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Coming Soon: Saints Football
By Joshua Jofrion, Staff Writer
With exactly one second left to go on the clock, the New Orleans Saints gained control of the ball, Carolina had just kicked a field goal and led the game after a resounding comeback by the Saints in the second half.
Drew Brees was just 16 yards shy of breaking Dan Marino's record for most single season yardage by a quarterback and it looked as if he would get one more chance.
The Saints should've already been done, but the Panthers kicked the ball out of bounds so that one precious second stayed on the clock.
Drew Brees took the snap and looked for an open man as the Panthers played prevent defense, he threw the ball and it fell to the ground like a wounded bird.
With that, the disappointing 8-8 season came to a close as Sean Payton ran across the field to shake hands for the last time in 2008.
In the offseason, it was out with the old and in with the new, at least on the defensive side of the ball.
Defensive Coordinator Gary Gibbs was fired after a pitiful performance by the defense all season long and the much heralded Gregg Williams signed on to try to help the Black and Gold go to their first Super Bowl.
Gone are Mike Karney, Deuce McAllister, Mike McKenzie, Josh Bullocks and others but taking their places are Heath Evans, Jabari Greer, and let's not forget Darren Sharper.
The Saints are a popular pick this season and I can't wait to get started.
WWL 870 out of New Orleans played a highlight from 2008 along with a reminder that training camp was just ten days away and hearing Jim Henderson of the Saints Radio Network was like awakening a deep longing for something that I haven't had in a while.
That thing is Saints football and I'm ready for it.
So shove aside the Michael Vick talk and the Brett Favre rumors and think about it: Football is almost here.
The 2009 Saints: Regular Season Game Predictions
By Joshua Joffrion, Staff Writer
With Black and Gold training camp opening on July 30th, the season has moved ever closer.
After preseason games against Cincinnati, Houston, Oakland, and Miami, the 2009 New Orleans Saints' regular season will begin. Here's a game by game prediction of each game on the 2009 regular season schedule:
Detroit Lions (September 13, 12:00 PM, Louisiana Superdome)
After a romp by the Saints in 2008, the worst team in NFL history will be looking to come out on a strong note but the Saints will easily win and the Lions will start out at 0-1.
Philadelphia Eagles (September 20, 12:00 PM, Lincoln Financial Field)
After losing in the NFC Championship game to the Super Bowl bound Arizona Cardinals, the Eagles will be looking for a Super Bowl run, without a strong defense to keep Donovan McNabb in check, the Eagles will win a close one over the Saints, but hey, that day is my birthday, the Saints can give me a present with a win.
Buffalo Bills (September 27, 3:05 PM, Ralph Wilson Stadium)
The Bills started off strong last season but ran out of gas later into the season. Drew Brees and the Saints should win by at least seven over the Bills while cornerback Jabari Greer will look to play hard in his first game against the Bills after coming to New Orleans.
New York Jets (October 4, 3:05 PM, Louisiana Superdome)
It'll feel good to be back in the Dome after playing two games away from home. The Jets will most likely still be figuring out the quarterback situation and the Saints should win, probably not a blowout here, but a solid win.
New York Giants (October 18, 12:00 PM, Louisiana Superdome)
Without Plaxico Burress, the Giants shouldn't have a stunning offense, even with their troubles in the secondary, the Saints should get another win here although it wouldn't be that much of a surprise if the Giants won here.
Miami Dolphins (October 25, 3:15 PM, Dolphins Stadium; Landshark Stadium)
Chad Pennington led the Dolphins to the playoffs last year, and with the Tuna in charge, the Dolphins look to be a contender this year. But I do see Sean Payton getting the win over his former employer in Miami.
Atlanta Falcons (November 2, 7:30 PM, Louisiana Superdome)
Monday Night Football comes to New Orleans! Matt Ryan and the Falcons are a solid threat. With future Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez now on the team, the Saints will lose this game if the secondary does not come to play. I see Atlanta winning this game, for now.
Carolina Panthers (November 8, 3:05 PM, Louisiana Superdome)
Jake Delhomme and the Panthers' stable of backs can kill the Saints if they want to. The Panthers win this game.
St. Louis Rams (November 15, 12:00 PM, Edward Jones Dome)
Let's face it. The Rams were bad last year, really bad. Saints win this one easily, again, no blowout, but another solid win.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (November 22, 12:00 PM, Raymond James Stadium)
This one is pretty tough. The Bucs looked to be pretty good last year but collapsed near the end of the season. Jon Gruden was fired and starting quarterback Jeff Garcia went to Oakland, Brian Griese is gone so the question is, who's Tampa Bay's QB? Byron Leftwhich, rookie Josh Freeman, or another? I see the Saints winning this one.
