2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Saints line working to clean up troubling trends

By BRETT MARTEL - AP Sports Writer
    2013-10-30 18:45

METAIRIE, La. (AP) - Although Drew Brees again has the Saints' offense ranked near the top of the NFL, the unit has been struggling with a couple of troublesome trends.

Neither is particularly flattering to the offensive line.

Brees has been sacked 18 times through the first seven games of this season after being taken down only 26 times in all of 2012. Meanwhile, New Orleans ranks 25th in the NFL in rushing, averaging 85.3 yards per game.

''We don't like those numbers, but we don't really pay too much attention to those,'' Saints center Brian de la Puente said after practice Wednesday. ''We're really focused on this week, and protecting (Brees) this week and the task at hand.''

That task includes slowing down the New York Jets' pash rush, which has piled up 25 sacks, tied for fifth most in the league.

''They get after the quarterback and we're going to have our work cut out for us again,'' de la Puente said.

If Brees is concerned by the amount of times he has gotten hit, he doesn't show it. He first points out that the Saints are 6-1. The star quarterback also notes that some of the blame falls on him, and that not every sack results from blocking breakdowns.

Sometimes, Brees said, he may have held the ball too long when pass coverage was good downfield. Or, he may have failed to recognize a blitz in which there was one more defender than the Saints could block, and did not unload the ball quickly enough.

''If we were to pull up all the sacks from this year, you'd say there was a combination of all those mixed in. We can all do a little bit better,'' Brees said. ''They're a part of the game to a degree and there are times where taking a sack was the best thing that could have happened on the play based on everything that was happening around you. You try to keep them to a minimum because you want to avoid negative plays, but at the end of the day, those happen sometimes.''

When things go well, Brees is usually quick to share credit with his line, which he joins for dinner on most Thursday nights during the season. And in spite of the unusually high rate at which he's been dragged down lately, he remains on pace to have another stellar season. The Saints are third in the NFL in yards passing per game, averaging nearly 311. He also has thrown for 19 TDs, second only to Peyton Manning.

And Brees has not allowed the pressure to force him into many ill-advised throws. With five interceptions, he is on pace to throw only 11 this season, which would be his second lowest total in any season in which he has played at least 15 games.

Still, right tackle Zach Strief said Brees' successes don't excuse the sack total, which included four takedowns last Sunday against Buffalo.

''You don't ever want him to get hit. He's the focal point of our entire team,'' Strief said. ''We can't give up four sacks. We can't let him get hit like that. It's nothing that we don't work on. It's not intentional. I hate to say they get paid, too. But you want (the number of sacks) to be less.''

In the running game, the Saints have been encouraged by their execution in spots. There have been more gains of 5 yards or more lately, but those have not come consistently and often have been offset by a handful of negative rushes.

''Negative plays will happen,'' Strief said. ''The rate at which they're happening is the issue and we have to give coach the confidence that we're not going to have a negative play - that a running play is not going to put us in a bad position.''

Notes: Those missing practice on Wednesday included S Malcolm Jenkins (knee), S Kenny Vaccaro (concussion, back), WR Marques Colston (knee), G Jahri Evans (hip) and DE Tyrunn Walker (knee). Jenkins referred to his injury as a ''tweak,'' adding that he sat out the second half last Sunday against Buffalo as a precaution and expects to be ready to play soon. ... S Roman Harper (knee) returned to practice on a limited basis. Also limited were TE Jimmy Graham (foot), Kenny Stills (knee), David Hawthorne (ankle) and Rod Sweeting (hip).

---

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Trent RichardsonJan 27 10:43a

Indianapolis Colts RB Trent Richardson's one-game suspension for conduct detrimental to the team voided the guarantee of a $3,184,062 salary in 2015.

Josh GordonJan 26 02:13p

Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon is in Stage Three of an alcohol program, which requires him to be tested for alcohol for a minimum of two years. His failed [ More ]

Rob GronkowskiJan 26 02:03p

New England Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski could cause a problem for the Seattle Seahawks during Super Bowl XLIX, because the Seahawks defense allowed 11 touchdowns to tight ends this [ More ]

Earl ThomasJan 26 02:03p

Seattle Seahawks FS Earl Thomas (shoulder) said he won't miss the Super Bowl against the New England Patriots with a dislocated shoulder, but he also admitted that it won't [ More ]

Odell Beckham Jr.Jan 26 01:52p

New York Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. (hamstring) said he'll need to shut himself down this offseason in order to enter 2015 fully healthy and in great shape. He [ More ]

Josh GordonJan 26 12:33p

Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon tested positive for alcohol, according to sources, and his failed test will subject him to a possible one-year suspension. Gordon caught 24 passes for [ More ]

Vontaze BurfictJan 26 12:23p

Cincinnati Bengals LB Vontaze Burfict (knee) is recovering from microfracture surgery on his left knee, and the surgeon who operated on him is hoping that he will be at [ More ]

Odell Beckham Jr.Jan 26 11:22a

New York Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. (hamstring) said he played this season with two tears in his right hamstring, which never fully healed.

Josh GordonJan 25 09:12p

Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon will be under contract through the 2016 season, and he will only be a restricted free agent after that year due to his looming [ More ]

Josh GordonJan 25 04:12p

Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon has reportedly failed another drug test and will be subject to a one-year banishment, according to multiple league sources.

Earl ThomasJan 23 09:02p

Seattle Seahawks FS Earl Thomas (shoulder) will play in the Super Bowl, head coach Pete Carroll said Friday, Jan. 23.

Dennis PittaJan 23 04:22p

Baltimore Ravens TE Dennis Pitta (hip) met with some specialists last week, but the team is not expected to have an update on his status for a few weeks, [ More ]

Johnny ManzielJan 23 01:12p

Cleveland Browns QB Johnny Manziel had a big proponent last year in owner Jimmy Haslam, but Haslam now thinks the team needs a quarterback in order to get their [ More ]

Jimmy GrahamJan 23 10:32a

New Orleans Saints TE Jimmy Graham (shoulder) said he'll rehabilitate his shoulder injury after the Pro Bowl, but he hasn't made a final decision on surgery. 'It's something we [ More ]

Mark IngramJan 22 06:42p

New Orleans Saints RB Mark Ingram, who will be eligible for free agency this offseason, wants to return to the team next year, and he thinks the interest is [ More ]

Vernon DavisJan 22 06:22p

San Francisco 49ers TE Vernon Davis had just two touchdowns in 2014, and they both came in Week 1. He also wasn't targeted at all in the red zone [ More ]

Geno SmithJan 22 05:32p

New York Jets QB Geno Smith has a lot of talent and promise, according to new head coach Todd Bowles. At the same time, Bowles acknowledged that the quarterback [ More ]

Brian HoyerJan 22 04:52p

Cleveland Browns QB Brian Hoyer could be re-signed this offseason, according to his agent. Hoyer is expected to meet with general manager Ray Farmer and offensive coordinator John DeFilippo in the near future.

Johnny ManzielJan 22 02:43p

Cleveland Browns QB Johnny Manziel will be working with a new offensive coordinator this year in John DeFilippo, but DeFilippo is unsure if the team's quarterback next year is [ More ]

Joe FlaccoJan 22 12:52p

Baltimore Ravens QB Joe Flacco will have his fourth difference offensive coordinator in as many years in offensive coordinator Marc Trestman. However, head coach John Harbaugh is confident Flacco [ More ]

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.

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