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Preseason
August 26, 2016
 

New Orleans Saints

NFC South

2016 Schedule

  • Week 1

    OAK @ NO

    09/11/16

    1:00 pm

  • Week 2

    NO @ NYG

    09/18/16

    1:00 pm

  • Week 3

    ATL @ NO

    09/25/16

    9:30 pm

  • Week 4

    NO @ SD

    10/02/16

    5:30 pm

  • Week 5

    bye

  • Week 6

    CAR @ NO

    10/16/16

    1:00 pm

  • Week 7

    NO @ KC

    10/23/16

    1:00 pm

  • Week 8

    SEA @ NO

    10/30/16

    1:00 pm

  • Week 9

    NO @ SF

    11/06/16

    4:00 pm

  • Week 10

    DEN @ NO

    11/13/16

    1:00 pm

  • Week 10

    NO @ CAR

    11/17/16

    8:30 pm

  • Week 12

    LAR @ NO

    11/27/16

    1:00 pm

  • Week 13

    DET @ NO

    12/04/16

    1:00 pm

  • Week 14

    NO @ TB

    12/11/16

    1:00 pm

  • Week 15

    NO @ ARI

    12/18/16

    4:00 pm

  • Week 16

    TB @ NO

    12/24/16

    1:00 pm

  • Week 17

    NO @ ATL

    01/01/17

    1:00 pm

PYRO Fantasy Depth Chart

The PYRO Fantasy Football Depth Chart is a rundown of where Team PYRO projects the fantasy production for each team at each position. It is NOT an attempt to inform you of the current starters for each team. For example, we are well aware that Brandon Manumaleuna is currently the starting TE for the Chicago Bears, but if you look at the Bears Team Page, we have Greg Olsen listed at TE. Why? We’re projecting that Greg Olsen will be the most Fantasy Football relevant TE for the Bears this season. Since Olsen will be the Bears leading FF point scorer at TE, it’s his name at the top of the TE column on our PYRO Fantasy Depth Chart.

New Orleans Saints - 2014 Preseason #FF Preview

jimmy graham of the NO saints


 


 


New Orleans Saints - 2014 Preseason #FF Preview 


 




Last year nine teams had three or more fantasy starters in the top 60 and it is likely that it’ll continue to be that way in 2014. This series: Dressed for Success, will look at NFL teams going into 2014 that have assembled the right players to be a treasure trove of fantasy studs.




New Orleans narrowly missed having three players in the top 60 of fantasy scoring. That sounds pretty mystifying considering that the Saints ranked 10th in scoring. Leading the way for New Orleans was Drew Brees and Jimmy Graham, who finished 2nd and 1st at their respective positions and 2nd and 25th in overall scoring. For all of Brees’ 5,162 passing yards, only Jimmy Graham eclipsed 1,000 yards receiving. Runner-ups include Marques Colston (943), Kenny Stills (641), Darren Sproles (604 & not on the team anymore) and Lance Moore (457 & not on the team anymore).




Going into 2014, the Saints on offense look like a whole new team with Drew Brees, Marques Colston, and Jimmy Graham being the only returning starters from 2013. The other fantasy relevant players on the roster for 2014 are Kenny Stills, Brandin Cooks, Khiry Robinson, and Pierre Thomas. Sorry Mark Ingram.




Let’s get this out of the way and just say Drew Brees and Jimmy Graham are going to be drafted highly and they should be for every reason imaginable.




Drew Brees’ has always been a perennial contender for number one scorer in fantasy and just had his passing record eclipsed by Peyton Manning in 2014.




Flashback to 2011 when Drew Brees’ set the record on a Monday night game against the Atlanta Falcons for most passing yards in a season. I was out at a chicken wing joint with my fiancée and when Brees’ closed out the game, I told my fiancée, “this is a moment in history, you’re going to have to remember where you were when Drew Brees set the record for most passing yards in a NFL season.” She most unenthusiastically responded, “I’m sure someone will set a new record.” Was she right? Yes.


