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Saints WR Joe Morgan shines in setback against Giants

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Speedy wide receiver Joe Morgan, a second-year pro, was one of the Saints’ bright spots on a dreary Sunday.

Morgan, an undrafted free agent who missed the entire 2011 season with a knee injury, caught passes of 62 and 44 yards in the Saints’ 52-27 loss to the New York Giants in MetLife Stadium.

With his two receptions for 106 yards, Morgan topped the 100-yard mark for the first time in his career and this season has 310 yards and a 44.3-yard average on just seven catches.

His receptions have gone for 80, 62, 48, 44, 38, 33 and 5 yards with touchdowns of 80 and 48.

TAKING IT AWAY: The Saints knew they would have to take care of the ball going into the game with the Giants, who had 30 takeaways in their first 12 games.

But that went out the window early when the Saints lost fumbles on their first two possessions.

Wide receiver Marques Colston lost the ball after a 30-yard catch and fullback Jed Collins had the ball ripped from his grasp by safety Antrel Rolle after a short catch on the next series.

They eventually gave it away four times after Drew Brees tossed a pair of interceptions in the second half.

ANOTHER 4,000: Brees threw for 354 yards in a losing effort Sunday, giving him 4,028 yards for the season.

It marked the seventh straight season that Brees has topped the 4,000-yard mark, setting an NFL record. He and Peyton Manning (1999-2004) shared the mark with six consecutive seasons.

Before Brees arrived in 2006, the Saints never had a quarterback throw for 4,000 yards in the first 39 years of the franchise’s existence.

MORE BREES: Brees would be the first to tell you that it didn’t matter because they lost, but he passed Hall of Famer Dan Marino for second place on the all-time list for career 300-yard games.

Brees now has topped the 300-yard mark 64 times in his 12-year career — just five behind Manning’s 69.

Also, with 26 completions, Brees pushed his NFL-record streak with at least 20 to 49 games.

INACTIVES: The Saints inactives were RB Chris Ivory (hamstring), T Charles Brown (knee), CB Corey White (knee), LB Scott Shanle, DE Turk McBride, TE Michael Higgins and DT Tyrunn Walker.

Ivory was added to the injury list Saturday with a hamstring problem.

INJURIES: Saints FS Malcolm Jenkins left in the second quarter with an undisclosed injury and did not return. … RT Zach Strief hurt his right ankle in the second quarter and didn’t return after having it re-taped.

HEAVY HEART: Saints defensive end Martez Wilson was having to deal with the death of former Illinois teammate Jerry Brown of the Dallas Cowboys, who was killed early Saturday in an auto accident.

Brown was a passenger in a car driven by Cowboys defensive tackle Josh Brent, another former college teammate. Brent has been charged with intoxication manslaughter.

“My prayers are with Jerry’s family and I wish J.B. (Brent) the best in a bad situation,” Wilson said. “He’s a good guy who made a bad decision.”

LAGNIAPPE: Saints safety Isa Abdul-Quddus, a native of nearby Union, N.J., got the first interception of his two-year NFL career in the third quarter off Eli Manning. … The Saints are 19-30 when Brees, who threw 43 passes Sunday, attempts 40 or more in a game. They’re 48-12 when he throws fewer than 40. … Giants guard Selvish Capers, who was added to the active roster this week, is a St. Augustine High School graduate. … The Saints played the Giants in a fourth different New York-area venue as they previously met in Yankee Stadium, Shea Stadium and Giants Stadium.

Saints RB Ivory among inactives for game with Giants

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Saints running back Chris Ivory, a late addition to the injury list on Saturday, is inactive for today’s game with the New York Giants in MetLife Stadium.

Ivory, who has a hamstring problem, was listed as doubtful for the game when Saints’ officials added him to the injury report on Saturday before the team left New Orleans.

Interim coach Joe Vitt on Friday had ruled out tackle Charles Brown (knee) and cornerback Corey White (knee). Brown will miss his third straight game, while White, will miss his third games in four weeks.

The Saints other inactives are LB Scott Shanle, DE Turk McBride, TE Michael Higgins and DT Tyrunn Walker.

Saints defensive end Junior Galette is active and will play for the first time since spraining his left ankle on Nov. 5 against the Philadelphia Eagles. He missed the last four games.

GIANTS INACTIVES: Not dressing for the Giants are S Kenny Phillips (knee), S Tyler Sash (hamstring), TE Travis Beckum, DE Adewale Ojomo, RB Ryan Torain, TE Adrien Robinson, DT Marvin Austin.

Saints CB White to miss Sunday’s game with Giants

Saints tackle Charles Brown and cornerback Corey White were the only players ruled out of Sunday’s game with the New York Giants by interim coach Joe Vitt.

