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Fleur-de-Links, May 24: First look of 2019 Saints at OTAsby Deuce Windham on May 24, 2019 at 2:13 pm
Saints News: Mark Ingram, and his energy, no longer around as OTAs start, but Saints know the show must go on | Saints | theadvocate.comThe music blared during the stretching portion of the Saints' organized team activities Thursday, just like it always does during practice. Quick study Erik McCoy impressing the Saints before he puts on pads - nola.comSaints OL coach Dan Roushar said of McCoy, "he’s very hungry to learn." Saints news: Sean Payton discusses early impressions of Jared CookNew Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton discusses his early impressions of working with veteran tight end signing, Jared Cook. Looking for RB depth, Saints work out three veteran rushers | Yardbarker.comThe Saints worked out some running backs on Thursday, including Fozzy Whittaker, Robert Kelley and Buck Allen, via Josh Katzenstein of the Times-Picayune. All three vets are looking for a spot on the roster to back up top rushers Alvin Kamara and Latavius Transcript: Sean Payton OTA Media Availability 5-23-19Saints head coach speaks to the media following Week 1 of OTA workouts 4 Saints absent from Thursday’s OTAs; Cameron Meredith still working with trainer - nola.comCameron Jordan and Larry Warford were among the players not at practice Thursday. NFL News: Adam Gase says Jets didn't overpay for Le'Veon Bell - NFL.comJets coach and interim GM Adam Gase met with the New York media on Thursday and addressed reports that he disagreed with how much his team spent on RB Le'Veon Bell. NFL’s Aaron Rodgers trounced by Packers teammate in beer-chugging duel | Fox NewsAaron Rodgers may play for the NFL's Green Bay Packers, but some people can tell he’s not originally from Wisconsin. NFL rumors: Pass rusher remains Giants’ most glaring need | Who are the best remaining free agents? - nj.comThe Giants could still have some work to do, if the goal is to improve one of the league's worst pass rushes. Jags OC: 'Fournette needs to be a big part' of offense - NFL.comDespite the struggles to stay healthy, the lack of production and the off-field scorning from management last year, the Jags plans on Leonard Fournette being a focal point on the offense in 2019. Nick Bosa out with hamstring; Ward breaks collarbone - NFL.comNiners defensive end Nick Bosa is dealing with a Grade 1 hamstring strain and will be held out of practice for the next few weeks while receiving treatment. Meanwhile, Jimmie Ward could be out for longer. Tate on Manning to Jones: Kind of like Favre to Rodgers - NFL.comGiants new receiver Golden Tate offered a great review of rookie QB Daniel Jones. He believes Jones learning behind Eli Manning will pay off in the long run. Ex-Bucs DT Gerald McCoy visiting Browns on Friday - NFL.comCleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett believes the defense is in a good spot without Gerald McCoy, but that's not stopping the Browns from bringing in McCoy. Ndamukong Suh's deal with Bucs worth up to $10M - NFL.comThe Bucs made it official on Thursday: Ndamukong Suh is coming to Tampa Bay. The team announced it has agreed to terms with the veteran defensive tackle. Suh can make up to $10M in 2019. 2019 NFL Free Agency: Buffalo Bills contract details for tight end Lee Smith - Buffalo RumblingsWe have final contract numbers. Best draft-class WR by route, scheme fit with new NFL team | NFL Analysis | Pro Football FocusAs a part of our partnership with ESPN, Senior Content Manager Cam Mellor looks at the rookie receivers' best routes and how they fit with their new NFL team. Social Media: How did a 40-year old Drew Brees take seeing Tom Brady winning the Super Bowl at age 41? #WhoDat #Saints pic.twitter.com/yzAsMsx2qS— NOLA.com Saints News (@SaintsNOW) May 23, 2019 That OTAs mood ⚜️ @Saints @A_kamara6 pic.twitter.com/ZntObuu2Zd— Karen Loftus (@kcloftus) May 23, 2019 Your first look at @JaredCook89 getting in work with Drew Brees in the Black and Gold. #Saints @FOX8NOLA pic.twitter.com/p4jx3EIgpf— Garland Gillen (@garlandgillen) May 23, 2019 It's a beautiful thing, football in May. #Saints rookies and veterans on the field for first week of OTA's. @FOX8NOLA pic.twitter.com/WTWDTKCTbN— Garland Gillen (@garlandgillen) May 23, 2019 Payton speaks with the media and shares his thoughts on the team after the first week of #Saints OTAs 2019 pic.twitter.com/8kq5HQOIEI— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) May 23, 2019 […]
Heel Up, Wheel Up, Bring it Back, Come Rewind - Saints Film Studyby Seth Galina on May 23, 2019 at 1:00 pm
