Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Jerome Murphy: New Orleans Saints Waive CB - Rant Sports

Jerome Murphy


The New Orleans Saints announced yesterday that they waived cornerback Jerome Murphy. Murphy was only with the team 15 days before the Saints let him go.

Murphy appeared in all of the Saints’ games this season, but only produced three tackles in the two contests. Perhaps Murphy’s low production was the reason the Saints waived him.

Murphy was brought in to provide depth for the Saints’ thin secondary, especially at the cornerback position. Besides his low production I cannot think of a reason why the Saints would waive Murphy right now.

The Saints secondary has been banged up all season as starting cornerback Jabari Greer has yet to see any action this season. Furthermore, cornerback Jonny Patrick was not available for the Saints week two loss against the Carolina Panthers.

With all of the injuries to key players in the secondary I would think the Saints would want to add some depth to their secondary. There is also the fact that Murphy played for Saints defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo when they were both with the St. Louis Rams. Murphy was already familiar with Spagnuolo’s system and I thought that would prove to be an asset to the defense.

Perhaps another reason the Saints waived Murphy was because they had to make room for another player on the roster. Hopefully the Saints will add another cornerback and maybe a player who would be an upgrade from Murphy.

Since he was released by the Saints Murphy will now be eligible to be claimed off of waivers from other teams. With Murphy’s release the Saints now have Greer, Patrick, Patrick Robinson, and rookie Corey White as the four cornerbacks on the roster.

The Saints should definitely utilize White. White already has 10 tackles on the season and the young corner should be expected to step up. The Saints need something from their thin secondary and White might be able to provide a spark for the defense.

With all of the injuries to the Saints cornerbacks, it creates an opportunity for White to showcase what he can do. There is a reason the Saints waived Murphy and not the rookie White. I think White will play well in week three and could help the Saints get their first win of the season.

Alejandro Aviles is the Featured Writer for the New Orleans Saints at Rant Sports  @aaviles312

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Meet New Orleans Saints super fan The Who Dat King, Randy Bonneval -

Third in a season-long series on super fans of the New Orleans Saints:

A suspicious mind might believe Randy Bonneval's path to super fandom was charted by fate.

New Orleans Saints Super Fan the What Dat King
DAVID GRUNFELD / THE TIMES-PICAYUNE Elvis during the first home preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Superdome, Friday August 17, 2012. New Orleans Saints super fans series: the Who Dat King gallery (8 photos)
He was born on All Saints Day. His Nov. 1, 1961 birthday chronologically bisected two important dates in Southern cultural history, exactly five years before the official birth of the New Orleans Saints and roughly five years after Elvis Presley recorded his first songs for Sun Records in Memphis, Tenn.

One of his earliest ancestors, Alexandre Bonneval, a duelist who fought in the battle of 1812, bore a striking resemblance to Elvis with his high-collared shirts and long, bushy sideburns.

So perhaps it should come as no surprise that the two Southern institutions - Elvis and the Saints - would converge in Bonnavel's life on Aug. 16. 2002, the 25th anniversary of the King's death.

At a radio promotional event, Bonneval proclaimed on the air that he planned to honor the late King of Rock and Roll by attending an upcoming Saints preseason game in costume. A few days, one dollar-store leather jacket and a pair of mutton-chop sideburns later, the Who Dat King was born.

Bonneval has been attending Saints games as Elvis ever since. He estimates as many as 20 other Elvis impersonators attend Saints games on a regular basis, but he takes pride in being the original.

"I'm an official ambassador for the Who Dat Nation," said Bonneval, 50. "It doesn't get any better than that."

The son of appliance store owner, nothing in Bonneval's early life portended such a noble future. His father, Louis, owned and operated Bonneval's Discount Appliances in Old Metairie and Randy lived the life of a typical suburban teen in Lakeview. He was known for his spot-on impressions of Louis Armstrong, Wolfman Jack and Elvis at East Jefferson High School, where he graduated in 1979.

New Orleans Saints Superfan series: the Who Dat King New Orleans Saints Superfan series: the Who Dat King Meet Randy Bonneval, a New Orleans Saints fan who transforms into the Who Dat King (or Elvis Saint) come game day. Part of an ongoing series on Saint's fans. Watch video
But it wasn't until two decades later, after an informal Elvis performance at his grandmother's retirement condos drew rave reviews, that his life changed forever. The Elvis impersonator gig mushroomed over the years and now consumes much of his free time away from his day job as an independent elevation contract salesman. It's earned him public appearances from Boston to Orlando to Las Vegas and allowed him to meet Priscilla Presley and Bernard Lansky, the King's famous clothier.

