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Saints to face tough test vs. Aaron Donald, Rams pass rush

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By Josh Katzenstein, | The Times-Picayune

New Orleans Saints defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins couldn’t hide his adoration for Aaron Donald.

“I don’t want to heap too much praise on him because we play them,” Rankins said, “but, honest to god, he’s probably the best defensive tackle I’ve ever watched. That’s just as honest as I can put it. There’s really not anything he doesn’t do well.”

Donald, the Los Angeles Rams star, is a three-time All-Pro and the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year. His 10 sacks this season lead the NFL and already have him one shy of his career-best mark. He also leads the league with 12 tackles for...

Unleashed: Saints safety Vonn Bell is playing better than ever in expanded role

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By Nick Underhill | The Advocate

Marshon Lattimore has spent a lot of time watching Vonn Bell play football.

The two played together in college before being reunited in New Orleans last year. Lattimore knew all the safety needed was a chance. Even though the Saints often used three-safety sets, Bell was playing behind Marcus Williams and Kenny Vaccaro.

“He was boxed in like a caged animal,” Lattimore said. “I know what he’s capable of, and I know that he’s a great player. Even in college, you’d look at him like Vonn’s the truth. When I got here, he was kind of in and out, but if you just let Vonn get into his...

Can the Saints be the first team to figure out how to stop Todd Gurley?

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By Luke Johnson, | The Times-Picayune

One of the New Orleans Saints’ weekly rituals is to go back and watch every touchdown that was scored in every NFL game the previous week.

Film study is not always just devoted to scouting your next opponent, but also to keep track of what is going on around the league. So, naturally, Saints coach Sean Payton had seen an awful lot of running back Todd Gurley already before Rams week ever arrived.

“Here's Gurley from 28 yards, here is Gurley from 30 yards, here's Gurley catching a screen for a touchdown,” Payton said. “He's an outstanding player both in the running game and passing game and...

Thomas Morstead

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BY ASHLEY MCLELLAN - New Orleans Magazine

A leader both on and off the field, New Orleans Saints punter Thomas Morstead brings a commitment of positivity to his team and his adopted hometown.

A Saint for the past nine years, Morstead has been a crucial part of the team, with a kicking average of 47 yards per punt average, and was named the team’s 2014 Man of the Year.

Off the field, Morstead has gained local and national attention for his “What you Give Will Grow” foundation, with the focus on tackling cancer-related, specifically pediatric, fundraising events and initiatives.

The foundation while active...

PFF: NFL 2018 Midseason All-Pro Team

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We are eight weeks into the 2018 season, which means it’s time for some midseason awards. Let’s get right to it with PFF’s All-Pro team at the halfway point of the 2018 NFL season.

Honorable mention: Patrick Mahomes...

When did the Saints last face an undefeated team at 8-0 or better?

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By Christopher Dabe - | The Times-Picayune

This isn’t the first time the New Orleans Saints will face an undefeated team this far into the season, but never before have the Saints faced such an opponent with only one loss to their record.

That’s what makes this game against the 8-0 Los Angeles Rams different than the 2015 loss to the 11-0 Carolina Panthers or the 2012 win against the 8-0 Atlanta Falcons. Those two seasons both ended with 7-9 records for the Saints.

These Saints, at 6-1, appear destined for something greater. Their six-game win streak is the second-longest to only the Rams. It’s the kind of game that could have...

Quotes from Drew Brees media availability - Wednesday, October 31

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New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees - Post-practice Media Availability - Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Do you have memories of going against Wade Phillip’s defenses? What are the characteristics?
“Yeah. So Wade (Phillips) was the defensive coordinator in San Diego when I was there for two years, ’04 and ’05. Did an awesome job there. He's been one of the best defensive coordinators in this league for a really long time. His players love him and they play hard for him. He's got a very aggressive scheme. Every Wade Phillips defense I've gone up against has had a really good pass rush, and they manufacture ways to get that pressure. These guys...

Quotes from Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay's conference call - October 31, 2018

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Los Angeles Rams Head Coach Sean McVay - Conference Call with New Orleans Media - Wednesday, October 31, 2018

What is it about the Saints offense that has allowed them to stay on the cutting edge and never get stale?

“It starts with the head coach and the quarterback. Coach Payton has been one of the great play-callers in this league and arguably of all-time. His ability to keep defenses on their heels with personnel groupings, ability to attack through the run and the pass, being great situationally on third down and in the red zone and obviously Drew’s (Brees) command. Those two are so connected. They are on the same page. I think there’s...

Michael Thomas and Max Unger limited in Saints practice Wednesday

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By Luke Johnson, | The Times-Picayune

Two key pieces of the New Orleans Saints offense were only available in a limited capacity at practice Wednesday (Oct. 31).

