Saints one of the Few Teams Where the QB is Their Best Player

2015 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival - Day 7

Everyone knows that the quarterback is almost always the most important player on the team, and as far as the Saints go, their quarterback is by far and away their most important, this determined by NFL.com – who talked about teams where the QB is the most important player on the team.

New Orleans Saints: Drew Brees

Second-best player: Cameron Jordan, DE

It’s hard to fathom, especially given that he tied Ben Roethlisberger for the league lead in passing yards last season (4,952), but 2014 was a down year for Brees. He finished with just the fifth-most yards (behind his jaw-dropping four 5,000-yard seasons), fifth-most touchdown passes (33), third-best completion rate (69.2 percent) and fourth-best passer rating (97.0) of his career. He still knows where the windows are and he still has a knack for getting rid of the ball just before defenders converge on him in the pocket. But I think the fact that the next-best player on the roster is a defensive end is indicative of a shift in strategy in New Orleans. It looks like the Saints, who shipped pass-catching tight end Jimmy Graham to Seattle in March for center Max Unger and a first-round pick that was used on a linebacker (Stephone Anthony), are going to focus on being a more balanced team with regard to the defense and ground game. So I don’t think we’ll see Brees get close to 5,000 yards this season; though he hasn’t thrown for less than 4,300 yards in any season since joining the Saints in 2006, I see him finishing with something around 4,200.

Saints Coach Payton Says More Was Expected of Released LB Galette Off the Field

New Orleans Saints v Pittsburgh Steelers

More is coming out of the situation of the Saints letting Junior Galette walk, as NFL.com’s Marc Sessler writes today that Saints coach Sean Payton felt more should have come from Galette off the field.

“When all is said and done, there was more expected from him off the field,” Saints coach Sean Payton told ProFootballTalk Live on Tuesday, saying of Galette: “I wish him well and want to see him have success.”

The Times-Picayune unpacked Galette’s release over the weekend, speaking to a source who called the sixth-year pass rusher a poor teammate who “thought being captain was more so about status on the team instead of being a leader on and off the field.”

A source also told the newspaper that Galette “stayed focused long enough to get paid, then the real Junior came out” after he inked a four-year, $41.5 million extension last September.

Gallette’s final season in New Orleans included a fist fight with former Saints defensive lineman Brandon Deaderick and a January arrest on domestic violence and simple battery charges, which were eventually dropped.

Report: Galette Had Big Problems in Saints Locker Room

010114-junior-galette-600

When Saints coach Sean Payton told Junior Galette on Friday the embattled linebacker would be released less than a week before training camp, the move shocked many around the NFL, Katherine Terrell of the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports.

It was an abrupt ending for the 27-year-old defensive captain, who signed a four-year, $41.5 million extension with the team last September.

Galette’s demise, however, began almost a year ago.

Multiple team sources said the Saints grew weary of Galette’s behavior soon after rewarding him with the new deal and spent virtually the entire offseason trying to sever ties. Saints officials went over various scenarios in the past six months to rid themselves of Galette, from seeking possible trade partners to his outright release, which would result in a massive salary cap hit.

According to sources, Galette’s attitude changed after he received the new contract in September.

A former Saints teammate said of Galette: “He stayed focused long enough to get paid, then the real Junior came out. Sad.”

Multiple sources said the atmosphere in the locker room was often sour. Galette and defensive lineman Brandon Deaderick, who is no longer with the team, got into a fistfight before one of the Saints’ preseason games.

Galette insisted his relationship with Payton, whom he looks to as a father figure, was on solid ground.

Sources said, however, that had not been the case for quite some time.

Payton had always been irked by Galette’s loose lips to the media and via social media, but that was a minor issue until December.

Payton had always been irked by Galette’s loose lips to the media and via social media, but that was a minor issue until December.

Galette squarely put himself in Payton’s doghouse when he told the media that the team’s current players were better than the ones they replaced, causing former Saints players publicly to lambast him on social media.

They still hadn’t forgotten by Friday, as ex-Saints defensive end Bobby McCray posted a GIF directed to Vilma and Smith that said, “Now comes the part where we throw our heads back in laughter.”

“Karma came calling,” Vilma tweeted.

Former Saints Scott Shanle and Scott Fujita both reacted with tweets indicating laughter.

Galette said his proclamation wasn’t a slight to the former players. Instead, he was trying to pump up his own teammates with praise. A source said Saints coaches, Payton in particular, didn’t think Galette had done enough of note in his own career to be castigating his predecessors, some of whom helped the Saints win their only Super Bowl five years ago.

U.S. House Passes Steve Gleason Act for ALS Patients – Bill to Go To President Obama

Atlanta Falcons v New Orleans Saints

Today the U.S. House announced they have passed the ‘Steve Gleason Act’ for ALS patients. A major victory for the former Saint who has been working hard for more help for ALS patients worldwide.

“This is a huge victory for ALS patients across the country,” bill co-sponsor Sen. David Vitter (Rep., La.) said, via WDSU-TV. “Making this equipment more accessible and affordable will give them the ability to communicate with their family and friends – even literally giving them a voice when they lose their ability to speak. Steve and the rest of Team Gleason have been an incredible inspiration. Thanks to their tireless work, we’ll be able change the lives of ALS patients and their families.”

