect to keep him.
3/4/15: The situation involving Saints owner Tom Benson's will and succession plan for the team and the NBA's New Orleans Pelicans continues to make headlines with little advancement. Benson asked a Texas board of appeals to expedite the process, though that was denied last week. About a month ago, a Texas judge ruled that Benson needed help in managing his assets. Benson claims that is costing him $20,000 per day, which seems like a rather large amount. The appeals panel also indicated that they would not be inclined to extend the 60-day window either. Stay tuned as this case gets more involved and possibly very personal.
2/25/15: Give Saints Drew Brees some credit for helping out a young QB. Brees reached out to Ohio State's Braxton Miller to offer encouragement and support. Miller suffered the same injury Brees did 10 years ago - then had to watch as his two backups became stars in their own right, threatening his playing time. For Brees, it meant leaving the San Diego Chargers and watching the Miami Dolphins take Dante Culpepper over him. Brees, of course, ended up in New Orleans where he set many passing records and won a Super Bowl. Miller may end up leaving Ohio State and redefining his legacy elsewhere next season.
2/18/15: It may be Mardi Gras in New Orleans, the Krewes and balls are not interfering with the legal battle over the future ownership of the New Orleans Saints and Pelicans. Owner Tom Benson announced he was changing his will to give the teams to his wife. His daughter and grandchildren sued. Now Benson has been ordered to undergo a mental evaluation to determine if he is of sound mind and can make such decisions. In other news, the NFL has removed Rita Benson LeBlanc from two ownership committees citing that she is no longer with the Saints.
2/11/15: The New Orleans Saints missed the playoffs this past season and are trying to find ways to improve for 2015. Common sense says that upgrading the defense would be a good place to start, but that is for the front office and coaching staff to decide. While there is nothing to celebrate this season, it was five years ago last weekend that the Saints won their only Super Bowl. The highlight, as everyone will recall, was Sean Payton's gutsy decision to go for the onside kick to open the second half. The Saints got the ball and went on to beat the Indianapolis Colts 31-17.
2/5/15: The Saints future ownership saga is playing out like a script from a soap opera. To catch up, owner Tom Benson is 87 years old and in failing health, though he is still working. He changed his will to leave the Saints and New Orleans Pelicans to his wife Gayle. Previously, it would have been left to his daughter and grandchildren. The jilted trio then filed suit, insisting that Benson is incompetent and swayed by his wife. Now Benson has some family support. Another granddaughter, Dawn Jones, released a statement supporting Benson and denouncing her aunt and cousins. It is a shame that greed and money are tearing apart a family, and it is worse that this is real life and not a soap opera.
1/28/15: Family issues can cause so much stress and it is likely that Saints owner Tom Benson is feeling that now. Benson recently changed his order of succession for the Saints and the New Orleans Pelicans of the NBA so that his wife would take over as owner upon his death. Previously, it was that his granddaughter, Rita Benson LeBlanc, would take over the team. However, there is rumors and speculation that her management style was too harsh. While this news is unexpected, the reaction was not. Benson's daughter and grandchildren are now suing, claiming that Benson is incompetent and being manipulated by his wife.
1/21/15: The Saints' season ended several weeks ago and that meant that there would be some restructuring. It has long been reported that New Orleans head coach Sean Payton and defensive coordinator Rob Ryan do not see eye to eye, and that was brought to a head this past season as the defense regressed mightily in Ryan's second season. Remember, Ryan transformed a historically bad defense in 2012 to one of the best in 2013. What is surprising here is that Ryan has not been fired yet. He is a good DC, but normally when the DC and head coach do not get along and the defense was bad, pink slips are handed out.
1/14/15: The New Orleans Saints lost one of their top personnel guys last week as Ryan Pace was unexpectedly hired as the new General Manager of the Chicago Bears. It was unexpected because the Kansas City Chiefs' Chris Ballard was favored for the job and no one really even knew that the 37 year old Pace was in the running for the job. In other news, QB Drew Brees will replace Steelers QB Ben Roethisberger in the Pro Bowl. Brees was not as good as he had been in past years, but still had a decent campaign - at least it was good enough to get back to the Pro Bowl.
1/7/15: The New Orleans Saints season effectively ended in Week 16 with a loss to the Atlanta Falcons. Due to tiebreakers, they could not win the division, and Carolina eventually took the crown. The season as a whole did not live up to expectations and the 7-9 season means that the Saints have the 13th pick in the draft. But it gets a bit worse from here. New Orleans will be up against the salary cap for the next few years, and they could desperately use extra money in order to shore up a defense that was among the worst in the league this season.
12/3/14: All teams in the AFC North not named the Pittsburgh Steelers should send a thank you card to the New Orleans Saints. The Saints overcame their allergy to road games to rally and beat the Steelers 35-32 last Sunday. It really was not even that close. New Orleans had a 19 point lead late in the fourth quarter before the Steelers got two garbage time touchdowns to make the game seem close. Drew Brees only threw for 257 yards but did toss five touchdown passes to put this game away. New Orleans is now 5-7 and tied with Atlanta for the NFC South. They host the Carolina Panthers this Sunday.
11/19/14: The running joke in the NFC South is that no one wants to win the division and go to the playoffs. Maybe that is true as the Saints dropped their second consecutive game to fall into a tie with Atlanta for the division lead at 4-6 (though Atlanta owns the tie-breaker right now). New Orleans put up a feeble effort in a 27-10 home loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. Drew Breese threw for 255 yards and a score, but the running game only chipped in 75 yards on the day. With the NFC South Champion likely to have a losing record, many are calling to get rid of divisional records in figuring out who goes to the playoffs. New Orleans is at home again as they host the Baltimore Ravens on the Monday Night Game this week.
11/12/14: In almost any other scenario, the Saints home loss to the San Francisco 49ers would have been the end of the road. Fortunately for New Orleans, they play in the terrible NFC South and still can win the division. In fact, they are still in first place. The 49ers game was a tough one. They got down early. Battled back to take a late lead. Allowed a tying field goal to send the game into overtime, then lost with a strip-sack that resulted in San Francisco kicking the winning points. No time to dwell on it though. Just get ready to host the Bengals on Sunday.
11/5/14: Saints head coach Sean Payton was not happy about playing in the Sunday Night Game in Week 8 then the Thursday Night Game in Week 9, on the road, just a few days later. But he had to be happy with the outcome. The Saints beat the host Carolina Panthers 28-10 and took control of the NFC South. Drew Brees threw for 297 yards, one TD and one INT while Mark Ingram had 30 carries for 100 yards. The Saints defense was sharp, limiting the Panthers to 10 points and only 260 yards on the night. New Orleans improved to 4-4 and in sole possession of first place in the division. They have an extra few days to prepare to host San Francisco this Sunday.
