Tag Archives: #Saints

Sean Payton explains how the Brandon Browner signing went wrong: ‘There were a lot of hands in that’

BOCA RATON, Fla. — Coach Sean Payton has spent plenty of time wondering why Brandon Browner didn’t work out in New Orleans.

The reason he came up with was that the Saints weren’t good enough as a defense as a hole, and it left Browner exposed on many occasions.

“I think there’s a handful of reasons,” Payton said. “We weren’t good enough overall as a defense; our front struggled,” Payton said. “I asked the same question; this guy just won a Super Bowl in New (England). So obviously the pass rush — it’s that perfect storm. The surrounding parts for us weren’t as strong as they needed to be.”

The Advocate charted Browner as giving up 56 receptions on 87 targets for 893 yards last season. However, Payton said that sometimes when it looked like Browner was being targeted it was actually a linebacker who was out of position.

“At times some of the under coverage there’d be a play that you might see on tape, and it would appear that it would be Brandon’s play, and it was really one of the inside linebackers’ play,” Payton said. “It’s gotten to a point where he’s at in his career. It was important as a coach you kind of have a vision how you want something to unfold, but you got to let that happen.”

Payton said Browner’s struggles last season was one of the reasons defense struggled and it undermined his ability to serve as a leader, which was on of the things New Orleans initially liked about him.

“For us to have had success one of those things last year defensively was for him to have played well and for us to have given him a chance to play well because he’s a leader that’s wanting to lead,” Payton said. “It’s hard to when you’re becoming a target. It’s hard to do that. I think there were a lot of hands in that specifically.”

Payton believes if the Saints strengthen up the front seven this offseason and figure out how to generate more of a pass rush it will help increase turnovers.

“No different than the quarterback that isn’t getting time,” Payton said. “For a defense, secondary, that clock in the head for the passer has to be a little quicker and all of the sudden you’ll be amazed at the balls that become available.”

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Guarantees kick in for Saints QB Drew Brees, safety Jairus Byrd

If the Saints have plans of not bringing back Drew Brees or Jairus Byrd next season, the team missed an important deadline.

Both players had clauses in their contracts that guaranteed a significant portion of their base salaries become guaranteed next season if they remained on the roster Wednesday, according to a source.

For Brees, $10.85 million of his $19.75 million base salary became guaranteed on Wednesday. And for Byrd, $6 million of his $7.5 million base salary is now guaranteed.

In the case of Brees, this isn’t a significant development since there was little chance he was going to be released this offseason. Both coach Sean Payton and general manager Mickey Loomis have said he will be the quarterback of the Saints next year and it remains possible his contract is extended at some point this offseason.

For Byrd, unless his deal was reworked like Ellerbe’s and that information has not yet been announced, this could indicate that he will be back next season. The free safety carries a $11.4 million cap number and it would cost New Orleans more to release him than to keep him on the roster.

New Orleans could, however, part ways with Byrd and designate him a post-June 1. If this happens, he could be released and only count $3.4 million against the cap in 2016. That would, however, create a dead money charge in 2017.

MORE NEW ORLEANS SAINTS COVERAGE

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Nick Underhill’s top three thoughts on Jahri Evans’ departure from the Saints

Underhill: Saints’ release of Jahri Evans is a step away from past and a step toward uncertain future

Report: Mark Ingram dealing with ‘serious shoulder injury’

Update, 3:55 p.m.

Mark Ingram has been placed on injured reserve. Click here for more.

Original story

The New Orleans Saints might have been dealt a potentially devastating blow.

Running back Mark Ingram is reportedly battling a serious shoulder injury and there is a “fear it could be season ending,” according to the NFL Network.

Ingram played 55 of 64 snaps during Sunday’s 41-38 loss to the Carolina Panthers.

If this is a new injury, it’s unclear how it occurred. Ingram was on the field for the last offensive play of the game. He was targeted on a screen pass with 24 seconds remaining. His final run resulted in a 9-yard touchdown.

Ingram was limited with a shoulder injury during practices on Nov. 25 and 26. He appeared on last week’s injury report and was listed as probable for Sunday’s game.

