Ask Mike – September 10, 2007 (1 Viewer)

Dan in Lafayette

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Ask Mike – September 10, 2007

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Handle: Vega$$aint

Name: Eric

Location: Las Vegas

Comments:


Hey Mike, what do you think about Tim Rattay? I think he is very similar to Drew Brees and I think he would be a better backup than Jamie Martin. He is very accurate and he is very experienced in the quick passing game that the Saints like to run. I doubt the Saints pick him up, but what do you think of their chances?

Eric

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Eric I don’t disagree with you, but to be honest if you were going to make a move at the #2 spot, I believe they should have made it in the off-season when a QB could get accustomed to this scheme. I agree that Tim Rattay fits the mold of what Payton likes in a QB, but I just believe he is comfortable with Jamie Martin at this stage and he will stick with him.

I am convinced that acquiring a veteran QB and also acquiring a young quarterback via the draft will be high on Payton’s wish list, after he acquires a middle linebacker, defensive tackle and probably another cornerback on defense.

One thing to watch is if the Baltimore Ravens would sign free agent QB Byron Leftwich and release former Heisman Trophy winner and Ohio State QB Troy Smith. Payton really liked him at draft time.


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Handle: gtaz21

Name: Gerald

Location: Los Angeles

Comments:


Mike,

First, let me say that you ARE the man for football knowledge. I grew up in Biloxi and moved to Los Angeles 15 years ago. As a displaced Saints fan, I found SR, especially your column, to be just the Saints fix that I needed.

I remember meeting Buddy D. in Mary Mahoney's in Biloxi several years ago and talking to him for about an hour about the Saints. What a memorable conversation that was! You knew Buddy real well, and you know he never passed up an opportunity to talk about HIS Saints! Your name came up during the conversation and he had a very high respect for you and he told me how much you meant to his success on radio.

Well, my question is regarding a team's draft rights over a player. My brother, who's still in Biloxi, and I got into a debate about it. We're hoping you can settle it. He says that if a player is drafted but sits out the whole season, like maybe JaMarcus Russell might do in Oakland, that player can re-enter the draft the next season with no ties to the team that drafted him the year before. Is this true? I always thought that the team that drafted a player retained the rights to that player forever. If not, was it ever different than it is now?

I seem to remember John Elway threatening to play baseball unless the Colts gave up their rights to him. Didn't the Cowboys originally draft Herschel Walker and retain those rights when he quit the USFL?

Thanks for your great column and all the insight to our local teams and The NFL and NCAA as a whole. You ARE the man!

Gerald

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Gerald, thanks for the nice words and like you, I miss Buddy D. and my daily conversations with him. Most of all I wished he could have seen what happened to this club last season, because he would have reveled seeing the Saints move to the top of the NFL ladder.

To answer your question your brother is right. You hold the rights to a player for one year and if he is unsigned he is thrown back into the draft pool. Normally when this has happened, and it has been rare, the team tries to trade his draft rights to a team in the spring of that following year so they would not lose a draft pick.

John Elway did threaten to play baseball once he was selected by the then Baltimore Colts in 1983; they blinked and dealt him away a few days later to the Denver Broncos.

Herschel Walker came out early, this was before the juniors were allowed to enter the draft after three seasons and he played for the New Jersey Generals for three seasons. He was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the 5th round in1985 and when the USFL folded he signed six days later with the Cowboys.

In today’s NFL if you are drafted that team holds your rights until the next year’s draft and if you are unsigned or not traded and signed, you go back into the draft pool.

Take care, and thanks again for the kind words.


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Handle: pjgaryjr 1

Name: PJ

Location: Branch, LA

Comments:


Hi Mike,

I like your work. Good to hear you on the Afternoon Blitz sometimes on Sirius NFL Radio. I know you have a lot of pots on the stove, but that coupled with a shout out to SR.com on the drive home would be very cool.

Down to my questions.

1. I believe you mentioned a few months back something to the effect that Fred Thomas is probably a nickel back at this stage in his career and that last year we had no choice but to start him. I agree he did well half the time, and in the games that big plays were had on him, half the blame should go to the safeties that were out of position. I have been hearing that the young safeties are still biting hard on play actions and such during training camp and in the process letting people get behind them. Do you think this is an experience issue, or is it simply personnel that may never be consistent? Is it a problem with communication or a breakdown in fundamentals? Will it be fixed or at least be at a comfort level by season's start or by the playoffs?

