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49ers Fan

49ers win thriller against the Saints breathes New Life into team. posted by 49ers Fan

 The niners came into this game on the brink of a demoralizing season. Jim Harbaugh's job status became a daily talking point, and people questioned the direction of the franchise.

Yet, Harbaugh and the 49ers shut everyone up by winning themselves back into the playoff race with a 27-24 victory over the New Orleans Saints Sunday.

Although unconventional, Colin Kaepernick led the Niners on a 50 yard two minute drill drive that resulted in a a 45-yard Dawson field goal to tie the game at 24-24 and send the game into overtime, after the Niners defense was able to hold off the Saints Hail Mary throw on a questionable offensive PI call on Jimmy Graham.

With the win, the Niners have breathed new life into their season. From the opening snap, the Niners look determined to win. Antoine Bethea picked Brees off on New Orleans' opening possession, helping set up a four-yard Frank Gore touchdown to give the 49ers' their first of two first-quarter scores.

And while the win was a good step in the right direction for the team, there is still a lot of work left to be done in San Francisco. The Niners are behind the Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks in the NFC West and one of many teams, stuck in a dog fight for a wild card spot. It'll be interesting to see how this team responds with a little bit of swagger and momentum as it travels to New York to take on the Giants next week.

Given the controversy surrounding the franchise, players, and head coach heading into this game, the 49ers are just happy to enjoy a win and the relative silence from their fan base and critics that comes after a big win. 

Continue reading "49ers win thriller against the Saints ..."


Packers Fan

What Morgan Burnett’s return means for Green Bay posted by Packers Fan

Green Bay Packers safety Morgan Burnett should suit up and be full go for Sunday’s showdown with inter-division rivals, the Chicago Bears. And it couldn’t have come at a better time, as the Packers’ secondary was very much exposed last week when the Saints racked up 44 points with 311 yards through the air. Drew Brees completed 84% of his passes with three touchdowns and no interceptions.

It’s clear Burnett’s veteran experience on the back end of the defense with communication and getting these younger corners lined up accordingly, is essential to the Packers success defensively.

Through seven games, the fifth-year pro out of Georgia Tech notched 59 tackles, 49 of them solo tackles; but more importantly was the elimination of coverage break downs that lead to big play passes that can be so devastating to a team’s morale. And Brees crushed the Packers morale as he had two deep balls, each over 40 yards, that led to touchdowns.

Even with Burnett back, the others in the secondary will need to play extra efficient as the Bears have 3 very tall, very athletic receivers in Marshall, Jeffrey, and the tight end Bennett. When these two teams faced off in week 4, the Packers were able to limit the 3 playmakers to under 200 yards receiving, combined.

The Packers Safety echoed that sentiment saying it takes a group effort to corral all three.

"Those guys are very athletic," he said. "They have big playmaking ability and they’re led by Jay Cutler so we have to be sound in our technique and be accountable to one another and trust the defense, and allow us to make plays.”

Continue reading "What Morgan Burnett’s return means for Green Bay"


Saints Fan

The 2014 New Orleans Saints posted by Saints Fan

Quarterback Drew Brees may have lost a favorite target in Darren Sproles but he should be happy that the team traded for speedy receiver Brandin Cooks. The latter should contribute right away, as his lightning quickness will give a lot of headaches to opposing defensive coordinators. Aside from Cooks, the opposing defenses will also have to worry about preventing Jimmy Graham from catching passes, or Marques Colston doing some damaged downfield.

Graham received 86 balls and tallied 1,215 yards and 16 touchdowns last year, despite him being bothered by an injury. Colston, on the other hand, was slowed down by a foot problem. Now that they are both healthy, look for them to partner with Cooks and make Brees all the more successful.  Even Kenny Stills who performed well last year as a rookie will be even better this time around.

The Saints also have good players up front, with Ben Grubbs and Jahri Evans both coming off Pro Bowl-type campaigns. Zach Strief who excelled at right tackle last year was rewarded with a five-year deal. Left tackle Terron Armstead was dominant in four career starts, and the third year pro should get better this year.

The Saints once had a deplorable stop unit but the defense has improved a lot. Credit that to defensive coordinator Rob Ryan who made the team surrender 18 or fewer points in 11 outings last year.