 




drew brees passing record


 




Records are made to be broken and if anyone is going to 1 up Peyton Manning, it’ll be Brees. While Brees’ has the potential, I don’t expect Brees to set the new record this year, just because the talent around him hasn’t fully matured. But the cast around him right now is extremely exciting. He has veteran Marques Colston, who’s had 6 1000+ yard seasons, two young receivers in Stills and Cooks who both run the 40 yard dash in 4.3 seconds, and the best TE in the game today in Jimmy Graham. He doesn’t have the flashy running skills of the younger running QBs, but that also means he’s less prone to injury, but has consistently shown he can get it done through the air.




One caveat fantasy owners should know is the inexplicable good Drew Brees when he plays at home and the not as good Drew Brees when he plays away. 33.2 at home, 21.6 away.




Despite these scoring differences, Brees is still a top tier QB. The talent around Brees makes him a stellar option for QB if you are willing to give up the 2nd round pick to get him. If you can get him in the third, go bananas.


 




drew brees dunking


Dunking is contagious in New Orleans




The other no-brainer on the Saints is Jimmy Graham, who was the number one tight end in 2013. Graham is the target leader on this offense, being targeted 144 times in 2013 and hauling in 11 TDs. It’s scary to imagine that he played much of the season with a foot injury and still produced absurd numbers.




There’s the great debate of whether Jimmy Graham is worth a first round pick; there’s no dispute that he’s worth a second round pick. Part of the argument for picking Jimmy in the first is the huge disparity between him and the second best tight end. Graham scored 217 points on the season compared to 163 by Vernon Davis. That’s 54 points. Even compared to WRs, his score would be good for 4th, behind just Josh Gordon (227.4), Demaryius Thomas (227), and Calvin Johnson (220.9).




Now, consider for a moment Peyton Manning’s record setting season culminated in 496.8 fantasy points, 59.3 points more than Brees’ second place point total of 437.5. So Manning’s 59.3 point lead over the QB competition was only five points more than Graham’s 54-point lead over the TE competition. No other position in 2013 had nearly as significant of a disparity between first and second as QB and TE.




Then consider that Graham was battling a foot injury for most of the season and arguably could have put up more points. Is it likely that Graham could repeat not just his high flying production, but also his domination over the rest of the TEs? probably.






jimmy graham dunking the ball


The Master




Looking at the wide receivers, the three to talk about are Marques Colston, Kenny Stills, and Brandin Cooks. Given the talent of the trio of wide receivers, it’s hard to see any of the three leap frogging the others in receiving yards. All three of the can easily be a 1000 yard receiver, but not by much.




Marques Colston is not particularly exciting like Andre Johnson who broke out for 1400 yards a season. Colston has always averaged about 1100 yards a season for eight seasons. His highest yardage total was 1154 yards in 2012. Entering into his 9th season, it’s predictable for him to see a drop off in yardage because of his age. In 2013, he finished with 943 yards, a drop off from two consecutive 1100 yard seasons beforehand. But Marques has proven that he can get it done, being only a 7th round pick in 2006. In many ways he epitomizes “Power in Numbers;” in the 7th round or such I would rather be picking Colston than Steve Smith or some receiver stranded on a bad team.




The other receivers, Stills and Cooks, however have tremendous upside compared to Colston. Stills, as a rookie, led the league with the highest average yard per catch, at 20 YPC and was the clear cut number two on the Saints, out producing veteran Lance Moore, who is not on the team anymore.


 




lance moore dancing


Your dancing will be missed Lance




One of the downsides with Stills is that he produced some duds on the season, a problem that is inherent with the big play wide receiver. The foreseeable problem for Stills is that he won’t be given the opportunity to mix up his routes with Graham and Cooks perhaps taking up the middle of the field. The best way to view him is as a boom or bust, feast or famine kind of player that I would be comfortable getting past in the mid rounds.




Compared to Cooks, a rookie in 2014, who’s known for his speed as well as for having an absurd 110 receptions in one college season, Stills has never reached that kind of targeting. In addition to being a catching machine, Cooks also has the same roadrunner speed as Stills. The only caveat is that Cooks is still only a rookie, and rookies that can produce 1,000 yard seasons in the first year are few and far between. I would say there’s a 50/50 chance that Cooks can clear 1,000 yards as a rookie, after all Drew Brees is his QB, and it’s not like he will be receiving the best opposing corners. If I have to draft a rookie WR this season, it’ll most likely be Cooks.