An ordained minister, he's conducted wedding and funeral ceremonies across the country, many in his Elvis outfit. He's written and performed a wedding song and once sang "Peace in the Valley" at a funeral in full costume at the request of the dearly departed's bereaved family.

"When he first started impersonating Elvis we thought it'd be fun and he could make a little extra cash," said Bonneval's wife, Dari. "I certainly never ever expected it to be like this. I don't know what happened. People just started calling him for birthdays and weddings, and now we have people all over the country who know who he is."

While Bonneval doesn't take his act to Saints road games and occasionally misses a home game if work or family responsibilities intrude, he remains a black and gold to the core. Ffew things stoke Bonnabel's inner Elvis more than Saints game days and the pomp and circumstance that attends them.

It takes him about 30 minutes to transform into character. He has three different Saints Elvis outfits but works strictly out of the customized black Who Dat King jumpsuit these days. A local costume shop supplies his sideburns and glasses. His hair is a gift from God.

"All I have to do is blow-dry it," he said. "The Bonnevals were blessed with good hair. Elvis never had hair this good."

His normal pre-game routine consists of a tour through Champions Square and around the perimeter of the Mercedez-Benz Superdome. His season tickets are used strictly to gain entry to the stadium. His method of operation during games is to "roam the Dome," working the crowd from section to section in the lower bowl. He estimates he'll perform 100 splits and countless poses during a typical game. He'll also break out in song upon request.

"I tried sitting still, it just doesn't work," Bonneval said. "By the time I get home, I'm worn out."

Dari has long since grown accustomed to the kisses and flirtations from Bonneval's groupies. She's surrendered a closet in their Harahan home to his Elvis jumpsuits and learned to accept the crazy hairstyle and lifestyle.

Bonneval's calendar is filled with public appearances. As the father of a special needs child, he does as much charity work as possible. He recently received a license from Who Dat, Inc., to be recognized as the official Who Dat King and is in the process of launching his own website --

His photo is in the Saints Hall of Fame and there's been talk of one day displaying his original leather jacket, which includes signatures from Reggie Bush, Drew Brees and Tom Benson.

"It's crazy," Dari said. "At games, it's like being with a Hollywood superstar with the paparazzi following them around. I think this is what it would be like to be married to a Brad Pitt or something."

Indeed, Bonneval counts a few celebrities among his fans. Saints owner-executive Rita Benson LeBlanc routinely stops to greet him at games, and he's posed for photographs with Hillary Swank, John Cusack, Jon Lovitz, Jimmy Buffet and Harry Connick Jr.

Still, the highlight of Bonneval's career as a super fan occurred on Nov. 16, 2003, when the Saints rallied from a 20-3 deficit to defeat the archrival Atlanta Falcons 23-20 in overtime. A series of Elvis poses from the Bud Zone eerily coincided with a pair of Deuce McAllister touchdowns, sparking a furious fourth-quarter rally. Afterward, center Jerry Fontenot found him in the crowd, gave him his game gloves and dedicated the game to him.

"I never believed in the 12th man until that night," Bonneval said. "Now I believe in the 13th man. There's the 11 players. The 12th man is the fan. And the 13th man is the super fan."

Meet New Orleans Saints super fan Whistle Monsta, Leroy Mitchell

Meet New Orleans Saints super fan Darth Saint, Maximilian Ortiz

New Orleans Hornets players gained valuable experience in San Antonio -

Although the workouts were volunteer, New Orleans Hornets rookie Anthony Davis got a chance to work against San Antonio Spurs star Tim Duncan while a majority of his New Orleans’ teammates met their objective to build chemistry among themselves last week.

Unable to use their practice facility at the Alario Center because it was used as a Hurricane Isaac food stamp card distribution site, Hornets players paid their own lodging expenses and airfare to San Antonio to use the Spurs’ practice facility.

Players went through volunteer pickup games and conditioning drills that went unsupervised by coaches because they are not allowed to put players through organized offseason workouts.