2. Why are all 53 men on the roster not allowed to dress for a game? Will there be a change in how many practice squad players we can keep with a now defunct NFL Europe? Do you see that 53-man roster number increasing over the next few years?

3. I understand we had a read and react defense that picked opportune times to blitz, but for the most part relied on the front four for pressure keeping everyone else in position to make a play if it came their way. With the new additions and a year in the scheme, do you see more blitzes and more creativity on defense much like the innovations on offense? Do we have the talent to do much more?

Thanks Mike,

PJ in Branch, LA

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Thanks P.J. I appreciate the nice comments and we try to make sure that SaintsReport gets a little love every time I am on with ESPN, Sporting News or on the Sirius Football Radio network.

1. At this stage, Fred Thomas is at best a nickel-back in the NFL at this stage. Fred kept his good speed and athletic ability for a number of years once he turned 30 years old, but you can clearly see he is not the same player he was a few years back and he has lost more than a step. I am surprised that he is still on this club to be honest. I really thought this team would keep David Jones or pick-up another veteran cornerback to replace him. I have a lot of respect for Thomas for what he has done for this team since 2000, but he has just lost a lot of his special skills as a cover guy now that he will be a 34-year old cornerback in early September.

On the safeties, I didn’t see that so much with Roman Harper, but I did see it with both Josh Bullocks and Kevin Kaesviharn.

Josh is a good athlete, but what I see is someone confused at times on where to be in certain situations and he gets caught out of position with throws over the top. K.K. is a tough run defender, but he has made some errors in coverage also. To be honest I am surprised Bullocks is starting over Kaesviharn.

I do see more blitzing especially from Roman Harper, Jason Craft is also a good blitzer from the edge and Scott Shanle, but against quick rhythm passers you see the Saints not quite as aggressive sending extra people to the QB. You are really hanging your cornerbacks out on an island when you send this type of scheme against passers with a quick release and a fast rhythm offense, but I do see this team doing more of that this season. The Saints have emphasized putting more pressure on the passer to help create turnovers.

2. I don’t understand that rule either. If they are on the 53-man roster let them dress and allow them to play. That rule is ridiculous and should be changed. I don’t see any changes made to the practice squad now that NFL Europe is gone. With all these OTA’s and off-season work the coaches really prefer to keep them at their respective camps to have them work with the coaches and team rather than play overseas.

3. When you have great talent on one side of the ball you can be more creative than you can when you are talent limited. I am still not sold on how well this team can stop opposing teams when they run the ball on them and Jason David has still not brought his skills to play in more one-on-one situations than in the Cover-2 alignments he was in Indy.

David looks as though he is still thinking about what he should do and peeking in the backfield instead of reacting to the wide receiver’s moves. If you start getting real cute with a host of blitz schemes and you don’t have good talent to handle a lot of one-on-one situations you are going to be in a lot of trouble.

Take care.


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Handle: Black Knight

Location: Afton, VA

Comments:


Hi Mike,

As usual, thanks for your insight into our team. I look forward to each "Ask Mike" response as you always tell it like it is. I put alot of credibility into this site, as it is all about the Saints and their players and for someone out of town and out of state, it means a lot.

My questions:

1. I saw the Eagle playoff game last night on NFL Network. What a great year the Saints had in 2006. Some of us waited a long time for games like that one. In the review of the game, it seems like the Bears executed what all of us saw in the Eagles game in terms of our defense. The Bears used double moves to get free and it seemed to me that Fred Thomas fell down a bunch in both games. With the new additions to the defense, are we better, worse or about the same? It seems that we have to be better with the additions at CB, Safety, LB, and DT.

2. How much will we miss Joe Horn? He was a good leader but really started to show his age with the injuries. Do you think our WR's will continue where they left off last year? You always hear of a decline in some young players second year.

Thanks for taking time to answer my questions. God bless,

Black Knight

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Black Knight thanks for the nice comments.

1. If this team is better on defense it is just marginal. Pre-season is just that, pre-season, and while I see some nice additions what I also see is a huge hole at defensive tackle and at middle linebacker.

Stop the run first and then you can build upon that. I just have a gut feeling teams will go after the Saints middle real early until they prove they can consistently stop the run. Right now the biggest disappointment is that Hollis Thomas is not the player he was in 2006.

