Brees, Thomas among Saints on first injury report of the week

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Even without a Christmas Day practice, the Saints made news with their injury report Wednesday.

Drew Brees (knee) and Michael Thomas (hand) were listed as limited Wednesday although neither left last Sunday’s win against the Titans with an injury.

With a chance at a bye and perhaps even homefield advantage in the NFC playoff still in play, both will certainly play for New Orleans in the regular season finale Sunday at Carolina.

Linebacker Kiko Alonso (quadricep), safety Vonn Bell (knee), safety Chauncey Gardner-Johnson (knee), guard Andrus Peat (forearm), and guard Larry Warford (knee) were also listed as limited with only the rookie Gardner-Johnson having played last week. Cornerback Eli Apple (ankle), receiver Krishawn Hogan (hamstring) and safety Marcus Williams (groin) were listed as non-practice participants even though the team did not practice at all.

The Saints and Panthers kickoff Sunday at noon.

New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton

Conference Call with New Orleans Media

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

How deep does the ready list have to be when you’re going through the number of injuries in the secondary?

“Typically, the ready list is players that aren’t on the roster that we’ve got graded and if a game ended Sunday, we could call Sunday night and we feel like we’ve got a pretty clean evaluation on them. I’d say usually four or five deep at various positons. There are four or five tight ends, four or five receivers. You’ve got a list of players that you feel like you know who they are and what they can do or can’t do

How did you think Janoris Jenkins played last week?

“Good, I think well. For the amount of snaps he had, he played obviously a little bit bigger role with some of the injuries. But overall well.”

How much of the ready list prep comes from personal contact or knowing somebody who you know, coached the guy or those kinds of things?

“Well, it’s usually driven from a grade. The grades driven from games they played with other teams. It’s also driven from a lot of those guys have been guys that we have worked out here somewhere in the spring or the fall during the season. We have had a workout, we know where they are at. It is not uncommon to bring them back then for another workout. It’s made up really of of the pro evaluation.”

Carolina has obviously changed some since the last time you guys saw them, whether it’s coaching or quarterback or anything like that. Is there enough time to drastically change what you do as a team or do you pretty much feel like they’re going to hold firm to what they usually do?

“Well, fortunately we’ve got enough games on them with the change. Yeah, there’s always going to be some nuances when a head coach leaves and there’s a new owner, which obviously throws another element to it. Offensively they still go through the running back and you see they do a good job with their receiver reverses and arounds. Defensively, they lead the league in sacks, currently just like they did last time we played them. There are some things that have changed personnel wise and also from a scheme standpoint.”

What have you seen from Will Grier when you’re looking at his film?

“Well, it’s limited. We’ve got a larger background with his college tape when he came out of West Virginia, not as much, but we do have some film from a week ago. We will study that close and then understand their offense.”

Is this a week where there is a discussion of whether or not to go all in?

“No, absolutely not. We’re still playing for one, two, or three seat. We’re still playing for all those things in front of us. I don’t think this is a long shot, what we need this week.”

New Orleans Saints Offensive Tackle Ryan Ramczyk 

Conference Call with New Orleans Media

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

 

Has it be an adjustment to the officiating this season for the offensive line?

“I don’t, I can’t say for sure, if they’re calling more or not. You’d really have to look at the numbers, but I think early last game against the Titans and we kind of shot ourselves in the foot a little bit with some easily avoidable penalties. That’s kind of on us. But the as a whole I think we have to do a better job in eliminating those of penalties, false starts and things like that.”

How do you feel the offensive line has played recently?

“I think Will (Clapp) had to step up. Nick  (Easton) had to step up and playing those positions and I think they did a really good job and I think overall as an offensive line I think we’ve been playing pretty well and overcoming a little bit of adversity. Like I said, I think overall we’ve done a good job and we’re going to continue to look at the film, study the film and make corrections each week.”

What’s it been like to have guys continually have to step up due to injuries?

“Yeah, I mean it shows you that our backups and these guys that we have are able to step up and able to play really good football and we have all the trust in the world with these guys and they’re in the meetings and practices with us. We have a ton of confidence in them and cohesiveness wise, I think they plug in very good and we’re all on the same page and able to work well together.”

What have you seen from Carolina on film, their defense has been on the decline as of late?