Come learn about the route that Drew Brees is deadly effecient on Last month, we looked at how the Saints use Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara as part of their weakside option package. Today we’re going to look at another way the team bullies the weakside linebacker to get completions. Over the past 2 years, when Brees targets a wheel route from one of his running backs on the weakside of the field, he’s a perfect 10 for 10. Kamara was targeted 8 times with the remaining 2 targets going to Mark Ingram. If Sean Payton called the weakside wheel concept, the ball was going to be moving forward. When defenses started spending too much energy trying to get tight to the running back to defend the weakside option route, the Saints answer was the wheel. They ran it 2 ways: Out Of The Backfield The Saints will run their weakside option route with the running back starting in the backfield therefore their wheel progression has to come from the same look as well. Brees and the boys will line up in some sort of backside isolation formation with Michael Thomas always working as the backside X receiver. Often this will be in a 2 back formation with the fullback to the side of the slot receiver and the running back (Kamara or Ingram) to the side of Thomas. In the above picture, Zach Line creates the 3 receiver side by being a pseudo tight end to the slot receiver, while Ingram and Thomas exist on the weakside of the formation. Because of the gravity that Michael Thomas demands, defenses almost have to play him in man to man. It’s also one of the base checks in the NFL to play the single receiver in man to man but either way MT13 demands it. Thomas’ job is to create a pick on the first defender inside of him. He’s supposed to make it look like he’s running an actual inside hook route but really he’s never getting the ball. You can see on some clips he even stick his hand out trying to create even more of an obstacle. With Thomas manned up, this means the next interior defender has to be man to man against the running back. The pick frees up the running back to wheel down the field to get open. Thomas’ job is to take 2 defenders, the one covering him and then the one he is picking to get the running back open. In an ideal world, the linebacker who is being picked tries to fight through underneath the pick because then the running back is long gone. The one in Cincinnati this past season shows what happens when the linebacker does that. The Saints wish every time they ran the wheel from the backfield this would be the result. The running back wheeling up field and Brees deftly lofting it in stride down the field for 20+ yard gains. Unfortunately, defenses aren’t that dumb. New Orleans knows they’ll get the pick play and get the running back free because through film studies they see when they’re getting man coverage on the backside. Therefore, the danger defender is the safety. If the ball stays in the air long enough, a good safety can get over there and make a play on the ball. That’s why Brees has two separate balls that he throws based on where the safety is. Most quarterbacks want to throw this ball down the field all the time but Brees, the vet, is trying to throw completions and not put the ball in danger. The wheel concept calls for Brees to take a regular 3 step drop when the route is to his right and a 3 open drop when it’s too his left. I’ve written about these dropbacks before here. As a righty, when Brees wants to throw to his left on quicker hitting concepts, he will keep his shoulder parallel to the line of scrimmage while dropping so he doesn’t strain his neck trying to look to the left. This allows Brees to throw the wheel route to either side without stress. Drew always throws this on the last step of the drop. He tries his best not to take false steps and ultimately allow the defense to recover. During the dropback, Brees looks at the safety to determine what throw he will make. If the safety is either looking to the opposite side of the field or is on the hash mark (or wider) on the far side of the field, Brees can float the ball for a big play. If not, he fires the ball on a rope before the safety can get over top. The linebacker running with the running back can’t afford himself the luxury of turning his head to find the ball and make a play because he’s still trying to get close to the running back. This is what that looks like: With Thomas and Kamara lined up on 1 side of the field, safeties tend to over play that side. No matter, Brees is 6 for 6 throwing the bullet wheel pass. If you go back to the Bengals clip, you can see how the safety rotates and his eyes are on the wide side of the field so Brees is allowed to throw the deeper ball to Ingram. One of the things I noticed was the Brees seemed to have a specific audible/signal to get into the wheel concept. You can see him use both hands to point to his helmet. 