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

Justin HoustonMar 2 09:52a

Kansas City Chiefs LB Justin Houston had the franchise tag placed on him Monday, March 2, according to a source.

Ndamukong SuhMar 2 09:43a

Detroit Lions impending free-agent DT Ndamukong Suh will not receive the franchise tag Monday, March 2.

LaMarr WoodleyMar 1 07:12p

The Oakland Raiders plan to release DE LaMarr Woodley, a league source said Sunday, March 1. He made just five tackles in six games before his season ended due [ More ]

DeMarco MurrayMar 1 02:42p

Dallas Cowboys impending free-agent RB DeMarco Murray probably will hit the free-agent market since contract talks with him have gone slow, according to executive vice president Stephen Jones. Jones [ More ]

Dez BryantFeb 28 10:12p

Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant is expected to receive the franchise tag by Monday, March 2, but during the NFL Scouting Combine, team owner Jerry Jones said that he [ More ]

DeMarco MurrayFeb 28 09:02p

Dallas Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray could give the team a chance to match any offer he receives during free agency, according to executive vice president Stephen Jones. 'There is [ More ]

Dez BryantFeb 28 08:52p

Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant will receive the franchise tag by the deadline Monday, March 2, executive vice president Stephen Jones confirmed Saturday, Feb. 28. The move will guarantee [ More ]

EJ ManuelFeb 28 02:22p

Buffalo Bills QB EJ Manuel still seems to be the No. 1 option at quarterback, for now, with Josh McCown heading to the Cleveland Browns. Buffalo could still add [ More ]

Josh McCownFeb 27 07:52p

Updating a previous report, Cleveland Browns QB Josh McCown signed a three-year deal Friday, Feb. 27, according to a source. Financial terms of the deal weren't disclosed. McCown completed [ More ]

Josh McCownFeb 27 06:32p

Free-agent QB Josh McCown (Buccaneers) has signed with the Cleveland Browns, according to his agent. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Reggie WayneFeb 27 04:42p

Indianapolis Colts impending free-agent WR Reggie Wayne (triceps) recently underwent surgery on his triceps and has started his rehab. Wayne still has not decided if he will play in 2015.

Darnell DockettFeb 27 04:22p

Arizona Cardinals DT Darnell Dockett was released Friday, Feb. 27. The Cardinals would like to re-sign Dockett if he is not able to find a better offer from another team.

Brandon GibsonFeb 27 03:42p

Miami Dolphins WR Brandon Gibson was released Friday, Feb. 27.

Stephen BowenFeb 27 03:22p

Washington Redskins DE Stephen Bowen was released Friday, Feb. 27.

Adrian PetersonFeb 27 02:42p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson could be a trade target for the Indianapolis Colts. QB Andrew Luck hasn't had a successful running game behind him so far in Indianapolis. [ More ]

Adrian PetersonFeb 27 02:42p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson could be a trade option for the Arizona Cardinals with QB Carson Palmer and WR Larry Fitzgerald nearing the end of their careers in [ More ]

Adrian PetersonFeb 27 02:32p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson could be an option to be traded to the Dallas Cowboys. Peterson is from Palestine, Texas, which is between Dallas and Houston, and he's [ More ]

Devonta FreemanFeb 27 02:12p

Atlanta Falcons RB Devonta Freeman could be the full-time back in new offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan's scheme next season, according tot general manager Thomas Dimitroff. 'My first impression of [ More ]

Robert GeathersFeb 27 01:32p

Cincinnati Bengals DE Robert Geathers was released Friday, Feb. 27.

Greg LittleFeb 27 01:32p

Cincinnati Bengals WR Greg Little was released Friday, Feb. 27.

Chris CantyFeb 27 11:32a

Baltimore Ravens DE Chris Canty was released Friday, Feb. 27. The move saved the team around $2.7 million on the salary cap.

Brian HartlineFeb 27 10:32a

Miami Dolphins WR Brian Hartline was released Friday, Feb. 27.

Harry DouglasFeb 27 10:32a

Atlanta Falcons WR Harry Douglas was released Friday, Feb. 27.

Matt HasselbeckFeb 26 07:42p

Indianapolis Colts impending free-agent QB Matt Hasselbeck was re-signed to a one-year deal Thursday, Feb. 26. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Steven JacksonFeb 26 07:32p

Atlanta Falcons RB Steven Jackson will reportedly be released Friday, Feb. 27.

Adrian PetersonFeb 26 05:52p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson's suspension was overturned by U.S. District Judge David S. Doty Thursday, Feb. 26. However, the NFL also announced that they will appeal the ruling, [ More ]

Travis KelceFeb 26 05:42p

Kansas City Chiefs TE Travis Kelce, who led the team with 67 catches and 862 receiving yards in 2014, is expected to be a more prominent part of the [ More ]

Kendall LangfordFeb 26 04:12p

St. Louis Rams DT Kendall Langford was released Thursday, Feb. 26, saving the team $6 million in salary cap space.

Greg HardyFeb 26 02:32p

Carolina Panthers impending free-agent DE Greg Hardy will seek immediate reinstatement after a judge overturned Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson's suspension, according to a source.

Theo RiddickFeb 26 02:22p

Detroit Lions RB Theo Riddick likely will be given the chance to earn a bigger role in the offense next season after the team released RB Reggie Bush.

Adrian PetersonFeb 26 12:32p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson's suspension has been overturned after a judge granted a motion from the NFL Players Association to vacate the suspension.

Michael RoosFeb 26 12:02p

Free-agent OT Michael Roos (Titans) has announced his retirement from professional football.

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