2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Saints rolling with Payton back on the sidelines

By GUERRY SMITH - Associated Press
    2013-09-23 19:33

METAIRIE, La. (AP) - For the Saints, it's as if 2012 never happened.

After three games a year ago, they were 0-3 without coach Sean Payton and coming off an overtime home loss to Kansas City when they blew an 18-point second-half lead.

With Payton back from his one-season bounty ban, New Orleans is 3-0 after a 31-7 rout of Arizona that resembled many of the games in Payton's best seasons. New Orleans also started 3-0 under Payton tenure in 2006, when the Saints reached the NFC championship game, and 2009, when they won the Super Bowl.

Payton dismissed the comparisons Monday, saying it's the media's job to ``to reference all those things.'' But for the Saints, the coach says ``it's noise.''

He pointed out that Arizona ``was 4-0 last year at the start of the season and ended up firing a general manager and a head coach.''

While that might sound like typical Payton, it is one of the reasons the Saints believe they are off to a fast start. They say with Payton back, the distractions of last season are long gone and the intense focus and preparation have returned.

``He brings back that leadership, that ultimate decision-making power for the team,'' center Brian de la Puente said. ``You come in to each week knowing that we have the best plan possible. We know what and how and why we're going to do it and the reasons behind it.''

To get to 4-0, the Saints will have to beat the Miami Dolphins at the Superdome next Monday night in a matchup of two unbeaten teams. They like their chances if quarterback Drew Brees, tight end Jimmy Graham and a resurgent defense continue to play the way they did against the Cardinals.

Brees threw for 342 yards and three touchdowns against Arizona, also rushing for a score. Two of the scoring tosses went to Graham, who had nine receptions for 134 yards a week after catching 10 passes for 179 yards against Tampa Bay.

The Saints defense allowed an 80-yard touchdown drive to open the game, then forced eight punts and had two interceptions on the Cardinals' next 10 possessions.

A year after allowing an NFL-record 7,042 yards, the Saints ranked fifth in total defense, fifth in pass defense and sixth in scoring defense before the Monday night contest between Denver and Oakland.

Payton's decision to replace former defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo with Rob Ryan and switch from a 4-3 to a 3-4 scheme has worked wonders through three games.

``Any time you go into a situation where it's a new defensive coordinator that's installing a new defense, you always have the question of how you're prepared,'' said outside linebacker Parys Haralson, whom the Saints acquired in a traded with San Francisco in late August. ``Everybody was pretty confident in what they had, in what we have here. This is a defense full of talented players.''

The Saints still have plenty to work on, though. Payton abandoned the running game in the first half against Arizona, when New Orleans rushed four times for minus-6 yards. Brees was sacked four times, running his season total to 10.

Just as Payton played down the 3-0 start, he sounded unconcerned about either deficiency. He attributing the lack of run calls to the five-man front Arizona presented and the sacks to the Cardinals' man-to-man coverage scheme.

``Sometimes it makes you hold the ball a half a count longer,'' he said. ``In other words, it is just a little bit different in the passing game and sometimes it can lead to a sack or two more. I think it varies on who we are playing.''

---

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Tom BradyJan 22 10:12a

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady is now scheduled to speak to the media Thursday, Jan. 22, and he could come under fire due to the report of deflated [ More ]

Vontaze BurfictJan 21 09:03p

Cincinnati Bengals LB Vontaze Burfict (knee) has had knee surgery, head coach Marvin Lewis confirmed Wednesday, Jan. 21. While there has been concern Burfict might have to begin the [ More ]

Mike WallaceJan 21 09:03p

Miami Dolphins WR Mike Wallace's future with the team is unclear. General manager Dennis Hickey would not say Wednesday, Jan. 21, whether Wallace will be back or if his [ More ]

Johnny ManzielJan 21 04:43p

Cleveland Browns QB Johnny Manziel could benefit from new offensive coordinator John DeFilippo, according to Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr. Carr said DeFilippo will do great with Manziel, adding [ More ]

Richard ShermanJan 21 04:23p

Seattle Seahawks CB Richard Sherman (elbow) said he will practice in a brace, but should not have any limitations on gameday.

Marc TrestmanJan 21 03:53p

Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Marc Trestman said he wants to learn the specificities of the team's offense instead of changing it. Head coach John Harbaugh said Trestman's familiarity and [ More ]

Blake BortlesJan 21 03:43p

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles should be able to develop under new offensive coordinator Greg Olson, according to general manager Dave Caldwell. Caldwell said Olson has the ability to [ More ]

Blake BortlesJan 21 03:13p

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles developed bad habits and may need to start over, in the opinion of NFL Films guru Greg Cosell.

