Friday, 31 December 2010 11:52
New Orleans Saints Coach Payton: Other Games Won’t Impact Approach To Bucs Game
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New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton said Thursday that the team will go out to get its 12th victory against Tampa Bay on Sunday in the Superdome.

"Our focus is strictly on doing everything we can to win this game and get to 12," said Payton. "Clearly, as scores come up the fans and everyone else pay attention, but that won't impact our approach one bit."

The Saints have already clinched a playoff spot as a wild card team.

SOME hither,others yon: Drew Brees did a good job of mentoring Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman this summer. Freeman has better statistics in several categories. Freeman has fewer touchdown passes, 23 to Brees 32, but also fewer interceptions, 6 to Brees' 21. In addition, Freeman's passer rating is 93.6 compared to Brees' 92.2. "It's just a constant awareness of bass security and also having a whole offseason to get the majority of the reps to get used to the system," said Freeman. There are some interceptions, ones you wish you could have back, because you you really shouldn't have thrown it." "He's just a locked in guy, He's focused," said Bucs coach Raheem Morris. "He knows that we try to keep possession of the football. He knows for our team it's about scoring and getting the ball back for him so he can maintain possession, go out there and accumulate points to have the ability to win. That's how we play our game, that's how he plays it for us, and that's how he's leading this football team right now. He's done a great job."...

MATT Forte is just 22 yards away from 1,000 rushing yards and 13 receiving yards away from 500. If he reaches those marks on Sunday, he'll join Walter Payton as the only Bears player to pull that off.  "Matt right now is just to  me, outrageous the way he's playing," said Bears offensive coordinator  Mike Martz. Last year's Super Bowl teams made it that far with outrageous offenses and good enough defenses. Teams like the Saints, Patriots, Packers and Eagles are hoping to take that same approach this season...

HOWIE Long, an NFL studio analyst for Fox Sports, has a few ideas for reviving the Falcons offense. The Saints stymied receiver Roddy White, tight end Tony Gonzales and running back Michael Turner in their 17-14 victory on Monday night. The Saint committed two players and rolled zones in White's direction, effectively taking the three-time Pro Bowl receiver out of the game. He was held to a season-low in catches (three) and yards receiving (43), Gonzalez was held to a season-low 12 yards receiving. Turner averaged only 1.3 yards on 16 carries, if you take away his one  one  run for 27 yards. With White attracting a mini-convention of Saints defenders, Matt Ryan threw 13 of his 29 passes to other wide receivers White was targeted only five times -- and only once on third down. The Saints used safeties Darren Sharper and Malcolm Jenkins to help over the top on White and Gonzalez. "In order for them to be successful in the playoffs they need to run the ball better," said Long, a Pro Football Hall of Famer. And I have no reason to believe they won't. I have no reason to believe they won't get that fixed and figure that out."...

Eli Manning stood up in a players-only meeting and put the weight of the Giants season on his shoulders. Then six days later he looked like a player incapable of handling such a heavy load. Writes the New York Daily News: "Anyone who saw Manning's outstanding and sometimes brilliant run to Super Bowl XLII knows what he's capable of doing in a very big game,. But that was nearly three years ago and he hasn't come up really big in a really big game game since. On Sunday against Green Bay, he looked like a player who was pressing, forcing throws, rushing his decisions. He wasn't his usual. methodically calm self. He looked like a quarterback desperate to make a play."...

Fearless NFL picks: Chiefs -3 1/2 over Raiders; Patriots -3 1/2 over Fins; Colts -10 over Titans; Texans +2 1/1 over Jaguars; Steelers -5 1/2 over Browns (lock); Bengals +9 1/2 over Ravens; Lions -3 1/2 over Vikings; Giants -4 over Redskins; Cowboys +12 over Eagles; Packers -10 over Bears; Bills +1 over Jets (best bet);  Falcons -14 over Panthers; Rams -3 over Seahawks; 49ers -6 1/2 over Cardinals' Chargers - 3 1/2 over Broncos.

Bowl games: South Carolina -3 over Florida State; Florida -7 1/2 over Penn State; Texas Tech -9 1/2 over Northwestern;  Michigan State +10 over Alabama; Mississippi State -5 over Michigan; TCU -3 over Wisconsin; and  Oklahoma -17 over Conn.


Ed Staton

Ed Staton is a former sports writer for the Times Picayune and New Orleans States Item.  He also served as the New Orleans Saints Information Director.  He has won 43 media awards in writing, design and photography.  


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