Friday, 12 August 2011 13:43

New Orleans Saints Ready For San Francisco 49ers In Superdome

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Drew BreesThe Saints will kickoff their 44th season on Friday at 7 p.m. against the 49ers in a preseason game in the newly renovated Superdome.

Saints coach Sean Payton said the plans to use his starters 17-20 plays and new 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said he'll use his starters 17-20 -plays or so. After that, reserves and rookie will be playing for backup-roles and roster spots. Coaches tell the rookies and reserves to play their best because they are also auditioning for other teams as well.

The Who Dat Nation will get to see a lot of backup quarterback Chase Daniel and running back Mark Ingram. The 49ers have two former LSU players on their roster: defensive lineman Ricky Jean Francois and safety Curtis Taylor.

 The game will be broadcast by Cox Sports and carried by WVUE-TV, too,

Jonathan Goodwin left the Saints for a three-year $11 million deal with the 49ers.

"It was a tough decision for me; I came close to those guys on the o-line down there.," Goodwin told 49ers media relations. "The weather is way different. It's kind of odd practicing and not sweating for no reason, but I love the weather. It's definitely a change. No complaints from me about that."

Saints quarterback Drew Brees has been very impressed with Ingram's progress. "He is used to playing in big-time football (Alabama).You play in the SEC and you are used to playing physical football. But he still has to make a big adjustment to the physical nature of the game, but also how to take care of his body and make sure he can he can survive through the length of a season."

Payton said this preseason game will be different than a first game without a lockout. "There will be fewer snaps for the young players than they normally would've had in leading up to the game; That being said, as far as how we play our guys, I don't think it will be much different."

The Saints haven't talked much about this game, but they looked at 49ers film. "We've been busy installing our own offense and defense and making sure that guys know what they are doing with our system."  said Brees.  " Then, we will worry about how to move the ball against another team."

Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma was asked about two of the newest additions to the defense -- tackles Shaun Rogers (6-4, 350) and Aubrayo Franklin (6-1, 317).

"One of the first things I noticed when we got into camp was how much we are on the defensive line," the linebacker told ESPN's Pat Yasinskas, who is town doing a story for his network. "As a linebacker, you want that. That's every linebacker's dream to have guys like that in front of you.

"I've been real impressed with both of them so far," said Vilma. "Shaun looks great and looks like he's really excited to be here. I'm excited to have both of them here. When you're a linebacker and you have guys like that in front of you, it can really free you up to run all over the field and make more plays."

Ingram has gotten off to a very good start in camp and he'll play a lot for a rookie. He's to split time with Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles.

"All of us are running harder now with him around," said Thomas.

Former Saints Pro Bowl guard Brad Endelman will sign autographs for fans two hours before the game in the  Saints Half of Fame in the Superdome.

Saints coach Sean Payton's final comments before the preseason game against the 49ers:

Opening Statements


“I’ll start on the injuries. The following players remain on the failed physical list: Chris Ivory, Tracy Porter, and Greg Romeus. The guys that did not practice today due to injury were Ezra Butler (hamstring and sports hernia surgery), Marques Colston (right knee, we are going to rest him tomorrow night), Ramon Humber (right quad), Clint Ingram (hamstring), and Alex Barron had a meniscus in his knee that was operated on yesterday. The guys that were limited today: Jon Stinchcomb (he’ll play, he was full), Roger Allen (he’ll play), Jarred Fayson (he’ll play), and we’ll probably hold on Adrian Arrington with his ankle (he’s close, and should be ready to come back and practice on Sunday). Our plan right now, I think, with the first-line guys is somewhere between 14 or 16 snaps, which would be pretty typical of what we’ve done in the past. There may or not be a few exceptions there. Generally if you say ‘a quarter,’ one side of the ball gets more snaps than the other in the first quarter, so we will pay attention to that and make the substitution after we hit that total. The second line guys will go into the third quarter, and we’ll finish with the third wave.”


Remember you said last week that you weren’t going to rush the installations, you wanted to get it right and not try to squeeze anything in. How did that end up going? How far along are you?


“I would say we’re – compared to the last five years – there’s probably three less/two less installs that we would’ve had prior to this first game. We haven’t had a full, thorough goal line install, nor have we had a full short-yardage install. That will begin Sunday, with practices Sunday PM, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday before we get into what would be the Texans practice next Thursday. There’s plenty of plays we can run in those situations, but that would be the difference from this year compared to the prior years.”