10/29/14: The Saints, admittedly, have been among the more disappointing teams this season, even if a few of their four losses were very close. But one had to figure that the team has too much talent to stay down and they showed that was true by blowing out the Green Bay Packers 44-23 in the Sunday Night Game. The offense was clicking again, piling up over 500 yards on the night. Drew Brees threw three touchdown passes and the defense had two interceptions off of Aaron Rodgers. The Saints improved to 3-4 and head to 3-4-1 Carolina on Thursday Night to see who will have the NFC South lead.
10/22/14: This is quickly turning into a very frustrating season for the Saints and their fans. New Orleans was expected to be a Super Bowl contender with their offense (which is always great) and their defense (which found its way last year). The offense is still producing, but the defense is not holding up their end of the bargain. It was like that last weekend at Detroit. The Saints took a 23-10 lead with just over five minutes to play. But the Lions struck quickly, twice, with two late touchdowns to make the game 24-23. New Orleans is now 2-4 on the season and plays in the Sunday Night Game against the visiting Green Bay Packers.
10/15/14: The Saints enjoyed their bye week in Week 6, and perhaps used that time to find their offensive flow and get back to the kind of defense they played last season. Two years ago, the Saints' defense was historically bad. Amazingly, after hiring Rob Ryan as defensive coordinator, they improved drastically to fourth in the league. If they had that type of defense this year then they certainly would not be struggling with a 2-3 record. It looks like star tight end Jimmy Graham may miss this Sunday's game at Detroit (4-2) as he is still suffering from an injured shoulder.
10/8/14: The New Orleans Saints may struggle on the road, but they are very tough to beat at home. Even after blowing a 13 point lead and falling down to a 31-20 trailing situation, the Saints, again, found a way to win. It did take overtime, but New Orleans ended up beating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 37-31. There is still cause for concern, though. The offense does not look as sharp as we are accustomed to and Drew Brees, despite throwing for 371 yards and two touchdowns, threw three interceptions. Jimmy Graham was hit hard a few times and left the game in the first half. The Saints are now 2-3 on the season as they head into their bye week.
10/1/14: It may be time to start pushing the panic button in New Orleans. The Saints were picked by many experts to get to the Super Bowl this season, but have not shown much through four games to validate that prediction. The defense has taken a major step backwards in the Saints' three losses, including letting Dallas jump to a 24-0 halftime lead last Sunday (en route to a 38-17 rout). The offense picked up in the second half, and Drew Brees threw for 340 yards and two touchdowns, but it was simply not enough. This may be the week to fix things when Tampa (1-3) comes to town.
9/24/14: It was only a matter of time until the New Orleans Saints started playing like their selves, and that came out with two quick touchdowns in the first quarter. The Saints did slow down a bit, but controlled the game enough to limit the visiting Minnesota Vikings to three field goals on the day. QB Drew Brees threw for 293 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions. The biggest item of the day was with the debut of Minnesota first round pick quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. New Orleans may get into a shootout this Sunday night when they visit the Dallas Cowboys.
9/17/14: Is it time to panic yet for the Saints? New Orleans is 0-2 on the season after dropping another close game, this time 26-24 heartbreaker to the Cleveland Browns. The offense does not quite seem in step, with Drew Breese only throwing for 237 yards, two TDs and one interception. But the defense seems to be the real problem. After having a great 2013, they have reverted to their 2012 ways and are giving up big plays at bad times. The Saints are not out of it yet, but have to get better. They will have their chance to get their first win in their home opener on Sunday when they host the Vikings.
8/28/14: Maybe Jimmy Graham will stop slam dunking the football on the goalposts now. Graham was fined $30,000 for dunking the football on the posts after touchdowns in the Saints second preseason game. That drew penalties on the kickoff both times and upset head coach Sean Payton. Ironically, the only reason why this is a new rule is that Graham did it last year and messed up the goal posts, causing a delay in the game. The Saints do not want to take the best tight end in the league off the field, but they do have to keep a semblance of responsibility - and just be smart about celebrations.
8/21/14: Is this going to be a problem all season? Tight end Jimmy Graham vowed to keep dunking the football through the goal posts whenever he scores a touchdown, and did so again last Friday night in a preseason game against the Tennessee Titans. So, he was flagged and the Saints paid 15 yards on the ensuing kickoff. That may be fine in preseason, especially with a star player, but it is hard to imagine that head coach Sean Payton will be so tolerant once the real games start in a few weeks. After all, 15 yards is 15 yards. And then it happened again.
8/14/14: The Saints played their first preseason game last week against the St. Louis Rams. The Rams employ former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who got the team (and himself) in trouble with his bounty program a few years ago. That should have been a storyline, but really was ignored by the national media. Instead, the story was Michael Sam's first NFL game, which is a worth story in itself. Lost was the fact that Saints kicker Shayne Graham missed an extra point as the NFL experiments with 33 yard PATs during the preseason. If the league wants to see misses, there were two in the first week - the other belonging to Panthers kicker Jordan Gay.
8/7/14: Saints tight end Jimmy Graham has often times slam dunked the football over the goalpost after scoring a touchdown. While not a big deal, it can bend the post and delay a game. There is a new rule this season banning goalpost dunks, but Graham has vowed to ignore it. He was even flagged for it last week in a training camp scrimmage. Violating the new rule will cost 15 yards of field position for the team and a fine for the player. Chances are that head coach Sean Payton will not be too supportive of his star tight end if he continually costs him 15 yards after every touchdown.
7/31/14: Professional athletes often talk about playing well past the normal lifespan of a career. Very few actually do make it into their forties for a number of reasons, including injuries, the natural aging of the body, lack of motivation or other personal reasons. But it is fun to listen to the naivety of their wistful thinking. Saints QB Drew Brees is the latest to publicly wonder about his future. He says that he wants to play until he is 45. That would be a remarkable run for another decade. And it sounds good now, but lets check back in in a couple of years and see what he thinks.
7/24/14: The Jimmy Graham contract saga has thankfully come to an end. An arbitrator ruled against Graham and the NFLPA and for the Saints and NFL in that Graham is a tight end so should get the tight end franchise tag salary. A difference of over $5 million next season. Graham appealed, but that was a procedural move only. Graham and the Saints worked out a long-term deal that will make him the highest paid tight end in NFL history. He will average $10 million per season, which is actually above the franchise tag salary. Finally, case closed.
