Thursday, 05 May 2011 18:22

New Orleans Saints Won’t Relocate To Toronto; Focus On Johnny Patrick

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The Saints vice president of communications Greg Bensel issued a release on email on Thursday morning after Pro Football Talk ran a story that Toronto was eyeballing two teams for possible relocation.

The website reported Councilor Doug Ford, the brother of Toronto mayor Rob Ford, tells Brad Gagnon of that Canada's mega-city intends to try and lure an NFL team after the league puts a team back in Los Angeles.

"They have to take care of the problem in Los Angels first," said Ford. "Two teams are kind for in play here: Jacksonville number one; New Orleans is the other."

That's a ridiculous notion that the Saints would be in play to relocate.

 Johnny Patrick

One reason the Saints drafted cornerback Johnny Patrick of Louisville in the fourth round is because he's a gunner on special teams.

He can contribute early on special teams and has run-stopping ability as a defensive back. He's 5-foot-11 and 191 pounds. Patrick was arrested in 2010 for throwing a woman to the ground.

"Johnny's a guy that we feel has very good feet and athleticism," judged Saints coach Sean Payton. "We feel like he'll contribute in the kicking game. It's kind of like that position like running back, where you never feel like you can have enough at that position, so his grade for us at this selection was the highest.

Payton said the Saints spent some time checking on Patrick's character issues, researched it and paid attention to the area scouts' reports. They don't think this issue will be a problem.

Payton talked about Patrick's specialties. He runs the 40 on 4.56. The Saints will start him in the back of the cornerback rotation, but intelligence and hard work will move him up in a year or two.

"He has real good short area quickness, change of direction." said  the coach. "Those are some valuable assets in terms of being successful on special teams. He's done some things at Louisville. A lot of times what happens is these players play themselves into a starting position when you see their special team snaps diminish. When we're talking about both Martez and Patrick. both young players, you'd like to think they'll be able to contribute in the kicking game."

Payton said it was hard to predict where Patrick would go in the draft.

"A guy like this, you really don't have a great grasp," said Payton. "He didn't have a lot playing time (three seasons) when you  look at his history. You see the athleticism, size, stature and so there are a lot of traits we like.

"It hard to predict a player like that, especially a junior. He was more of a question in regards to when. I don't know that we expected him to be there with the pick in the third round. His stack was higher when we got there. Had he been taken earlier, we wouldn't have been surprised."

"After we selected Martez Wilson, there was a clump of players and then you kind of wait. We do think he has versatility. He's someone that can provide depth right away on the kicking game."

Question and answer with Patrick:

Q: The Saints believe you can contribute early on special teams, What's your background?

A: I have a lot of special teams experience. I have been playing special teams ever since I have been at Louisville, since my freshman year. I was on special teams as a starter.

Q: What's you playing attitude?

A: You've got to be arrogant. You have to be confident .You have to be shutdown corner. If you don't like a play, you go to the next. I feel good about that.

Q: Were you surprised that the Saints drafted you?

A: No. I had a good relationship with one of the scouts that is with  the Saints. I am just excited to be a Saint. A playoff team, a great organization. I am so glad they gave me a chance. I'm just ready to get there and play some football.

Q: Talk about your arrest and character questions.

A: I had an arrest last year. It was something that I put myself in a situation and I had to get out of it. I was trying to  to do the best thing  by calling the police to get myself out of that situation. It didn't go my way and it was just a lesson learned. It was something that I will never fall back on again in my life. It was a situation I didn't see myself getting into. I guarantee it won't happen again.

Q: You were the MVP of Louisville's bowl game last season.

A: It was a big honor for my team after three years without going to a bowl game. I was just trying to take that leadership role with the team to get the young guys to get a tradition started. To be the MVP of the Beef O'Brady Bowl was a big honor for me. I felt great about it.

Q: Did you interview with the Saints at the Combine?

A: Yes, it was a good meeting. I had a good relationship with the scout. I can't honestly remember his name because I met with so many different teams at the  Combine. A lot of things were going on. I had a good interview with the scout.

Q: What questions did the scout ask?

A: A lot of questions about my character issues. I wanted to address that because I am not that kind of person in character. I am glad the Saints gave me the opportunity to prove that. 

Q: What other teams interviewed you?

A: A lot of teams. The Cowboys, the Browns, the Patriots and the Raiders showed a lot of interest. I knew the Saints were up there and had a lot of interest in me. I am excited to be a Saint. I can't wait to get there.

Q: What will your role be with the Saints?

A: We haven't talked about it. There might be a situation in which I might be a nickel back or a special teams player .I'm going to do anything I can. If they want me to play offensive tackle I will play offensive tackle. I don't care.

 Trivia time: Peyton Manning was born in Baptist Hosptial on March 24, 1976. Name the famous actress that was born in the same hospital two days earlier...LSU will have only six games in Tiger Stadium this season and it may lower its season ticket prices 26 per cent. However, The beast that is Tigers football, must be fed...Shaq O'Neal gives Boys and Girls Clubs $1 million a year. He cruises depressed neighborhoods and selects a rundown house with kids, and if the mom agrees, arrives with a new TV. And, sits with them to watch a TV show...Draft experts are picking LSU cornerback Marris Claiborne to be a first-round selection in the next draft. He's fitting in nicely in Patrick Peterson's role...Hulk Hogan's doing surgery in both  knees plus a hip replacement. At this rate, he'll catch Mike Ditka...Trival answer: Reese Witherspoon...Thought for the day: Everybody in life has a purpose, even if it's to serve as a bad example...

by Ed Staton

by Ed Staton

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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. | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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