While the Saints’ hopes of making the playoffs are already very slim, losing Ingram will be a tough hurdle to overcome over the final four weeks of the season.

Ingram has served as the featured back for the offense this season, playing on every down, and currently leads the team with 166 carries for 769 yards with six rushing touchdowns.

He’s also developed into a viable option catching passes out of the backfield this season, and currently has 50 receptions for 405 yards.

If Ingram is unable to play, it’s likely that C.J. Spiller and Tim Hightower will see a higher dose of snaps.

More to come …

MORE SAINTS COVERAGE

First look: Breaking down the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Saints report card: Brandon Browner turns in flagging performance

Ted Lewis’ open letter to Saints coach Sean Payton: Let’s talk embattled Brandon Browner, 2016 plans

Rob Ryan on NFL Network: ‘Everything in New Orleans is being blamed on me, including Katrina’

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Former Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan hasn’t been asked much about his firing in New Orleans during two hours on the NFL Network Sunday morning.

For the most part, the NFL Network has hinted at his departure, rather than address it directly.

But Ryan did comment on his firing after Marshall Faulk brought up the subject on Sunday morning.

“Everything in New Orleans is being blamed on me, including Katrina. I think that’s a little far-fetched,” Ryan said. “The bottom line is this: I’ll hold my head high and walk out in the sunset, but believe me, I’ll come back with a vengeance.”

Ryan acknowledged the Saints needed to make a move to turn around a defense that is dead last in the NFL in both scoring and total yardage, 30th in the league against the run and on pace to set an NFL record for the worst opposing passer rating ever.

“Something had to be done,” Ryan said. “Right now, the defense is ranked 33rd in the league, and there’s only 32 teams. I had a lot to do with it.”

Saints have least amount of salary cap space available

After signing veteran tackle Zach Strief to a new five-year contract on Monday, the Saints had the least amount of cap space available among the 32 NFL teams as of Tuesday afternoon.

According to NFL Players Association figures, the Saints, who agreed to a four-year contract with former Tampa Bay Bucs fullback Erik Lorig on Tuesday morning, were just $849,212 under the $133 million cap.

The Saints were the only team in the league to have less than $1 million available to them. The Pittsburgh Steelers had the second-lowest amount available at $2,174,434.

Saints’ WR Lance Moore tweets good-bye to N.O.

It appears that wide receiver Lance Moore’s time with the Saints has come to an end based on a tweet he sent out Friday morning.

One day after ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Moore, who’s been with the Saints since 2005, and running back Pierre Thomas were being “shopped” to other teams, Moore tweeted what appeared to be a good-bye on his verified Twitter account.

Moore tweeted: “Thank you New Orleans for an amazing nine years. Who Dat Nation, the best on earth!!!”

Later Friday morning, NFL Network national insider Ian Rapoport, citing a source, reported that Moore’s representatives have been informed by the Saints that they plan to release him.

Saints’ officials did not immediately confirm their plans for Moore, who was the last player remaining from the pre-Sean Payton era after linebacker Will Smith was released last month.

Moore was going into the fourth year of a five-year, $20 million contract he signed in 2011. He was due $3.1 million in base salary and carried a cap figure of about $5.07 million for 2014 when you factor in his prorated signing bonus and other bonuses.

His release will save the Saints just more than $2.7 million on the salary cap this season.

As of Thursday, the Saints were close to the $133 million cap that goes into effect Tuesday after franchising tight end Jimmy Graham and offering a one-year tender offer to safety Rafael Bush, a restricted free agent.

Moore joined the Saints in 2005 when Jim Haslett was in his final season as the Saints’ coach. After joining the team’s practice squad that season, Moore blossomed in Payton’s potent offense.

He spent most of the 2006 season on the practice squad and had just one reception for 10 yards, but worked his way onto the field in 2007 and had 32 catches for 302 yards and two touchdowns.

Overall, he caught 346 passes for 4,281 yards and 38 TDs with the Saints. His best seasons were in 2008 when he caught 78 passes for 928 yards with 10 TDs and 2012 when he had a career-high 1,041 yards and six scores on 65 receptions.

Moore, who will turn 31 before the start of the 2014 season, missed three games with a hand injury last year and had his snaps cut later in the season. He wound up with 37 receptions for 457 yards and two TDs.