7/17/14: It seems to be an endless cycle among teams on whether or not to stay in town or go elsewhere for training camp. The recent trend has been to stay at home and use the team's practice facility. Even when teams leave town, they usually go to a somewhat nearby college. Not the Saints. Not this year. The team is packing up everything and going to, of all places, West Virginia for camp. They will be neighbors to the famed Greenbrier resort and will be able to avoid the absolutely oppressive heat and humidity of New Orleans in August. That being said, it is very expensive to essentially move a team across the county for just a few weeks.
7/10/14: The Jimmy Graham franchise tag arbitration finally had a ruling and it was in favor of the Saints and the NFL, and against Graham and the NFLPA. It could still be appealed, though. The arbitrator ruled that Graham should get the franchise tag tender for a tight end and not a wide receiver, which is over $5 million less. The arbitrator devised a measurement based upon where Graham normally lines up at the line of scrimmage. Since he was usually within four yards of the offensive line, he should be a tight end. The Saints still want to do a long-term deal with Graham, but there may be some sore feelings, so a deal is not inevitable.
7/3/14: There is still no verdict in the Jimmy Graham hearing as to whether he will be paid like a wide receiver or a tight end for the use of his franchise tag. Of course, there is $5 million on the line in the case, as well as the precedent for out of position players in the future. The Saints and the NFL want the tight end designation and have testified at length about it. They may not be the smartest move as it may cause friction between Graham and the team. If they do not work out a fair long term deal, then Graham will be a free agent again next season and the franchise tag will be far more expensive regardless of the designation.
6/26/14: The Jimmy Graham issue is heading into a final end-game for all parties. To recap, the Saints placed a franchise tag on Graham. He was deemed a tight end, which would pay him $5 million less than if he was deemed a wide receiver. The team and NFL want him as a tight end. Conversely, the NFLPA and Graham wants the WR designation. Now the case is going to a hearing. If there is a ruling (assuming no long-term contract is reached beforehand), then this looks to be a winner-take-all scenario that will have lasting effects on the franchise tag for years to come.
6/19/14: Contrary to many experts beliefs, the New Orleans Saints and Jimmy Graham did not get a new deal done, which would have avoided any issues from Graham receiving a 'tight end' designation for the franchise tag. Instead, the grievance is going forward with Graham and Players Union wanted him to be franchised at the wide receiver level, while the Saints and NFL want him at the much less expensive tight end designation. The NFL's new argument is that he any snaps that Graham took lined up as a wide receiver but not covered by a cornerback should not count towards snaps taken as a wide receiver. It seems like a bit of a stretch, and this grievance could have far reaching effects for several years.
6/12/14: It may be hard to believe, but the Saints had one of the better defenses in the league last season, which was just after a dismal 2012 campaign where they were historically bad on defense. That is the change that Rob Ryan brought in during his first year as defensive coordinator. The defense is now looking to take the next step and establish themselves in the turnover department. New Orleans only had 19 takeaways last season, which was 29th in the league. The focus now is learning to force turnovers and let the offense go to work.
6/6/14: New Orleans Saints players will not have to worry about the proposed legislation in the Louisiana House and Senate that would have changed how workers compensation is calculated. The bill would mandate that workers comp be figured on what the salary or wage was when the injury occurred. That means that someone injured in training camp would receive far less than if injured in the regular season. If it sounds like a win, it really is not. Louisiana case law has set precedence on paying compensation based on the current wage, and that is as effective as a law.
5/29/14: Many people may not remember, but there was a time that QB Drew Brees was considered a bust. In his first few season in the NFL, with the San Diego Chargers, the second round pick showed almost nothing. It was not until the team drafted Phillip Rivers and gave him a redshirt season that Brees broke through. He was still waived by San Diego and ended up in New Orleans with only one good year to his credit. Since then (2006) he has become one of the best QBs each and every year. At 35, he is not ready to quit. He says he wants to play into his 40's. He has always stayed healthy, so why not?
5/22/14: If the Saints are consciously waging war on the NFLPA, then message received. First, the Saints placed a franchise tag on tight end Jimmy Graham which will pay him as a tight end rather than a wide receiver - a $5 million difference. Now, the Saints have sponsored legislation in Louisiana that significantly reduces the amount owed by the team if a player gets hurt other than in the 17 weeks of the regular season. The NFLPA has sent a memo to all certified contract advisors about the legislation and 'possible consequences'. It seems like another lob by the Saints to reduce their operating expenses at the expense of player's health.
5/15/14: The Saints seem to have an endless supply of wide receivers, though many may forget that the team lost Lance Moore in the offseason (now with the Pittsburgh Steelers). New Orleans made a slight move in the first round of the draft by trading up to 20th overall (with the Arizona Cardinals) and selected WR Brandin Cooks from Oregon State. Cooks is one of the top wide outs in the draft and brings a lot of speed to the field. He is compared to Antonio Brown of the Steelers, and can give the Saints another dimension in the passing game.
5/8/14: The Saints have an interesting draft ahead of them. The turned the worst defensive unit in the league in 2012 into one of the better ones in 2013. With the defense vastly improved and still mostly young, the Saints can turn their attention to offense. They will have Drew Breese, Jimmy Graham and Marquise Colston back, but have lost WR Lance Moore. The team may be interested in taking a QB for developmental purposes. Brees is great and has a few more years left in him, but it is never too early to worry about the transition to the next era.
5/1/14: How confident is the NFL that they are the king of the U.S. professional sports landscape? Confident enough to schedule a Sunday night game in Week 8 featuring the New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers directly against Game 4 of the World Series. Not the World Series of Poker, but the real World Series. The NFL had avoided this schedule until 2010, but now it is a regular occurrence. The big story of this game will be Aaron Rodgers vs. Drew Brees, a matchup of two of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. It should be a fun game and it will be interesting to see what the over/under line is (80 points?).
4/24/14: The Saints are doing what they can to keep continuity in their receiving corps. The team re-signed wide receiver Robert Meachem to a one year deal, which gives them a known and compatible deep threat. Meachem was a Saints' first round draft pick in 2007, though he has never lived up to that first round status. He has spent all but one of his seasons with the Saints. That lone other season was with San Diego in 2012, where he struggled as the primary option. The Saints are among the best at spreading the ball around, so while Meachem does not have Hall of Fame numbers, he is a valuable piece to the offense.
