Saints list Foster, Dawson as questionable for Seattle game

New Orleans Saints defensive end Glenn Foster (97) celebrates dueing an NFL football game against the New England Patriots Sunday, Oct.13, 2013, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)

The Saints (9-2) on Saturday declared DE Glenn Foster and DE/OLB Keyunta Dawson as questionable for Monday night’s game at Seattle (10-1).

Foster missed practice all week with a knee injury he sustained against Atlanta (2-9) on Nov. 21. Dawson, who forced a key fumble in New Orleans’ 17-13 win over the Falcons, sat out Saturday with a hurt calf — it was his first time on the injury report all week.

RB Darren Sproles (ankle), RG Jahri Evans (ankle) and CB Chris Carr (hip/hamstring) are listed as probable. Sproles and Evans fully practiced all week after missing the Atlanta game. Carr was limited on Thursday and Friday but fully practiced on Saturday.

For Seattle, CB Brandon Browner (groin) is out, as expected. WR Percy Harvin (hip) is doubtful. RB Marshawn Lynch (knee) and WR Jermaine Kearse (concussion) are probable.

Saints, Seahawks have been very good on MNF

Something has to give Monday night when the Saints meet the Seattle Seahawks in CenturyLink Field.

The Saints have won nine games in a row on Monday night, a streak that was extended on Sept. 30 with a 38-17 beating of the Miami Dolphins in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The nine-game streak is the longest in the NFL.

The Seahawks are right behind the Saints with seven consecutive Monday night wins. Their most recent victory came on Oct. 28 against the St. Louis Rams (14-9).

The Saints are 11-2 on MNF since Sean Payton arrived in 2006. Their last loss on that night came on Oct. 6, 2008 when they dropped a 30-27 decision to the Minnesota Vikings.

The Seahawks have also had great success overall on Monday night as they are 19-8 for a winning percentage of .704, which is the best in MNF history.

PRACTICE REPORT: There were no changes on the practice report Payton filed with the league office on Friday as DE Glenn Foster (knee) was the only player who didn’t work.

CB Chris Carr (hip/hamstring) was limited, while G Jahri Evans (ankle) and RB Darren Sproles (ankle) had full participation for the second straight day.

THE HAT: Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson acknowledged Wednesday that he used to wear a Saints cap and was a fan of the team when he attended the University of Wisconsin.

“I’m a huge fan (of the Saints),” said Wilson, a second-year pro. “I still watch them. I don’t wear it any more.”

Wilson  said he was probably wearing it when the Saints dropped a 41-36 decision to the Seahawks in a 2010 playoff game. That day, running back Marshawn Lynch, now a teammate, broke eight tackles and tossed aside cornerback Tracy Porter en route to a 67-yard touchdown run.

“I probably did (wear it that day) … I’m not going to lie,” Wilson said.

 TYING BEN?: Wilson, a third-round draft pick in 2012, has already led the Seahawks to 21 regular-season wins in 27 starts and needs just one more victory to tie Ben Roethlisberger for the most in a quarterback’s first two seasons.

Wilson is also 13-0 at home, putting him third on the list of quarterbacks with the most consecutive home wins to start a career since 1970.

The record is 16 by the Dallas Cowboys’ Danny White. Kurt Warner is next with 15, while Marc Bulger had 14 — both with the St. Louis Rams.

THOMAS MOVES UP: Saints running back Pierre Thomas quietly moved into fourth place on the franchise’s all-time rushing list in their Nov. 21 win at Atlanta.

Thomas picked up 73 yards against the Falcons, pushing his total to 3,460 for his seven-year career while surpassing Chuck Muncie and Rueben Mayes.

Thomas now trails only Deuce McAllister (6,096), George Rogers (4,267) and Dalton Hilliard (4,164) on the all-time Saints’ list.

VITT NOMINATED: Saints assistant head coach/linebackers coach Joe Vitt has been nominated by the team for the third annual Salute to Service Award, which is presented by the NFL and USAA to a person for his commitment to honoring and supporting the military community.

Vitt was nominated for his work on behalf of the Semper Fi Foundation and Wounded Warrior Project, which includes hosting military members on game days.

Finalists will be named in January with the winner to be named during the annual NFL Honors awards show in New York City on Feb. 1, the night before Super Bowl XLVIII.

Saints DE Glenn Foster misses 2nd straight day of practice on Friday

New Orleans Saints defensive end Glenn Foster (97) celebrates dueing an NFL football game against the New England Patriots Sunday, Oct.13, 2013, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)

Defensive end Glenn Foster on Friday sat out a second straight day of Saints‘ practice with a knee injury, the team said.