Hollis had a strong 2006 season, but due to weight and conditioning issues, he just has not looked the same. This team believed in him and spent quite a bit of free agent capital to keep him and he looks like a different player and that is bad news for this team. Thomas needs to play big for this defensive front to improve and allow those smaller MLB’s Mark Simoneau and Brian Simmons to flow to the ball. Remember even Ray Lewis looked a little mortal once he lost Tony Siragusa and Sam Adams due to age and free agency issues. The Ravens traded up in Round 1 last season to select DT Haloti Ngata and he made quite a difference last season for Lewis.

2. Black Knight I like the receiving core. I agree with you about Joe and while he was a productive player for many years and a Pro-Bowl caliber performer, those days are long gone.

As for Joe’s leadership skills, that was overblown in my opinion. What Joe Horn did real well was mentor young receivers. Those guys had a lot of respect for his skills and most listened closely to him. He was a vocal guy, but I didn’t see Horn as a core leader.

Marques Colston is a quality young receiver in the NFL, no doubt about that and Devery Henderson has made good strides in developing into a big play athlete. Terrence Copper and David Patten are good role performers and I think the world of Lance Moore and I think he will see plenty of playing time. Now, I don’t see Robert Meachem seeing a lot of playing time until later in the year, but I still feel as though he will develop into a quality starter, but in time.

Here’s a quick story for you. I rated Javon Walker very highly when he came out of Florida State and the G.B. Packers selected him in Round 1. Irvin Favre, Brett’s dad, did a show with Buddy D. and I on Mondays and Irvin told me that Brett just didn’t know how good Walker really was based off of his 1st season in the NFL. Every week Irvin would get on me about Walker and could tell he also didn’t think Javon would come around. In Year #2 the first show we did, he came early to tell me that Brett wanted me to know, “The guy has it and that he was a totally different player.” Irvin told me that Favre thought he was as good as any 2nd year receiver he had ever worked with. It took him a year to learn the NFL and he has been a terrific receiver in the NFL.

I have that same feeling about Meachem and I like his work ethic, but he is a player that is not 100% healthy and he is not playing with any sense of confidence. To be honest, the biggest jump for a receiver is the process he goes through from his rookie year to Year #2.

Take care and thanks for the nice words.


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Handle: Bobby Joe In Baton Rouge

Name: Bobby

Location: Baton Rouge, LA.

Comments:


Hey, Mike. Love your work and I totally respect your volume of work. Keep it up and I hope you start to again answer our questions, but I do know you are super busy.
You might remember me because I came up to you in spring when you were having lunch with ‘Be-Be’ Orgeron in Baton Rouge.

Questions:

1. Before the Saints signed DE Charles Grant, Kenny W. on WWL radio stated that Grant was an average NFL player and that the team thought more of Antwan Lake than Grant. You have always felt that Grant is a good NFL player and quality defensive lineman. I feel as though Wilkerson was just repeating what someone in the organization told him, but who made that call to sign him to this huge contract, Loomis or Payton?

2. Jammal Brown is a very good left tackle in this game and he played like the best O-lineman this team has had since Willie Roaf. From what you have seen what gives Brown the most trouble? Is it like Willie a pure speed pass rusher and is he completely healed from the knee injury?

3. Could Jermon Bushrod be moved inside to guard next season if the team loses Jamar Nesbit to free agency?

4. Mike, I saw your TV show and you pointed out just how good the Colts have been to start the season and stated that they just come out blazing. With all the changes on defense will this change in 2007?

Thanks Mike and God bless.

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Thanks Bobby Joe. I appreciate the nice comments.

1. The decision to re-sign Charles Grant came from the strong urging of head coach Sean Payton and Grant has publicly admitted that. It was Payton’s decision to offer him a long-term deal and Mickey, along with Russ Ball made the deal work for them.

2. Jammal is a power-player and he doesn’t have nearly the quick feet and movement skills that Willie Roaf had, but great speed gives him the most trouble, just like it did when Roaf had problems with Chuck Smith. If Jammal stays low and gets his hands on a guy, it is all over, but he has had trouble with guys that give him a hard, real quick inside move. I think that Jammal is as healthy as he can be this season, but a knee injury normally affects you quickness and ability to adjust to movement more than anything.

3. Bushrod looks like a pure tackle to me and I am convinced he can play on the left side. Now, he has never really worked that much with the weights and he needs to get stronger and use his hands better, but he is a good tackle prospect for the future. Jermon moves his feet and you can see his has the long arms, quick feet and temperament to play the tackle spot. If Nesbit leaves the more likely candidate to replace him would be Andy Alleman. I like Andy also and he is a very athletic guy, who gets under the pads of a defensive lineman quickly.