4/17/14: Several weeks ago, Saints' star tight end Jimmy Graham vowed to immediately file a grievance if he was given the franchise tag (as a tight end rather than a wide receiver). The Saint did tag him, but no grievance was ever filed. It was presumed that Graham would have 55 days to file, according to the collective bargaining agreement. However, it looks now that he has up to three years to file a grievance. He has good reason to protest. There is about a $5 million difference in one year salary between the two positions. The Saints are not the ones to make that designation, as that is a league matter. Of course, the whole thing is moot if the two sides agree to a new contract.
4/10/14: The Denver Broncos certainly got the best years of cornerback Champ Bailey's career. He has been among the best corners in the NFL for a number of years, at least until last season. Bailey was injured for much of the season and played hurt. The Broncos had seen enough, thanked him and sent him on his way. He was replaced by Aqib Talib. The Saints don't think Bailey is washed up at this point though. New Orleans inked Champ to a two year deal last week to bolster the secondary, and make a very good defense even better.
4/3/14: The Saints had a remarkable turnaournd on defense last season. They were not a good defensive team in the 2012 season and promptly fired defensive coordinator (and all around good guy) Steve Spagnuolo. They hired Rob Ryan for the job, who quickly instructed his players to have fun and enjoy the game. The Saints defense did enjoy the game last season and were one of the best in the league. Give Ryan credit for connecting with his players and enjoying the short time that anyone who plays pro football is lucky enough to have, if even for just a year.
3/27/14: A few months ago, the Jimmy Graham camp said that they would file a grievance if the New Orleans Saints placed the franchise tag on him. The Saints did just that. The confusion comes on if Graham should be paid as a tight end or a wide receiver - a big $5 million difference, with more money going to a wide receiver designation. The Saints do not actually chose what position he would be designated as, that is a league matter. In any case, it has been almost four weeks now and there has been no grievance filed. That could mean that the team and Graham are working on a long-term deal which would make the franchise designation a moot point.
3/20/14: For several weeks, it looked like the Saints would release running back Darren Sproles as a salary cap casualty. Then something funny happened. A lot of teams wanted the diminutive back. So the Saints ended up not releasing him, but trading him to the Philadelphia Eagles for a fifth round pick. Sproles originally did not want to be traded, preferring to be a free agent with the ability to pick a team himself. In the end, he signed a two year extension with Philly and could be very effective as a complement to Lesean McCoy in Chip Kelly's offense. So maybe this works out well for both sides.
3/13/14: As expected, tight end Jimmy Graham got the franchise tag from the New Orleans Saints. That is not a big deal unto itself, but the NFL (and not the Saints) ruled that he was a tight end and not a wide receiver. There is a $5 million annual difference between the two, and Graham is on the wrong end of that. The Saints uses the 'non-exclusive' franchise tag, meaning that other teams can give Graham an offer sheet. The Saints can match it, or not match it. If the team does not match, then they would get two first round draft picks as compensation. It is doubtful that Graham leaves, but the Saints would be nicely compensated if he did.
3/6/14: The Saints announced they are increasing ticket prices, which would be the first time they have done so in three years. The biggest increase will be $10 per ticket but still one third of all tickets will cost $55 or less per game. Perhaps the Saints need the money in order to pay tight end Jimmy Graham. The team used the non-exclusive franchise tag on Graham, which now begs the question of whether he will be considered a tight end or wide receiver - and there is a $5 million difference next season between the two. It also means that another team could sign Graham to an offer sheet, which the Saints could or could not match. If the Saints do not match it, then they will get two first round picks as compensation.
2/27/14: The Saints should be considered one of the favorites for the NFC South title going into the 2014 season. They certainly have the offensive firepower to drop 50 points on anyone, and are one of the most consistent offensive forces in the league. The defense made great strides last season under new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. They have already cut Jonathan Vilma in a salary cap move and their will probably be more coming. While the Saints and Panthers are at the top of the division, anyone could rise up in 2014 and win the NFC South. And no one would be surprised.
2/20/13: The Saints were able to get Graham under a long-term contract that should make everyone happy. Only this was kicker Shayne Graham and not star tight end Jimmy Graham. The Jimmy Graham contract saga will likely continue on for several more weeks. The big issue, of course, is not the value or length of a long term deal, but rather the value of a franchise tag if a long term deal cannot be reached. He is a tight end by definition and position in the majority of snaps. However, he plays more as a receiver, which would cost $4 million more next season under the franchise tag.
2/13/14: This will not be the last you hear of this topic. The Saints have to figure out what they are going to do with tight end Jimmy Graham. Graham is arguably the best pass-catching tight end in the league and puts up wide receiver numbers. With the franchise tag looming, he wants to be considered a WR and get WR money. The Saints want him listed as a tight end. Either way, if the Saints want to re-sign him, they will have to give him big bucks, which will limit the money available for other players. That means that the Saints may have to lose Graham, or lose other valuable players in order to keep him.
2/6/14: Saints QB Drew Brees may have gotten himself into a bit of trouble with teammate Jimmy Graham this past week. Graham is facing a franchise tag from the Saints and the big debate is if he will be considered a wide receiver or a tight end. That distinction is a big difference (a few million dollars). Brees said he is a tight end, which would cost less than a WR tag. However, Brees also said that he wants Graham back next year - which is a no brainer. Graham is probably the best tight end in the league, and a very potent weapon on the Saints offense.
1/30/14: The Saints biggest offensive threat is obviously QB Drew Brees. It is debatable after that (consider Maquis Coslton, Thomas Pierre, and Darren Sproles). However, tight end Jimmy Graham is on that list as well. The Saints may use the franchise tag on him, something that Graham is not particularly fond of. One big issue is whether he would be considered a tight end or wide receiver. There is a big difference in money between the two, and being set as a tight end would be less valuable in a contract. Of course, the Saints could avoid this problem by just signing him to a long-term contract.
1/23/14: The Saints had a great run this season, but it was simply cut short by a better team in Seattle. There is nothing to be ashamed of in the Crescent City, and they will likely be contenders next season. On another note, there has been a lot of speculation about defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. Rob is the twin brother of the New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan, and is just as ambitious. However, there have been reports that he will not be considered as a head coach until he cuts his hair. That seems ridiculous.
1/16/14: The Saints were able to exorcise one demon two weeks ago when they won their first road playoff game in franchise history. Unfortunately, they could not repeat that trick in the wind and rain of Seattle. The miserable conditions essentially eliminated the passing game for both teams, but that hurt the Saints more than the Seahawks. Seattle was able to rely on running back Marshawn Lynch, while the Saints really had no counter for that. New Orleans now enters the offseason where they will have to re-evaluate their offensive line and running game, in order to avoid being a one-dimensional team in the future.
