Monday, 08 August 2011 14:25

Rogers, Kreutz, Franklin Beef Up New Orleans Saints Line; Peyton Reports Post Practice

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SaintsThe Saints believe they have corrected a weak defensive line problem form last season by bringing in Aubrayo Franklin, Shaun Rogers on one-year contracts. They also brought in Olin Kreutz with a one-year as the team is developing a  "win now" mentality. 

"Well if a guy has something to prove, and wants to  prove it here this year and hit free agency the next, we completely  understand that," said coach Sean Payton. "We have been successful with guys like that. We've had a few players like that, if they fit what we are looking for, they can come in here and help us win. 

"Really, all we're on is now, but we do feel like we have a young team, a young nucleus. Once again, it really enforces the  importance of your own draft and being able to hit on players and developing those players. And, periodically finding one of those players: a Darren Sharper, an Olin Kreutz, a Shaun Rogers, a  Darren Sproles,  just place them into a master plan. Hopefully, these guys come in here and they get adjusted quickly and get acclimated. All of them have a number of skins on the wall and have played successful football. 

"And now, having them do that  here is the key." 

These guys have made the defensive line noticeably bigger. Defensive coordinatoror Gegg Williams doesn't know for sure how the new Saints defenders are going to turn out, but he knows one thing. 

"We're going to look different getting off the bus," said Williams. 

With Franklin (6-1, 317 pounds) and Rogers (6-4, 350 pounds) the Saints beefed up their defensive line. 

"It's rare, but this might be the first time my weight is not the focus and some other big guys are,"  joked defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis (6-1, 307 pounds). 

Franklin and Rogers join an already strong core of defensive linemen that include veterans Alex Brown, Jeff Charleston, Ellis and Will Smith, who will miss the four games because of an NFL-imposed suspension that goes back to 2008. 

Williams stressed that just because their new acquisitions have beefed up the defensive line it doesn't mean they have filled their needs -- yet. 

"We have to get those bigger people to play with the same tenacity that our smaller people have played with in the past," said Williams. "Now these new, bigger, faster players are going to have to play our way. They are going to have to buy into what we are doing and I have no qualms or questions that they will." 

In 10 NFL seasons, Rogers has started 124 of 140 games, while recording 391` tackles, 38 sacks, one interception, 24 pass defenses, four forced fumbles and eight fumble recoveries. He has been to the Pro Bowl three times. 

Franklin, a veteran defensive tackle, spent the last four seasons as an integral part of the defensive line for the 49ers. He anchored the middle of the defense and has garnered 312 tackles since 2007. 

Franklin said having Ellis and Rogers already in the fold at defensive tackle didn't deter him from signing with the Saints. In fact, the newly acquired Saint said he thought of being part of the talented interior trio encouraged him to head to New Orleans. 


"The defensive tackles that we have, all of us bring something different to the table," said Franklin. "if we all go out there and go hard, we can be one of the most dominant defensive lines in this league." 

Payton agreed with Franklin's assessment that each defensive tackle will bring a unique skillset. 

"With any good front, you never see the tackles playing 60 snaps," said Payton. "With Rogers, I see a guy who can play nose tackle and the three, Sedrick Ellis is a guy that can play the three and nose tackle. Aubrayo is a guy that plays nose tackle. I see these guys handling a ton of work inside. Those are plenty of snaps." 

When Rogers signed with the Saints, he pointed out how the play calling and the way the Saints rotate their defense players made it enticing for him to join the squad. Rogers said the "sky is the limit" for what a newly assembled line can do. 

"Everyone knows Gregg Williams is a talented guy when it comes to scheming defenses and focusing them on making big plays," said Rogers. "I am encouraged to be in a system with such a respected coordinator. With the guys we have now, it's going to be fun to see how it plays out." 

New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton talked to the media on Sunday.  Here is the transcript. 

 Opening Statement: No transactions. The players still on the failed physical list: Chris Ivory left foot, Tracy Porter left knee, Greg Romeus right knee. The following players did not practice today due to injury: Ezra Butler hamstring, wide receiver Jarred Fayson ankle, Adrian Arrington ankle, cornerback Fabian Washington left hamstring, tackle Alex Brown left knee, we rested (Marques) Colston one more day with his right knee, and Mitch King with his heart and chest. Ramon Humber had a quad during practice and cornerback Johnny Patrick had a wrist during practice. Tomorrow’s schedule for them will be off. Tuesday, we will be back with a P.M. practice. I think the schedule time is listed, 4:00 P.M.