Pierre Thomas and Khiry Robinson now lead the backfield with Darren Sproles being a Philadelphia Eagle. This backfield is still likely to remain a backfield committee, which it has been for a while.




Who is Khiry Robinson? A legitimate question since Robinson only started seeing significant touches towards the end of the season and the post season. In his two post-season games he rushed for 45 yards on 8 attempts against the Eagles, and 57 yards on 13 attempts against the Seahawks. In his last two games, he’s proven to be able to be a phenomenal runner and at least as good Mark Ingram. Going into next season, there is speculation that he can be the lead back in New Orleans. The best thing to do is to keep track of him throughout the offseason. He could end up becoming a late round steal similar to Pierre Thomas in 2013.




Pierre Thomas finished the season with 136.2 points in standard scoring, finishing around the 20s in fantasy RB scoring. But Thomas was a PPR revelation, catching 77 passes on the season, a high for him. One reason we aren’t talking about Mark Ingram is because he had only one more rushing attempt than Pierre Thomas had catches. Thomas’ value rises significantly in a PPR league, otherwise he could be a midround pick in standard scoring.




Okay we’ll talk about Mark Ingram. His best game in 2013 was against the abysmal Cowboys defense, where he did breakout for a 145 yard game. That was the first time he ever ran for 100 yards. He has never made more than 11 catches in one season. Given his lack of breakout potential and his lack of pass catching potential, I find it hard to see him produce value in a backfield committee. Save your draft pick.


 


 


PLEASE CHECK OUT TEAM 7 OF 32:


CLEVELAND BENGALS - 2014 Preason #FF Preview




 




suits pyro character


By SUITS






Green Bay Packers - 2014 Preseason #FF Preview

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Dikta trades his draft for Ricky Williams

The Saints, especially Mike Ditka, coveted Ricky Williams and traded all of their draft picks in 1999, as well as two picks in 2000, in order to move up two spots in the draft to acquire him. This has been and will continue to be talked about as one of the worst trades of all-time, but was it really? The evidence of what actually happened paints a very different story. This trade was more about drafting ineptitude than it was about building a dynasty for any of the teams involved.

Ricky Williams was one of the most hyped running backs coming into the league in 1999, after rushing for 2,327 yards with 29 touchdowns and winning the Heisman trophy as a member of the Texas Longhorns. Mike Ditka was the most enthralled with the young runner, as he saw him as the next Walter Payton, and made it clear ahead of the draft that he was willing to trade all of the Saints picks to obtain Williams. That was a lot of talk, but when the draft began Ditka made the bold move as the Saints and Redskins made a blockbuster trade.


Ricky Williams career stats



Iron Mike Ditka followed through on his vow, and made a deal with the Redskins, trading them their six picks in the 1999 draft, as well as their first and third round picks from the 2000 draft. Here is how it looked on paper, and wow what a haul for moving up just two spots in the draft.

New Orleans received the #5 overall pick in the 1999 draft from the Redskins and draft Ricky Williams. The Redskins received the following picks: #12, #71, #106, #144, #179 and #218 from the 1999 draft and #2 and #64 overall picks from the 2000 draft. At the time the trade was executed the analysts named the Redskins the winner for all that they were able to gain in this trade, but what followed was some of the dumbest moves ever made.

The Redskins, now loaded with draft picks, set their sites on getting Champ Bailey with their first round pick, which was now the 12th overall. Unfortunately, the Redskins did not feel that Bailey would fall to them at the 12 pick, so they went all New Orleans Saints and unloaded four of the picks they acquired from the Saints and sent them to the Bears for the right to move up from 12 to the seventh pick, where they drafted Champ Bailey. The Bears received the #12, #71, #106 and #144 in the 1999 draft from the Redskins along with a third round pick in 2000, but the Skins were not done dealing yet.