Vitt said Friday that Brown would miss his third straight game with a knee injury, while White, who missed two games with a knee problem before returning last week to play on special teams, would not play Sunday.

Vitt noted that White, a rookie who had been starting in the Saints’ nickel package, didn’t have a major setback with his injury after practicing on Monday.

However, Vitt said that because White is a young player who missed significant playing time and practice time since being injured on Nov. 11, they would be hesitant to put him back in there at this point.

Everyone else on the active roster had full participation in Friday’s practice.

Here is the final injury report turned in to the league office by Vitt and Giants coach Tom Coughlin:


Out — T Charles Brown (knee), CB Corey White (knee).

Probable — T Zach Strief (groin), SS Roman Harper (rib), TE David Thomas (knee), DE Junior Galette (ankle), DE Martez Wilson (toe), CB Johnny Patrick (illness), DT Tom Johnson (back), S Isa Abdul-Quddus (concussion), WR Courtney Roby (hamstring).


Out — S Kenny Phillips (knee), S Tyler Sash (hamstring), TE Travis Beckum (knee).

Questionable — WR Hakeem Nicks (knee).

Probable — RB Ahmad Bradshaw (foot), LB Chase Blackburn (ankle), DE Jason Pierre-Paul (back, LB Michael Boley (shoulder), C David Baas (shoulder), LB Jacquian Williams (knee), WR Domenik Hixon (ankle).

Saints’ Spagnuolo liked what he saw in young Webster

As the New York Giants’ first-year defensive coordinator in 2007, Steve Spagnuolo liked what he saw in third-year cornerback Corey Webster.

Spagnuolo liked him even more later that season when Webster, a former LSU standout, was asked to cover some big-time wide receivers in the playoffs on their march to a win in Super Bowl XLII.

“Corey is one of my favorites,” said Spagnuolo, who, as Saints defensive coordinator, will see his former pupil in Sunday’s game with the Giants. “When we got there, he was young.

“That first season, he struggled at the beginning … then boom, all of a sudden, he hit a stride and we ended up using him in those four playoff games — and put him on the four best receivers,” he said.

Webster, now an eight-year veteran with two Super Bowl rings, held New England’s Randy Moss to five catches for 62 yards, Dallas’ Terrell Owens to 49 yards on four receptions and Tampa Bay’s Joey Galloway to one catch for 9 yards.

Green Bay’s Donald Driver had five receptions for 141 yards with a 90-yard touchdown in the NFC Championship game, but Webster got the catch that counted most when he intercepted Brett Favre on the second play of overtime. That led to a game-winning field goal that put the Giants in the Super Bowl.

Webster’s career has taken off since then. After intercepting just six passes in his first five seasons, he’s had 14 in the last three with a career-high six picks in 2011 and four each this season and in 2010.

“He stepped up that year and really was integral in what we were doing at the end there,” said Spagnuolo.

DRAWING INSPIRATION?: Considering the last two Super Bowl champions have won it all with regular-season records of 10-6 and 9-7, respectively, the Saints are holding out hope that they can do the same.

The Saints need to win all four of their games to finish 9-7, although that won’t guarantee them of a playoff spot — much less a Super Bowl berth.

The least they can do is draw inspiration from the team they’ll face Sunday. The Giants finished 9-7 a year ago and won the Super Bowl despite barely getting into the postseason.

“They’ve played in these types of games,” quarterback Drew Brees said. “They’re playoff games before the playoffs. It’s the situation we’re in.”

PRACTICE REPORT: Saints interim coach Joe Vitt said only two players — T Charles Brown (knee) and CB Corey White (knee) — did not participate in Thursday’s practice.

White, who missed two games with a knee injury before returning to play on special teams in their last outing at Atlanta was added to the injury list after having full participation Wednesday.

After being limited Wednesday, SS Roman Harper (rib) had full participation on Thursday.

GIANTS’ INJURIES: WR Hakeem Nicks (knee) was added to the Giants’ injury report on Thursday after practicing fully during a light Wednesday practice.

Not participating for the second straight day were RB Ahmad Bradshaw (foot), S Kenny Phillips (knee), S Tyler Sash (hamstring) and TE Travis Beckum (knee), while LB Michael Boley (shoulder) and LB Jacquian Williams (knee) were limited.

INGRAM HONORED: Saints running back Mark Ingram, a second-year pro who has battled injuries since joining the team as a first-round draft pick in 2011, has been voted by teammates as the 2012 recipient of the Ed Block Courage Award.

Each NFL team votes for a player, coach or member of the organization that overcomes adversity — on or off the field — to succeed.

Ingram had foot and toe injuries in 2011 and this May underwent knee surgery, but was back in time for training camp. He will be honored along with the winners from the other 31 teams at the Ed Block Courage Award Banquet this spring in Baltimore.