The team made splash in the offseason by inking Jairus Byrd to a massive six-year deal. One of the top safeties in the league, Byrd will be partnered with Jenny Vaccaro, the 15th overall pick in the 2013 draft.  Byrd was not the only major acquisition of the team as they also brought in Champ Bailey. Although he’s 36 and played poorly in 2013, he’s now healthy and should contribute right away.

Continue reading "The 2014 New Orleans Saints"


Joe Anello

The Opening Drive: Week 12, 2012 posted by Joe Anello

With Thanksgiving taking up time with travel, family, and friends, I decided to forgo the now-typical Thursday posting of The Opening Drive. But don’t worry, week 12 in the NFL still has a few games worth checking out this weekend!

(6-4) Seattle Seahawks at

(4-6) Miami Dolphins

Wait, am I liking Seattle on the road? That’s a switch. Miami’s been disappointing in its last few outings, so another loss essentially eliminates them from the postseason picture. If Seattle can pound on Miami’s front seven with Marshawn Lynch, Russell will likely see his receivers in single coverage on the outside against lesser corners. That’s a recipe for success.

(9-1) Atlanta Falcons at

(6-4) Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Game of the day. Tampa Bay’s offense has been nearly dominant as of late, and they’re matching up against an Atlanta defense that can’t halt the run with any regularity. Doug Martin could be in line for a ridiculously awesome fantasy stat line today. Get him in your starting line-up. I really like the Bucs are home here.

(8-2) Baltimore Ravens at

(4-6) San Diego Chargers

I appreciate everyone thinking the Ravens are weak enough that they could travel across the country to San Diego... after a Sunday night game… against the always physical Steelers… and lose. Wait, I may have just talked myself into taking the Chargers. Wait, I’m taking the Chargers? Screw that noise. They’re terrible.

Continue reading "The Opening Drive: Week 12, 2012"


Joe Anello

Joe's 2012 NFL Preview: The NFC posted by Joe Anello

I simply cannot wait for football to start. I’m been diving into preseason film, tearing through roster moves, and keeping myself awake at night pondering the possibilities of the 2012 season. Since the season kicks off with the Cowboys and Giants Wednesday night on NBC, let’s get right into my season predictions for the National Football Conference! As a preface, let me just say that this entire process is weird. I’ve looked a decent amount of schedules, but these records (which, when all totaled with the AFC, will equal out correctly) are more akin to indications of how good/crappy I think these teams will be. Let’s break it down!

The NFC East


Last year the NFC East turned into a slaughterhouse, with no team able to break the double-digit win mark. That didn’t stop these teams from making headlines on a daily basis though. With Philly re-charged for another run, a franchise QB finally in D.C., the Cowboys in a pivotal year and the Super Bowl champs looking to repeat, there won’t be any shortage of news in the NFC East. To preface these predictions, this division is a crap-shoot. The only team I’m sure won’t win the East is Washington. Otherwise these teams will just beat up on each other, ensuring that no one breaks away.

Philadelphia Eagles

Last year’s dream turned into something more like a nightmare as Andy Reid’s Eagles failed to meet expectations. Injuries and soft play contributed to their woes, as Michael Vick couldn’t stay on the field (as usual) and DeSean Jackson was worried about his contract situation. LeSean McCoy was a bright spot, but he couldn’t carry this team beyond its mediocre finish. Drafting Fletcher Cox and trading for linebacker DeMeco Ryans should boost second year coordinator Juan Castillo’s defensive unit quite a bit. If they can maintain that pass rush, Philly’s excellent corners will be able to take advantage of their match-up’s and show glimpses of the unit they were supposed to be in 2011. They’re primed to improve, but their over success still depends on Michael Vick’s health.

Continue reading "Joe's 2012 NFL Preview: The NFC"


Joe Anello

Saints Get Pwned by Goodell for Bounty Program posted by Joe Anello

In another day of fast-breaking NFL news, the league office released a statement detailing the punishment for the New Orleans Saints. The Saints, having been investigated and found to have conducted a cash bounty system, were not above the law. Roger Goodell handed down the stiffest of sentences to the guilty parties, the most severe of which were laid on the head coach and defensive coordinator. You can read the entire statement here (and I recommend it, because it’s fantastic and very detailed), but I’ll run down the penalties facing the franchise’s staff and front office. Punishment for the players involved is still forthcoming.

