All posts by Pierce W. Huff

Advocate sportswriter

Sports Illustrated’s Peter King says the Saints were “vastly overestimated” before the season

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) is helped up after being sacked during the second half of an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys, Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tim Sharp)

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) is helped up after being sacked during the second half of an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys, Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tim Sharp)

Who are the 1-3 New Orleans Saints after their 38-17 loss at the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday?

Peter King of Sports Illustrated has a good idea, and he doesn’t hold back in his “Monday Morning Quarterback” column released on Monday.

Here is what King said:

“I think we vastly overestimated the Saints. Not only on defense—Rob Ryan’s unit isn’t even mediocre; it’s bad—but the offense is not nearly as reliable as a normal Drew Brees offense. The worrisome thing I saw Sunday night was the continuation of a trend that’s plagued the Saints often during the Payton years: They’re awful on the road. Since the start of the 2013 season, New Orleans is 9-0 at home and 4-9 away from the Superdome. The pass-rush isn’t there as it was late last year, and the Saints haven’t had consistent play in the back end around cornerback Keenan Lewis; plus, ace safety Kenny Vaccaro is still recovering from late December ankle surgery that ended his 2013 season. He doesn’t look the same. The Saints can rebound from 1-3, because there’s not a super team in the NFC South. But the ugliness of the first month won’t be easy to overcome.”

The good news for Saints fans is that King doesn’t completely write them off this season.

Still, it’s clear that the veteran NFL reporter doesn’t think Saints fans should be making Super Bowl reservations either.

Click here to see the rest of King’s column.

Saints at Cowboys pregame chat

Live Blog Saints at Cowboys pregame chat

Saints say Khiry Robinson has made great strides at running back

New Orleans Saints running back Khiry Robinson (29) runs against the Atlanta Falcons during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 7, 2014, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

New Orleans Saints running back Khiry Robinson (29) runs against the Atlanta Falcons during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 7, 2014, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Khiry Robinson was just running.

He dropped his head, tucked the ball, and went where he was told. There was rhyme and reason to the process, but it wasn’t much more than following orders.

He didn’t fully understand the blocking concepts and how he could use them to his advantage. Until late in the season, a lot of his success last year was the result of raw talent.

That is no longer the case.

“Towards the end (of the season) there he had a hot hand with regards to just the idea of measuring or grading his run decisions,” Saints coach Sean Payton said. “Certainly he is further along here in year two with the whole game.”

With Mark Ingram suffering a broken hand that will keep him out at least a few weeks, Robinson will have the opportunity to showcase his growth in a larger role over the next few weeks.

He’s already done so during the first two games of the season. His numbers (14 carries, 59 yards) aren’t overly impressive, but the manner in which they’ve been compiled has contained some impressive moments.

Most would point to a 21-yard touchdown run against the Falcons as his standout moment of the season, but that was mostly the result of good blocking. The more impressive moments have come on shorter runs, where Robinson has done a better job of reading his blocks and has displayed patience in waiting for holes to form.

“I think that he’s becoming a smarter runner,” tackle Zach Strief said. “He’s very naturally talented. He has a lot of abilities. … But there’s a lot that goes into running the ball in this league. That mental aspect — you’ve seen him grow a lot.”

How so?

“He understands fronts more, where plays are designed to go more and also the protections,” Payton said. “That has really been the area that you notice the most.”

- By Nick Underhill

Saints coach Sean Payton talks with Cincinnati Bengals player Devon Still on ESPN’s “Mike & Mike” show

AP Photo/Tony Tribble

AP Photo/Tony Tribble

One week after purchasing 100 Devon Still Cincinnati Bengals jerseys, Saints coach Sean Payton talked with the player for the first time on ESPN’s “Mike & Mike” show on Thursday.

Payton purchased the jerseys last week in honor of Still’s daughter, Leah, who has Stage 4 pediatric cancer and is at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. The Bengals announced that all proceeds from the sales of Still’s jersey would go to pediatric cancer research.

“I’m a huge fan from a far,” Payton told Still. “I never met you. We play you down the road now, and you can’t have any sacks on (Saints quarterback Drew) Brees.”

Still thanked Payton for purchasing the jerseys.

Still said that lately the news about Leah’s health has been positive.

Payton heard the story last week of how Still began the season on the practice squad because of an injured hamstring, but was signed by Cincinnati to the active roster before the season began so he would have health insurance to pay for his daughter’s treatments, and he decided to do something to support the cause.

Payton said the jersey sale decision by Cincinnati was a class move by Bengals owner Mike Brown and coach Marvin Lewis.

“I think you have inspired a ton of people with this story as have (Bengals owner) Mike Brown and (Bengals coach) Marvin Lewis,” Payton told Still. “It really caught my attention the way they were handling it, and I think it is going to be something that gives a lot of people strength, obviously, in a difficult time.”

Raffle for Saints punter Thomas Morstead’s What You Give Will Grow Foundation

There’s been floods of bad news coming out of the NFL lately, but here’s a chance for Saints fans to benefit a couple of good causes while also getting a shot at winning tickets to each one of their team’s home games in 2014 for $2.

Saints punter Thomas Morstead is holding a raffle to raise funds for his What You Give Will Grow Foundation, whose mission is to support causes and charities that work with — among others — cancer patients and underprivileged children in the region. Fans can purchase tickets for the raffle at saintsraffle.com.

Aside from a pair of tickets to every Saints home game (the first of which is Sunday at noon against the Vikings), the winner will receiving lodging and other gifts. Among the other gifts are a diamond fleur-de-lis necklace, a dinner with Morstead and his wife, Lauren, a signed Morstead Saints jersey and the complete collection of the Sprout6 T-shirt line, whose sales benefit What You Give Will Grow Foundation.

The deadline to buy tickets is Thursday at 11 a.m.