7 for 7 for 109 yards. From The Slot When Payton wants to dial up a deeper shot play, he lines Kamara in the slot. The outside receiver runs a post route with the goal being to set a “pick” on the safety this time so that Kamara can wheel down the sideline for a bigger play. We can see Michael Thomas’s job is draw the attention of the safety while Kamara gets a favorable matchup with the linebacker. Being that this route is deeper, Brees will have to take a deeper dropback. This time he takes a 5 step and hitches at least once to throw it. This is your classic Post-Wheel combination but the Saints are really only trying to hit the wheel. You can see in the next 2 clips, how they adjust the post route to set half of a pick on the linebacker (like on the shorter wheel route) before getting up to the safety. 3 for 3 for 97 yards. Brees is a surgeon. You might be asking yourself how come it feels like you’ve seen a lot more wheels than the 10 I found. I went looking just for the weakside, isolated receiver ones. This are the Saints progression off their bread and butter weakside option concept. The Saints also have a concept to both the wide side of the field and to the shortside where the wheel is run from the #3 receiver with 2 receivers outside of him. The Kamara touchdown in the playoff game vs. the Vikings is on this one. Brees being perfect when targeting the weakside wheel route is almost unheard of but between the play caller and his elite quarterback play, the Saints make it look so easy. Here’s a compilation of all 10 plays: […]
Could NFL Teams Tank Like NBA Teams?by Monty602 on May 22, 2019 at 1:00 pm
Purposely tanking has been a fixture in the NBA for years, but could this tactic translate to the NFL where draft slots are guaranteed in accordance with a team’s record? The NBA draft lottery took place last week and the sports world was flipped upside down when the Pelicans won the #1 overall pick with only a 6% chance of reaching that result. The three teams that most obviously tanked this past season came away disappointed. The Knicks, Cavaliers, and Suns all shared a 14% chance of receiving the #1 pick, but instead received the #3, #5, and #6 picks respectively. I didn’t do well in statistics class back in college, but I feel like a 14% chance isn’t a probability I would rely on. You’re 86% more likely not to get the top pick after all. Why did these teams assume they were going to win the #1 pick with such a relatively low chance? All year, the media has been acting like it was a given the Knicks would receive the top pick. A Knicks fan even got a Zion Williamson tattoo before the lottery ever took place. Perhaps the Knicks forgot the new NBA draft lottery rules, which were implemented this year for the first time since being altered in 2017. Previously, the team with the worst record had a 25% chance of receiving the top pick. But now the three teams with the worst records share a 14% chance, while the remaining lottery teams’ odds are reduced gradually between 1.5% and 2% per draft slot. If you want to read more about the changes and how the NBA draft lottery is conducted, this is a good reference tool. After learning more about the NBA draft lottery process, I wonder why NBA teams have been trying to tank at all. In the NFL, the team with the worst record is 100% guaranteed the #1 draft pick. Yet, NFL teams can’t seem to tank even if they try. Sure the Browns did a good job of making it appear like they were tanking on purpose in past years, but I find it hard to believe all 53 players were collectively doing so. A big reason why NFL teams can’t tank might be the lack of fully guaranteed contracts. In the NBA, player contracts are fully guaranteed so there’s less pressure for players to play well or rush a return from injury in order to keep their jobs. In the NFL, contracts are rarely fully guaranteed so players who don’t perform well or remain injured for extended periods of time are in danger of being cut, whether they are vested veterans or rookies. Try telling a running back who has been bubbling between the practice squad and active roster to throw a game. Try telling a cornerback who’s entering a contract year to throw a game. Even if a player who touches the ball often, like a quarterback, was convinced to manipulate a game’s result, the majority of that player’s teammates would have to do the same for the plan to work. One prideful player could ruin the whole enterprise. Besides, there are just too many players on an NFL team with too little incentive to ever try doing that. Why