Saints shopping Moore, Thomas according to ESPN report

With the start of free agency and new NFL year just five days away Thursday, the Saints were reportedly trying to create salary cap space by “shopping” wide receiver Lance Moore and running back Pierre Thomas.

Citing a source, ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted the Saints were trying to deal Moore and Thomas, two of the more tenured players on the roster, and possibly running back Darren Sproles.

Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis did not respond to an email about the ESPN report, and agents for Moore and Thomas did not return phone calls to The Advocate.

The Saints were believed to be about $1.5 million under the $133 million salary cap Wednesday evening, but need more cap room to sign All-Pro tight end Jimmy Graham and perhaps retain some of their other potential unrestricted free agents.

Graham had the franchise tag applied to him a week ago, a designation that carries a $7.035 million price tag for a tight end.

But Graham and his representatives are expected to file a grievance for him to be paid as a wide receiver because he lined up more at that position than at tight end last season.

If the grievance is filed and an arbitrator rules in Graham’s favor, the one-year deal would jump to the wide receiver franchise salary of $12.132 million for 2014 — unless he and the club agree on a long-term contract by July 15.

The Saints last month gained some cap relief by terminating the contracts of three veteran defenders — outside linebacker Will Smith, cornerback Jabari Greer and strong safety Roman Harper.

That, coupled with a $7 million increase over the projected 2014 salary cap, gave the Saints enough breathing room to tag Graham as a tight end.

The Saints also announced that inside linebacker Jonathan Vilma, who’ll become an unrestricted free agent on Tuesday afternoon, will not be re-signed.

They have only 11 unrestricted free agents remaining after signing linebacker Keyunta Dawson and kicker Shayne Graham and announcing Vilma would not be re-signed. The Saints likely want to keep some of those UFAs — a group that includes tackle Zach Strief, free safety Malcolm Jenkins, center Brian de la Puente and wide receiver Robert Meachem.

Also, defensive end Kenyon Coleman, who spent the entire 2013 season on injured reserve, was told he won’t be re-signed and has indicated that he’ll retire.

Freeing themselves of the contracts of Moore, Thomas and/or Sproles would mean substantial savings for the Saints this season.

At the same time, it would subtract some players that have made significant contributions to an offense that has led the NFL in total yards four times and finished no lower than sixth since coach Sean Payton took over in 2006. All three played on the Saints’ Super Bowl-winning team in 2009.

Moore, Thomas and Sproles all signed their current deals in 2011. Moore received a five-year contract that runs through 2015, while Thomas and Sproles received deals that expire after the upcoming season.

Moore has a cap figure of about $5.07 million, while Sproles and Thomas are on the books for cap hits of $4.25 million and $2.9 million, respectively.

If the Saints were to part with them, either via trade or termination of their contract, they would save $3.5 million on Sproles, $2.9 million on Thomas and $2.711 million on Moore.

All three have been productive players in Payton’s offense, but Moore and Sproles will be 31 when the regular season starts and Thomas turns 30 at the end of the season.

Moore, who joined the Saints as a street free agent, caught 37 passes for 457 yards and two touchdowns last year while missing three games with a hand injury.

Thomas led the Saints in rushing this past season with 549 yards and two TDs. He also caught 77 passes for 513 yards and three TDs before missing both playoff games with a chest injury.

Sproles rushed for only 220 yards and two scores in 2013, but was effective in the passing game with 71 receptions for 604 yards and two TDs.

Saints re-sign K Shayne Graham, two others

After making their first big moves of the offseason on Wednesday, the Saints have re-signed three players — including veteran kicker Shayne Graham.

 Graham, a 13-year veteran who signed with the Saints on Dec. 18 after kicker Garrett Hartley was released, was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on March 11.

Graham, 36, signed a new one-year contract for the 2014 season with a base salary of $955,000, according to the NFL Players Association website.

He was 2-for-2 in the final two games of the regular season and connected on all four of his field-goal attempts in the Saints’ 26-24 wild-card playoff win against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Graham hit from 36, 46, 35 and 32 yards out against the Eagles — with the last one coming on the final play of the game for the win. A week later, he missed from 45 and 47 yards in tough conditions in a 23-15 loss to the Seattle Seahawks in the divisional round.

