Tag Archives: Raiders

Saints’ Graham misses practice with foot injury

The status of Saints tight end Jimmy Graham remained in question Wednesday when he did not participate in practice as the team continued preparing for Sunday’s game with the Buffalo Bills.

Graham hurt his left foot early in the fourth quarter of the Saints’ last game with the New England Patriots on Oct. 13 and later returned to the field after being examined on the sideline.

But Graham, who did not have a catch for the first time since his rookie season in 2010, left for good and eventually was sent to the locker room before the end of the game.

Saints coach Sean Payton, who no longer talks about injuries, was asked about Graham’s chances of playing this week during his conference call with Buffalo reporters on Wednesday.

“Yeah, I’ll never get into chances,” Payton said. “He’s someone who I think is doing well. We’ll just take a peek (each day) on how he’s progressing and be smart.”

MOORE RETURNS: The Saints did get some positive news on the injury front when wide receiver Lance Moore had full participation after missing the past three games with a hand injury.

“It was just good to be back around your teammates … it was fun,” Moore said. “The hand feels good. I’m not really thinking about it at all while I’m out there, and that’s definitely an encouraging thing and a positive sign.”

Moore, who often talked about how tough it was to watch his teammates practice and play without him, said he hopes to play Sunday.

“It just doesn’t seem to get easier,” he said of missing games. “Each game kind of stings a little bit more, but I’m trying to work my way back in there, and hopefully, get some time this week.”

PRACTICE REPORT: Counting Graham, seven players did not participate in Wednesday’s practice.

Also not working were DE Cameron Jordan (ankle), T Zach Strief (ankle), CB Jabari Greer (not injury related), SS Roman Harper (knee), RB Mark Ingram (toe) and DE Tyrunn Walker (knee).

FS Malcolm Jenkins (back) and CB Rod Sweeting (hip) had full participation.

For the Bills, QB E.J. Manuel (knee), RB C.J. Spiller (ankle), DT Kyle Williams (Achilles), RB Fred Jackson (knee) and LB Manny Lawson (hamstring) did not practice. Williams is a former LSU standout.

BACK TO WORK: Saints quarterback Drew Brees said the players came back from a full week off for their bye refreshed and ready to work when they reconvened for a bonus practice Monday.

He said that continued Wednesday when they started ramping up the preps for Sunday’s game with the Bills in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

“Guys were refreshed and they were flying around,” he said. “These were some physical practices, which is good. We had all that time off and were able to refresh mentally and physically, so it great to see that.”

MOVING UP: Quarterback Ryan Griffin spent his first day on the Saints’ 53-man active roster Wednesday after the team promoted him from the practice squad to keep him from being signed by the St. Louis Rams.

Griffin reportedly was being pursued by several teams, but he declined to say who else was interested or give any details of how it all unfolded.

“It’s a great opportunity, and obviously, I appreciate the bump and getting moved up to the active roster,” said Griffin, a former Tulane standout who joined the Saints as an undrafted free agent this spring.

When asked what it says about the confidence Payton has in him, Griffin said, “We just talked about, you know, kind of how he sees me in the future and where he sees me at. It was very encouraging.”

Griffin will receive a nice corresponding bump in pay, making the rookie minimum of $405,000 ($22,500 per game) as opposed to the minimum of $6,000 practice squad players receive each week.

EARNING HIS STRIPES: Brees was pleased to see Griffin get a chance to be on the active roster after he was impressive during the spring and in training camp.

“For a young quarterback who has worked as hard as he has, it’s a great reward,” Brees said. “We were really impressed with him in the offseason — all the quarterbacks. We were sitting back watching the young buck work at times … and it was fun to watch.

“He’s pretty calm, cool and collected, and just continued to get better each day,” he added. “He makes great (protein) shakes in the weight room and he gets donuts when he’s supposed to do that. … He’s been a good rookie.”

WILSON CLAIMED: Former Saints linebacker Martez Wilson, who was cut Tuesday to create a roster spot for Griffin, was claimed off waivers by the Oakland Raiders.

On Wednesday, Payton said he was certain Wilson would get an opportunity with another team before he was awarded to the Raiders.

“I think overall it was just trying to pay attention to production, and really, it was as simple as that,” Payton said of Wilson, a 2011 third-round draft pick who started just one game. “I know he’ll have another opportunity, and you want to see him do well. Those are decisions that are tough oftentimes during the season.”

ROSTER MOVE: The Saints added linebacker Kyle Knox to take the practice squad spot vacated by Griffin when he was signed to the active roster.