Among some of the Hornets players taking advantage of the work in Texas besides Davis, the No. 1 overall pick in this past June draft, were rookie guard Austin Rivers, center Robin Lopez, forward Ryan Anderson, forward Hakim Warrick, forward Jason Smith, point guard Greivis Vasquez, rookie forward Darius Miller and shooting guard Xavier Henry.

``Obviously Tim was around and there’s not a better guy to learn from,’’ said Anderson, a 6 feet 10 forward whom the Hornets acquired in a sign-and-trade deal from the Orlando Magic in July. ``He is such a great leader and just talking with him was a positive experience in San Antonio.’’

In an offseason that already involved Davis gaining valuable experience as the youngest player on the gold-medal winning Team USA at the London Olympics last month, it was the first time he got a chance to work against Duncan.

A 15-year veteran, Duncan has won four NBA championships and is a two-time league MVP and 13-time All-Star participant with the Spurs.

Davis couldn’t be reached for comment Tuesday, but Smith said last week’s work was beneficial for all of the Hornets’ players, especially the post players because they got a chance to work out with Duncan and Spurs center Tiago Splitter at the facility.

``I think it was really good for us to go against somebody different,’’ Smith said. ``To let us come over to their gym to workout was an honor.’’

With a roster that includes eight players there weren’t on the team last season, the Hornets have participated in volunteer offseason conditioning work since last month. They are trying to get a jump on things before training camp opens on Oct. 2 at the Alario Center. The Hornets open the regular season on Oct. 31 against the Spurs, a franchise the Hornets are modeling themselves after because of their success as a small-market franchise.

The Hornets’ younger players like Rivers and Miller are trying to get a thorough understanding of the concepts of Coach Monty Williams’ system, while most of the players returning from last season are pushing for improvement.

``I think there are a lot of players that have came in and have been really ready to work,’’ Smith said. ``I think Austin has come in with the mentality that he wants to make a good first impression. Anthony Davis has an amazing summer going to London and winning a gold medal.

``I think he’s going to come in more prepared because he’s been around those superstar players. Darius has come in and he’s working hard. I would not count him out. I think he will get a good bit of playing time. There are so many different guys.’’

Anderson, who has been in the league for three seasons that includes the previous two with the Magic, said he’s never played on a team that has bonded so quickly like the Hornets’players have so far. Anderson is expected to emerge as a perimeter scoring threat likely to draw minutes at both forward positions.

``I haven’t played on a team that was necessarily a family group, where everybody was kind of on one page,’’ Anderson said. ``It’s hard to find that in the NBA because there are egos you know and just a lot of different things involved.

``But we all really have a close connection with each other here. We’ve bonded as a group through this process. We’ve had a bunch of meals together and as the new guy that’s really important to build that relationship.’’

New Orleans Saints play-by-play observations from Week 2: Film study -

Click here for columnist Mike Triplett's primary thoughts after breaking down the film from the New Orleans Saints' 35-27 loss to the Carolina Panthers in Week 2. Following are selected highlights and observations from the play-by-play:


Carolina Panthers vs. New Orleans Saints
MICHAEL DeMOCKER / THE TIMES-PICAYUNE New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) watches the final moments of the game slip away during the game between the Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C. on Sunday, September 16, 2012. More photos from Saints / Panthers game gallery (30 photos)
(13:56) The Saints were patient throughout the opening drive, "taking what the defense gave them," including a quick out pass to Darren Sproles on third-and-3 that turned into an 18-yard gain. Nice block downfield by receiver Marques Colston.

(12:18) Another third-and-3, another big gain by Sproles. This time Drew Brees floated a perfect pass to Sproles right over linebacker Jon Beason, who didn't get over in time to cover the speedy Sproles, who gained 25 yards.

(11:46 - 11:24) Back-to-back nice runs by tailback Mark Ingram for gains of 5 and 12. He showed a tremendous second effort on the second run, slipping one arm tackle, making three guys miss, then churning forward through a pile at the end.

(9:43) Third-and-goal at the Panthers' 1-yard line, Brees took a two-step drop, looked left, then fired a quick throw to his right for an easy touchdown pass to tight end Jimmy Graham in front of safety Charles Godfrey, who gave way too much cushion. Kudos to color commentator Mike Martz, who mentioned before the snap that, "I feel like Jimmy Graham will come up big here. (Panthers) have to double him."