would an NFL player want to throw a game when the result could be their team drafting their replacement with the pick they received due to losing so many games. There are only 15 players on an NBA active roster, while there are 53 on an NFL active roster. Quality NBA level players are much harder to replace. How else do guys stay in the league for 20 years without a young upstart stealing their roster spot? Sure, Steph Curry made the All-Rookie Team the year after he was drafted, but he didn’t make his first All Star team until 5 years later. It generally takes longer for NBA talent to develop. In the NFL, where an average career is less than three years, players are under extreme pressure to play at the highest level immediately. In addition, quality NFL level players seem far more plentiful than their NBA counterparts. The Saints have almost 90 players on their current offseason roster. That means 37 players aren’t going to make the final roster. There are 32 teams in the NFL, so every year that means approximately 1,184 players are desperately trying to make an active roster. That’s a lot of incredible athletes vying for only 1,696 treasured jobs, and that’s not even including practice squad spots. Once a select few of these players have the good fortune of making and staying on an NFL active roster, what makes you think they would risk that by tanking their performance? The NBA did well to alter the draft lottery landscape in order to avoid future tanking, but it seems the NFL will never have to worry about that becoming a problem in their league. […]
Eyes will be on Marcus Davenport at OTAsby Chris Dunnells on May 22, 2019 at 1:00 pm
And rightfully so. With OTAs (organized training activities) beginning in the coming days or officially underway for some teams, eyes in the media will surely be keying in on certain players across the NFL. How will Odell Beckham Jr look catching passes from Baker Mayfield in Cleveland? Will JuJu Smith-Schuster be able to step up and fill the shoes of Antonio Brown in Pittsburgh? But what about in New Orleans? Who will be the focus for the Saints? Bleacher Report seems to think it will be Marcus Davenport: After the New Orleans Saints traded two first-round picks to land defensive end Marcus Davenport during the 2018 draft, the UTSA product had only 4.5 sacks and 22 tackles in a peripheral role as a rookie. But injuries were a factor for Davenport, who played only 40.4 percent of the Saints’ defensive snaps. He dealt with hip, thumb and toe issues at various points in the season, and after early-offseason surgery, he suggested on Twitter that he played through an injury that should have ended his season prematurely. Will Davenport be ready to roll when the Saints hold their first OTA session Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday? And if not, how close is he? Those’ll be big questions entering the heart of the offseason program for a Saints team that has invested heavily in—and has high expectations for—the 22-year-old pass-rusher. If Davenport has developed and can get/stay healthy, he could be walking into a major opportunity opposite four-time Pro Bowler Cameron Jordan after veteran 2018 starter Alex Okafor left to sign with the Kansas City Chiefs in free agency. OTAs and the preseason, with focus on players like Davenport, Teddy Bridgewater, and Alize Mack, this is all going to be a very interesting - and exciting - time for the Saints. […]
Saints sign Wes Hortonby BobRose on May 21, 2019 at 9:41 pm
New Orleans adds another defensive lineman from a division rival. According to multiple sources, the New Orleans Saints have reached an agreement with former Carolina Panthers defensive lineman Wes Horton this afternoon. Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images Horton, a 29-yr. old defensive end, first entered the league as an undrafted free agent from U.S.C. with the Panthers in 2013. He had 2 sacks in ten games with Carolina that season, and would see action in 77 games with 35 starts over six years with the team. The 6'5, 265-lb. Horton has 15.5 sacks, 23 quarterback hits, 7 forced fumbles, and 95 tackles during his six year NFL career. He joins a Saints team with two former Carolina teammates on the roster, wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr. and linebacker A.J. Klein. Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports Horton is expected to add depth to a New Orleans defensive end rotation that includes All-Pro Cameron Jordan, last year's 1st round draft pick Marcus Davenport, 2017 3rd round pick Trey Hendrickson, and DE/DT Mario Edwards Jr. He is a physical player along the edge, with good run stopping ability as well as pass rush skills. […]