Saints QB Wallace struggles in debut after missing opener

Veteran quarterback Seneca Wallace’s long-awaited debut with the Saints didn’t go as planned Friday night at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Wallace appeared to lose ground in his battle with Luke McCown for the backup job, twice turning the ball over in the third quarter, resulting in 10 points for the Oakland Raiders.

The Saints raced out to a 23-0 lead late in the second quarter, then held on to post a 28-20 victory.

“It was a tale of two halves for us offensively,’’ Saints coach Sean Payton said.

Wallace inherited a 23-7 lead from Drew Brees on the final play of the first half, only to see the Raiders close the gap to 23-20 by the time rookie quarterback Ryan Griffin of Tulane moved under center early in the fourth quarter.

Wallace’s turnovers came on back-to-back possessions in the third quarter. He fumbled at the Saints’ 1 after being blindsided by Raiders defensive end David Bass, who slipped behind rookie left tackle Terron Armstead for the sack and strip.

Raiders’ defensive end Ryan Robinson scooped and scored, cutting the Saints’ lead to 23-14.

On the Saints’ next possession, Raiders middle linebacker Omar Gaither snatched a deflected pass from Wallace out of the air for an interception at the New Orleans 21. A 46-yard field goal from Eddy Carmona trimmed the Saints’ lead to 23-17.

A strained groin kept Wallace out of the Saints’ first exhibition game against Kansas City. McCown (coach’s decision) did not play Friday night.

DID YOU NOTICE?: Line judge Sarah Thomas was part of Friday night’s officiating crew headed by referee Jerome Boger.

Thomas worked several practices at Saints camp earlier this month and is on the fast tracks to possibly joining the NFL next season. Thomas correctly called intentional grounding on Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor late in the third quarter.

SIDELINED SAINTS: Eight players did not dress Friday night — WR Marques Colston (foot), WR Courtney Roby (toe), ILB Curtis Lofton (unspecified), ILB Jonathan Vilma (knee), G Andrew Tiller (unspecified), C Eric Olsen (foot), OLB Junior Galette (knee) and OLB Martez Wilson (elbow).

PLENTY OF TIME: Unofficially, Brees had eight seconds of protection before unloading a 16-yard touchdown pass to rookie wide receiver Kenny Stills with 14 seconds left in the first quarter.

Brees initially stood in the pocket, then rolled left as the Saints’ line walled off a slow-developing the-man rush from the Raiders.

BY THE NUMBERS: 11 — Saints sacks after two exhibitions under defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, including seven Friday night.

By comparison, the Saints had four sacks after their first two exhibitions a year ago against Arizona (3) and New England (1) under defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo.

LAGNIAPPE: On the Raiders’ opening possession, which ended on downs, quarterback Matt Flynn of LSU twice missed wide open receivers that would have resulted in touchdowns. … Former Saints cornerback Tracy Porter, a native of Port Allen and one of the stars of Super Bowl XLIV, now is playing for the Raiders. He sustained a groin injury with 11:51 remaining in the second quarter and exited the game with four tackles. … Former Saints safety Usama Young also is on the Raiders’ roster … Friday night’s exhibition marked the Raiders’ first preseason trip to New Orleans.

ON TAP: Training camp officially ended with Thursday’s practice. The Saints are expected to return to practice at 4 p.m. Monday in preparation for their third exhibition on Aug. 25 against the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium, Saints spokesman Greg Bensel said.

Saints to face familiar faces in preseason game with Raiders

The preseason game between the Oakland Raiders and Saints on Friday night in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome will be a homecoming of sorts for several Raiders — including coach Dennis Allen.

The 40-year-old Allen, who is in his second season, was an assistant on Sean Payton’s staff from 2006-10 — working his way up from assistant defensive line coach to secondary coach in his five seasons.

Allen’s roster includes four players with Louisiana ties: former LSU quarterback Matt Flynn, Port Allen native and former Saints cornerback Tracy Porter, former Catholic High running back Jeremy Stewart, and linebacker Eric Harper, a New Orleans native and Grambling standout.

Flynn and Porter have lasting memories of the Superdome. Flynn led LSU to the 2007 BCS title in the building, while Porter, who played for the Saints from 2008 to 2011, helped them win Super Bowl XLIV.

BROWN PROGRESSING: One of the bigger question marks in late July is a little clearer after three weeks of training camp, which officially came to a close Thursday.