Cornerback Chris Carr was limited a second straight day with a hamstring/hip problem. Right guard Jahri Evans and running back Darren Sproles were full participants a second straight day after missing last week’s game against Atlanta with hurt ankles.

No one else was listed on the brief injury report, an encouraging sign that the Saints (9-2) could be close to full strength when they visit Seattle (10-1) on Monday night.

Foster hurt himself at the beginning of the third quarter of the 17-13 win over Atlanta. He was helping to make a tackle on Falcons running back Steven Jackson when his left knee crashed into teammate Malcolm Jenkins, who dove into the play in an attempt to make a stop as well.

Foster, an undrafted rookie, has recorded three sacks in nine games this year. He sat out the first two regular-season contests of the year with a hurt ankle.

Saints’ DE Cameron Jordan reacts to $10,000 fine for roughing the passer penalty

Advocate staff photo by ELIOT KAMENITZ– New Orleans Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan (94) celebrates his second quarter sack of Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) in a NFL football game between the New Orleans Saints and Arizona Cardinals at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013.

After incurring a $10,000 fine for a penalty he got while rushing Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan said, “I get it, man — they’re trying to make the game safe for quarterbacks.”

Then, he chuckled and continued, “Without a doubt, I get it — you have to protect the quarterback. It is what it is.”

The NFL in an email on Friday said it fined Jordan for roughing the passer. With 11:49 left in the first quarter of New Orleans’ 17-13 win over Atlanta on Nov. 21, Jordan charged Ryan from the right, working against Falcons left tackle Lamar Holmes. Jordan batted his arms at Ryan and, with his right hand, hit the quarterback in the face mask as a 7-yard pass was completed.

Officials flagged Jordan, and Atlanta accepted the 15-yard penalty.

“I can’t even really recall the play — I’ve got to go back and look it over,” Jordan said. “I caught a penalty for it, and I thought that was a little egregious, but apparently I must’ve done something. Whoever’s in charge of fining decided it was time to fine me.”

Jordan, a first-round draft pick in 2011, leads the Saints (9-2) with a team-high 9.5 sacks, 2.5 of which came after he was whistled for roughing the passer. He’s second in the NFC behind St. Louis Rams DE Robert Quinn (13) during what’s turning out to be a Pro Bowl-caliber year.

Saints get acclimated for Seattle weather in chilly Metairie

As they normally do when they prepare to play a road game, the Saints practiced outdoors on their grass fields Thursday for the second time this week.

The Saints came back Tuesday following a three-day weekend for an intro to the game plan for Monday night’s game with the Seattle Seahawks and, after a day off Wednesday, worked again Thursday.

The chilly temperatures of the past few days helped get the Saints acclimated for the Seattle weather. Monday’s forecast is calling for a high of 41 degrees with the temperature dipping close to the freezing mark by the game’s end. There is a 30 percent chance of rain and snow showers.

“It was good. … In fact, the other day was probably even colder and damper,” Saints coach Sean Payton said, noting the temperature will drop into the 30s during the game. “So having that similar environment a few days ago and to some degree, cooler weather today is helpful.”

THE NOISE FACTOR: Even though he has a dome team, which sometimes has trouble in extreme weather conditions, Payton seemed almost as concerned with the noise that the Saints will contend with in CenturyLink Field.

Playing in arguably the loudest venue in the NFL, the Seahawks have a sparkling 64-29 record at home since moving to the NFC when the league realigned in 2002.

“Getting the crowd noise work done is critical as well (as the weather) because the communication and the ability to focus with all those other things going on is where you are challenged,” Payton said.

PRACTICE REPORT: Having a weekend off to heal up after their 17-13 win against the Atlanta Falcons on Nov. 21 helped shrink their list of injured players.

The only player who didn’t participate in practice was defensive end Glenn Foster, who hurt his knee in the second half against the Falcons.

CB Chris Carr (hip/hamstring) was limited, while G Jahri Evans (ankle) and RB Darren Sproles (ankle) had full participation after missing the Falcons’ game.

The Seahawks were given the day off for Thanksgiving, but WR Percy Harvin (hip) and CB Brandon Browner (groin) would have been out, while RB Marshawn Lynch (knee) would have been limited according to coach Pete Carroll.

THANKUL TO BE BACK: When asked what he was thankful for on Thanksgiving, Payton cited being back with his team after serving a season-long suspension in 2012 as the No. 1 thing.

“I am thankful for these players. I’m thankful for you guys, all that cover us on a regular basis … and I mean that,” Payton said. “The biggest thing, and I told our team, when you are away a year it’s not the ancillary things, but it is the interaction that you have as a team.