GET CRUNK: After being crushed by the Saints in their last two visits to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome — 48-27 in 2009 and 49-24 last season — Giants guard Chris Snee said he’s happy to get a shot at the Saints in the Meadowlands on Sunday.

“We’ve had zero success (in New Orleans),” said Snee, the son-in-law of Giants coach Tom Coughlin. “It’s one of those games where we were down quick and the crowd got into it.

“I heard that song (“Stand Up and Get Crunk!”) play over and over again,” he said. “I don’t know the name of it. That’s a tough place to play … it’s very tough. It’s nice that we don’t have to go down there.”

Saints’ Brees vows to remain aggressive, not cautious

METAIRIE Six days after playing one of the worst games of his 12-year NFL career, Saints quarterback Drew Brees made sure that the word cautious wasn’t in his vocabulary when he met with reporters.

Even after throwing a career-high five interceptions in a 23-13 loss to the Atlanta Falcons on Nov. 29, cautious is the last thing Brees plans to be in Sunday’s game with the New York Giants.

Confident was a better word to hang his helmet on, which is what he said he’ll be when the Saints go against the reigning Super Bowl champions.

“You stay aggressive … you stay confident,” said Brees, who has thrown seven interceptions in the past two games and 16 picks for the season. “If you don’t have trust and confidence in this league, you can’t play.

“I understand the importance of taking care of the football,” he said. “The last two weeks, the amount of turnovers can’t happen. It’s something I have to fix. I’m doing my best to do that. As far as being cautious or conservative, that’s not going to happen.”

NO DECISION EXPECTED: Saints interim coach Joe Vitt told New York reporters Wednesday he doesn’t expect to hear this week from retired NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue after the latest round of bounty hearings.

Tagliabue, a lawyer, was appointed by Commissioner Roger Goodell to hear the appeal of Jonathan Vilma and Will Smith and issue punishment for their alleged roles in the bounty scandal.

Tagliabue wrapped up the hearings in New Orleans on Monday when Vitt and Vilma testified. Since there was no word Wednesday, Vitt is hopeful that Vilma and Smith will be available for Sunday’s game.

“The kind of man, the kind of commissioner Paul Tagliabue was and the man he is, I would be shocked if something came this week,” Vitt said.

“He truly understands what a (NFL) work week is like. I think any decision that comes from his office would probably come at the conclusion of this game.”

PRACTICE REPORT: Vitt turned in his first injury report of the week Wednesday, which was a lot shorter than it has been in recent weeks.

Vitt said the only players who did not participate in practice were T Charles Brown (knee), DE Martez Wilson (toe) and CB Johnny Patrick (illness).

SS Roman Harper (rib) was limited, while DE Junior Galette (ankle), TE David Thomas (knee), S Isa Abdul-Quddus (concussion), DT Tom Johnson (back) and WR Courtney Roby (hamstring) all had full participation.

GIANTS WORK LIGHT: After a Monday night loss to the Washington Redskins, Giants coach Tom Coughlin put his team through a “glorified jog-through” when they got back on the practice field Wednesday.

Not participating were RB Ahmad Bradshaw (foot), S Kenny Phillips (knee), S Tyler Sash (hamstring) and TE Travis Beckum (knee).

Starting linebackers Chase Blackburn (ankle) and Michael Boley (shoulder) were limited, as was backup linebacker Jacquian Williams (knee).

FAMILIAR FACE: Baker native and former Southern University player Lunda Wells is in his first season as an offensive assistant with the Giants.

Wells spent the past four seasons as a graduate assistant with LSU, where he served as an offensive line assistant in 2008-09.

Wells’ administrative duties at LSU included self-scouting, breaking down tape of opponents, and developing scouting reports before being hired last winter shortly after the Giants won Super Bowl XLVI.

BY THE NUMBERS: 127 — Points scored by the Saints in their past three meetings with the Giants, whom they play Sunday. The Saints won 30-7 in 2006, 48-27 in 2009 and 49-24 last season.

Saints-Giants Scouting Report

WHEN: 3:25 p.m. Sunday

WHERE: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.