Saints coach Sean Payton said left tackle Charles Brown, who is trying to earn the spot vacated by two-time Pro Bowl pick Jermon Bushrod, has been consistent throughout camp.

“I think he has been pretty good,” Payton said. “That’s one of those positions where no news is pretty good news. He’s playing well. It’s been encouraging, but it’s still early on in the preseason. He’s certainly ahead of the other guys.”

BREASTON TO GET WORK: Payton said wide receiver Steve Breaston, who did not get any offensive snaps after being signed just four days before last week’s preseason opener, will see some action against the Raiders.

“He’s going on his second week now, so there is a role for the snaps he’ll play,” Payton said. “You will see a lot of Kenny (Stills) and Nick (Toon), especially with the first group. A lot of these receivers will get chance to play, but we’ll get (Breaston) in there.”

STILLS HEARS IT: Stills said his goal going into his second NFL game is to play mistake-free after he dropped a pass and fumbled the ball on an end around last week.

Stills did make a difficult 22-yard catch, but still heard from his father, former NFL player Kenny Stills Sr., about the miscues.

“He just said it was unacceptable to drop a ball and that I’m lucky I have a few more opportunities to prove myself,” said the younger Stills, a fifth-round draft pick.

When asked if he got any tips from his dad during the conversation, he said, “No, it was very short and sweet.”

SITTING IT OUT: In his post-practice news conference Thursday, Payton said linebackers Junior Galette and Jonathan Vilma, who has his knee scoped Thursday, and wide receiver Marques Colston won’t play against the Raiders.

Other that are likely to sit out are linebackers Curtis Lofton, Martez Wilson and Chris Chamberlain — who all missed Thursday’s practice.

SMALL TO APPEAR: Former Saints wide receiver Torrance Small will meet and greet fans at the Saints Hall of Fame Museum, which is located at Gate B on the Plaza level of the Superdome, between 5 p.m. and 6:15 p.m. Friday.

Admission to the museum is free for ticketholders.

Saints to play four AFC teams in preseason

The Saints’ 2013 exhibition schedule is highlighted by a nationally televised Sunday afternoon game against the Houston Texans in Reliant Stadium, according to the preseason schedule released Thursday by the NFL.

The Saints will play the Texans on Sunday, Aug. 25 at 3 p.m. in a game to be televised by Fox. The game will be the third of the preseason for the Saints, who will face AFC teams in all four exhibition outings.

It’ll mark the sixth consecutive year that the Saints and Texans have met during the exhibition season. The Saints claimed a 34-27 win in last year’s game in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

The Saints will open the preseason schedule at home against the Kansas City Chiefs the weekend of Aug. 8-11 and take on the Oakland Raiders, also in the Superdome, the weekend of Aug. 15-19.

After the two home games, the Saints will travel to Houston to play the Texans on Aug. 25, one of 11 games to be nationally televised during the preseason, and finish up at Miami against the Dolphins on Aug. 29 or 30.

The game with the Dolphins will mark the first time the Saints will visit Sun Life Stadium, the site of their win over the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV on Feb. 7, 2010.

The three games other than the one with the Texans will be televised by CST and all games will be available on the Saints Radio Network.

The exact dates and times of the games with Kansas City, Oakland and Miami will be announced at a later date.

Saints sign four more players to futures contracts

The Saints have signed four more players to futures contracts for next season, bring their total to nine so far this offseason.

The latest to sign are wide receiver Preston Parker, defensive end Jay Richardson, linebacker Austin Johnson and cornerback Dion Turner.

Parker played in 27 games with Tampa Bay from 2010-12 and Richardson played in 55 games with Oakland and Seattle from 2007-10.

Johnson and Turner have no previous NFL regular-season experience although Turner was on Miami’s practice squad for the final three weeks of the season.

The Saints last week signed five players who finished the season on their practice squad to futures contracts.

All five — defensive end Braylon Broughton, wide receivers Jarred Fayson and Andy Tanner, guard Ryan Lee and cornerback Ryan Steed — were signed to two-year deals.

Saints WR Colston gets 500th career reception in victory

OAKLAND, Calif. — Saints wide receiver Marques Colston, who needs one more touchdown to set the franchise record for a career, reached a different milestone in Sunday’s 38-17 blowout of the Oakland Raiders.

Colston went into the game needing four catches for 500 for his seven-year career. He reached that mark on a 15-yard reception from Drew Brees early in the fourth quarter.