1/9/14: The Saints proved that they are not the team that the media says they are by taking down the Eagles in the first round of the playoffs last Saturday. The pre-game narrative was how the Saints could not win on the road, or that the Saints could not win in the cold, or that the Drew Brees is a dome quarterback. The conditions in Philly were very cold, but none of that mattered as the Saints earned their first road playoff win in franchise history. So while the team had everything stacked against them, they found a way to move on to the next round.
1/2/14: The Saints looked to have the NFC South title wrapped up a few weeks ago, especially after they blew out the Carolina Panthers at home in Week 14. Then they lost to St. Louis and Carolina, and now find themselves in the fifth spot in the playoffs. Instead of getting a bye for the first round, they will head to Philadelphia. This should be a good game. Both teams have high-octane offenses and masterminds at the helm. Drew Brees has the experience, but Nick Foles has the homefield. Kickoff is at 8:10pm EST on Saturday, January 4.
12/26/13: The Saints' fortune has taken a turn for the worse of late. They were essentially crowned the NFC South champs several weeks ago, but a tremendous surge by the Panthers (coupled with bad road games by the Saints) has changed the tide. By losing 17-13 to Carolina last Sunday, the Saints are not assured a playoff spot. They will have win the regular season finale against Tampa in order to have a shot at the postseason. If they do make it, then they will have to win on the road, which has been a problem all season.
12/19/13: A funny thing happened on the way to the NFC South title - the five win Rams decimated the New Orleans Saints. Drew Brees may have thrown for 393 yards, but he only connected for one touchdown. Actually, this was a game of the Rams offense simply playing old-school football. They ran the ball, they controlled the clock, and they struck when they had the chance. The Saints loss makes this week's game against the Carolina Panthers even more important. Both have 10 wins and the Saints have the tie-breaker, but a Panthers win puts Carolina squarely in the driver's seat heading for playoffs.
12/12/13: The Saints must have gotten tired of hearing how their window was closing and how the upstart Carolina Panthers were about to take their place at the top of the NFC South, because the Saints overwhelmed the Panthers 37-13 last Sunday night. Carolina rode an eight game winning streak to match the Saints at the top of the division, but now the Saints hold the edge. After going down by six in the first quarter, the Saints put up 21 points against the stout Panthers' defense in the second quarter and that was all they needed. This is not over yet. The teams meet again in Carolina in Week 16.
12/5/13: There is no doubt that New Orleans is a good team, but they went up against a buzzsaw in Seattle last Monday. The Seahawks are dominant at home and have won their last 14 home games. Some people question the Saints on the road, but the truth is that no one has won more road games than New Orleans since 2009. It did not matter on this particular night as the Seattle defense simply dominated the Saints high flying offense. They kept Drew Brees to under 200 yards for the first time in 43 games, which is two shy of the record held by former San Diego Chargers QB Dan Fouts. No time to rest for the Saints, they host the red hot Carolina Panthers this Sunday.
11/28/13: The Saints continue their romp through the NFL season as they posted a 17-13 win over the host Atlanta Falcons last Thursday. QB Drew Breese was solid as usual. He was 23-33 for 278 yards and a pair of touchdowns on the night. The interesting thing about this game was that neither team could effectively score. All but three points were in the first half as defenses ruled the day. New Orleans is now 9--2 and heads to Seattle (10-1) for the Monday Night Game before playing two of their following three games against the Carolina Panthers.
11/21/13: The Saints survived a big test at home last Sunday by beating the San Francisco 49ers' 23-20. New Orleans improved to 8-2 and remains on top of the NFC South with the win. The Saints were aided by a late roughing the passer call which kept the game alive enough for the win. Drew Brees threw for 305 yards and a touchdown, while Pierre Thomas and Mark Ingram combined for only 74 yards on the ground. The Saints have a short week to get themselves back in full assault mode, as they face the Falcons (2-8) in Atlanta on Thursday.
11/14/13: New Orleans rebounded well from their stunning loss to the New York Jets by dismantling the Dallas Cowboys 49-17 last Sunday. In what was supposed to be a shoot out, only one team's offense showed up and that was Drew Brees and the Saints. New Orleans' defense stiffled the Cowboys attack forcing Tony Romo into one of his worst games of the season. New Orleans still controls the NFC South with a 7-2 record, but needs to be wary of the surging Carolina Panthers. The Saints have a great showdown this week at home against the 6-3 San Francisco 49ers.
11/7/13: The New Orleans Saints got a rude awakening last Sunday, falling 26-20 to the New York Jets at the Meadowlands. It was a (Rex) Ryan vs. (Rob) Ryan battle, pitting the twin brothers against each other, and Rex came out on top for the third time in three tries. The Saints were forced to pass 51 times as they could not run the ball. Drew Brees had 392 yards passing and two touchdowns, but also threw two costly interceptions.Meanwhile, the Saints defense could not slow down former Saint Chris Ivory who ran for 139 yards and a score. The Saints fell to 6-2 on the season. They host Dallas (5-4) in the Sunday Night Game in Week 10.
10/31/13: The Saints rolled to an easy 35-17 victory over the Buffalo Bills last Sunday. The Saints scored in every quarter, including two touchdowns in the second quarter to take the lead for good, then shut down the desperate Bills offense that was led by QB Thadeous Lewis. Drew Brees had another outstanding day with 332 yards in the air and five touchdown passes Rookie wide receiver Kenny Stills had three receptions for 129 yards and two touchdowns in the best game of his young career. New Orleans is still dominating the NFC South and heads to the Big Apple to take on the Jets in Week 9.
10/24/13: The Saints enjoyed their bye week in Week 7 doing their best to avoid the temptations that come with being young men with time and money on their hands. The last game they had was one to forget as they allowed Tom Brady and the Patriots to score a last second touchdown to win the game. New Orleans is 5-1 on the season and has a commanding lead in the NFC South - their nearest rival is Carolina and they are several games back. The Saints are back in action in Week 8 as they host the Buffalo Bills and their quarterback du jour.
10/17/13: The Saints game in New England was one of the most anticipated of last weekend. It was not the offensive shootout that many people had hoped would result from a battle of two of the best quarterbacks in the league. The Saints held a lead late in the game but could not runout out the clock - giving the Patriots one last chance. While some Saints players prematurely celebrated, Tom Brady threw the game winning TD with five seconds left. The loss puts the Saints at 5-1 on the season as they head into their bye week.
