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Saints Cap Purge Continues as Team Dumps Veteran WR Emmanuel Sanders

Emmanuel Sanders made some headlines while in New Orleans, but for the most part he was just a quiet vet who made plays.

Wednesday, he’ll have to put a new resume together getting ready to shop his services, as the Saints dumped him off their roster, saving them $12 of his two-year deal worth $24 million.

Sanders came to the 49ers in the middle of last season from the Denver Broncos, and he was solid, making 30 catches for 367 yards and two scores.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter says that the Saints overall will save $4 million against the cap. Right now New Orleans is still over the cap by a reported $31 million.

Sanders signed a two-year deal with the Saints last offseason but struggled to consistently make an impact in the offense, catching three or fewer passes in half the games he played; now he’s a free agent after New Orleans explored trading him earlier this week.

Some NFL vets are getting some surprising or flat out bad news, as many are receiving news that they are being released to help out said team’s salary cap situation.

The former Pittsburgh Steelers and Denver Broncos pass catcher has played 12 seasons in the league, and in that time he’s caught 662 passes for 8619 and 47 touchdowns.

Last season Murray started seven games for the Saints, and as Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated’s MMQB pointed out this week, Murray has scored nine times, rushing for 1293 yards over the last two seasons.

Saints WR Michael Thomas Expected to Take Part in Limited Practice

It’s been a tough season for Saints leading wide out Michael Thomas, but that could all change this week as reports are he could be back for the wild card game this week against the Chicago Bears.

Thomas has only played in seven games this season, making 40 catches for 438 yards and no scores.

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Wednesday that Thomas is expected to take part in limited practice on Wednesday, and that if things go well he will ramp it up as the week goes with the hope of playing in Sunday’s game.

Thomas has missed all but seven games this season due to an ongoing ankle injury.

Saints coach Sean Payton didn’t give much in the way of information when it came to Thomas practicing on Wednesday when he spoke to the media.

“No updates injury-wise,” Payton said, via Mike Triplett of ESPN.

“I’m gonna see what this week holds. Currently he’s still on reserve-injured. I know he’s been working at it. But we’ll get a better feel this week how he’s progressing.”

Saints QB Drew Brees Expected to Retire After the Season

The end appears to be coming for Saints future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees.

Reports Sunday stated that Brees is expected to hang up his cleats and retire at year’s end, whenever that may be for the Saints, who have already clinched a playoff spot in the NFC.

ESPN reports that Brees is set to ink a future broadcasting contract with NBC in the spring of last year and has played through a lot this season, including 11 cracked ribs.

“They thought that last year and he surprised them in March by deciding to come back. This time, he’s got a signed contract with NBC. This time, he’s another year older,” Adam Schefter of ESPN said.

“This time, he’s played through the 11 fractured ribs, the punctured lung. It’s been a difficult, physical season and I think most people still believe that this will be the final season for Drew Brees in New Orleans and in the NFL before he turns to the broadcast booth.”

Brees has missed a handful of games this season, and in 11 games he has thrown for 2,741 passing yards and 21 touchdowns.

The quarterback is first all-time with 80,157 career passing yards and second all-time with 568 passing touchdowns.

Alvin Kamara Takes Home the NFC Offensive Player of the Week for Week 16

It was a massive outing for Saints running back Alvin Kamara in week 16, and for his six touchdown effort he was named today as the NFC offensive player of the week for Week 16.

Kamara made history in the 52-33 win over the Vikings Christmas day, as he joined Ernie Nevers, Gale Sayers, and Dub Jones as the only other players to score half a dozen times in a game.

He also had a career-high 155 rushing yards in the 19-point win.

Reports Confirm Fractured Ribs and Collapsed Lung for Saints QB Brees

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees will miss the next few weeks after it was confirmed Wednesday through a second opinion that he’s suffered both a collapsed lung and fractured ribs.

ESPN reports that the 41-year-old suffered a total of five fractured ribs, breaking two ribs on his right side and three on the left. Doctors feel that the fractures to the ribs also caused his lung to be punctured.

The injury to Brees which drove him from the game at halftime took place midway through the second quarter of the teams’ 27-13 win over the 49ers.

Jameis Winston played most of the second half in the win, but as of now coach Sean Payton has yet to confirm if it will be Winston or Taysom Hill starting Sunday’s home NFC South game between the Saints and Atlanta Falcons.

No official time frame has been determined for Brees to be able to get back on the playing field, but NFL Network states that he’ll miss the next two games.

The Saints are right now 7-2 overall and the number one seed in the NFC. This season in nine games Brees has thrown for 2,196 yards with 18 touchdowns and just three picks with a quarterback rating of 110.0.

Brees has fought through injuries in the past and has been one of the durable QB’s in the game, only missing six games over the course of his 20-year career.

Five of those missed games came due to a torn thumb ligament last season in a game against the Los Angeles Rams.