Colston is the third player in franchise history to reach 500, joining Eric Martin (532) and Joe Horn (523).

BREES MOVES UP: Brees threw for 219 yards and moved up another spot on the NFL’s all-time list in the first quarter when he passed Drew Bledsoe for eighth place.

Brees, who started the season in 11th place, now has 44,808 yards to Bledsoe’s 44,611.

He also extended his two NFL-record streaks in throwing a touchdown pass in his 53rd straight game and stretching his streak with 20 completions to 46 games.

JENKINS’ PICK-SIX: Saints free safety Malcolm Jenkins scored the second touchdown of his four-year NFL career in the first quarter when he intercepted a pass intended for tight end Brandon Myers and returned it 55 yards.

It was Jenkins’ first pick since he had two in a Dec. 12, 2010 game with the St. Louis Rams. He returned one of them for a 96-yard touchdown.

INACTIVES: The Saints’ inactives were RB Darren Sproles (hand), T Zach Strief (groin), DE Junior Galette (ankle), CB Corey White (knee), LB Scott Shanle, WR Greg Camarillo, and DT Tyrunn Walker.

Inactives of note for the Raiders were RB Darren McFadden (ankle), DT Richard Seymour (knee/hamstring), SS Tyvon Branch (neck), and RB Mike Goodson (ankle).

MACK GETS SHOT: Saints cornerback Elbert Mack, who has been released several times this season and was active for just one game, played as the nickel back with White sidelined with the knee injury.

On his first play, Mack made a nice open-field tackle on Raiders wide receiver Rod Streater after a third-down catch — forcing a punt on their opening possession.

INJURIES: Saints T Charles Brown left the game late in the second quarter with a right knee injury and did not return. … Mack banged his head on defensive end Will Smith’s knee after nearly coming up with an interception late in the game and didn’t return.

TOUGH DEBUT: Rookie Bryce Harris was pressed into service for the first time this season when Brown, who was starting in place of an injured Strief, went down.

Harris struggled early, but had good protection on his third snap when Brees found Lance Moore in the end zone for a 38-yard touchdown pass.

GRUDEN LIGHTS UP: Jon Gruden, who coached Oakland from 1998-2001, pushed the button to light the eternal flame located in a corner of O.co Coliseum in honor of the late Raiders owner Al Davis.

A guest lights the flame just before each game for Davis, who once said, “The fire that burns brightest in this organization is the will to win.”

LAGNIAPPE: The Saints have won 14 consecutive games played in November and 16 of their last 17. Their last loss in that month was on Nov. 30, 2008 at Tampa Bay. … Former Catholic High and Stanford running back Jeremy Stewart had two carries for 7 yards and one catch for 23 yards for the Raiders. Stewart was on the practice squad before being signed to the active roster on Nov. 10. … Raiders coach Dennis Allen is 4-for-4 on replay challenges after winning one in the first quarter.

Saints RB Sproles inactive for game with Raiders

OAKLAND, Calif. — Saints running back Darren Sproles will have to wait at least another week to get back on the field after he was listed as one of the team’s seven inactives for today’s game with the Oakland Raiders.

Sproles fractured his left hand in an Oct. 28 game with the Denver Broncos and missed the past two games, but returned to practice this week and was listed as questionable for the Raiders’ game.

But Saints interim coach Joe Vitt said Sproles, who practiced fully Thursday and Friday, experienced some swelling in the hand Friday — which is why he was officially listed as questionable.

Pierre Thomas will likely start against the Raiders with Mark Ingram and Chris Ivory also expected to get a lot of snaps.

Rookie Travaris Cadet will return kickoffs in Sproles’ absence again, while Lance Moore will likely field punts.

INACTIVES: In addition to Sproles, the Saints’ other inactives are T Zach Strief (groin), DE Junior Galette (ankle), CB Corey White (knee), LB Scott Shanle, WR Greg Camarillo, and DT Tyrunn Walker.

The Raiders’ inactives are RB Darren McFadden (ankle), DT Richard Seymour (knee/hamstring), SS Tyvon Branch (neck), RB Mike Goodson (ankle), T Willie Smith, OL Lucas Nix, and QB Terrelle Pryor.

Saints’ Sproles listed as questionable for game with Raiders

Saints interim coach Joe Vitt said Friday that running back Darren Sproles is questionable for Sunday’s game with the Oakland Raiders because he had some swelling in his surgically-repaired hand.

Vitt said Sproles, who returned to practice this week after missing the last two games, will be monitored throughout the weekend. The Saints have until 90 minutes before Sunday’s game to decide whether Sproles will be active.