-Organization fined $500,000

-Organization docked second-round picks in 2012 and 2013 drafts

Suspensions (All without pay):

-GM Mickey Loomis suspended for eight games

-Head Coach Sean Payton suspended entire 2012 season (will lose $7.5 million in salary)

-Assistant coach Joe Vitt suspended six games

-Former Saint and current Ram defensive coordinator Gregg Williams indefinitely banned from the league. The Commissioner will review Williams’ case and could reinstate him in one year.

Bitch-slap.

I could not applaud Roger Goodell any more than I already have for the stance he’s taken on this matter. These punishments are just and entirely fair for a team that utterly disregarded the league’s prior warning and instruction. They lied when questioned and were explicitly told to eliminate this bounty system back in 2010 but essentially ignored Goodell and went about their way as if nothing had happened. Wrong. You don’t screw with the Commish. Now they’re paying the price.

Continue reading "Saints Get Pwned by Goodell for Bounty Program"


Joe Anello

The Final Drive: 2012 Divisional Round posted by Joe Anello

I have to say, I was skeptical that these four games could live up to the hype, especially after last weekend. But I’m happy to say I wasn’t disappointed in the slightest. I even gave myself a cushy lead for later poor postseason predictions. But I’ll tell you about that later. Right now it’s time for The Final Drive of the Divisional Round!

(14-3) San Francisco 49ers 36
(14-4) New Orleans Saints 32

I’m not sure I can put into words how freaking EPIC this game was. It was such a fantastic start to the weekend’s action. The Saints came out embarrassingly flat, with three turnovers early, including a horrendous pick over the middle from Drew Brees, who never saw the safety coming. The Niners turned those possessions into points, notching 17 with not even a minute gone by into the second quarter. Brees fought back as you knew he would, finding his big targets Jimmy Graham and Marques Colston on consecutive drives to pull within three at the break. It was hard to say the Niners had the momentum though. I mean, when the other team turns it over four times in a half and you’re only up a field goal? That’s a problem. San Fran’s special teams even got another turnover from Darren Sproles early in the third, but they could only manage to put up a field goal. Eventually that was going to come back to bite them. San Francisco wasn’t even trying to run the ball for the first three quarters, an offensive plan that befuddled me, to say the least. Alex Smith was getting all sorts of pressure from the Saints, who were simply sending more rushers than the Niners had blockers. (Just math, really.)

Continue reading "The Final Drive: 2012 Divisional Round"


Richard Kagan

Saints Defense Cakes It posted by Richard Kagan

You have future Hall of Famer QB Drew Brees practically giving you the game scoring TD after TD late in the game.  However, the 49'ers answered back.  They won 36-32 thanks to a Saints defense that played terrible in the last 3:00 of the game.  Despite 5 to's the Saints were in this thing, ready to face the winner of Giants/Green Bay game.  But hold it, Alex Smith throws a couple of passes, and the offense burst a couple of long plays, a stout defense wouldn't have allowed. 

It's almost as if the Saint's Defense knew that Brees could score at anytime so it played soft, the time they could least afford to.

Honestly, the Saints were the better team but they were outplayed by a courageous, tough San Francisco team coached by a firece head coach in Jim Harbaurgh.  If Harbaugh played for the Bears they way he coaches, they would have made the playoffs with him.  He really had his team fired up and playing on every play.  The Saints took some plays off and it backfired on them and so, in the end, they were beaten. Quite simply, you can't allow a team to drive down, no, walk down the field in the late 1:30 to score a TD and win the game.  I never saw anything like that.  It seemed as if New Orleans had their bag packed for another game.  Now, they will pack for the end of the season.  I was not as impressed with the 49'ers as I saw the ineptitude of the New Orleans' defense.  You wasted a great effort by Drew Brees.

Continue reading "Saints Defense Cakes It"

Joe Anello

The Opening Drive: 2012 Divisional Saturday posted by Joe Anello

After six long days of waiting, the NFL playoffs are back today with a great match-up in the NFC and a highly publicized showdown between Jesus and Satan in the AFC. It’s a great day for some football. That means it’s a great day for The Opening Drive!