Report: Brees to Miss Some Time for Ribs to Heal

Led by Alvin Kamara’s three touchdowns the Saints Sunday moved to 7-2 with a 27-13 win over the San Francisco 49’ers.

The win though didn’t come without a cost, as the team lost quarterback Drew Brees with a rib injury that forced him to sit in the second half, and was replaced by Jameis Winston.

While the ribs and trying to get those to heal are one thing, there’s also a report from NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero that Brees has a shoulder injury that he’s been trying to deal with and get healthy.

The shoulder has limited Brees in practice the last few weeks, and it looks like for now that the QB could sit for a few weeks to get as close to 100 percent as possible.

Getting Brees healthy is priority number one for the Saints as they look to win the NFC South and get into a good position for the postseason.

It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Winston get a start or two at the QB spot while Brees gets a chance to allow his shoulder and ribs time to heal.

Saints Thoughts: The Line Dominates, Glazer Gives His Thoughts, Getting Ready for Tom Terrific

Sitting at 4-2 the Saints are coming off a hard fought win at home Sunday over the Panthers, a divisional win that came down to the wire when the Panthers tried what would have been a NFL record 65-yard field goal with 11 seconds left.

The win keeps the Saints on track with the Bucs, who were winners Sunday in Vegas against the Raiders, and it doesn’t appear that Tampa is going away anytime soon.

This week is another tough test as the Saints are on the road, traveling to the Windy City of Chicago to take on the Bears, who were losers Monday night to the Rams.

Here’s a few tidbits on the Saints as they get ready to get back on the practice field Wednesday.

* Controlling the Line

Sunday against the Panthers there were a couple stats that stood out, but one that usually will win you games is stopping the run, and running the ball yourself.

Led by Alvin Kamara, who ran for 83 yards, putting up 5.9 yards per carry, the Saints as a whole rushed for 138 yards, putting up 4.8 yards per rush.

That will win you plenty of games when you can dominate the line like that.

On the other side, the team stopped the Panthers on the ground all day, allowing them to run for just 37 yards (2.6 yards per rush).

It might have been the best game thus far in 2020 for the line, and one that they will need to duplicate this week against the Bears and their pass rush.

* Glazer Weighs In

Michael Thomas’ health and his return to the team has been the biggest storyline for the Saints thus far in 2020, and again this week his hamstring “injury” may keep him out of action.

Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer spoke on the subject on Monday, giving his take on the injury and when we all might see Thomas again take the field.

“Here’s the situation: even when he had a hamstring injury, people looked at it a little bit sideways. The truth is, the Saints [performed an MRI], and it did come back with a Grade 1 strain of that hamstring. Which means it’s like a one- or two-week injury,” Glazer said.

It’s been a tough season for Thomas and the Saints when it comes to getting him on the field. From an ankle injury to a fight with a teammate, to now a hamstring injury, who knows when the team might get Thomas back.

For now, it’s all wait and see.

* Bracing for Brady

The game of the year in the NFC South is a week away, as on Sunday, November 8th the Saints will travel to Tampa to take on the Bucs and Tom Brady.

The Saints held Brady in the opener in the dome to 23-for-36 passing for 239 yards with a pair of TD’s and a pair of picks.

Overall the Saints defense was the story in the opener, and the team walked away with a 34-23 win.

This time around will be even harder, as Brady is playing at a high level, and it seems now that he and tight end Rob Gronkowski are on the same page, the Bucs are even more dangerous.

Many think the Bucs will be the NFC team in the Super Bowl (which oddly enough will be in Tampa), but if the Saints can hand Tampa another loss, they will have the upper hand in the division with about half the season left.

Brees Says He Feels Good, Confident Team Will Get Back on Track

After Monday night’s performance, it’s fair to wonder if Drew Brees might finally be descending in terms of ability.

Brees posted a solid line by league-wide standards, completing 26 of 38 passes for 312 yards, one touchdown and a passer rating of 91.1.

But there was that ugly interception on a pass Brees later admitted he forced, and there’s also the air yards per attempt mark that landed below 5.5 (per Next Gen Stats) and makes some wonder whether Brees might be devolving into 2015 Peyton Manning, Nick Shook of reports.

Unsurprisingly, he downplayed any potential effects of aging.

“I feel good, I feel good,” Brees said Wednesday during a video conference call with reporters. “Borderline great.”

… “You know one of the statistics that was thrown out after the game was the yards per attempt or something like that. There are many statistics I do not pay one bit of attention to — and that would be one of them. At the end of the day, I am focused on putting us in position to succeed, making great decisions, both in the run game or pass game, whatever is predicated on my ability to get us in the best play. And our ability to take care of the football and go and score points, put us in the best position to win.

“Those are the things I’m focused on, and I don’t care how we do it. I honestly don’t. I just want to win football games.”

“I’m confident with the guys we have and the system we have that we’re gonna get back on track,” Brees said. “I think we have always been one of the best teams in the league, probably in history, at the precision of the passing game. And I think we are on our way to being back there very soon.”