4. Bobby Joe, that will not change with the Colts. They are 12-1 in September entering the Saints game and when you start the season, 9-0, 13-0, 12-3 and 9-2 the last 4 seasons I don’t see that changing as long as Peyton Manning is standing. This team is built around its offensive weapons, in particular Manning, and they have interchangeable parts on defense. On defense Dwight Freeney and Bob Sanders are the keys to their success.

Take care, B.J.


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Handle: Dan in Lafayette

Name: Dan

Location: Lafayette, LA

Comments:


Hey, Mike.

Finally the regular season is upon us. After another grueling training camp in Jackson, hopefully the Saints are ready to go for the regular season run. On to some questions:

1. Were there any final cuts that surprised you?

2. It appears that Mark Simoneau has held off Brian Simmons at the MLB spot and same with Josh Bullocks beating out Kevin Kaesviharn at the FS slot. Were you surprised?

3. Carolina appears to be the stiffest competition in the division. How improved do you think they will be in 2007?

4. Which college team will have the most first-rounders in 2008?

Thanks for all you do for the site, Mike.

Take care,

Dan

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Thanks, Dan.

1. Let me say the emergence of RB Pierre Thomas was the biggest surprise. I did not see that sort of talent in the OTA’s, but he really came to light during training camp.

I give Bobby Hebert credit on this. He watched all of the practices early on and he told me that he thought that Thomas had a shot to make this team based on how he had practiced. Once we got to see him in games, the lights ran bright with him.

The cuts that surprised me the most were the release of CB David Jones and the release of LB Marvin Mitchell. I thought that Jones would get the nod over Fred Thomas and that Mitchell would beat out Alfred Fincher. Fincher made this team on his special team skills and he started to make plays in the final two pre-season games, but I am pleased that Mitchell was signed to the practice squad.

I just knew that Jones would never clear waivers when you see the lack of depth across the league at the CB spot. In my opinion, young DT’s and CB’s rarely hit the waiver wire if they have talent because every club is looking to upgrade those areas because of depth issues.

More roster changes are on the way. It has already been rumored, but this coaching staff likes former Washington Redskins DL Renaldo Wynn’s ability to stop the run, which is still good and he flashes above-average pass rush skills at this stage of his career. He looks as though he will be signed after the Indy game. I also see additional help being brought to the secondary, especially at cornerback and maybe even at safety.

The one thing you have to give Payton a lot of credit for is having the ability to make good roster decisions and to add the right pieces to his team.

2. Yes and Yes. Mark did not give up his job to Simmons and Brian just never seemed to be healthy until late in training camp. Simoneau is tough, real smart and he is above average in coverage, but he is small and he gets bounced around quite a bit when teams run the ball right up the gut. Brian has to regain his good health and take over this spot for the linebacking play to improve. This is nothing against Mark, but this club needs a bigger presence in the middle and without a stellar big body at DT this leaves the middle vulnerable.

This is just my opinion, but Kevin Kaesviharn is a better NFL player than Josh Bullocks and I am surprised he is not the starter, but Payton sees a lot more of the players than I do and his decision is the only one that counts, but yes, I am surprised that Kaesviharn is not the starter and I do believe in time that Simmons will get the nod over Mark. Especially when teams start to tee-off on them with numerous running plays up the middle.

3. Carolina looks very much like the same team they had in 2006. They are very inconsistent on offense and without a good running game they are in trouble. Jake D. was hurt last season and many don’t understand just how bad a thumb injury hurts a passer’s accuracy skills and touch, but this club has never been the same since they lost Stephen Davis and his hard-charging running style. I like their defense, especially if MLB Dan Morgan can stay healthy, but he just can’t stay on the field. Again, I see them as an 8-8 or 9-7 club.

4. It’s either going to be LSU or USC. Right now LSU has two senior players that will get picked in Round 1, in DT Glenn Dorsey and WR Early Doucet. Now if MLB Darry Beckwith and DE Tyson Jackson come out early that could bring that number to 4.

USC has seniors in OT Sam Baker, DE. Lawrence Jackson, DT Sedrick Ellis and OLB Keith Rivers as possible 1st round choices and cornerback Terrell Thomas is a borderline 1st or early 2nd round choice. MLB Rey Maualaga is a stud player also.

Take care.