Sproles was limited in practice Wednesday, his first time back on the field since being injured in an Oct. 28 game at Denver, but had full participation Thursday and Friday. Vitt said Sproles will return punts if he can play.

Vitt said T Zach Strief (groin), DE Junior Galette (ankle) and CB Corey White (knee) won’t play against the Raiders after missing practice again Friday.

The banged-up Raiders ruled out RB Darren McFadden (ankle), DT Richard Seymour (knee/hamstring) and RB Mike Goodson (ankle).

Here is the final injury report turned in to the league office by Vitt and Raiders coach Dennis Allen on Friday:


Out — T Zach Strief (groin), DE Junior Galette (ankle), CB Corey White (knee).

Questionable — RB Darren Sproles (hand).

Probable — WR Courtney Roby (shoulder).


Out — DT Richard Seymour (knee/hamstring), RB Darren McFadden (ankle), RB Mike Goodson (ankle).

Questionable — SS Tyvon Branch (neck), WR Darrius Heyward-Bey (hamstring).

Probable — FS Matt Giordano (concussion), TE Brandon Myers (shoulder/concussion), K Sebastian Janikowski (groin), T Khalif Barnes (groin), FB Marcel Reece (hamstring), TE Richard Gordon (hamstring).

Saints’ Vitt warns team about deflated Raiders

While the Oakland Raiders are coming off a 55-20 loss to the Baltimore Ravens, Saints interim coach Joe Vitt is making sure a different set of numbers is on the minds of his players this week.

Vitt pointed out that since 2005, teams that give up 55 points (it’s actually 50) in a road loss and play at home the next week, as they will Sunday against the Saints, have a 5-1 record.

“History tells us when a team is beaten and 55 points go on the board, they come home and play the next week,” Vitt said. “They end up (averaging) four sacks, forcing three turnovers and allowing 20 points.

“Offensively, they score 26 points and they rush the ball for 146 yards. That’s what history tells us.”

In other words, Vitt warned the Saints to not sleep on the Raiders.

Of the teams that gave up 50 points on the road and won the next week at home, the Detroit Lions did it twice in 2007 — beating Chicago (37-27) and Kansas City (25-20) after falling to Philadelphia (56-21) and San Diego (51-14), respectively.

SPROLES GOES FULL: The Saints got some good news Thursday when running back Darren Sproles, who was limited in Wednesday’s practice, had full participation for the first time since having surgery on his fractured left hand two weeks ago.

If he has no setbacks in Friday’s practice, Sproles could play Sunday.

Special teams coordinator Greg McMahon said while they would love to see Sproles back returning punts and kickoffs, the decision won’t be made until Friday or Saturday.

“I don’t know yet,” McMahon said. “As the week plays out, I think we’ll figure that out.”

PRACTICE REPORT: Vitt said T Zach Strief (groin), CB Corey White (knee) and DE Junior Galette (ankle) remained out of practice Thursday, while WR Courtney Roby (shoulder) was full after being limited Wednesday.

For the Raiders, RB Darren McFadden (ankle), DT Richard Seymour (knee/hamstring), SS Tyvon Branch (neck), RB Mike Goodson (ankle) and WR Darrius Heyward-Bey (hamstring) did not practice, but FS Matt Giordano (concussion) worked limited after being out Wednesday.

GRAHAM WINS AWARD: Saints tight end Jimmy Graham was named the NFC offensive Player of the Week by the NFL after catching seven passes for a career-high 146 yards and two touchdowns in Sunday’s 31-27 win over the Falcons.

Graham is the first Saints’ tight end to win the honor and the first NFC tight end to claim it since the Falcons’ Alge Crumpler in 2006.

BREES ON LIST: Saints quarterback Drew Brees is 10th on the list of vote-getters regardless of position for the 2013 Pro Bowl to be played Jan. 27 in Honolulu.

Brees has 227,106 votes, which puts him third among NFC quarterbacks behind Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers (320,307; fourth overall) and Atlanta’s Matt Ryan (236,002; ninth). Denver’s Peyton Manning (376,981) is the overall leader.

Voting continues at www.NFL.com/probowl until Dec. 17.

THE BLACK HOLE: Brees will make his first regular-season visit since 2005 to Oakland’s O.co Coliseum and the Black Hole, where every home game looks like Halloween as fans dress up to try to intimidate opponents.