When you talk about waves, would Drew Brees play the first 14 plays as the first wave quarterback?


“Yes, and he would be one where I would monitor whether he goes the whole first wave or not. A lot of it would just be dependent on the snaps he gets. There are a couple of guys like Vilma and Darren Sproles that don’t have to get the whole 14 or 16, but that would be the general guideline.”


You brought so many guys into the defensive front seven and you have a lot of depth there. Does that make it difficult for some guys to stand out?


“It’s a good question because of our numbers. The one thing we have a chance to do is really, when you look at the down linemen, they’re at full strength per say and they’ll all play. The linebacker position is a little different with a few guys nicked up and I think that we will be three-deep there. I think Martez Wilson will play more than just one role, if you will, because we’re two-deep at the Sam (strongside linebacker) right now. But I think in the d-line, it lends itself to a natural rotation anyway and, to give you an example, in the first wave of defensive linemen there would be a third end ready and a third tackle ready. So they’re playing, whether they get 14-16 snaps, they might be light of that. But to answer your question, I think it’s a good problem to have and I think we’ve got experience there so it will be good competition beginning tomorrow night, and we will evaluate not only the preseason games but the practice snaps they’re getting.”


As far as your first-wave guys, because of the shortened time of the preseason/training camp, did you think about altering your approach to this first game at all, playing time wise?


“I think from a playing time standpoint, we kind of stuck with the snap count that we felt comfortable with. The change would be what we talked about a little bit earlier as far as what was in, but I think they’re in good shape. I think they’re ready to handle the snaps that they’re given and we’ll go from there.”


In the past you’ve brought in an extra quarterback to kind of push your backups. What’s the message it sends Sean Canfield as he goes into his first preseason game that nobody was brought in this year?



“Well, we actually had a fourth at the very beginning. It’s always been a challenge when the number was 80, which it has been in years prior. I think these players understand one thing, and I just told it to them as we came off the field. It’s easy for them to look at their own position on the depth chart, but they’re really competing against the other 31 teams and players at their position on those teams because this tape goes out to everyone in the league. Of course, we’ll study and pay attention to how guys are playing in the preseason for other teams. So they’re not just competing with the depth chart here in New Orleans and I think certainly you’ve seen us acquire a player during training camp, and that player being someone who can contribute quite a bit. I’m anxious to see, from a performance standpoint, how Sean does, how Chase (Daniel) does. Those guys will get reps and have opportunities. I think they’re further along today than they were a year ago at this time.”


Is there any thought, because of the time frame, touching base with the other coaching staff about how you can work together to make sure you got done what you wanted to get done for this game.


“I think occasionally that’s happened. In this case I haven’t talked to Jim at all, so I think we’ve just taken the approach there’s certain things we want to do in this game and be ready to do and be ready to adjust to what we’re seeing from them. The challenge always with a new staff is trying to get a beat on what you’re going to get scheme wise both from the offense and from the defense. So we’re going to have to make some adjustments and be ready to defend and attack certain looks maybe that they haven’t seen in practice.”


With the frantic free agency you had, do you think you and other head coaches, going into the first free agency game, know a little less, maybe not know all the numbers and faces yet?


“I think it was, to really define the period it was that musical chairs and all of a sudden the rosters have changed and it just happened in two weeks as opposed to two months and a whole off-season, so really quickly you’re getting yourself adapted to each team, who you see as their starting unit as well as getting your own team prepared. I think really our focus has been more internal though, in regards to players that we acquired during that period of time and it happened very fast, and so becoming familiar with Aubrayo Franklin, Darren Sproles, becoming familiar with Corey Hall, becoming familiar with Shaun Rogers, all these new players that we haven’t had the time with maybe that you normally would have. Fortunately those players I mentioned are healthy, we’ve gotten a lot of snaps already, and I think that’s one area where we really wanted to pay attention to our installation to not move along so fast where all of a sudden you’re not allowing these guys to play at full speed.”


Was this your most active free agency period?


“Well I would say it was the most unique. I haven’t gone back and counted, but certainly it was different from a time frame, you know some of these have happened while we were in training camp; practices had begun. From a number standpoint it would probably be up there with one or two of the other seasons.”