(9:35) A horrible start for the Saints' defense. No shotgun, no play-action, yet quarterback Cam Newton had all the time he needed in the pocket before finding receiver Brandon LaFell wide open down the left sideline for 27 yards. The Saints rushed four guys and no one came close. End Will Smith and tackle Sedrick Ellis were both double-teamed. The Panthers only sent three receivers out on the play, yet one of them still got wide open.

(8:10) A rare sack for the defense. Chalk this one down as a "coverage sack." Newton held the ball way too long before Ellis flushed him out of the pocket and Cameron Jordan spun away from his blocker to finish him off for a nine-yard loss.

(7:34) Another two-yard loss for the Panthers on a run by Jonathan Stewart on second-and-19. Linebackers Jonathan Casillas and Curtis Lofton and safety Roman Harper were all over it. Eventually the Panthers punted.

(5:41) Yikes! And Yuck! The Brees interception returned for a touchdown (see the Play of the Game).

(5:33) One of many times on this drive that I wrote some variation of, "terrific protection" in my notes before Brees fired a well-placed 17-yard pass to receiver Lance Moore on a deep comeback route.

(4:50) An outstanding 23-yard run by tailback Pierre Thomas, who made a great read behind blocks from fullback Jed Collins and pulling guard Ben Grubbs on a well-executed misdirection play. Thomas escaped one arm tackle and one leg tackle after that.

(1:40) The most sure-handed Saints receiver, Moore, dropped a sure touchdown pass right at the goal line. Maybe the ball was a tad low and looked a bit like a sinker headed toward the dirt, but it was right in Moore's midsection. The first of many drive-killers.

(1:36) This time, Graham dropped one inside the 1-yard line as he tried to turn and score against linebacker James Anderson before he fully had possession. The Saints had to settle for a field goal after an efficient march down the field.

(1:20) A 40-yard option run by Newton. This is why the Saints defense has spent the past two weeks hanging back so much to guard against dynamic dual-threat quarterbacks, and they still couldn't close it off. Newton started with a very convincing play-action fake to fullback Mike Tolbert and actually ran a step with him before pulling the ball away. That got most of the defense going left. Then Newton and tailback DeAngelo Williams ran the option to the right, with only safety Malcolm Jenkins in position to stop both of them. Jenkins was in a no-win position, and he hesitated, allowing Newton to break upfield. Receiver LaFell blocked cornerback Corey White, and the linebackers couldn't get over in time. Safety Roman Harper made a nice play to prevent the touchdown.


(13:05 - 11:53) The defense gave up big chunks of rushing yardage throughout this drive but held tight near the goal line. On second-and-2 from the Saints' 5-yard line, they held Stewart to no gain, thanks to a big push by tackle Brodrick Bunkley and a nice finish by Jordan. On third-and-2, White made an outstanding open-field tackle to stop Jordan inches short of the first down on a scramble. Then on fourth-and-inches, Smith got a big push and Harper collapsed quickly on Newton to blow up an option run. Newton made a desperation pitch toward Tolbert, but the ball hit the ground and Casillas recovered.

(11:09) Great protection on a 13-yard pass to Graham on third-and-6. Graham beat fellow Miami standout Beason with his speed.

(9:29) Receiver Joe Morgan's first (and only) catch of his career wasn't easy. Morgan had to dive back behind him for a 5-yard catch that Brees fired instantly. Might've expected a different route?

(7:17) Another efficient drive died too soon when Brees' pass was batted down by end Frank Alexander on third-and-4. Brees had plenty of time to scan the field and fired for Moore down the field. Sproles was open too. Instead, the Saints settled for a career-long 53-yard field goal by Garrett Hartley.

(5:24) Newton's 35-yard pass to receiver Steve Smith on third-and-15. The Saints rushed five guys, including situational pass rusher Martez Wilson at tackle and blitzes by Harper and Casillas, while Smith dropped back into coverage. Casillas was the only one who got any pressure at all, though, and Newton had plenty of time to throw a beautiful pass. Smith also made a great catch, falling as he caught it. The coverage by Patrick Robinson was decent, and as I said in the intro, Smith may have gotten away with a little push-off.

