2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Saints' depleted D-line aims to keep up pressure

By BRETT MARTEL - AP Sports Writer
    2013-09-12 19:09

METAIRIE, La. (AP) - As the Saints prepare to head to Tampa Bay this Sunday, they're eager to see if the opening week success of their four-man pass rush becomes a two-week trend.

One problem is that their numbers are down because of injuries to several linemen, meaning a shorter rotation of players will have more snaps in what could also be energy-sapping conditions in Florida.

Nose tackle Brodrick Bunkley (right calf), defensive end Tyrunn Walker (left knee) and defensive end Glenn Foster (right ankle) did not practice Thursday, raising the likelihood that none of them will make up part of the Saints' three-man base defensive line against the Buccaneers.

``It's tough to lose those guys. You have to pick up that slack,'' second-year defensive end Akiem Hicks said, adding that he was confident remaining linemen could handle it because of how they worked on conditioning. ``I feel like the culture of our d-line has never been the type to miss out on extra work. It's all about what you do when nobody's looking.''

New Orleans also made a move to bolster its depth up front on Thursday with the re-signing of veteran Jay Richardson, who spent preseason in New Orleans and was among the Saints' final cuts.

Richardson is listed as a defensive end. He can also play outside linebacker, a position which often resembles a pass-rushing end in a 3-4 front. The Saints also still use a four-man line in certain situations.

``I know I've got to be ready for both'' positions, Richardson said. ``Whether we're in our base outside 3-4 package or whether we're in a four-man front, I've got to know the outside spots. It just depends on the flow of the game.''

While Richardson made it to New Orleans in time for Thursday's practice, it remains unclear whether he'll be active on game day.

If he is, teammates expressed confidence - based on Richardson's two sacks, two quarterback hits and fumble recovery in the preseason - that he'd handle his assignments well.

``He knows the system,'' defensive end Cam Jordan said. ``He's definitely tested, battle ready. It's not like we have to throw him into the fire. He's been there before.''

In their Week 1 win over the Falcons, the Saints sacked Matt Ryan three times and forced numerous hurried throws, including his final throw of the game, which was tipped by Kenny Vaccaro and intercepted in the end zone by Roman Harper to preserve the victory.

As the Saints try to repeat those results, the players with the biggest burden to try to clog up the inside will be Hicks, a second-year pro, and rookie John Jenkins, a third-round pick out of Georgia who wound up seeing action than expected in his regular season debut after Bunkley's first-half injury.

``Not too many rookies get an opportunity to come up and be a part of the group that I'm with,'' Jenkins said. ``I'm just going to take advantage, seize the moment.''

Head coach Sean Payton the plan going into Week 1 was already to give Jenkins substantial snaps, and when Jenkins playing time went up even more, ``he handled that role well.''

The Saints also have the ability to mix and match assignments for a lot of their bigger linemen on the three-man front, Payton noted. For example, Hicks, who is 6-foot-5 and about 330 pounds, can play nose tackle.

``We have flexibility,'' Payton said. ``All during training camp, we played a lot of those guys both at that position and at the end position.''

Notes: In addition to the defensive linemen who sat out of practice, two defensive backs - cornerback Corey White and safety Isa Abdul-Quddus - also were unable to take the field, both with ankle injuries. Abdul-Quddus was out last week as well. White played last Sunday.

---

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Peyton ManningDec 18 07:22p

Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning (thigh, illness) said his illness is behind him, and he was receiving treatment for his thigh Thursday, Dec. 18. Head coach John Fox called Manning day-to-day.

Roy MillerDec 18 07:12p

The Jacksonville Jaguars have declared DL Andre Branch, CB Jeremy Harris, SS Matt Daniels, DL Roy Miller, CB Teddy Williams, WR Tommy Streeter, OG Tyler Shatley inactive for Week 16.

Tommy StreeterDec 18 07:12p

The Jacksonville Jaguars have declared DL Andre Branch, CB Jeremy Harris, SS Matt Daniels, DL Roy Miller, CB Teddy Williams, WR Tommy Streeter, OG Tyler Shatley inactive for Week 16.

Kendall WrightDec 18 07:12p

Tennessee Titans WR Kendall Wright (hand) is active for Week 16 after being limited in practice all week.

Frank GoreDec 18 07:02p

San Francisco 49ers RB Frank Gore (concussion) continues through the concussion protocol this week, but head coach Jim Harbaugh anticipates Gore suiting up in Week 16 against the San [ More ]

Julius ThomasDec 18 06:52p

Denver Broncos TE Julius Thomas (ankle) played just 29 snaps in Week 15; only ten of them were pass routes, according to Pro Football Focus.