“I think it is a close group. Obviously, there are a lot of changes every year, but that is the thing I am thankful for — this family, my immediate family, also with my children. That’s why I liked practicing today.”

WINNING SEASON CLINCHED: The Saints are looking for a lot more in the final five games of the season after clinching the franchise’s 12th winning season with the victory over the Falcons last week.

It was Payton’s fifth winning season in seven years (2006, ’09, ’10, ’11 and ’13), tying him with Jim Mora (1987, ’88, ’89, ’91 and ’92) for the most in franchise history. Jim Haslett had the other two (2000 and ’02).

Glenn Foster misses Saints’ practice, but Sproles and Evans return to work

New Orleans Saints defensive end Glenn Foster (97) celebrates dueing an NFL football game against the New England Patriots Sunday, Oct.13, 2013, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)

Defensive end Glenn Foster sat out the Saints‘ practice on Thursday with a knee injury, but right guard Jahri Evans and running back Darren Sproles were full participants after missing last week’s game against Atlanta with hurt ankles, the team said.

Cornerback Chris Carr was limited with a hamstring/hip problem. No one else was listed on the brief injury report, an encouraging sign that the Saints (9-2) could be close to full strength when they visit Seattle (10-1) on Monday night.

Foster hurt himself at the beginning of the third quarter of the 17-13 win over Atlanta. He was helping to make a tackle on Falcons running back Steven Jackson when his left knee crashed into teammate Malcolm Jenkins, who dove into the play in an attempt to make a stop as well.

Foster, an undrafted rookie, has recorded three sacks in nine games this year. He missed the first two regular-season contests of the year with a hurt ankle.

On Thursday, he was seen working out on a stationary bicycle while the rest of his team stretched and participated in individual drills.

“I’ll be back soon,” Foster said after practice let out Thursday. Though he was walking, he didn’t specify whether he’d return in time for the Seahawks game.

“I’m feeling well — you’ll see me on that field (again),” he added.

Seattle gave its players Thanksgiving off. When they practiced on Tuesday, wide receiver Percy Harvin missed practice with a hip injury, and running back Marshawn Lynch was limited with a hurt knee. The Seahawks listed Jermaine Kearse on the injury report with a concussion, but he practiced fully.

Saints DE Cameron Jordan leads sack parade

With 37 sacks in 11 games, the Saints’ defense has already surpassed its total of all last season — by seven — heading into Monday night’s showdown with the Seattle Seahawks.

One of the main reasons for the improved pass rush under first-year defensive coordinator Rob Ryan has been defensive end Cameron Jordan, who is having a Pro Bowl-type year with a team-leading 9 1/2 sacks.

Jordan is second in the NFC (St. Louis Rams defensive end Robert Quinn has 13) and seventh in the entire NFL going into Monday night’s game.

Jordan, a first-round draft pick in 2011, had eight sacks to lead the Saints a year ago when they finished with only 30. This year, he’s been an integral part of an aggressive defense that ranks fifth in the NFL in fewest yards and points allowed — helping the Saints to a 9-2 record.

Jordan had 2 1/2 sacks of Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan in a 17-13 victory Thursday night and his total of 9 1/2 in 11 games, despite playing on a sore ankle for several weeks, is more than he had in his first two seasons.

“Last year, he was one of those guys that jumped off the tape when you watched him,” said free safety Malcolm Jenkins, one of the team’s defensive captains. “His effort is phenomenal, and that was the biggest thing we saw last year — his effort to the ball every play.

“He’s one of those linemen that can play literally every down of the game and not be tired.”

PILING THEM UP: With Jordan having 9 1/2 sacks and outside linebacker Junior Galette collecting a career-high six, the Saints are averaging 3.4 per game.

Their 37 sacks has them tied for the league lead with four other teams — Baltimore, Buffalo, Kansas City and Green Bay — going into this week’s games.

The Saints, who finished last in the NFL in total defense last season, tied for 25th in sacks with only 30 en route to a 7-9 record.

SORRY TO SEE IT GO: After dropping a 26-20 decision to the New York Jets on Nov. 3, the Saints won their final three games of the month — defeating the Dallas Cowboys, San Francisco 49ers and Falcons in a 12-day span.

Counting their 3-1 mark this month, the Saints have won 19 of the past 23 games they played in November dating to the 2008 season. They were 5-0 in 2009 and 3-0 in both 2010 and ’11.

BACK TO WORK: After having Saturday through Monday off following Thursday night’s win against the Falcons, the Saints returned to work Tuesday for what coach Sean Payton calls a “bonus” practice.