(3:41) The Panthers burned the defense with a well-designed 17-yard touchdown pass to Stewart. This might have been one of those plays that defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo was referring to when he said he made two bad calls in the first half. The Saints rushed seven, including blitzes by two safeties and a linebacker. The Panthers ran a double play-action in the backfield, then Newton let three rushers close in on him before he flipped the ball to Stewart over the traffic. Three other Saints defenders were still spying the play-action fakes, leaving Stewart all alone. And he got big blocks down the field from Smith and center Ryan Kalil.

(2:49) The Saints' first three-and-out came after the only true offensive line breakdown of the first half on third-and-6. The Panthers rushed six, including two blitzing linebackers, and the pressure chased Brees out of the pocket immediately. Left tackle Jermon Bushrod didn't get good enough leverage against end Antwan Applewhite's speed rush. And since Brees wasn't able to step up in the pocket, Applewhite came right at him, forcing a throwaway. Center Brian De la Puente actually gave a great effort, blocking his man, then picking up a blitzer, but it was all for naught.

(2:31) The statue of liberty! Newton was so smooth, faking a quick out pass before sneaking the ball behind his back to LaFell on the end-around run. Jordan bit on the fake, allowing the right tackle to block Casillas. And Kalil was awesome on the play - going right after linebacker Curtis Lofton to spin him around before taking out Harper and getting in White's way. Carolina's Smith and tight end Greg Olsen also blocked up the field to assist the 25-yard gain.

(2:00) Big-time pressure by Saints rookie tackle Akiem Hicks up the middle forced an incomplete pass.

(1:51) The Saints rushed five, but nobody got near Newton on third-and-10. He had way too much time before throwing a 19-yard strike to LaFell coming across the field in front of White.

(0:14) An easy 2-yard touchdown run by Tolbert behind great blocking across the line.


(14:26) A great throw from Newton off his back foot with Jordan in his face. Went 20 yards in the air to Olsen for a 13-yard gain.

(13:48) A nice stop by Lofton for a 1-yard run by Stewart. Worth mentioning because Lofton had a decent day against the run with a handful of stops like these.

(13:11) Robinson dropped an easy interception, right between his hands, on an underthrown ball by Newton. This was much easier than the one Robinson almost had last week.

(13:05) Saints end Junior Galette didn't have much success Sunday, but he got pressure here on an inside move to force a throwaway on third-and-9 and a punt.

(11:36) Another three-and-out when Brees threw incomplete on third-and-2 under pressure. Bushrod actually did a great job of picking up a cornerback blitz. But as the linemen passed off their blocks from left to right, de la Puente's feet got tripped up and he fell, allowing end Fran Alexander to hit Brees as he threw.

(11:21) A bad play all-around for the defense. A five-man rush with Harper blitzing provided no pressure. And Newton threw 20 yards to LaFell, with White giving him a big cushion in coverage.

(10:14 - 9:36) Back-to-back runs of 16 yards by Stewart and 27 yards by Williams. Both plays were extremely well-blocked, with Kalil going after Lofton on both of them.

(8:28) Pass interference against Robinson for a 13-yard gain on second-and-9. Newton had way too much time to throw against a four-man rush, and Robinson got grabby with Smith down the left sideline.

(8:21) An easy 3-yard touchdown run by Newton up the middle behind a series of solid blocks by linemen and tight end Olsen.

(8:10 - 7:55) Two great plays by Thomas to start the drive - a 12-yard pass underneath and an 11-yard run. Both times he broke early tackles to gain yards after contact. A great lead block by Collins on the second one.

(5:56) This play looked like bad protection up front, since Brees angrily threw the ball into the turf under pressure. But it was really an aborted screen pass. The Saints' linemen got off their blocks and got in position up the field, but tackle Ron Edwards recognized the screen and stood between Brees and Thomas to shield against the throw. Brees threw it away, but it looked like Thomas was about to get open if he had waited another second.

(5:08) The scariest play of the day - and one of the ugliest - on third-and-5. The Panthers only sent three rushers, but end Greg Hardy got inside Bushrod with a speed rush and a swim move, and Grubbs didn't turn quickly enough to help. Hardy grabbed Brees around the waist and landed on his legs, bending him and whipping him backward. Brees dumped the ball but was flagged for intentional grounding. Then Brees immediately grabbed his left leg and needed to get his ankle taped but came back later.

(3:38) Again, the Saints failed to get pressure on Newton with a four-man rush on third-and-4, giving him time to find Tolbert in the flat. Tolbert made Casillas miss in the open field and gained 20 yards.