Latavius MurrayJan 21 12:53p

Oakland Raiders RB Latavius Murray is likely to be the team's lead back in 2015, and new offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave plans tailor his system to Murray's talents. Musgrave [ More ]

Peyton ManningJan 21 11:03a

Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning plans to return in 2015, pending the results of his annual physical, according to three sources The Denver Post's Woody Paige trusts. The test [ More ]

Rashad JenningsJan 21 10:23a

New York Giants RB Rashad Jennings could have a veteran running back to complement or compete with him next season. The team could possibly add a change-of-pace back and [ More ]

Trent RichardsonJan 21 09:13a

Indianapolis Colts RB Trent Richardson was suspended and deactivated for the AFC Championship Game Sunday, Jan. 18.

Joique BellJan 20 11:23p

Detroit Lions RB Joique Bell had minor surgery last week to clean up his knee and Achilles' tendon. He is expected to return in time for organized offseason workouts.

Doug MarroneJan 20 05:33p

Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley said the team is committed to remaining a zone-blocking team. However, new assistant coach and offensive line coach Doug Marrone didn't use a [ More ]

Peyton ManningJan 20 05:13p

Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning remains unsure of his future with the team, but head coach Gary Kubiak said he plans to sit down with Manning and talk about [ More ]

Tyler BrayJan 20 04:23p

Kansas City Chiefs QB Tyler Bray (knee) has a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.

Marc TrestmanJan 20 03:43p

Free-agent head coach Marc Trestman (Bears) was hired by the Baltimore Ravens as the team's offensive coordinator Tuesday, Jan. 20. Trestman was previously the head coach of the Chicago Bears.

C.J. AndersonJan 20 01:33p

Denver Broncos RB C.J. Anderson, who finished the year with 849 rushing yards, 324 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns, is looking forward to his role in new head coach [ More ]

Latavius MurrayJan 19 09:53p

Oakland Raiders RB Latavius Murray could benefit from offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave, who has used a run-heavy style in the past.

Reggie WayneJan 19 07:03p

Indianapolis Colts WR Reggie Wayne (triceps) is unsure if he will be returning for another season. Wayne was targeted just twice in the loss to the New England Patriots [ More ]

Richard ShermanJan 19 03:43p

Seattle Seahawks CB Richard Sherman (elbow) suffered a sprained elbow during the NFC Championship game, according to a source, but should be able to play in the Super Bowl.

Randall CobbJan 19 02:23p

Green Bay Packers WR Randall Cobb said his preference is to re-sign with the team this offseason. 'Of course (I want to be back). I think I've made that [ More ]

Marshawn LynchJan 19 02:13p

Seattle Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch may consider retirement if the Seahawks win the Super Bowl, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. Lynch has reportedly told people in private that [ More ]

Earl ThomasJan 19 01:03p

Seattle Seahawks FS Earl Thomas (shoulder), who is dealing with a dislocated shoulder, said he will play in the Super Bowl against the New England Patriots.

LeGarrette BlountJan 19 12:43p

New England Patriots RB LeGarrette Blount ran for 148 yards and three touchdowns on 30 carries in the team's win over the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship game [ More ]

Richard ShermanJan 18 11:13p

Seattle Seahawks CB Richard Sherman (elbow) suffered an elbow injury in the NFC Championship Game against the Green Bay Packers Sunday, Jan. 18, but he said after the win [ More ]

Gary KubiakJan 18 10:02p

Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak will take the Denver Broncos head coaching position, as expected, multiple outlets are reporting Sunday, Jan. 18.

Justin BrittJan 18 01:52p

The Seattle Seahawks have declared QB B.J. Daniels, TE Cooper Helfet, DL David King, SS Jeron Johnson, OT Justin Britt, OL Keavon Milton, CB Marcus Burley inactive for Week 20.

Jeff JanisJan 18 01:42p

The Green Bay Packers have declared DL Bruce Gaston, LB Carl Bradford, CB Demetri Goodson, RB DuJuan Harris, C Garth Gerhart, WR Jeff Janis, TE Justin Perillo inactive for Week 20.

Andrew LuckJan 18 01:02p

Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck has been working with the team on a contract extension that could be the richest contract in the NFL, according to a source.

Carson PalmerJan 18 10:22a

Arizona Cardinals QB Carson Palmer (knee) said he feels great and that he is ahead of schedule in his rehab from a torn anterior cruciate ligament. Palmer started jogging [ More ]

Trent RichardsonJan 17 03:12p

Indianapolis Colts RB Trent Richardson (personal) did not make the trip to New England for the AFC Championship game.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group