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If you have a question for Mike, just go to the top of the Superforum page and submit your question in the "Ask Mike Detillier" forum at the top of the page.
 

meily

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"2. Yes and Yes. Mark did not give up his job to Simmons and Brian just never seemed to be healthy until late in training camp. Simoneau is tough, real smart and he is above average in coverage, but he is small and he gets bounced around quite a bit when teams run the ball right up the gut. Brian has to regain his good health and take over this spot for the linebacking play to improve. This is nothing against Mark, but this club needs a bigger presence in the middle and without a stellar big body at DT this leaves the middle vulnerable."

they can just take it up the middle on us and Simoneau cant do anything abou it cause he's already on the ground or has been pushed 10yrds down the field.
 

DownWithDisease

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Mike D
Here’s a quick story for you. I rated Javon Walker very highly when he came out of Florida State and the G.B. Packers selected him in Round 1. Irvin Favre, Brett’s dad, did a show with Buddy D. and I on Mondays and Irvin told me that Brett just didn’t know how good Walker really was based off of his 1st season in the NFL. Every week Irvin would get on me about Walker and could tell he also didn’t think Javon would come around. In Year #2 the first show we did, he came early to tell me that Brett wanted me to know, “The guy has it and that he was a totally different player.” Irvin told me that Favre thought he was as good as any 2nd year receiver he had ever worked with. It took him a year to learn the NFL and he has been a terrific receiver in the NFL.

I have that same feeling about Meachem and I like his work ethic, but he is a player that is not 100% healthy and he is not playing with any sense of confidence. To be honest, the biggest jump for a receiver is the process he goes through from his rookie year to Year #2.
Man, I hope he's right about Meachem... and I hope it doesn't take Meach all year before he starts to show out.
 

Domeination

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I was really concerned about the middle of our D after the Chicago game and wanted us to draft Poz. I wouldn't have been upset if we had gone for the DT from Tennessee in the first round either. I'm still scratching my head as to why we didn't do more to address those needs either in free agency or the draft. I tried to convince myself that we had somehow addressed them by signing Simmons and Clancy and resigning Thomas, but, even granting that we were playing Indy during week 1, it looks to me like our defense could really struggle this year. Our offense is going to have to crank it up if we're going to make it to the playoffs. Hopefully, the defense will develop and surprise us all.
 

Cajun Chat

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"1. If this team is better on defense it is just marginal. Pre-season is just that, pre-season, and while I see some nice additions what I also see is a huge hole at defensive tackle and at middle linebacker.

Stop the run first and then you can build upon that. I just have a gut feeling teams will go after the Saints middle real early until they prove they can consistently stop the run. Right now the biggest disappointment is that Hollis Thomas is not the player he was in 2006.

Hollis had a strong 2006 season, but due to weight and conditioning issues, he just has not looked the same. This team believed in him and spent quite a bit of free agent capital to keep him and he looks like a different player and that is bad news for this team. Thomas needs to play big for this defensive front to improve and allow those smaller MLB’s Mark Simoneau and Brian Simmons to flow to the ball. Remember even Ray Lewis looked a little mortal once he lost Tony Siragusa and Sam Adams due to age and free agency issues. The Ravens traded up in Round 1 last season to select DT Haloti Ngata and he made quite a difference last season for Lewis." --- Mike Detiller

If Mike can see this and the fans can see this why haven't we done anything about it for so long?
 

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Justin Harrell was gone in the Mid first to GB. I was hoping for Branch or Mebane when both were available in the 3rd.
 

St. PJ

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Out of all the national sports writers whom Ive written questions to, Mike is the only one who has answered me. I am grateful.
 

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2. I don’t understand that rule either. If they are on the 53-man roster let them dress and allow them to play. That rule is ridiculous and should be changed.
The reason for the 53 man roster with inactives is because of injuries. It allows you to keep some players on your active roster (de-activated for the game) even though they are not healthy enough to play that week. Instead of having to put a guy on IR if he'll only be out for a few weeks, that way all teams have the same number of healthy players on game day. The NFL will not change this rule because it makes sense.
 

St. PJ

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The reason for the 53 man roster with inactives is because of injuries. It allows you to keep some players on your active roster (de-activated for the game) even though they are not healthy enough to play that week. Instead of having to put a guy on IR if he'll only be out for a few weeks, that way all teams have the same number of healthy players on game day. The NFL will not change this rule because it makes sense.
thanks. that does make so much more sense now, but still, if you have 53 healthy....
 

Saintaholic

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thanks. that does make so much more sense now, but still, if you have 53 healthy....

It still would not be fair for Team A to have 53 healthy bodies while Team B has only 46 healthy bodies. Both teams should have the same number of players available going into a game.
 

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