10/10/13: Drew Brees earned his first career victory in Soldier Field last Sunday after losing his in his previous three attempts. Brees was efficient if not spectacular. He threw for 288 yards and two scores in the 26-18 win over the Chicago Bears. Saints tight end Jimmy Graham continues to show he is the best at his position. He had 135 yards on ten receptions, and now looks like he is the number one receiver in the Saints system. New Orleans is 5-0 on the year and in complete control of the NFC South. The Saints get a big test this Sunday when they head to New England to face the Patriots (4-1)
10/3/13: The Saints made it look easy in the Monday Night Game against the Dolphins, who also entered the game at 3-0. Quarterback Drew Brees simply picked apart the Miami defense. He threw for well over 400 yards and four touchdowns on the night. Tight end Jimmy Graham was exceptional as always, and is making other teams regret passing on him in the draft a couple of years ago. The final score was 38-17, but it was really not that close. New Orleans goes on the road in Week 5 for a very tough match up against the 3-1 Chicago Bears.
9/26/13: The Saints returned to form last Sunday. The previous week, in Tampa, the Saints offense struggled in the wet weather. This time, in the comfort of their home dome, the Saints exploded on the Cardinals for a 31-7 win. Drew Brees threw for over 340yards and three TDs and the Saints' defense completely shut down Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald. The Saints have passed every test presented to them and stand at 3-0 and on top of the NFC South division. New Orleans has another home game in Week 4. They host the surprising 3-0 Miami Dolphins on Monday Night Football.
9/19/13: The Saints continue to show the league that they are indeed back. The team is now 2-0, and more importantly, 2-0 in the NFC South. Their latest victory came in Tampa in a game that was delayed for significant time due to lightning. Once the players got to play, the Saints were able to outlast the dysfuncitonal Bucs. Drew Brees did not have his typical 350 yards and 3 TD day, but had just enough to pull out the win. The Saints get a different type of challenge on Sunday when they host the Arizona Cardinals, who have a better defense than they have seen thus far.
9/12/13: The Saint are trying to prove they are back, and they did so in a most impressive fashion. New Orleans hosted Atlanta and walked out of the Super Dome with a 23-17 win over the defending NFC South champions. Drew Breese was his normal impressive self, so no news there. The real news was the effectiveness of the Saints' defense in limiting the high-flying Falcons to just 17 points. Granted, Falcons WR Roddy White was hurt and used mostly as a decoy, but that is far better than last season. The Saints get their first road test this Sunday when they travel to Tampa to face the 0-1 Bucs.
9/4/13: They finally got the band back together. Expectations are high in New Orleans now that the team has had a 'normal' offseason with all of their starting personnel. Key among that is head coach Sean Peyton and his return from a year long suspension. The Saints will again have a potent offense - they always do with Drew Breese around - so the real question marks are on defense. Rob Ryan is the new defensive coordinator and has the task of rebuilding a unit that was historically bad last season. The Saints open up on Sunday against the defending NFC South champion Atlanta Falcons.
8/29/13: New Orleans is trying to sell their team as being finally whole and ready to contend again. True, they do have all the suspension messes taken care of, and true, the offense is still top notch. However, their defense was historically bad last year. They gave up 900 more yards than the next defense. The Saints brought in Rob Ryan to be the defensive coordinator, though maybe they failed to notice that he has never had a top ten defense. While the Saints should be a bit better on defense this year, it is hard to imagine them being able to truly contend without being able to stop anyone.
8/22/13: The Saints first team offense already looks like it is midseason form. Breese has torched defenses in limited duties. WR Marques Colston is hauling in passes, and tight end Jimmy Graham is showing that he is the best at his position in the league. The defense is another story. The team has not gelled yet with the 3-4 that new DC Rob Ryan is installing. If the defense cannot get it together soon, then the Saints are in for a lot of shoot-outs this year that may resemble Arena League football games more than the NFL.
8/15/13: Under the leadership of head coach Sean Payton, the Saints have been a passing team, with seemingly little thought to the run game. Even plays to running backs are often screen passes, which has made Darren Sproles a highly sought after player in fantasy football. Payton, however, is stressing more balance this year, and expects more rushing play calls. This is good news for former Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram. Ingram has missed a lot of games due to injury, but the third year player could be in line for a break out season if Payton is true to his word.
8/8/13: For all the charitable work that Drew Brees has done, and all the money he has given to charities during the course of his career (including $1 million for Hurricane Katrina relief), the star QB of the Saints has found himself looking like a cheapskate. Apparently, Breese ordered some take out food with a bill of $74 and only left a three dollar tip. That may seem stingy, and critics (of course) are calling for his head. On the other hand, it was a take out order and not wait service. Perhaps it is stingy, but, then again, it is not mandatory to tip (though always appreciated).
8/1/13: The Saints drafted defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis out of USC with the 7th overall pick. Many experts immediately heralded the pick, claiming this was a franchise DT to help the team for many years to come. Ellis played six years with the Saints, and even won a Super Bowl. Ellis was hurt for much of his first two seasons, but played well when available. But he regressed after that and the Saints finally cut him. He signed with the Bears this offseason, then abruptly retired as training camp started. It is a very strange story for a 28 year old player who, at one time, seemed destined for greatness.
7/25/13: Saints tight end Jimmy Graham is set to become the best tight end in the game this season. With Rob Gronkowski recovering from injury and Aaron Hernandez likely locked up for life, Graham is in position to claim the throne. In case anyone forgot, he is 6'7 with a 4.5 second time in the 40 yard dash. And he catches anything that comes his way. He is a nightmare matchup for defenses who cannot match either his size or speed. With him as the best in his position, the Saints offense will again be one of the best.
7/18/13: This is the first time in years that the Saits have had a 'normal' offseason. One year it was Hurricane Katrina, another was as the Super Bowl Champions, still another was in the wake of the bounty scandal when a lot people (players and coaches) were suspended. This year is normal. There should be no distractions other than Rob Ryan claiming to be much better than he really is (look up his Cowboys record). However, the window of opportunity is closing and this may be the Saints last/best chance to win another Super Bowl in the foreseeable future.
7/11/13: The Saints were a mess in so many facets last season, that it is fair just to write the 2012 campaign off. Defense was a problem (though not the only one), and DC Steve Spagnoulo was the scapegoat and got fired. The Saints rejoiced when they landed Rob Ryan as his replacement - essentially saying that he would be the difference maker this coming season. But looking at the numbers tells a different story. Ryan's defenses in Dallas were not that good. They routinely surrenderred over 30 points per game, leaving the offense to win games. Maybe this will work better in New Orleans, who have the better offense, however, it seems that Ryan is living on name alone at this point.
