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Marshon Lattimore: "Communication has to be a priority" | Week 12 Post-Practice

Eli Apple: "It's going to be a great challenge for us" | Week 12 Post-Practice

P.J. Williams: "We're definitely improving every week" | Week 12 Post-Practice

Afternoon Wrap: New Orleans Saints vs Atlanta Falcons Preview

Thomas Morstead is 'paranoid': A look inside 'anxious' mind of Saints' little-used punter

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By Nathan Brown | The Advocate

As the New Orleans Saints offense continues to thrash opponents, embarrassing opposing coaches and defensive coordinators, you may not find anyone on either sideline more tense than Thomas Morstead.

While Alvin Kamara, Mark Ingram and Michael Thomas dance to “Choppa Style” on the sidelines, Morstead, the Saints' punter since 2009, paces back and forth, practices place-kick holds, all with his helmet on in a constant state of purposeful paranoia. For Morstead, the Saints' best New Orleans offensive performances typically mean the most stressful days.

“I’m paranoid,” he said after the Saints 48-7 home win over the Philadelphia Eagles. “The less I punt, the more I try to do because there’s no flow to my game. When I’m not playing much, honestly, it’s hard to keep the sword sharp when you’re constantly being tested.”

As Drew Brees and Michael Thomas march on with their historically successful campaigns, Morstead’s contribution — or lack of it — has begun to stand out in the record books itself.

Through 10 games, the 2009 fifth-round pick out of SMU has punted just 21 times. Against the Redskins in Week 5 and the Bengals in Week 10, Morstead wasn’t forced to launch a single kick. Instead, he jogged on to hold 16 field goals or extra points for kicker Wil Lutz. ...

Improved New Orleans Saints secondary will be tested by Atlanta passing attack

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John DeShazier | Senior Writer - NewOrleansSaints.com

Partly new and undoubtedly improved, the New Orleans Saints secondary will take a second swing at Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan and his productive trio of receivers Thursday night in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

This time, it’ll be seeking more hits and fewer misses.

In the first game against Atlanta this season, a 43-37, overtime victory by the Saints on Sept. 23, Ryan and his receiving corps riddled New Orleans. He completed 26 of 35 passes for 374 yards and five touchdowns, without an interception; rookie receiver Calvin Ridley caught seven passes for 146 yards and three touchdowns; Julio Jones chipped in five catches for 96 yards; and Mohamed Sanu added four catches for 36 yards and a touchdown.

Also in the first game, the Saints were undergoing a lineup change – P.J. Williams replaced Ken Crawley in the starting lineup at left cornerback, then played poorly enough to be replaced by Crawley at halftime, then came back on the field to play the nickel when Patrick Robinson suffered a season-ending ankle injury. ...

Full Story - NewOrleansSaints.com

Next up: New Orleans Saints vs. Atlanta Falcons, Thanksgiving edition

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

By Luke Johnson, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

For the first time ever, New Orleanians will get a chance to spend Thanksgiving with the Saints in the Superdome.

New Orleans is playing its second-ever Thanksgiving day game, and its first at home, and it gets to do so in a milestone matchup against its most bitter rival.

Just do yourself a favor and do not eat so much turkey that you fall into a food coma, because Thursday’s game should be a fun one between two high-powered offenses.

The stars align

As always seems to be the case, this game will feature some of the NFL’s top offensive playmakers.

Saints quarterback Drew Brees is putting together a monster season, and he has had plenty of help from some of the NFL’s best young playmakers. Between them, running back Alvin Kamara and receiver Michael Thomas have already accounted for more than 2,300 yards from scrimmage and 23 touchdowns.

The connection between Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan and receiver Julio Jones is as strong as ever. Ryan leads the NFL in passing yards per game (330.8) and Jones leads in receiving yards per game (115.8, which is the best per-game average of his stellar career)...

Plenty to be thankful for as streaking Saints gear up for Thanksgiving showdown vs. Falcons

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(Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

By Rod Walker | The Advocate

Ideally, Marshon Lattimore wouldn't want to spend his Thanksgiving playing football.