New England Patriots (November 30, 7:30 PM, Louisiana Superdome)
The second of two Monday night games in New Orleans Saints. With the rebuilding secondary, I don't see the Saints being able to stop Tom Brady and Co., Randy Moss and Wes Welker will probably get open a good bit. I see the Saints taking a hard loss here.
Washington Redskins (December 6, 12:00 PM, FedEx Field)
Can the Saints go to D.C. and come back with a win? The Redskins have really tried to pick up some quality players on defense with the signings of Albert Haynesworth as well as others. If the Redksins don't come to play and play hard, the Saints could win this one, otherwise I see a close game with the Redskins taking the cake in the end.
Atlanta Falcons (December 13, 12:00 PM, Georgia Dome)
Barring injuries to critical Falcon players, I see another win by Atlanta here.
Dallas Cowboys (December 19, 7:20 PM, Louisiana Superdome)
Tony Romo and the Cowboys didn't look as sharp as they could've last season and with the loss of T.O., Romo looses one of his favorite targets. Saints win a close one here.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (December 27, 12:00 PM, Louisiana Superdome)
I see the Saints giving the city of New Orleans a Christmas present a day late with a win the day after Christmas.
Carolina Panthers (January 3, 12:00 PM, Bank of America Stadium)
If the Saints already have a playoff spot reserved for them, I see them playing backups and losing this one. Otherwise, the backs of Carolina will probably be pretty banged up after a long season, I see the Saints winning this one if they go for the win.
Final Record: 11-5 if they go for the win at Carolina, and 10-6 if they don't.
New Orleans Saints Training Camp Schedule
Practices will be held at the New Orleans Saints practice facility in Metairie unless noted.
July 31 – Morning practice (outdoor fields), 8:50-11 a.m. / Afternoon practice (outdoor fields), 4:20-5:45 p.m. (open practices)
Aug. 1 -- Morning practice (outdoor fields), 8:50-11 a.m. / Afternoon practice (outdoor fields), 4:20-5:45 p.m. (open practices)
Aug. 2 – Afternoon practice (outdoor fields), 3:20-5:45 p.m. (open practice)
Aug. 3 -- Morning practice (outdoor fields), 8:50-11 a.m. (open practice) / Afternoon practice (indoor facility), 4:20-5:45 p.m. (closed practice)
Aug. 4 -- Afternoon practice (outdoor fields), 3:20-5:45 p.m. (open practice)
Aug. 5 -- Morning practice (outdoor fields), 8:50-11 a.m. (open practice)/ Afternoon practice (indoor facility), 4:20-5:45 p.m. (closed practice)
Aug. 6 – Afternoon practice (outdoor fields), 3:20-5:45 p.m. (open practice)
Aug. 7 -- Morning practice (outdoor fields), 8:50-11 a.m. (open practice)/ Afternoon practice (indoor facility), 4:20-5:45 p.m. (closed practice)
Aug. 8 -- Afternoon practice (outdoor fields), 3:20-5:45 p.m. (open practice)
Aug. 9 – Day Off
Aug. 10 -- Morning practice (outdoor fields), 8:50-11 a.m. (open practice)/ Afternoon practice (indoor facility), 4:20-5:45 p.m. (closed practice)
Aug. 11 -- Morning practice (outdoor fields), 8:50-11 a.m. (open practice)/ Afternoon practice (indoor facility), 4:20-5:45 p.m. (closed practice)
Aug. 12 -- Afternoon practice (outdoor fields), 3:20-5:45 p.m. (open practice)
Aug. 13 – Day Off
Aug. 14 – Preseason game, Cincinnati Bengals at New Orleans Saints, 7 p.m.
Aug. 15 – Day Off
Aug. 16 -- Morning practice (outdoor fields), 8:50-11 a.m. (open practice)/ Afternoon practice (indoor facility), 4:20-5:45 p.m. (closed practice)
Aug. 17 -- Afternoon practice (outdoor fields), 3:20-5:45 p.m. (open practice)
Aug. 18 – Day Off
Aug. 19 – Two practices against the Houston Texans in Houston, TBA
Aug. 20 – Two practices against the Houston Texans in Houston, TBA
Aug. 21 – Day Off
Aug. 22 – Preseason game, New Orleans Saints at Houston Texams, 7 p.m.