7/4/13: It seems funny when the question is asked if Drew Breese is still an elite quarterback. Of course he is, and there should be no question about it. The Saints finished 7-9 last season, but that was not on the offense. That was on the bounty scandal and defense. Breese continues to pick apart defenses and make unknown receivers stars in the league. Perhaps if he did not have to put up 35 points just be in the game, then the team would have won more last year. The Saints should be solid this time around. They have no more distractions or suspensions to deal with, and can concentrate on winning games.
6/27/13: New Orleans Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins is loving the defense that is being installed this year under new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. Ryan uses a base 3-4 defense, rather than the more traditional 4-3 scheme used by last year's DC Steve Spagnoulo. It is not the scheme that he likes, however, it is that the unit has 'teeth' again. It is true that Spag's defense was awful last year, but he is being made out as a scapegoat. There were plenty of distractions in the past season. It is hard to call out the guy who ended the Patriots' undefeated season with a shocking upset as the reason for the the team's struggles.
6/20/13: Everyone expects the Saints to maintain their high-flying offense this coming season, especially with the return of head coach Sean Payton. Defense, however, is a different story. The D has not been that good in New Orleans for a few years. Rob Ryan was hired as the DC to turn that around, and a key piece is Victor Butler. Butler injured his knee when colliding with runningback Mark Ingram in team drills. The extent of the injury is not known yet, but it could change the complexion of Ryan's 3-4 defense if they have to put in a player that is not ready for full time service.
6/13/13: Last season was an unmitigated disaster for the New Orleans Saints. Their trials and tribulations were well documented, all as fallout from the Bounty Scandal. It may have been a good thing for Sean Payton. He was suspended for the season, and the team essentially collapsed without his leadership. The Saints ended up getting a pretty good draft spot and Paytong solidified his grip as the Don of the team. The Saints have every reason to be optiimistic this year, and should be a factor in the NFC South, just like in the pre-bounty punishment days.
6/6/13: The Saints should be back to their old tricks this coming season. That means 5,000 yards from QB Drew Breese and a place in the conversation of best in the NFC South. They need to enjoy this time. Because next season (2014), the team has over $140 million in cap money allocated. That is well, well above the salary cap level and will force the Saints to release or trade away a lot of players - as well as restructure contracts. A big portion of that cap hit is Drew Breese. The Saints do not have a replacement in place for him, so this will require a lot of financial juggling from the team to stay near the top of division.
5/30/13: Saints defensive players are comparing new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan to former DC Gregg Williams (of the Bounty Scandal). That is not too surprising, considering Williams did once coach under Ryan's father Buddy Ryan and has that similar attack style defense. Both were also in St. Louis briefly, though neither coached a game. Williams was suspended all of last season and Rob Ryan was just in town for a couple of days. One could say that the bridge DC between the two, Steve Spagnoulo, who was the head coach in St. Louis for three years never coached a game there either.
5/16/13: The Atlanta Falcons are coming off of a NFC Championship Game appearance, the best record in the league, and of course an NFC South Championship. The did lose a lot during the offseason, but gained some too. The Saints are now back in form with their team finally reunited. So the question is who will win the division? With all the talk about the NFC West, the South seems to have ben forgotten. However, both teams have the makeup to get to the Super Bowl, so neither should be forgotten. Oh, and the Bucs and Panthers have improved too.
5/9/13: When the Rams won the Super Bowl with the Greatest Show on Turf team, they had a high-flying offense and a better than expected defense that benefited from other teams having to take chances to score points. Exactly the same with the Saints when they won the championship. Both teams slipped defensively and found themselves in regular shootouts. The Saints are trying to remedy thier issue, and first round draft pick (15th overall) Kenny Vicarro out of Texas, as well as bringing Rob Ryan as the new DC. New Orleans should be competitive this season, but their defense needs to prove they can win games.
5/2/13: The Saints should be all paid up now. All of the punishments from the bounty scandal should be completed and the team can move on with trying to win another Super Bowl in their limited window. New Orleans' first pick was the easily the biggest name. The Saints, with the 15th selection, chose strong safety Kenny Viccaro from the University of Texas. Viccaro will likely start right away, as the Saints need help in the secondary like Augusta needs green grass. But the Saints are still fairly well stocked, and Drew Breese is a master at commanding the offense - so they should be battling Atlanta for the NFC South title this season.
4/25/13: Like the rest of the NFC South, the Saints will play both the AFC East and NFC West this season. The AFC has the always strong New England Patriots as well as the developing Miami Dolphins. The NFC West is no joke any more. Seattle and San Francisco are Super Bowl contenders. St. Louis is rebuilding the right way. Even Arizona can be good if they get some decent play out of Carson Palmer. The Saints will also play Dallas on a nationally televised game and the always competitive Bears. This is the type of schedule that separates the contenders from the pretenders. If the Saints can navigate this gauntlet, then they may be able to make some noise in the playoffs.
4/18/13: It will be interesting to see how the Saints rebound this season. The team is back with their full coaching staff (read: head coach Sean Payton). They also fired defensive coordinator Steve Spagnoulo and replaced him with Rob Ryan. The defense should be more aggressive this season, as is Ryan's style. The team simply could not win early last season with the instability at head coach. They put on an admirable late charge, but the early portion of 2012 doomed them. With their full arsenal back, it will be great to see the matchups against the Atlanta Falcons again.
4/11/13: Saints fans will never admit this, but perhaps the dismal 2012 season was a blessing in disguise. The Saints bounty scandal and subsequent suspensions and penalties have been well documented, as has their terrible season without head coach Sean Payton. But another point of view would suggest that last year was meant for the Falcons anyhow, so maybe it was better that the Saints struggled and will get a pick in the first half of the draft in every round. There are some strong offensive and defensive linemen out there this draft to help shore up several holes.
4/4/13: Head coach Sean Payton wants everyone to know that just because he is back on the sidelines that does not mean that team will enjoy instant success. The 2012 Saints were an unmitigated failure due to suspensions handed down by the NFL for the bounty scandal a few years ago. The team struggled without their head coach or even their interim coach (for the first six games). The Saints did improve once Joe Vitt took over, but not enough to make the playoffs and not enough for Saints fans to forgive commissioner Roger Goodell. It actually sounds like Payton is trying to build in an excuse if this year goes wrong as well.
3/28/13: After a year in exile, the New Orleans Saints are ready to play again. Each team really only has a limited window to succeed before the cycle of player transition, age and injuries catch up. Considering the Saints are already at the tail end of their window, losing last season to the punishments and appeals of the bounty scandal was especially harmful. But again, the team is back at full strength with a new defensive coordinator in Rob Ryan. The latest rumors out of the Big Easy is that the team will target former Colts defensive lineman Dwight Freeny to bolster their pass rush.