(2:28 - 1:44) Casillas made up for it with a big stop against Newton on second-and-2. Then a decent pass rush forced an incomplete pass by Newton on third-and-3, forcing a punt.

(:04) An ugly drop by Morgan down the middle of the field. It would have been an 18-yard gain, but the ball bounced right off his hands as he was about to be sandwiched by two defenders.


(15:00) A rare pass down the field to a receiver on third-and-6. Brees stepped up and fired 29 yards to Colston, who was wide open after cornerback Josh Norman slipped.

(13:31) Thomas continued a great day by breaking four tackles on an 11-yard run. Two guys bounced right off of him early, then he almost scored before finally getting brought down at the 1.

(12:57) An easy 1-yard TD run for Ingram up the middle behind Grubbs and others. Carolina's defense was late making a substitution before a quick snap by the Sanits.

(12:53) The back-breaking 66-yard pass to Smith on the Panthers' next play. See Play of the Day.

(12:03 - 9:58) The Saints got some real pressure on Newton with tackle Tom Johnson and Smith, but Newton somehow got rid of the ball for a six-yard completion to receiver Kealoha Pilares. Three plays later, Newton scored on a well-blocked 5-yard run.

(9:55) Sproles was trying to make something happen but wound up getting tackled on the Saints' 9-yard line after a 14-yard kickoff return. Looked like Galette missed a block, but the Panthers were swarming.

(9:50) Blitzer Thomas Davis broke free to force an incomplete pass. Maybe guard Jahri Evans should've picked him up, but it was unclear.

(9:13) Thomas' best run yet, a career-long 48-yarder behind a lead block from Collins. Bushrod and de la Puente also helped spring him with nice blocks. And Thomas gained an extra 15 yards when Norman couldn't bring him down in the open field.

(7:24) The Saints just missed a deep touchdown pass on third-and-4 when cornerback Chris Gamble reached up to tip the ball away from Graham in the end zone. Brees made a nice throw, and Graham had a step, but Gamble made a great recovery.

(7:19) The Saints actually had decent protection on this play, and right tackle Zach Strief had done an adequate job of pushing Johnson to the outside. If Brees was worried, he had room to step up in the pocket. Instead, he cocked back to throw, and Johnson reached in from behind to knock it loose. Brees scooped up the fumble but threw incomplete in traffic.

(7:09 - 5:40) The first three-and-out of the day for the Saints defense, with the Panthers playing it conservative. A nice push by Lofton and Smith on the third-and-2 stop against Tolbert.

(4:49) Carolina's only sack of the day was a "coverage sack." Brees had plenty of time to throw and pump-faked but found no one open. He ran forward before being caught from behind by end Thomas Keiser for a two-yard loss.

(3:45 - 3:18) Interesting trip of plays. First, a drop by Sproles on a short pass thrown slightly behind him as he tried to turn up the field. Then a tremendous catch by Graham for 17 yards down the middle, despite a hard hit by Godfrey. Then a drop by Graham on another short pass thrown a little wide.

(3:16) Perfect execution on a 24-yard screen pass to Sproles. Evans, Grubbs and De la Puente all got out for nice blocks. Sproles made Gamble miss. And Moore added a nice block up the field.

(2:06 - 1:59) Brees fired a 10-yard strike to Colston just short of the goal line on second-and-10. Then on the next play, Brees leaped over center for a 1-yard TD. The right call, but risky as he took a helmet-to-helmet hit on the leap.

(1:55) Hartley's onside kick attempt never had a chance. His line drive went about 12 yards and got no bounce before Olsen landed on it.

(0:31) The Saints got one more chance after a conservative three-and-out by the Panthers. But Brees threw a deep interception to Beason from his own 29-yard line. He tried to throw it up fro Graham, but Beason leaped high to snag it in front of Graham. Game over.