Aug. 23 – Day Off
Aug. 24 – Afternoon practice (outdoor fields), 3:20-5:45 p.m. (open practice)
Aug. 25 – Afternoon practice (outdoor fields), 3:20-5:45 p.m. (open practice)
Aug. 26 -- Morning practice (indoor facility), 8:50-11 a.m. (closed practice)
Aug. 27 -- Afternoon practice (indoor facility), 4:20-5:45 p.m. (open practice)
Aug. 28 – Day Off
Aug. 29 – Preseason game, New Orleans Saints at Oakland Raiders, 3 p.m.
Aug. 30 – Day Off
Aug. 31 -- Morning practice (outdoor fields), 8:50-11 a.m. (open practice)/ Afternoon practice (indoor facility), 4:20-5:45 p.m. (closed practice)
Sept. 1 -- Afternoon practice (outdoor fields), 3:20-5:45 p.m. (open practice)
Meet The Black And Gold QBs:
By Joshua Joffrion, Staff Writer
If the Saints had given out a player of the year award following the 2006 season, it would've went to Drew Brees.
If they had given out one after the 2007 season, it would've went to Drew Brees.
If they would've given one out after the 2008 season, Drew Brees would've gotten it for sure.
Frankly, he is the best player on the Saints' roster.
Under Brees and head coach Sean Payton, the Saints have led the NFL in offensive yards on several occasions.
Despite the fact that Brees wears contact lenses, he sees the open receiver on almost every occasion and usually sends a tight spiral right into that receiver's hands which usually brings a significant gain and sometimes, six points.
Drew Christopher Brees was born on January 15, 1979 in Austin, Texas where he attended Westlake High School where in his senior season, he led the team to a perfect 16-0 season, the only undefeated season there to date.
He attended Purdue University and led the Boilermakers to the 2001 Rose Bowl. He finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting in 1999 and third in 2000.
Brees, often considered as too short to be a productive quarterback at 6 foot, was selected by the San Diego Chargers with the first pick of the second round in the 2001 NFL Draft.
In 2004, the Chargers selected Eli Manning out of Ole Miss with the first overall pick but Manning was unhappy with the Chargers because he "didn't want to play for a losing team", the New York Giants had chosen North Carolina State's Phillip Rivers and soon Rivers was headed for San Diego and Manning for the Big Apple.
Rivers held out nearly all of that year's training camp and Brees became the starter once more.
After becoming a free agent following the 2004 season, the Chargers suprised many and placed the franchise tag on Brees, resigning him to a one year deal.
In the final game of the 2005 season, Brees injured his shoulder while trying to recover the football after fumbling it while being hit by Denver Broncos' safety Rob Jamison.
The injury sent Brees to the operating table of Dr. James Andrews and caused him to miss playing in his second consecutive Pro Bowl.
Meanwhile, the Chargers had denied Brees' demand of more money so Brees, now a free agent, began to meet with other teams including the New Orleans Saints and the Miami Dolphins.
On March 14, 2006, Brees signed a 6 year, $60 million contract with the Saints and promptly became the starting quarterback under brand new head coach Sean Payton.
The Saints, who had went 3-13 in the 2005 season with the lack of a home stadium due to Hurricane Katrina, had fired former head coach Jim Haslett and released former starting quarterback Aaron Brooks.
Brees did indeed recover from the shoulder injury and led the Saints to the NFC Championship game in Chicago where their run of destiny ended.
Brees made it to the Pro Bowl that season and many saw big things in store for the Saints the next season.
The lack of a good defense caused the Saints to finish the 2007 season with a record of 7-9, but the offense was once again in the top five.
In 2008, Brees fell 16 yards short of tying Dan Marino's record for most single season yardage but became only the second NFL quarterback to throw for over 5,000 yards in a single season, second to only Marino.
In his career, the 6'0, 209 pounder has completed 2,334 out of 3,650 pass attempts for 26,258 yards, 168 touchdowns, and 99 interceptions.
Brees looks to lead the Saints on a Super Bowl run in 2009.
Meet The Black And Gold QBs:
By Joshua Joffrion, Staff Writer
This is the second article in a three part series that will profile the three quarterbacks on the New Orleans Saints roster.
If you're any kind of NFL fan, you've probably heard of Mark Brunell.
He was born on September 17, 1970 in Santa Maria, California. He became the starting quarterback for the St. Joseph High School Nights (Santa Maria, California) in the 1985, '86, and '87 seasons, leading the team to two league championships and one appearance in California's state championship series.
He signed with the University of Washington after completing high school and took over the starting quarterback job in his sophomore year with the Huskies. After having an excellent sophomore season which saw the Huskies finish ranked at #5 in the Associated Press poll and a Rose Bowl win over Iowa, Brunell was expected to take the Huskies all the way in the next season.