3/21/13: Coach Sean Payton is wasting no time heaping praise on new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan (twin brother to New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan). He is continually talking about Ryan's passion and enthusiasm, and what he will bring to the New Orleans Saints this coming season. Some may look at this as disrespect to former Saints DC Steve Spagnuoulo. Spags inheirited a defense short on talent and missing key players due to suspension. It really looks like he was scapegoated for problems that were well outside his control. Don't forget, Spags did decipher the Patriots and ruined their chance at an undefeated season in the Super Bowl just a few years ago.
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3/14/13: Like several other teams, the Saints have been conspicuously quiet during free agency so far. New Orleans does have some salary cap issues, and convinced both Will Smith and Jonathan Vilma to take major pay cuts to remain with the team. The Saints also lost backup quarterback Chase Daniels, who signed a large contract with the Chiefs to backup Alex Smith - despite the fact that he has only thrown nine passes in his professional career. Finally, rumors are circulating that the Saints may have interest in former Eagles cornerback Nnamdi Asamugah, though he may be too expensive.
3/7/13: More trouble in paradise this week. Former Saints defensive lineman Remi Ayodele blasted Anthony Hargrove because Hargrove claimed that Ayodele was the player that paid him. Ayodele's response was posted through a series of Tweet where he mocked Hargrove for being out of money and flatly denied any knowledge of a Bounty Program. Hargrove was suspended for eight games, later overturned by former commissioner Paul Tagliabue, but stands to lose benefit money in the long run. This case is shut for the rest of the world, but Hargrove, and maybe others, still have hard feelings toward the NFL for their initial punishments.
2/21/13: The New Orleans Saints have some salary cap juggling to do. The Saints are currently about $20 million over the cap, so obviously there is some cutting to be done. And Drew Breese is not going anywhere. First and foremost is Johnathan Vilmar. He will be owed a base salary of $4.8 million, but counts as an $8.7 million cap hit due to dead money. The Saints would like for him to restructure his contract, but the odds are that he will not be wearing the Black and Gold next season. Where he ends up is anyone's guess.
2/14/13: The Saints suffered through their second lost season in seven years last season. The first was in 2005 when the team was displaced by Hurricane Katrina. They played away games as the home team and played their real home games in San Antonio. The result was a 2-14 disaster. Last season, they were paying for the Bounty Scandal, with two players suspended, as well as three coaches and the GM. The team finished with a losing record, rather than contending for the NFC South and a playoff spot. It also meant that they would not be the first team to host a Super Bowl in their home stadium. 2014 figures to be better with everyone back and new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan.
2/7/13: So Rob Ryan, the deposed defensive coordinator of the Dallas Cowboys and twin brother of New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan, will not be joining the St. Louis Rams. But he will follow several other former Rams coaches and go to the New Orleans Saints. Saints head coach Sean Payton announced that he would not hire a DC to replace Steve Spagnuolo (a former Rams head coach) until after the Super Bowl - leading to speculation that the Saints would hire an assistant from either Baltimore or San Francisco. But instead he hired Ryan, who believes he is among the best DCs in the game.
1/31/13: Sean Payton was reinstated from his suspension last week, a few weeks earlier than that the year he was supposed to serve. This may have been NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's way of trying to make peace with the city of New Orleans, who is hosting the Super Bowl (and maybe a way for Goodell to have a meal without getting food poisoning). Payton quickly fired defensive coordinator Steve Spagnoulo two days after reinstatement and confirmed that the team would play a 3-4 defense next year. No word yet on Spag's replacement, but there is a chance it is a defensive coach for the 49ers or Ravens.
1/24/13: After a year in exile, the real head coach of the New Orleans Saints, Sean Payton, has been reinstated. Payton was suspended from the league for a year for his role in the Saints pay for injury program, better known as Bountygate. In his absence, Carmichael led the team for the first six games of the 2012 season, before Joe Vitt, who was also implicated in Bountygate, was reinstated, and took over as the temporary head coach. It may have been to Paytons befit that the team struggled. The missed the playoffs, but now have a better draft position to continue on with.
1/17/13: The Saints will send three players to the Pro Bowl in a few weeks: quarterback Drew Breese, left guard Jahri Evans, and punter Thomas Morstead. Evans was among the more consistent players this year for the Saints and is a big reason that New Orleans has one of the best offensive lines in the league. It is his fourth straight Pro-Bowl selection, and marks the first time in franchise history that a player has been selected to three consecutive all-star games. In other news, the team and Sean Payton formalized his extension through 2017, making him the highest paid coach in the game.
1/10/13: Now that the season is over, the Saints can finally begin focusing on winning again. This had to have been among the most difficult and distration-ridden seasons that any team has ever endured. Head Coach Sean Payton was suspended for the season. Interim coach Joe Vitt was suspended for six games. Jonathan Vilma among other defensive starters was suspended - though those were eventually overturned. In the meantime, Drew Breese continue
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New Orleans Saints Schedule & Key Dates
Opening Day / New Orleans Saints First Game 2015
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New Orleans Saints Preseason Beginning 2015
New Orleans Saints Past Games Schedule and New Orleans Saints Scores
|Dec 28, 2014||New Orleans Saints - Tampa Bay Buccaneers||23 - 20|
|Dec 15, 2014||New Orleans Saints - Chicago Bears||31 - 15|
|Dec 7, 2014||Carolina Panthers - New Orleans Saints||41 - 10|
|Nov 30, 2014||New Orleans Saints - Pittsburgh Steelers||35 - 32|
|Nov 16, 2014||Cincinnati Bengals - New Orleans Saints||27 - 10|
|Nov 9, 2014||San Francisco 49ers - New Orleans Saints||27 - 24|
|Oct 30, 2014||New Orleans Saints - Carolina Panthers||28 - 10|
|Oct 26, 2014||Green Bay Packers - New Orleans Saints||23 - 44|
|Oct 19, 2014||New Orleans Saints - Detroit Lions||23 - 24|
|Oct 5, 2014||Tampa Bay Buccaneers - New Orleans Saints||31 - 37|
|Sep 21, 2014||Minnesota Vikings - New Orleans Saints||9 - 20|
|Sep 14, 2014||New Orleans Saints - Cleveland Browns||24 - 26|
|Sep 7, 2014||New Orleans Saints - Atlanta Falcons||34 - 37|
|Aug 23, 2014||Preseason: New Orleans Saints - Indianapolis Colts||23 - 17|
|Aug 15, 2014||Preseason: Tennessee Titans - New Orleans Saints||24 - 31|