“We haven’t watched a ton of them yet as of recently. We’re going to get in the film room today and really start diagnosing it and seeing what looks good, what looks bad. But Carolina, there still a good team and I’ve said it before, you plan as every team is a good team. They’re going to give us their best shot and it’s a divisional game a lots on the line for us. Mentally, physically, we got to perform and play a good game Sunday.

Alvin Kamara had a good game is that something that you thought would happen regardless of what you’ve been seeing?

“Yeah I think it was one of those things. I think it was on that run that was called it just happened that everything was blocked up perfectly. Yeah, I think the safety kind of a bit hard and came crashing through and opened up a lane for Alvin to take off and there was a couple of plays that I think were blocked really well and Alvin’s an extremely talented player and once he gets out in space he’s a tough guy to take down. That was exciting to see him pop off a couple runs there.”

What are your thoughts on witnessing history the last few games?

“It’s just really special, especially because you grow up watching football and watching guys like Drew (Brees). It’s pretty special to be part of all of it and we’re obviously very excited where we’re at and looking forward to this next push.”

New Orleans Saints Linebacker A.J. Klein 

Conference Call with New Orleans Media

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

How was your first Christmas morning as a father?

“It was good. Babies are a little bit too young do any of the gift opening, but yesterday was eventful with church. Definitely had our hands full we’re excited for the future, that’s for sure. More Christmas memories to come.”

Does going back to Carolina feel like another game now?

“It’s always just been game, obviously Carolina is a place where I played for a long time, but when I got here it became just another game. But I know the history between the Saints and the Panthers organizations going back to when I was with Carolina. Every single year it’s a heart fought game, no matter what time of year or what the circumstances are. It’s kind of been the rivalry of NFC South I think.”

How much pride does the defense take in being able to close a game out in Tennessee last week?

“No, we see a lot of pride, especially if you look at, kind of just what we overcame as a team and as a defense with the adversity we faced. A couple of guys brought in (from other roles) and some other guys coming in and stepping up their gameplan and playing really well for us. It’s a better taste in your mouth, even though we had our fair share of negatives from the game. You definitely feel better with the performance by playing out a game like that.”

Have you ever been in a football game where guys had to mix and match that much on defense?

“Yes, I have been and I mean I spoke to it last week. This point in the season everybody has missed some games and it seems like every team is hurting and it’s a war of attrition. I think it’s obviously good when you can have guys that have been in primary backup roles can come in and be efficient and play really good football.”

What have you seen from Manti Te’o since he rejoined the team?

“I think Manti really hasn’t missed a beat. He brings a great energy to this defense and obviously we missed having him in the room all season long. It is good to have him back, but obviously he brings experience, he brings downhill running backer play. He is just a joy to be around and obviously he’s a great teammate. It’s great to have him back in the room.”

What do you think about the footprint of success this team has put together the last three seasons with the success the team has had?

“Well, I really can’t speak for the future. I can speak for the present and I can speak of the past of the last three years and kind of stacking the bricks one by one. Every single year has been obviously a different team personnel wise, but the foundation has been laid over the past three years of reaching our goals. Obviously, we set our goal to win the NFC South every single year and we’ve done that the past two and including this year. I think you talk about stacking goals, we went to the divisional and NFC Championship game. Our sights are set high, obviously on a super bowl. But taking care of business one week at a time is most important, but you can’t look to the future too much in this league because I mean, just what happened last week with injuries or personnel changes and a lot can change from week to week. We just have to stay focused on this week, everything else will take care of itself.”

How different now is Carolina, they changed quarterbacks, do they look different from the film that you’ve seen? Do they look pretty much the same as in the past?

“Yeah, I mean they’re not going change schematically what they do offensively this late in the game. I think they’re just going to try to give their players the best opportunities possible to succeed and what they do, we can’t control. All we can controls is our defense and just be ready to play a game, that we know is going to be hard fought and physical. We can’t be chasing ghost, we just have to focus on us. Merry Christmas.”

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As a New Orleans-area native, Jude grew up a fan of all sports and teams in the area. It’s a passion for the games that brought him into the fields of sports broadcasting and journalism. Whether he’s informing, reporting or entertaining, Jude brings his own special flavor to the task at hand. This Jesuit High School and Loyola New Orleans…

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