That however, did not happen. Brunell suffered a devestating knee injury in the annual Husky spring game but returned in the third game of the season, not fully recovered but by then, the starting job had been wrestled away by Billy Joe Hobert (who would also be a Saint later in his career).
Brunell was not declared the starter again until his senior season after Hobert had been suspended from the league for violating league rules and even after a bevy of losses, the Huskies were still named Pac-10 champions and Brunell started his second Rose Bowl game.
Brunell was selected by the Green Bay Packers in 5th round of the NFL Draft but was acquired by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 1995 in a trade for the 3rd and 5th round picks in the 1995 NFL Draft.
While a Jaguar, Brunell was a three time Pro Bowl selection and was awarded the Pro Bowl MVP award in his first appearance in Honolulu.
Following halftime of the third game in the 2003 season, Brunell was benched in favor of young gun Byron Leftwich and Brunell was soon traded to the Washington Redskins.
After several seasons with the 'Skins which saw him being benched for other quarterbacks (Jason Campbell and Patrick Ramsey) on two seperate occasions, he was released.
The New Orleans Saints signed the left hander on March 13, 2008 as a replacement for former backup quarterback, Jamie Martin.
He is the backup to starting quarterback Drew Brees but third string quarterback Joey Harrington is expected to challenge him for that spot.
In his career, Brunell has completed 2,738 out of 4,594 pass attempts for 31,826 yards, 182 touchdowns, and 106 interceptions.
He has rushed 509 times for 2,433 yards and 15 touchdowns.
The 6'1, 217 pounder is currently 38 years old and in his 17th NFL season.
Coming Next: Drew Brees
Meet The Black And Gold QBs:
By Joshua Joffrion, Staff Writer
This is the first article in a three part series that will profile the three quarterbacks on the New Orleans Saints roster.
There is one word that will summarize Joey Harrington's NFL career so far: disappointing.
John Joseph Harrington Jr. was born on October 21, 1978 in Portland Oregon. He graduated from Central Catholic High School in Portland and finished his high school football career with 4,200 yards and 50 touchdowns.
He was recruited by the University of Oregon where his father had also played quarterback and was a three year starter for the Ducks.
His college career ended with him completing 512 out of 928 passes for 6,911 yards and finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting.
He was picked by the Detroit Lions with the third pick overall in the 2002 NFL Draft where he became the starting quarterback in his rookie season.
After some disappointing seasons, Harrington was benched in favor of journeyman Jeff Garcia in 2005.
In 2006, the Lions signed former Arizona Cardinals quarterback Josh McCown and then former Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Jon Kitna shortly thereafter.
On May 12th, Harrington was traded to the Miami Dolphins for a sixth round pick in the 2007 NFL Draft. Harrington struggled with the Dolphins as he had with the Lions and was released on March 5, 2007 because of salary cap issues.
On April 9, 2007, Harrington was signed by the Atlanta Falcons to a two year, 6 million dollar contract to be a backup to Falcons franchise quarterback Michael Vick.
After the suspension of Vick for dogfighting, Harrington competed with former Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Byron Leftwich for the starting job but Harrington was beat out and was released on March 5, 2008 because of, you guessed it, salary cap issues. He was resigned by the Falcons seven days later but was once again released in August.
Harrington found his current home with the New Orleans Saints on September 19, 2008. He was ranked as the third string quarterback behind starter Drew Brees and second stringer Mark Brunell for a game against the Denver Broncos but was released five days later because of injury issues.
After the injury situation had became more manageable, Harrington was once again signed by the Saints on October 1, 2008 but was released once again by the team on October 6, 2008.
On March 20, 2009, Harrington was signed to a one year contract by the Saints and many expect him to compete with the older Mark Brunell for the backup job. Since Sean Payton has mostly kept only two quarterbacks on the roster since taking over the team, it wouldn't be too suprising to see either Harrington or Brunell gone next offseason.
In his career, the 6'4, 210 lb. Harrington has completed 1,424 passes out of 2,538 attempts for 14,693 yards, 79 touchdowns, and 85 interceptions.
He is 30 years old and in his eighth NFL season.
Coming Next: Mark Brunell
Breaking News: Leckey Had Surgery, Fletcher Done
By Joshua Joffrion
Backup center Nick Leckey had surgery to remove bone spurs from his ankle and unsigned rookie free agent center Alex Fletcher was placed on the reserve/retired list because of a career threatening kidney condition.
"Unfortunately, Alex will not be able to continue to play because of the medical issue,'' Payton said. "He has one kidney and the one kidney he has needs some work. It's pretty serious.
"He was upset and disappointed but knows that he has to get this thing better.
Digger Bujnoch, a former center at the University of Cincinnati was signed to replace Fletcher.