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Saints' Gayle Benson I'm Stickin' with 'Owner' Title

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Gayle Benson says she has no plans to change her title as "owner" of the New Orleans Saints and the NO Pelicans ... but insists she's sensitive to the concerns of the players.

Gayle's late husband, Tom Benson, bought the Saints in 1985 and the Pelicans in 2012 -- and she took over when he passed away in March 2018.

As we previously reported, several NBA teams and the NBA league office are moving away from the term "owner" out of racial sensitivity ... so the New Orleans Advocate asked Benson if she plans on following suit.

Benson told the Advocate she has no plans on making a title change -- though she considers herself "less of an owner and more of a caretaker of incredible assets."

She also issued a statement saying she hopes players aren't offended by the "owner" title -- and she's open to listening to their concerns.

Full Story - TMZ

P.J. Williams, David Onyemata suspensions off the table?

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By Roy Anderson | WhoDatDish

All offseason we’ve been waiting for decisions on suspensions for Saints P.J. Williams and David Onyemata. With nothing up to this point, they may be in the clear.

Two things have been hanging over the Saints this offseason on the legal front involving possible suspensions for two players. P.J. Williams for an arrest for DWI and David Onyemata for possession of marijuana. There’s still a chance the NFL could levy some punishment on either or both men but for now, it’s looking like good news.

P.J. Williams was arrested in the early morning hours of January 23, not long after the Saints loss to the Los Angeles Rams in that controversial NFC Conference Championship Game. The charges were doing 80 in a 50 mph zone, improper lane change, failure to signal, careless driving and driving while intoxicated.

That was the last we heard on that matter until a report from Olivia Prentzel of The Times-Picayune. P.J. Williams had appeared in court on Feb 27 to plead not guilty to all five counts. Williams refused a breathalyzer test at the scene. ...

Full Story - WhoDatDish

State of the Franchise: Saints to show resiliency again in 2019?

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By Adam Rank | Analyst |

Where does your franchise stand heading into 2019? Adam Rank will set the table by providing a State of the Franchise look at all 32 teams over the next few weeks, zeroing in on the key figures to watch and setting the stakes for the season to come.

Members of the Saints organization, fans of the team around the world and those who boycotted the Super Bowl because, well, you know why.

It's been the best of times and the worst of times for Saints fans in recent years. New Orleans currently enjoys a level of football prosperity it has never seen. From a record-setting quarterback to a running back who is the human equivalent to a cheat code. But at the same time, the Saints have suffered the type of stinging playoff loss no fan base should ever endure. And not only once, but twice! However, New Orleans will answer the call like it always does as it moves on to 2019.

How the Saints got here

Let's take a quick look back at the highs and lows of the 2018 season. ...

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Saints’ Taylor Stallworth trying to make a name (and a number) for himself in Year 2

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(Photo by Michael DeMocker, | The Times-Picayune)

By Luke Johnson, | The Times-Picayune

Don’t get it twisted, Taylor Stallworth is as big a fan of now former New Orleans Saints defensive tackle Tyler Davison as anybody, but that is not why he made the switch.

Yes, that is Davison’s old No. 95 jersey Stallworth is lugging around on the Saints practice fields, but it wasn’t his first choice when he made the switch from the No. 76 uniform he wore as an undrafted rookie out of South Carolina last season.

After a strong debut season as a rotational piece on the New Orleans defensive interior, Stallworth wanted to call back to those college days by switching to the number he wore with the Gamecocks. At least, that was the plan until Malcom Brown signed.

“What number is he going to get? Well, he had 90 with the Patriots,” Stallworth said. “Then they let Tyeler go to the Falcons. What number’s available now? I don’t want to get 95, Tyeler’s my dog.” ...

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The surprise starter for the New Orleans Saints

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By John Newby | 247 Sports

Look back at the Super Bowl champions in NFL history and one thing becomes clear: the perfectly-laid plans never work out correctly. Something always goes wrong, whether it's the Packers losing cornerback Charles Woodson before halftime of Super Bowl XLV or the Eagles switching to backup quarterback Nick Foles during the lead-up to LII. This adversity tends to arise in the form of injuries, but that isn't always the case.

Sometimes, veteran players and entrenched starters just struggle to perform up to expectations. No matter the reason, it's critical that each team has a cupboard stocked with depth players that could step in and lead the team to victory if needed.

With this in mind, Bleacher Report has set out to determine which player could become that surprise starter for each team, whether due to injuries or poor play of the man atop the depth chart. For the Saints, the best choice appears to be a rookie safety named Chauncey Gardner-Johnson. Although he first has to dethrone P.J. Williams and Patrick Robinson. ...

Full Story - 247 Sports

Look What Drew Brees Wrote to Zion Williamson on Signed Saints Jersey

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By Mike Chiari |

After the New Orleans Pelicans selected Zion Williamson with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NBA draft on Thursday, the former Duke star received an autographed jersey and message from New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees: ...

Brees has been the face of New Orleans sports since signing with the Saints in 2006. Since that time, he has been named to 11 Pro Bowls, won a Super Bowl and developed into one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history. ...

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Saints fans rank high in survey of all 32 NFL fanbases

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By John Sigler | Saintswire

In recent years, New Orleans Saints fans have been profiled along with every other NFL fanbase by Professor Michael Lewis of Emory University’s Goizueta School of Business. Lewis seeks to objectively survey the NFL’s best (and worst) fans, relying on a few select factors to rank them against their peers.

In his 2019 study, Lewis ended up placing Saints fans at the No. 10 spot — a drop after they ranked No. 7 last year. Here’s how he described his methodology:

My approach to evaluating fan bases uses data on attendance, revenues, social media following and road attendance to develop statistical models of fan interest. The key is that the models are used to determine which city’s fans are more willing to spend or follow their teams after controlling for factors like market size and short-term changes in winning and losing.

Saints fans ranked highest in “road equity,” which measures their attendance in away games. They were graded 7th-best in that category, with only six fanbases receiving higher marks for traveling well to other teams’ stadiums. Several of those represent teams with strong national brands like the Oakland Raiders, New England Patriots, and Dallas Cowboys...

Full Story - Saintswire - USA Today

Bears Pro Bowler Akiem Hicks reflects on his fallout with Saints

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By John Sigler | Saintswire

The New Orleans Saints were shorthanded in the 2012 NFL Draft, so they picked an intriguing prospect in Akiem Hicks. The one-time LSU commit had played at the University of Regina in Canada, where he’d used his immense physical gifts to get on the Saints’ radar. Towering at 6-foot-5, 332 pounds with 35-plus inch arms, he was a natural fit as a big interior pass rusher. And to hear him tell it, he loved his initial fit in New Orleans.

“I thought I was going to be a Saint for life,” Hicks told Dan Pompei of the Athletic. “I’m going to play here for 10 years and they are going to put my name on a banner in the stadium.”

It was a welcome career shift for Hicks, who had previously worked in call centers and grocery stores.

But things took an ugly turn for Hicks in New Orleans. He was traded away early in the 2015 season, a difficult experience which he describes as “the absolute lowest point of my life.” From his perspective, he’d done everything possible to be a good teammate and an asset to the team.

Hicks sought out the leaders in the Saints locker room to show him how to be a professional. Linebacker Jonathan Vilma looks back on their time together fondly, admitting that they still talk frequently. He’s still puzzled by a position switch the Saints forced on Hicks ahead of his final season...

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