Rashad JenningsDec 18 06:12p

New York Giants RB Rashad Jennings (ankle) did not practice Thursday, Dec. 18.

Carlos HydeDec 18 05:52p

San Francisco 49ers RB Carlos Hyde (ankle) did not practice Thursday, Dec. 18.

DeAndre HopkinsDec 18 05:42p

Houston Texans WR DeAndre Hopkins (ankle) did not practice for the second straight day Thursday, Dec. 18.

Blake BortlesDec 18 04:22p

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles has earned positive reviews from the team in his rookie season after being thrust into the spotlight early this year. 'That is not the [ More ]

Jay CutlerDec 18 04:12p

Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler was benched just for this week against the Detroit Lions, according to head coach Marc Trestman. Cutler will be active and serve as the [ More ]

DeAngelo WilliamsDec 18 04:02p

Carolina Panthers RB DeAngelo Williams (hand) will be fitted cast that he can play with on his injured hand. Williams still has not caught a pass with the injured [ More ]

Rashad JenningsDec 18 04:02p

New York Giants RB Rashad Jennings (ankle) has not been able to do any running this week, according to head coach Tom Coughlin.

Ryan MathewsDec 18 03:42p

San Diego Chargers RB Ryan Mathews (ankle) did not participate in practice Thursday, Dec. 18.

Cam NewtonDec 18 02:52p

Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton (back) fully participated in practice Thursday, Dec. 18, and appears to be on track to start in Week 16, according to head coach Ron Rivera.

DeMarco MurrayDec 18 02:42p

Dallas Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray (hand), who was expected to take some team snaps in practice Thursday, Dec. 18, is in no more risk if he plays in Week [ More ]

Cam NewtonDec 18 02:12p

Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton (back) said he is not dealing with any pain in his back but is taking things one day at a time. Newton said he [ More ]

Peyton ManningDec 18 02:02p

Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning (thigh) left practice early Thursday, Dec. 18, because he is receiving a scheduled day of rest. Manning was not limping when he was walking to the locker room.

LeSean McCoyDec 18 01:32p

Philadelphia Eagles RB Chris Polk appears to have become the team's goal-line back of late, and two of the three snaps he played in Week 15 led to short [ More ]

Chris PolkDec 18 01:32p

Philadelphia Eagles RB Chris Polk appears to have become the team's goal-line back of late, and two of the three snaps he played in Week 15 led to short [ More ]

Cam NewtonDec 18 01:22p

Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton (back) had an increased set of repetitions in practice Thursday, Dec. 18, and it looks like he's on track to play in Week 16 [ More ]

Rashad JenningsDec 18 12:52p

New York Giants RB Rashad Jennings (ankle) is not participating in practice Thursday, Dec. 18.

Andre JohnsonDec 18 12:52p

Houston Texans WR Andre Johnson (concussion) has cleared the leagues concussion protocol and will play in the team's Week 16 game.

Julio JonesDec 18 12:12p

Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones (hip) is not participating in practice Thursday, Dec. 18.

Case KeenumDec 18 10:03a

Houston Texans QB Case Keenum is expected to start in Week 16.

Philip RiversDec 18 09:22a

San Diego Chargers QB Philip Rivers (back) is battling a back injury that is more severe than the team has acknowledged, according to a league source. Rivers' back injury [ More ]

LeSean McCoyDec 18 01:03a

Philadelphia Eagles RB LeSean McCoy opened practice on the sidelines Wednesday, Dec. 17, while RB Chris Polk opened with first-team reps. After practice McCoy did not seem too concerned. [ More ]

Ronnie HillmanDec 18 01:03a

The Denver Broncos are hopeful RB Ronnie Hillman (foot) will be able to return for the Week 16 game against the Cincinnati Bengals Monday, Dec. 22, or for the [ More ]

Drew StantonDec 17 07:33p

Arizona Cardinals QB Drew Stanton (knee) said this injury is different from any other he's ever had, and he said it's too soon to know if he could return [ More ]

Carlos HydeDec 17 07:03p

San Francisco 49ers RBs Frank Gore (concussion) and Carlos Hyde (ankle) did not take part in practice Wednesday, Dec. 17.

Jay CutlerDec 17 06:43p

Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler will be benched in favor of QB Jimmy Clausen in Week 16 against the Detroit Lions, according to a source.

Jimmy ClausenDec 17 06:43p

Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler will be benched in favor of QB Jimmy Clausen in Week 16 against the Detroit Lions, according to a source.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group