  

(13-4) New Orleans Saints at
(13-3) San Francisco 49ers
4:30 PM ET, FOX

Off for a week, it’s easy to have forgotten about the Niners and their tremendous regular season which earned them that rest. Alex Smith had a solid year (finally), but he hasn’t been all that impressive to me when I’ve gotten the chance to see him. He has a few decent weapons, but the Saints’ focus should be on running back Frank Gore and tight end Vernon Davis, Smith’s main outlets. ‘Frisco’s offensive line is underrated and should have the clear advantage in the running game, but how are they going to put up points? Michael Crabtree is (sorta) good, but he’s not dangerous enough to put up a monster game and abuse the Saints secondary all day. If they’re going to win, Jim Harbaugh’s defense will have to contain this next man.

Drew Brees is pretty freaking good. However, he still has the ability to toss an interception or two while trying to get the big play deep. If he can avoid those turnovers against the Niners, he’ll keep his Saints on top. He’ll have a lot of resistance on the front though, as San Fran can get up the field and rush the passer. Definitely keep your eyes on the two Smith’s, Justin and Aldon, who can both get pressure on the outside where the Saints’ line is weakest. Where the Niners are going to have issues defensively is in the secondary, Carlos Rogers has had a great year, but he doesn’t have as much support at corner. That’s not a recipe for success against Brees, who has Robert Meachem, Marques Colston and Devery Henderson. Still, that’s not even the Niners’ biggest problem. They like to keep linebackers Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman in the game as much as possible, which is going to create ugly match-ups with Jimmy Graham and Darren Sproles. I think the Saints win those battles more often than not.

Continue reading "The Opening Drive: 2012 Divisional Saturday"


Joe Anello

The Final Drive: 2012 Wildcard Weekend posted by Joe Anello

Are you exhausted yet? There was TOO MUCH DRAMA! (That’s a lie. There’s never too much.) Both nights of Wildcard weekend ended in tremendous excitement, wrapping up with a dramatic overtime ending that didn’t even warrant explanation of the new rules. I’m still appalled. Let’s just get The Final Drive started.

(11-6) Houston Texans 31
(9-8) Cincinnati Bengals 10

The first game of the weekend started off awfully sloppy, with plenty of penalties and “jitters” as described by Nessler and Mayock. As the game drew on though, the Texans clearly established themselves as the better team by man-handling Cincy. Rookie lineman J.J Watt, who has shown an inherent talent and awareness to deflect passes at the line of scrimmage made the play of a game by boomeranging Dalton in the second quarter. Watt timed his jump perfectly and made the catch and rambled 29 yards to paydirt. Then he sacked Dalton to end the first half as the Bengals were driving. It was hilarious afterwards to see Dalton with the “Why didn’t you tell me that lineman wasn’t actually fat? I never would have thrown it his way had I known” face. I blame the scouts on that one. The Bengals performance could be encapsulated with their second half opening drive: they were stopped on second down for a loss, then flagged for 12 men in the huddle, then Dalton wasted a time-out as he couldn’t hear the play-call in Reliant’s noise. Those wheels came off. Missed chances to take away the ball from Houston, poor tackling on defense allowed Houston to let Arian Foster loose and control to flow of the game. T.J. Yates never had to make a big play, so the Texans got the win.

Continue reading "The Final Drive: 2012 Wildcard Weekend"

New Orleans Saints News

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Judge won't kick DA off case of ex-Saints player's death (Yahoo Sports)

[read full article]

From Yahoo Sports


Defense try to oust prosecutors in Will Smith case delayed (Yahoo Sports)

[read full article]

From Yahoo Sports


Saints to keep training camp in West Virginia despite floods (Yahoo Sports)

METAIRIE, La. (AP) -- The New Orleans Saints are planning to keep their training camp in West Virginia after recent flooding in the state killed at least 23 people. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports


NFL-National Football League roundup (Reuters)

Kansas City Chiefs safety Eric Berry, who overcame a diagnosis of Hodgkin's Lymphoma in late 2014 to return to the field and have an All-NFL season in 2015, has been selected as the 2016 George Halas Award winner by the Professional Football Writers of America. Berry, the 47th Halas Award winner, is the first member of the Chiefs franchise to receive the honor, the PFWA announced Monday. Other 2016 nominees for the Halas Award were New Orleans Saints cornerback Delvin Breaux, Carolina Panthers special teams coordinator Bruce DeHaven, Buffalo Bills guard Richie Incognito, Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer and New England Patriots offensive lineman Nate Solder. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

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