Wide receiver Michael Thomas (shoulder) and center Max Unger (elbow) were both listed as limited participants on the official practice participation report Wednesday. Neither was present during the portion of the practice open to the media.

Thomas leads the Saints with 58 catches for 669 yards and four touchdowns this season. He caught five of the six passes sent his way last week against Minnesota for 81 yards. Thomas has missed only one game in his two-plus seasons...

Saints rookie DE Marcus Davenport out for possibly a month with toe injury

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By Nick Underhill | The Advocate

Marcus Davenport is undergoing testing on his toe, and the up-and-coming Saints rookie defensive end is expected to miss some time.

Davenport suffered the injury during the third quarter of Sunday's game against the Minnesota Vikings when sacking Kirk Cousins. Davenport briefly went in the injury tent after the play, but returned and finished the game.

The NFL Network reported that Davenport is expected to miss at least four weeks due to the injury. But the defensive end, who has been equipped with a walking boot on his right foot, said he is still receiving opinions and isn't...

Rams defensive line will present sizable challenge for New Orleans Saints offense

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John DeShazier | Senior Writer -

No introductions are required for the offense of the New Orleans Saints (6-1) and the defense of the Los Angeles Rams (8-0) on Sunday as New Orleans attempts to extend its winning streak to seven games in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

The Rams defensive line is star-studded enough that there barely are enough studs to assign to the stars.

Defensive tackle Aaron Donald, the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year, who’s a three-time All-Pro and four-time Pro Bowler, leads the league with 10 sacks. Tackle Ndamukong Suh, a five-time All-Pro and five-time Pro...

Tommylee Lewis back at Saints practice, eligible to return from IR in Week 11

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By Luke Johnson, | The Times-Picayune

The hardest part for Tommylee Lewis has been scrolling through his social media on Sundays.

As the New Orleans Saints wins kept piling up wins, Lewis would acutely feel his own absence when he fired up Snapchat or Instagram to check in on his guys and their celebrations in the locker room.

It appears he may be ready to join them soon.

Lewis was placed on injured reserve with a knee injury Sept. 19, following the Saints’ win against the Browns. Wednesday (Oct. 31), he returned to Saints practice. He will be eligible to return to New Orleans’ active roster for its Week 11 contest against...

Saints' Marcus Davenport says when toe injury occurred, holds out hope he could play vs. Rams

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By Christopher Dabe - | The Times-Picayune

Marcus Davenport hurt the big toe on his right foot during his sack of Kirk Cousins in the third quarter of the New Orleans Saints' win against the Minnesota Vikings.

On that play, the Saints pressured Cousins out of the pocket and Davenport pulled the ball from the quarterback’s grasp as he slid to the turf. As the quarterback went down, Cousins' left knee appeared to slide into the inner part of Davenport’s right foot.

Davenport is reportedly expected to miss a month of play because of the toe injury, according to NFL...

Saints cornerback Ken Crawley staying confident despite benching

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By Josh Katzenstein, | The Times-Picayune

Ken Crawley has experienced this before.

As an undrafted rookie in 2016, the New Orleans Saints cornerback started five games between Weeks 3 and 8. Then, in Week 9, Delvin Breaux replaced him in the starting lineup upon returning from injured reserve, and when Breaux suffered another injury, Sterling Moore became the starter from Week 10 on instead of Crawley.

Then, in 2017, Crawley spent most of training camp as a starter, but when the season began, he was inactive for the first two games. Crawley eventually started 13 games last year.

Now, in 2018, Crawley opened the season as a starter...

Saints fans can relate: Facing tough stretch, Sean Payton says 'focus on one pothole at a time'

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By Rod Walker | The Advocate

Sheldon Rankins didn't have to think long when asked about the challenges of facing the Los Angeles Rams.

There are lots of them. Rankins made that quite clear as he rattled off the strengths of the offense that comes to New Orleans on Sunday for a much-anticipated NFC showdown.

First he mentioned Todd Gurley, the NFL's Offensive Player of the Year last season, who just three months ago signed a four-year, $60 million deal that made him the highest-paid running back in the league.

Next Rankins mentioned quarterback Jared Goff, followed by the three-headed monster at receiver (Brandin...

How Sean Payton makes decisions on when to be aggressive on fourth down, 2-point conversions

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By Nick Underhill | The Advocate

You could check every fourth-down decision the Saints have made this year on a variety of stats services to see if they made the right call.

But that process would have no value to the Saints. They don’t care what general analytics say.

“The percentage of any of the analytic studies would include all 32 (teams), and I think we’re different than all 32,” coach Sean Payton said. “And sometimes you have a play that you really feel comfortable with, other times you recognize field position, and you choose to punt.”...


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