"You want to be with your family eating Thanksgiving dinner," Lattimore said. "I would rather sit home and watch it."

But on a more serious note, Lattimore knows it doesn't get much better than this.

Saints vs. Falcons. Primetime TV. Thanksgiving night. Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

"It's going to be special," Lattimore said. "Everybody's going to be sitting there watching. So we've gotta show out and get the job done."

For the first time, the Dome will be open for business on Thanksgiving as the Saints play their first home game on the holiday. It's just the Saints' second Thanksgiving game in franchise history. (They went to Dallas and beat the Cowboys 30-27 in Jerry's World in 2010.) ...

Full Story - The Advocate

Saints stay at the top of NFL power rankings

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USA Today Photo

By John Sigler - Saintswire | USA Today

The New Orleans Saints defended their throne well in Week 11, and even convinced a few holdouts that that Kansas City Chiefs were not a better team at the top of the class.

USA TODAY
1. Saints (1)
Post a seventh 40-burger, and they’ll claim the record for most in any season. Scoring standard of 2013 Broncos (606 points) also within reach.​

ESPN
1. Saints (1)
Thankful for: Drew Brees and Sean Payton are better than ever in Year 13 together. Brees has been doing some amazing things for a long time, but nothing compares to the insane season he is having at age 39 (25 TD passes, one interception and a 76.9 completion percentage). Meanwhile, Payton is still coming up with creative new wrinkles on a weekly basis for an offense that is averaging 48 points per game over the past three weeks. — Mike Triplett ...
Full Story - Saintswire

Deion Jones may return against Saints

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By Matt Winkeljohn, For the AJC | Atlanta Journal Constitution

FLOWERY BRANCH —

Deion Jones wasn’t in a talking mood, but he relented Monday for 57 seconds to let you know that if he does return to playing football Thursday night when the Falcons play the Saints, it will not be a big deal to strap up against his hometown team.

Here was “Debo,” owner of the broken foot that kept Atlanta’s best defender out of the last nine games, pulling everybody’s foot even as numbers don’t lie about whether he likes playing against New Orleans.

“If I play this weekend, it’ll just be another opportunity to be out there with my boys,” he said after reporters twisted his arm to answer a few questions following the Falcons’ rare evening walk-through. “That’s pretty much how I’m looking at it.”

So, it’ll be no big deal to get back to work in New Orleans, where you were a legend at Jesuit High before starring at nearby LSU? ...

Full Story - Atlanta Journal Constitution

New Orleans Saints receiver Tre'Quan Smith up for Rookie of the Week award

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NewOrleansSaints.com

New Orleans Saints wide receiver Tre'Quan Smith has been named a finalist for the NFL's Rookie of the Week award, the league announced Tuesday, Nov. 20.

Smith, a third-round pick out of Central Florida, had 10 catches for 157 yards and a touchdown in the Saints' 48-7 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. ...

Full Story - NewOrleansSaints.com

How the Saints are using Taysom Hill, multiple personnel packages to break defenses

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By Nick Underhill | The Advocate

There is a lot time wasted when preparing for the Saints.

Teams have to prepare for endless possibilities, knowing that only so many of them can show, and there will likely be new ones it hasn't seen before.

But here's the thing: This unpredictable and innovative team has only become more unpredictable and innovative. The Saints are the NFL's greatest shape-shifters, the kind of offense that can flash 11 different personnel packages in one game, which is more than some teams use in a whole season, as it did against the Rams a few week ago.

And if that isn't bad enough, there are the endless formations and variations within each one of those personnel groupings. The level of innovation and distance the New Orleans coaching staff is willing to travel to create a wrinkle has become staggering.

For instance, the Saints debuted a package with two quarterbacks, one wide receiver, two tight ends, and one running back against the Rams, used it five times in that game and haven’t shown it since. Unveiling a new personnel package wasn’t enough. On the first play, the Saints added another layer of deception by stationing right tackle Ryan Ramczyk to the outside shoulder of left tackle Terron Armstead in a tackle-over look. ...

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