Graham has converted 85.5 percent of his field-goal attempts during his career, making 247 of 289 tries in 157 games.

The Saints also signed their two exclusive rights free agents — tackle Bryce Harris and cornerback Trevin Wade.

As two-year veterans, both players were exclusive rights free agents. They could only re-sign with the Saints if given a one-year tender offer of $570,000 each by the club.

Harris played in all 16 regular-season games with one start at right tackle against the New England Patriots. He played extensively on special teams and also lined up as an extra tight end for blocking purposes.

Wade was signed on Nov. 19 for depth after veteran cornerback Jabari Greer suffered a season-ending knee injury. Wade played in the final two regular-season games and broke up one pass and had one tackle on special teams in two postseason games.

The release Wednesday of Greer, outside linebacker Will Smith and strong safety Roman Harper became official on the NFL transactions wire Friday.

Greer and Smith officially were released because they failed physicals. Smith had a torn anterior cruciate ligament in the third exhibition game that sidelined him for the entire season.

The Saints also announced Wednesday that they will not try to re-sign inside linebacker Jonathan Vilma, who was to become an unrestricted free agent in March. He played in only one game in 2013 after having arthroscopic knee surgery midway through training camp.

Former Saints DE/LB Will Smith makes statement

After having his contract terminated along with safety Roman Harper and cornerback Jabari Greer on Wednesday, former Saints defensive end/linebacker Will Smith issued a statement thanking the fans and team for his 10-year stay with the club.

The Saints also announced that linebacker Jonathan Vilma, who was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent next month, will not be re-signed.

“While it was always my dream to retire as a member of the New Orleans Saints, I recognize that the NFL remains a business first,” Smith said. “I will always be grateful to Mr. Benson, Mr. Loomis, and Coach Payton for the opportunity they gave me to play the sport I love in front of football’s greatest fans, amongst some of my best friends.

“We accomplished great things during my time with the Saints, including winning the first Super Bowl in franchise history, and I am proud of my contributions during the decade I wore black and gold.

“My wife Racquel and I will continue our commitment to improving lives for New Orleans’ youth no matter where my next stop in professional football takes me. I’m in good spirits, thankful and focused on training. My family and I welcome the next chapter in our NFL life. Who Dat!”

Classy move.

Saints’ Brees helps Seahawks’ Wilson prepare for big game

NEW YORK — Since winning the NFC title nine days ago, much has been said and written about the Seattle Seahawks’ lack of Super Bowl experience.

While no one on their 53-man active roster has played in a Super Bowl, second-year quarterback Russell Wilson made sure he was prepared for it when the time came.

Wilson will take his first snap in Super Bowl XLVIII on Sunday when the Seahawks take on the AFC champion Denver Broncos in MetLife Stadium, but he may feel more like a seasoned veteran thanks to his experience in New Orleans a year ago.

Wilson’s main objective in going to the Big Easy wasn’t to party, but to envision what it’d be like when the Seahawks got there.

“I went to the Super Bowl just to observe and watch and do some broadcasting stuff, but my main objective within all of that was to get prepared for the situation,” Wilson said. “Just observing and noticing the time that it took in terms of pregame, in terms of halftime, you never know what may happen.

“You always have to be prepared for that. I think the biggest thing for our team is noticing that circumstances are a little bit different. At the same time, it still feels like 100 yards (long) and 53 and a third (yards wide). It doesn’t change.”

Before the Seahawks played the Saints in early December, Wilson talked about how he’s closely followed the career of Drew Brees — mainly because they’re both slight in stature compared to the prototypical NFL quarterback.

To add to his research on playing in the league’s title game, Wilson said he talked to Brees, the most valuable player of Super Bowl XLIV, last week.

“We’ve been in communication over the past week, just (talking) about the experience,” Wilson said. “Like I said, he knows that I look up to him. He’s a great individual and he was just talking about the experience.

“I’ve read his book several times … he’s just a great inspiration. He’s a guy that does things right, a guy that is a great leader and is so poised in big situations. That’s the thing you notice about him.”