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- Nov 28, 2007
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Really good article from Holder. Really cuts to the nitty gritty with some good quotes. Especially like the Laurinitis one that hints at teams faking injuries (happens more than people think, likewise players do it in the off-sesason too to avoid a NFI injury) so that it gives an out/excuse for a player.
Moving on from players en masse is the last thing Sean Payton probably wanted to do in 2016, especially three weeks into a new season.
You're admitting mistakes to the world.
You're admitting a long-term, pricey misstep on Jairus Byrd when you replace him in the starting lineup with rookie Vonn Bell. You're admitting that counting on veteran James Laurinaitis to find new football life as the starting middle linebacker might not have been wise. You're admitting that 2015's first-round pick, Stephone Anthony, isn't even worthy of field time, much less a starting role.
None of this is easy.
Tim Hightower brought more juice in the ground game than we've witnessed all season with 102 yards on 26 carries. Hightower was the last Saints back to rush for 100 or more yards with 122 yards on 27 carries and two touchdowns against Jacksonville in Week 16 last year.
I believe Payton is genuine when he says the Saints will examine the ground game week by week in terms of who earns carries. Could Ingram return to a more regular role in the offense? Sure
Craig Robertson isn't Luke Kuechly at middle linebacker, but he has helped stabilize the defense. Nate Stupar isn't K.J. Wright at weakside linebacker, but he has brought energy and a recent penchant for takeaways to directly contribute to Saints wins.
Bell isn't Earl Thomas, yet. But he proved as early as the improbable win in San Diego that he needed to be on the field on every down.
How have these notable demoted players handled their gut-check?
It's too early to tell from Ingram, whom I still won't view as a full demotion. Anthony really has no choice but to accept any fate the Saints hand him.
Tough changes after 0-3 start bring desired results for Saints | NOLA.comLaurinaitis' contributions seem to be more internal than anything else.
Laurinaitis started every game of his eight-year Rams career. He served as an instant leader with the Rams when he arrived in St. Louis in 2009.
Maybe Laurinaitis' quad injury was real; maybe it was fiction to mask the demotion of one of the more respected players around the league.
Yet Laurinaitis seems to be rolling with whatever the coaching staff wants from him. Honestly, it's admirable