The practice gave them a chance to get a head start on Monday night’s opponent. They’ll be off again Wednesday and come back Thursday for the first of three workouts before making the long trip to Seattle on Saturday evening.

SPREADING IT AROUND: When Saints quarterback Drew Brees fired a 3-yard touchdown pass to rookie tight end Josh Hill, it wasn’t only the first scoring grab of Hill’s young career.

It added yet another name to the list of players Brees, who has 272 TDs since signing with the Saints in 2006, has thrown a scoring pass to in his 13-year career.

He’s now connected with 30 different Saints players — and 45 receivers in all when you count his first five seasons with the San Diego Chargers.

TURNOVER-FREE: It almost went unnoticed because it was a night game, but the Saints did not turn the ball over in the win against the Falcons.

The Saints are now 3-0 this season when they don’t give the ball away. That pushes their record since Payton became coach in 2006 to 25-1 in the regular season and 27-1 — counting the playoffs — when they play error-free ball.

New Orleans Saints chat with Advocate sportswriter Ramon Antonio Vargas

Saints move up in key NFL defensive categories

The Saints’ NFL rankings didn’t change much with Thursday night’s 17-13 win against the Atlanta Falcons, but they did move up in two key categories on defense.

In updated stats following the completion of the Week 12 schedule on Monday night, the Saints moved up two spots in run defense to 15th in allowing 111.9 yards per game.

In addition, they’re tied for the NFL lead with 37 sacks in 11 games — seven more sacks than they had in 16 games a year ago.

Defensive end Cameron Jordan, who has a career-high 9 1/2 sacks after picking up 2 1/2 against the Falcons, ranks second in the NFC and seventh in the NFL.

The Saints (9-2) dropped one spot in total yards allowed, but still rank fifth (309.9 yards per game). They remain third against the pass (198.0) and fifth in scoring (17.8 points a game) even though their average dropped from 18.3 after holding the Falcons to 13 points.

Offensively, the Saints dropped one spot in total yards to third (415.0) and also in scoring (27.7) and remained steady at second in passing (317.3) and 23rd in rushing (97.7).

They’ll face one of the better defenses in the league Monday night when they play the Seattle Seahawks (10-1).

The Seahawks are second in total defense (293.3) and against the pass (180.4) and are tied for second in scoring (16.3).

Offensively, the Seahawks rank third in rushing (147.9) and second in scoring (27.8).

Here are the pertinent numbers for Monday night’s game with the Seahawks in the CenturyLink Field:

SAINTS (9-2)

Offense: Total yards, 415.0 (3); rushing, 97.7 (23); passing, 317.3 (2); scoring, 27.7 (3).

Defense: Total yards, 309.9 (5); rushing, 111.9 (15); passing, 198.0 (3); scoring, 17.8 (5).

Turnover differential: Plus-4 (t11)/13 giveaways (8 interceptions, 5 fumbles), 17 takeaways (10 interceptions, 7 fumble recoveries).

SEAHAWKS (10-1)

Offense: Total yards, 350.6 (17); rushing, 147.9 (3); passing, 210.5 (24); scoring, 27.8 (2).

Defense: Total yards, 293.3 (2); rushing, 112.9 (16); passing, 180.4 (2); scoring, 16.3 (t2).

Turnover differential: Plus-11 (t2)/15 giveaways (6 interceptions, 9 fumbles), 26 takeaways (16 interceptions, 10 fumble recoveries).

Saints-Panthers clash on Dec. 8 flexed to primetime

Saints quarterback Drew Brees.

The Saints‘ Dec. 8 clash against Carolina — which could potentially have major playoff implications — has been moved from a noon to 7:30 p.m. kickoff. The game will air on NBC’s Sunday Night Football and not on Fox as originally scheduled — it has been flexed to swap slots with a Falcons-Packers game.

NBC sportscaster Bob Costas made the announcement during the Broncos-Patriots game on Sunday night.

The 9-2 Saints defeated the Falcons on Thursday; they lead the NFC South and are second place in their conference. Carolina beat Miami on Sunday and is 8-3, just one game behind New Orleans in the NFC South.

New Orleans visits the NFC’s front runner, Seattle (10-1), on Dec. 2. Carolina hosts Tampa Bay (3-8) on Dec. 1.

The Dec. 8 game will be the fifth time the Saints play in primetime this season. It will also be their third straight primetime contest.

NFL match-ups are subject to flexible schedule in Weeks 11 to 17, in part to ensure quality match-ups in all Sunday time slots.

For Weeks 11 to 17, the NFL announces the start times of games on Sundays no later than 12 days prior to that weekend. In Week 17, officials can make flexible scheduling decisions on six days’ notice.