PARTICIPATION REPORT (according to official NFL stats)

OFFENSE (78 snaps)

B De La Puente C 78

B Grubbs G 78

J Bushrod T 78

J Evans G 78

Z Strief T 78

D Brees QB 78

L Moore WR 55

M Colston WR 54

J Graham TE 53

J Morgan WR 47

D Sproles RB 36

P Thomas RB 32

J Collins FB 29

D Thomas TE 22

D Graham TE 22

M Ingram RB 21

C Roby WR 15

G Camarillo WR 3

R Harper SS 1 (on kneeldown)

DEFENSE (63 snaps)

R Harper SS 63

M Jenkins FS 63

P Robinson CB 63

C Lofton LB 63

C White CB 62

C Jordan DE 60

W Smith DE 59

S Ellis DT 45

J Casillas LB 43

J Greer CB 43

J Galette DE 26

B Bunkley DT 24

D Hawthorne LB 21

A Hicks DT 20

S Shanle LB 19

T Johnson DT 16

M Wilson DE 3


Coming soon

New Orleans Saints, Kansas City Chiefs have backs against the wall: links -

The New Orleans Saints (0-2) and the Kansas City Chiefs (0-2) are fighting to get out of the NFL cellar. The Chiefs come off an embarassing 36-17 loss to the Buffalo Bills, while the Saints lost another eight point game, 35-27 to the Carolina Panthers.

Here's what people are saying:


Sproles.jpgNew Orleans Saints running back Darren Sproles (43) takes a pass 24 yards in the fourth quarter during the game between the Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C. on Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Times-Picayune: Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma met with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for three hours in New York City yesterday. Goodell produced a signed affidavit from former Saints' defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, which said Vilma offered teammates a $10,000 bounty on then-Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre. Vilma and his lawyer Peter Ginsberg have denied that charge, and have issued subpoenas to Williams and former defensive aide Mike Cerullo in Vilma's defamation lawsuit against Goodell. As for the players currently on the active roster, no playmakers have stepped up on defense, writes columnist Jeff Duncan. On offense, quarterback Drew Brees improved in accuracy on Sunday.

Kansas City Star: Chiefs' coach Romeo Crennel says the 0-2 start is on the players, not the coaches. It doesn't help that running back Jamaal Charles reinjured his knee during the Chiefs' loss to the Bills on Sunday. Charles tore his ACL last season and was sore during the game, but will likely play against the Saints. The Chiefs will have to do something to turn their season around quickly, as the rough start exposes a disconnect between the team and the fans, writes columnist Sam Mellinger.

Lawyer for New Orleans Saints LB Jonathan Vilma subpoenas Gregg Williams ... -

Peter Ginsberg, lawyer for New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma, issued subpoenas last week to former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams and former defensive aide Mike Cerullo in Vilma's defamation lawsuit against NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, a source familiar with the case confirmed.

ESPN obtained a copy of a signed affidavit from Williams, which he signed on Sept. 14, stating that Vilma and defensive end Will Smith approved of a pay-for-performance pool and that Vilma offered $10,000 to take out then-Vikings quarterback Brett Favre in the NFC Championship game in the 2009 season.

Vilma fired back on Twitter on Monday night after Williams' affidavit became public: "The nfl has 1 affidavit saying i did it. I have NINE saying i didnt. Do the math. Hush haters. ... You obviously want me to be guilty if you cant see that gregg was bullied to sign affidavit. He signed 3days ago."

The NFL Network reported Monday night that the league also had a signed affidavit from Cerullo.

New Orleans Saints offensive line held up well, but defense folded vs ... -

Let's start this week's film study with some good news, because Lord knows the Who Dat Nation could use some after the New Orleans Saints fell to 0-2 Sunday with a 35-27 loss to the Carolina Panthers: There is nothing wrong with the Saints offensive line.

Carolina Panthers vs. New Orleans Saints
MICHAEL DeMOCKER / THE TIMES-PICAYUNE New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) watches the final moments of the game slip away during the game between the Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C. on Sunday, September 16, 2012. More photos from Saints / Panthers game gallery (30 photos)
I know that may be hard to believe, since everyone is still having visions of Saints quarterback Drew Brees being bent over backward in the third quarter, with both his left leg and the Saints' 2012 season being stretched to the brink. But other than a handful of plays - most of which came in the final 20 minutes while the Saints were playing catch-up - the offensive line was excellent. In fact, the line was borderline outstanding, in pass protection, in the run game and in the screen game.

There were only three plays in a total of 51 drop-backs where an offensive lineman was truly beaten by a defender - left tackle Jermon Bushrod twice, including that disastrous play mentioned above, and center Brian de la Puente once when his feet got tripped up while trying to pick up a secondary assignment. You could throw in one more if you want to count Carolina defensive end Charles Johnson reaching from behind to knock the ball out of Brees' arm in the fourth quarter, though right tackle Zach Strief's block against Johnson on that play was decent.