Sean, you didn’t have a lot of time with Joique Bell last year because he came right at the end of the season. What does he bring. What does he show you?


“On tape, from past experience when we’ve seen him and Ryan Pace and his staff have done a good job at really looking at players like him. He stood out, he’s elusive, has speed, can run with power, I think we’ll see him play quite a bit tomorrow night and he’s had a good camp so far. He’s picked things up, I think it’s helped he’s been here the last half of last season. He’s a confident player. I think he can help in the kicking game, He’ll have snaps tomorrow night as well in that area. He’s been a good surprise to watch.”


When you talk about evaluations just for this first game, are there any priorities like the guys that are playing for roster spots, making sure you don’t miss out on a young guy that you haven’t seen before?


“I think more than anything, we spent time in a meeting last night for quite a while of just going through how do we see every position group playing, and staying on the phase that we’re in and I think the bigger challenge is how you integrate the kicking game because it’s not as simple in special teams. So, certainly the discussions last night took place where we want to see player “X” make sure he gets at least ten snaps in the kicking game, he’s going to get X number of snaps at linebacker, safety, or full-back. We try to cover every player that’s up in a jersey and know exactly what we think he’s going to get from a snap count. Now, there’s no exact science to that but we want to make sure we’re on the same page and there aren’t any surprises, we want to make sure these guys are getting in, there’s certain players we don’t need to see as much of, there’s other players we need to see more of. We just try to communicate that and that’s a challenge during the course of the game, you know, with the size of the roster right now and I think it’s important that our players understand certainly the importance of these preseason games. I know it’s a preseason game that won’t count on the regular season schedule, however, it’s very important for guys that are competing for roster spots. So, we talk about the sideline; how we handle that from the start of the game to the finish and just the way we approach the preseason.”

SOME hither, others yon: New 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said his plan for his first game as an NFL coach is to focus on evaluation and execution, not results. "That's what I told our players to do, and I certainly am a flag-waving member of that mindset," the coach told the San Francisco Chronicle on Thursday before leaving for New Orleans. "I haven't given any thought other than just working, we're better in the future. I want them to go out and play hard -- play like they like football. If they make a mistake, just do it 100 per cent, do it at full speed and full throttle."...Trivia time: Can you name the quarterback that connected with (name him , too) in the back of the end zone for the touchdown that vaulted LSU to a 7-6 victory over Auburn in the 1988 game to helped lead the Tigers to their seventh SEC title?...

Former Saints coach Jim Mora will be back this season with WDSU-TV's announcing team for its long local pre-pregame and post-game coverage. Mora's exasperated from his days as Colts coach, will long be remembered for: Playoffs? he says on a clip that 's been viewed by nearly 2.5 million times on YouTube. "Don't talk to me about playoffs. You kiddin' me? Playoffs? I just hope we can win a game."...Ch. 6 sports director Fletcher Mackel hosts the show...Football great Dick Butkus said he favorite athlete of all time is Muhammad Ali and he thinks Jim Brown is the greatest football player of all time...Former Saints running back Mike Bell is trying to win a roster slot with the Lions. He has been with the Eagles and Browns since leaving New Orleans....Triva answer: The quarterback was Tommy Hodson and the receiver was Eddie Fuller...


Former LSU running back Stevan Ridley, the Patriots' hard-charging rookie, ran over a Jaguars linebacker to get into the end zone, on his first of three touchdowns for the evening in a 47-12 preseason walloping of the Jaguars. Ridley, who passed up  his final season to enter the NFL draft, showed impressive versatility with 16 carries for 64 yards and two touchdowns. He added seven catches for 47 yards and another touchdown. "I just went out there and played ball," Ridley told the Boston Globe. ":Just to do a lot of things, catching the ball and trying to be an all-round back. I'm nowhere near close to perfect and still have a lot of work to do. I'm not satisfied."...LSU basketball got a boost on Wednesday when John Curtis shooting guard Malik Morgan said he's going to be the Tigers' first commitment for the class of 2012. The 6-foot-3 180-pounder averaged 28.9 points, seven rebounds and four assists while playing both guards.  Parting thought: "Never test the depth of the water with both feet.

by Ed Staton

(Visit Louisiana Sports t\ to order you Matt Ingram jerseys and LSU/Oregon game shirts).

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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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