 Can you talk about the younger players at the wide receiver position? I would say this, and we talked about this the three or four days before our whole team was together, that is a position group with a lot of free agents that have come in and done some good things. The first thing that strikes you is that they can run. I am anxious to see how these guys do in the preseason. There are two or three young guys, and a couple that have been with us for a year or two. It is a position where we are deep. We do have some young speed and we are anxious to see how they do in a game.

 Without the normal off-season workout schedule, how would you classify the physical status of the team after a week and half of training camp? I look at it, not quite a week and half in because we didn’t get everybody until the last part of the week. I do feel like they are in good shape. There are a few areas that you have to pay attention to. We’ve got time, but I am pleased with their conditioning level. There is still room for work. I think that one of the reasons that we decided not to scrimmage yesterday was that we just felt like it was a quick turnaround from guys just getting here and then all of sudden us deciding to have a padded scrimmage. Throughout the course of next week, we will have some contact drills that will lead us up to the 49ers game Friday night.

Are you worried at all that Tracy Porter might not be able to play in the opener? No. I think we are (on) schedule with him so I feel pretty good to answer your question. I think we are going to see him, hopefully, by the Houston weekend if not, the Monday after the Houston week. I think he is on schedule. There is nothing surprising about where he is at right now.

Do you think that two weeks will be enough to get him ready? We are on schedule. I think that Houston week, that game, will be a tough one. The Monday after that game, the week following that game, our plan is to get him going.

How open are the outside linebacker spots? There is a lot of depth there. We have some younger guys. Some veteran guys. I think that you are seeing real good competition at the Sam linebacker position as well as the Will. It’s probably the deepest we’ve been, and most talented we’ve been, at that position in our six years.

 Are those positions open? Yes. We are going in with the idea that we are going to get a lot of reps at the Will. You have seen (Scott) Shanle and you’ve seen (Jonathan) Casillas and some young players. You have seen, at the Sam, of course Danny Clark and Will Herring. You have seen(Clint) Ingram back healthy and Martez Wilson. We’ve got a lot of time to evaluate their spots and those will be two competitive spots that we have a lot of depth at and a lot of good competition at. I think we view it that way.

 Can you talk about the addition of Korey Hall out of free agency? He was a guy that is versatile on offense in regards to his blocking and receiving ability and also a guy that can contribute in the kicking game. Green Bay had depth at that position, and for us, we were able to get him in that first week.

 Did you look at multiple fullbacks? We had two or three guys. Korey being the first guy we wanted to call. Fortunately for us, he had an interest and that was the first free agent acquisition from another team and it worked out well.

 Does that mean the team will probably not re-sign Heath Evans? Right now, that would be something that would be accurate. I’ve talked with Heath and I think the plan for us, not only with Korey but if you watch Jed (Collins) I think he is playing real well. Those two are competing at that spot and we have a young player with (Kolby) Hurt that is getting reps. We are three deep right now and we are comfortable with that depth and who’s here right now. I don’t expect us, anytime soon, to look outside the building.

 Are you going to bring in a veteran quarterback to compete with Chase Daniel for the backup position? Right now, I think the one thing we are seeing with Sean (Canfield) is more improvement. We are not seeing a rookie anymore. He is someone who is understanding what we are doing. I am anxious to see, not only Chase’s growth, but how Canfield responds too.

What kind of player do you think Chase Daniel can be? I am anxious to see him this pre-season. The first requisite is just scoring points, leading this team. There are things he can do that are a little bit different. He can escape and gain yards with his feet. That’s one of his strengths. I think he has worked tremendously hard in the off-season. I think you are going to see a guy who has made a ton of progress from year one to year two. We are confident, as we were a year ago, with him as our two. We are confident that he is going to make the improvements and still do the things that are necessary to win a quarterback, which are protect the football, move the team. Those are some things that are attractive about him.

 He led his team at Mizzou, do you think that is one of those intangibles? I think so. If you look back, he is a guy that won a lot in high school. He was part of what Missouri accomplished. Those are important characteristics for that position. Obviously, you need the talent, the ability to throw the football, make good decisions, and be accurate. 

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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