There were a few other times where pass rushers came in free and unaccounted for - like during the awful interception that Brees threw from his own end zone in the first quarter, giving the Panthers a gift touchdown. But in general, this really was an impressive performance for the Saints line and the entire Saints offense, which was oh-so-close to giving a vintage performance at Carolina.

They showed balance and rhythm throughout the day while racking up 486 yards and 27 first downs. The bigger problem was that they repeatedly let drives stall after they crossed midfield - and part of that is a credit to the Panthers defense, which was clearly determined to not let Brees throw the ball deep down the field for explosive plays.

On the flip side, the defense spent the entire afternoon giving up explosive plays to Carolina's offense.

There was no good news to be found on film in that aspect. It was just as ugly as it looked live.

The Saints gave up six plays of 25 yards or more and 11 plays of 16 yards or more, and they came in every quarter of the game. The Saints actually survived the 27-yard pass they allowed on the Panthers' first play from scrimmage and the 40-yard Cam Newton keeper they allowed to start Carolina's second drive. But eventually they gave up four long touchdown drives.

The 66-yard pass from Newton to wide-open receiver Steve Smith in the fourth quarter was the biggest disaster. But a 35-yarder to Smith on third-and-15 in the second quarter was equally damaging. So was a 19-yard pass to Brandon LaFell on third-and-10 in the second quarter, among many other big plays in the run game and passing game.

The final score was fairly close, but in the "explosive play" department, this game was a rout.


Newton is the obvious choice, considering he completed 14 of 20 passes for 253 yards, a touchdown and a passer rating of 129.2, while also running 13 times for 71 yards and a score. He did the little things just as well as the big things, making defenders bite on play fakes in the read option. He even pulled off a picture-perfect "Statue of Liberty" handoff behind his back.

After breaking down the game tape, though, I have to give an honorable mention to Panthers center Ryan Kalil. He repeatedly showed up as a driving force on big plays, flashing both power and athleticism. I can safely say that I've never been so impressed by a center in a single game that I've watched - though I don't always break down games this intently.


Lots of worthy choices, but we'll go with a tie between Brees' first quarter interception and Smith's 66-yard catch, because they provided the two biggest momentum swings.

Brees' interception was really an unforgiveable throw on second-and-8 from the Saints' 9-yard line. He was under pressure from Johnson, who was allowed a free rush on him for some reason. Perhaps it was by design, because the Saints wanted to sell the play-action fake and the entire line pushed to the left while Brees rolled right. Brees would have had time to throw over Johnson to either tight end David Thomas or tight end Jimmy Graham, but both were well-covered. At that point, it's inexplicable that Brees decided to try and squeeze the ball in to Thomas. He was clearly well-covered with three defenders in the area. Even if Brees had somehow fired the ball into a tight window, it would have been a zero-yard gain back to the line of scrimmage. Instead, safety Charles Godfrey shadowed Thomas and jumped the route for an easy pick and touchdown return to tie the score 7-7.

Smith's 66-yard catch came early in the fourth quarter after the Saints had put together an impressive drive and shrunk Carolina's lead to 28-20. The momentum didn't last long, as a breakdown in the Saints' zone coverage allowed Smith to break wide open on the very first play of the next drive. Cornerback Corey White was lined up across from Smith, but White immediately ran forward to defend a potential run play, then he dropped back to cover the flat, which he said was his assignment. That left cornerback Patrick Robinson and safety Malcolm Jenkins as the deep men on the left side of the field. But both of them chose to cover receiver Louis Murphy on a deep post route - even though both guys could clearly see that Smith wasn't being covered by anyone else. It's obvious that one of those two Saints defensive backs blew their assignment, though no one has specifically identified the culprit. It sounds like it may have been Robinson from reading between the lines, but that's just a guess.


Although the replacement officials created a national scandal before this game started when line judge Brian Stropolo was outed as a die-hard Saints fan and pulled from the game at the last minute, they appeared to do an outstanding job during the game. There were a total of only six penalties, none of which was controversial. A pass interference call against Robinson in the third quarter was the correct call. And there were no obvious missed penalty calls that stood out either. The only one I questioned was whether Carolina's Smith got away with a little push-off on his 35-yard catch in the second quarter, but I'm not sure if any official would have called it.