Fans looking to get a head start on the upcoming NFL season can use Hipmunk.com for flights from New Orleans to get to White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia to see the Saints participate in training camp. Hipmunk also provides affordable hotel options anywhere in the country to be any football fan’s No. 1 travel resource.

Head Coach Sean Payton Gives a Archie Manning a Ring From the Team

Madden Most Valuable Protectors Award

Former Saints quarterback Archie Manning is the patriarch of football’s first family. He is also in the inaugural class of the New Orleans Saints Ring of Honor, along with linebacker Rickey Jackson and offensive tackle Willie Roaf.

At the 20th annual Manning Passing Academy at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux this weekend, Manning got a surprise from Saints head coach Sean Payton, who was helping out at the four-day camp because his son, Connor, was a camper, Julie Boudwin of the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports.

According to Manning Passing Academy photographer Parker Waters, Payton surprised Manning during a Sunday morning meeting with a ring from the Saints to commemorate his induction into the Saints Ring of Honor in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Feud In Benson Family to Continue in New Orleans Federal Court

New Orleans Saints v Denver Broncos

A federal judge ruled Thursday Tom Benson’s lawsuit seeking to cut his daughter and grandchildren out of ownership in the Saints and Pelicans will continue in New Orleans, Katherine Sayre of the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports.

U.S. District Judge Jane Triche Milazzo denied a motion to dismiss the case filed by a trustee overseeing a group of Benson family trusts.

Benson, 87, wants to remove stock in the teams from trust funds created for his daughter Renee Benson and grandchildren Rita and Ryan LeBlanc, and he has asked the court to force trustee Robert Rosenthal to sign off on the change.

Lawyers representing Rosenthal, a San Antonio lawyer, had argued that the federal court in New Orleans did not have jurisdiction in a case involving trusts and businesses founded in Texas.

“Defendant should have reasonably expected that his position as trustee would necessarily entail ‘continuing and wide-reaching contracts’ with the state of Louisiana,” Milazzo wrote in a 20-page order. “Indeed, Defendant has continued to be connected to the forum state through his administration of the trusts at issue.”

“In addition, it cannot be disputed that Louisiana, the forum state, has a significant interest in litigating the issues presented in this case—namely, the ownership of substantial property within its bounds,” the judge wrote.

Benson owns 40 percent of the Saints, while his heirs’ trusts own 60 percent. The trusts own 95 percent of the Pelicans, with Benson owning only 5 percent — though his portion constitutes all the Pelicans’ voting shares.

Rob Ryan Expecting More From the Saints Defense in 2015

New Orleans Saints v Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Big expectations last summer spiraled into a 31st-place finish in total defense a year ago, and Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan spent the summer fighting the urge to predict any kind of wild turnaround in his third year in New Orleans, Joe Erickson of the Advocate reports.

“The thing is, we did a lot of talking last year and got our butts kicked,” Ryan said. “So I know we’ll be great, but we’ll just prove it this year.”

The New Orleans front office spent plenty of time this offseason trying to put more tools at Ryan’s disposal.

Famous for his complex, exotic schemes, Ryan instead spent the summer installing a simplified version of his defense. By the time the Saints broke for the summer, the defenders could count the number of packages installed on one hand.

A year ago, it would have taken every finger and toe.

“We took it as slow as possible,” linebacker David Hawthorne said. “We got back to the basics of football. That’s where we’re at during all these OTAs and minicamps and stuff like that, and I think it’s coming along fine for us. Guys are keying in and playing harder.”

By simplifying the defense, New Orleans hopes to limit the blown coverages and missed communications that caused so many big plays last season.

And a defense that’s not plagued by confusion can attack with a lot more aggression.

“Once you go through, singing the same song over and over, it becomes second nature to you, and that’s what we’re trying to do,” Hawthorne said. “We’re trying to get that feel, go home to mama kind of defense. You know how to play, you know the ins and outs and you can execute when you’re tired.”

The New Orleans defense still has questions to answer before the season begins. A revamped secondary must come together, the rookies have plenty to prove in live game action, there are position battles all over the field, and no news has come from Junior Galette’s meeting with the NFL yet.

But Ryan can’t hide his optimism, even if he’s not inclined to make any wild predictions this time around.

“I’m excited,” Ryan said. “I love the players we’ve added. The attitude of the whole group’s been fantastic. It’s been great getting everybody back together, and I’m excited for the challenge in front of us.”

RB Robinson Not Worried About Being ‘Odd Man Out’ in Saints Backfield

New Orleans Saints v Tampa Bay Buccaneers

A year ago, running back Khiry Robinson is not concerned that he appears to be the odd man out after the New Orleans Saints invested heavily in fellow backs Mark Ingram and C.J. Spiller, Mike Triplett of ESPN.com reports.

“It’s all good. It’s never low,” said Robinson, who is excited to be back to “100 percent” after an arm injury sidelined him for seven games last year.

“I’m the type of person, I’m gonna get what I get and do what I do with it. So whether it’s 20 carries or one carry, I’m gonna do the best of my ability every play,” said the third-year pro, who cracked the Saints’ roster as an undrafted tryout player out of West Texas A&M in 2013.

“I just gotta keep working,” said Robinson, who needs to keep developing other areas of his game like pass protection and receiving. “It’s all love in the backfield. We all work together, try to help each other. So I think it’s a good thing we’ve got a full backfield again. So if anybody goes down, we’ve got another player right up there to do the same thing.”