Brees’ first game there was as a rookie with the San Diego Chargers in 2001 when Doug Flutie was the starter.

Members of the Black Hole were riding the 5-foot-7 Flutie in warmups until he walked over to them.

“When he gets (10 feet away), they go, ‘Hey, Doug. How you doing, man? Good to see you. Hey, I’m such a huge fan. Will you sign this for my daughter?’” Brees said laughing.

“Then, he tells them he has to go warm up and they say, ‘All right Doug, good luck.’ Then he gets five yards away and they say, ‘Flutie, you stink. … You’re short.’ You just kind of chuckle because that’s part of the whole persona, the aura there.”

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “By working him back in the mix here over the past two weeks, it’s been great for him and great for us. Obviously, you’ve seen him make some pretty big runs, some really physical runs … kind of violent and ferocious. We love to see that.” — Brees, on the spark running back Chris Ivory has provided the past two weeks after languishing on the bench early in the season.

Saints’ RB Sproles returns to practice with fractured hand

METAIRIE — After missing the last two games with a fractured left hand that required surgery, Saints running back Darren Sproles returned to practice on a limited basis Wednesday.

While interim coach Joe Vitt said Sproles looked “real good,” he wasn’t ready to say that he’ll definitely play in Sunday’s game with the Oakland Raiders.

“We’ll evaluate,” said Vitt, who noted that Sproles didn’t take a hit on the hand he injured on Oct. 28 at Denver. “He practiced well today. You wait and see if the hand swells, all those things. But he was dynamite today.

“We did not hit today because we were in shells only. He caught the ball well and he ran great. I was very encouraged with his work today.”

PRACTICE REPORT: Sproles was joined on the practice field by wide receiver Courtney Roby, who injured his shoulder in the same game as Sproles and was sidelined for the last two games.

Vitt said Roby was limited, but did everything they asked him to do.

Not practicing were T Zach Strief (groin), CB Corey White (knee) and DE Junior Galette (ankle).

Vitt said White, who left Sunday’s game with the Atlanta Falcons shortly after making his first NFL interception, did not have to undergo surgery.

BANGED-UP RAIDERS: Raiders’ first-year coach Dennis Allen, an assistant with the Saints from 2006-10, turned in a long injury list following Wednesday’s practice with five players not working and four more limited.

Not practicing were RB Darren McFadden (ankle), DT Richard Seymour (knee/hamstring), FS Matt Giordano (concussion), SS Tyvon Branch (neck) and RB Mike Goodson (ankle).

McFadden and Goodson are the Raiders’ top two running backs, Seymour leads the team in sacks and Giordano and Branch are the starting safeties.

Also, K Sebastian Janikowski (groin), WR Darrius Heyward-Bey (hamstring) and TE Brandon Myers (shoulder/concussion) were limited.

PILING THEM UP: With three touchdowns in Sunday’s 31-27 win over the Atlanta Falcons, Saints quarterback Drew Brees has already thrown 25 scoring passes — marking the seventh straight season he’s had that many.

In the first 39 years of the franchise’s existence, Saints’ quarterbacks had 25 TD passes in a season exactly three times as Jim Everett had 26 in 1995 and Aaron Brooks had 26 in 2001 and 27 in ’02.

BREES ALARMED: Like a lot of other people, Brees was shocked to hear that three of his counterparts were knocked out of their games with concussions this past weekend — Jay Cutler, Michael Vick and Alex Smith.

“Yes, you never want to see that, especially a lot of head injuries and a lot of concussions,” Brees said. “Unfortunately, it’s part of the game to an extent.

“But when that many go down on one Sunday and it’s a lot of pretty high-profile guys, you just hope that all the necessary measures are being taken and make sure they’re definitely healed up before they come back.”

Brees said the last time he had a concussion was in 2005 when he was with the San Diego Chargers.

UNBEATEN NO MORE: The Saints’ victory over the previously-undefeated Falcons on Sunday marked the third time in franchise history that they handed an unbeaten team with a record of 6-0 or better its first loss.

Each time, they’ve done it at the expense of a division rival as they earlier beat the 7-0 Los Angeles Rams on Oct. 22, 1978 (10-3) and the 6-0 St. Louis Rams on Oct. 28, 2001 (34-31).

VOTING ENDS FRIDAY: Brees is again a candidate for the FedEx NFL Air Player of the Week award after going 21-of-27 for 298 yards and three touchdowns in the win over the Falcons.

Fans can vote online until 2 p.m. Friday at www.NFL.com/FedEx.