TV/RADIO: Fox/WTGE (100.7-FM), WWL-AM (870-AM, 105.3-FM)

RECORDS: Giants, 7-5; Saints: 5-7

LAST WEEK: Giants lost to the Washington Redskins, 17-16; Saints lost to the Atlanta Falcons, 23-13

COACHES: Giants, Tom Coughlin, 17th season (161-126); Saints, Joe Vitt, 2nd season (7-10)


Offense (league rank in parentheses)

Points: Giants, 26.8 (t5); Saints, 26.8 (t5)

Total yards: Giants, 371.2 (10); Saints, 386.4 (6)

Rushing: Giants, 114.8 (15); Saints, 92.3 (27)

Passing: Giants, 256.3 (9); Saints, 294.2 (3)

Defense (league rank in parentheses)

Points: Giants, 20.3 (t9); Saints, 27.3 (28)

Total yards: Giants, 366.9 (22); Saints, 440.5 (32)

Rushing: Giants, 121.8 (21); Saints, 153.8 (32)

Passing: Giants, 245.2 (22); Saints, 286.7 (30)


Giants: QB Eli Manning, RB Ahmad Bradshaw, WR Victor Cruz, DE Jason Pierre-Paul, LB Michael Boley, CB Corey Webster.

Saints: QB Drew Brees, WR Lance Moore, RB Pierre Thomas, DE Cameron Jordan, MLB Curtis Lofton, FS Malcolm Jenkins.


Offense: The Giants have a top-10 passing game that ranks ninth and a running game that ranks only 15th even though they’re improved from last season. But they win with a passing game with Eli Manning and a stable of receivers led by Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks.

Defense: It’s puzzling when you look at the talent the Giants have on this side of the ball to see they rank 22nd in total yards, 21st against the run and 22nd against the pass. Rankings aside, they can still rush the passer and they can create turnovers.

Special teams: Lawrence Tynes is 32 of 36 on field goals and is 24-of-24 from 39 yards in, while former Saints punter Steve Weatherford is averaging 46.9 yards a kick. The Giants have been shaky on kick coverage, allowing a punt return of 68 yards and a 74-yard kickoff return.


The Giants have three players with Louisiana ties on the active roster — quarterback Eli Manning and two former LSU standouts, cornerback Corey Webster and rookie wide receiver Rueben Randle. … Former Catholic High and Louisiana Tech defensive end Matt Broha is a member of the practice squad. … Offensive assistant Lunda Wells is a Baker native who played at Southern and served as a graduate assistant at LSU from 2008-11. … The Giants lead the all-time series, 14-12, with the Saints winning just three times in 10 trips to the Meadowlands.

Compiled by Sheldon Mickles

Saints defense shows improvement in last two games

After allowing at least 400 total yards in the first 10 games of the season, the Saints’ defense has given up 375 and 283 yards in their two most recent games to drop their average to 440.5 yards per game.

Going into a Nov. 25 game with the San Francisco 49ers, in which the Saints gave up a season-low 375 yards, they were allowing 462.8 yards per game.

But they topped that in last Thursday night’s 23-13 loss to the Atlanta Falcons as they limited the Falcons’ high-powered offense to just 283 yards.

The Saints remain last in the NFL in total defense going into Sunday’s game with the New York Giants although, thanks to the last two weeks, have a shot at avoiding a dubious record of giving up the most yards in league history.

Here are the pertinent numbers for Sunday’s matchup with the Giants in MetLife Stadium (NFL rank in parentheses):


Offense: Total yards, 386.4 (t5); rushing, 92.3 (27); passing, 294.2 (3); scoring, 26.8 (t5).

Defense: Total yards, 440.5 (32); rushing, 153.8 (32); passing, 286.7 (30); scoring, 27.3 (28).

Turnover differential: minus-2 (t17); 17 takeaways/19 giveaways.


Offense: Total yards, 371.2 (10); rushing, 114.8 (15); passing, 256.3 (9); scoring, 26.8 (t5).

Defense: Total yards, 366.9 (22); rushing, 121.8 (21); passing, 245.2 (22); scoring, 20.3 (t9).

Turnover differential: plus-14 (t2); 30 takeaways/16 giveaways.

Saints’ Brees nominated for two weekly NFL awards

Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who broke Johnny Unitas’ 52-year-old record for consecutive games with a touchdown pass on Sunday night, has been nominated for two of the weekly NFL awards that are determined by fans in online voting.

Brees is one of three nominees for the FedEx Air Player of the Week and is also up for the GMC Never Say Never Moment of the Week award.

Fans can vote on the awards until 2 p.m. CDT Friday at www.NFL.com/FedEx and www.NFL.com/gmc.

Brees will also be a candidate to receive the NFC Offensive Player of the Week award, which he’s won 13 times since joining the Saints in 2006.

RIDLEY, RANDLE NOMINATED: New England Patriots running back Stevan Ridley and New York Giants wide receiver Rueben Randle are also nominees for the weekly NFL awards.

Ridley is up for the FedEx NFL Ground Player of the Week award after rushing for 151 yards and a touchdown on 28 carries in a win over Denver, while Randle, who had six catches for 82 yards in a victory over Cleveland, is a candidate for the Pepsi Max NFL Rookie of the Week award.

Fans can vote until 2 p.m. CDT Friday at www.NFL.com/FedEx and www.NFL.com/rookies.