Washington then contacted the Denver Broncos about the #165 pick in the 1999 draft, and they acquired it with the final two picks of the 99’ draft from the Saints, #179 and #218. So, while Washington received eight picks to move back seven spots, they then traded six of those picks to move up twice in the draft. So let’s now look at what each team was able to do with their multitude of draft picks, and determine whom the winner was.

The Saints gave up eight draft picks and walked away with Ricky Williams. Williams would play for the Saints for three seasons, before being traded to Miami. In those three years Ricky ran for 3,129 yards with 16 touchdowns, while adding another 1,431 yards and six scores on 197 receptions. Those are good numbers, but what Williams did in his first two seasons in Miami left New Orleans fans scratching their heads. #34 ran for 3,225 yards with 25 touchdowns, and another 714 yards on 97 catches with two more scores. He was named 1st team all pro in 2002 with 2,216 yards from scrimmage, while leading the league in rushing with 1,853 yards. The best years of Ricky’s career did not happen in New Orleans, and Saints fans were disappointed, but did the other teams do any better?

The Redskins, who received all the picks, may be the case study in how to take a good thing and turn it into a bad thing. The Skins had an extra seven picks, but they ended up trading six of those to draft just two players, Champ Bailey and Derek Smith, a tackle from Virginia Tech. Champ Bailey proved to be a good pick by Washington and he was the player that lasted the longest with the team that drafted him. Champ played for Washington for five years, and was named to four Pro Bowls during that time, but at the end he wanted out of Washington and was traded to the Broncos for Clinton Portis. After giving all those picks away in 1999, Washington decided to hold onto the two picks from the 2000 draft that they got in the deal. The first pick was the second overall pick in the draft, linebacker LaVar Arrington. Arrington would play for Washington for six seasons and was named to three Pro Bowls, but his career was cut short by injuries. The final player drafted with a pick from the Williams trade was Lloyd Harrison, a defensive back who was taken with the #64 overall pick in the third round. Harrison played one year with Washington and registered no stats. This brings us to the team that scored a bounty of the Saints picks through the Redskins, the Chicago Bears.

The Bears entered this draft with many needs, quarterback being first and foremost on their list, but the Bears were not going to trade up to get hometown hero Donovan McNabb, and instead made a huge deal with the Redskins to trade down from 7 to 12 for four draft picks. What the Bears proceeded to do, was show how to make an embarrassment of riches look like an embarrassment.

Chicago grabbed the fifth quarterback off the board, Cade McNown, with the 12th pick. McNown only played with the Bears for two seasons, and had a marvelous 3-12 record as a starter with 16 touchdowns and 19 interceptions thrown. The next pick in the deal was a third round pick, the #71 overall, and the Bears selected wide receiver D’Wayne Bates. Bates was totally ineffective for Chicago playing three seasons with the Bears, totaling 15 catches for 221 yards and one score. The Bears then selected linebacker Warrick Holdman with the Saints 4th round pick, #106, who played for the Bears for five seasons. He was the most productive player the Bears got in this trade, but only had 278 tackles and 3.5 sacks in his five years. The final player drafted because of this trade in 1999 was linebacker Khari Samuel with pick #144 of the 5th round. Samuel played two years with Bears totaling 10 tackles in that time. In the 2000 draft the Bears selected the final player from this deal, tight end Dustin Lyman with pick #87 in the third round. Lyman was not an offensive threat with 37 catches for 278 yards and three scores in five years with the team. While the Bears traded down and received a lot of picks, they showed that volume does not guarantee positive results.

The final team involved in this draft day deal was the Denver Broncos. This was the most minor of all the deals, as the Broncos traded the #165 pick in the 1999 draft, which the Redskins used on tackle Derek Smith, who never played a game for the Redskins. The Broncos received a sixth and seventh round pick in exchange and drafted tight ends Desmond Clark with pick #179 and Billy Miller with pick #218. Clark would play in the league for 12 seasons, but lasted only three with Broncos posting 79 catches for 910 yards and nine touchdowns. Billy Miller was totally ineffective playing two years with Denver posting six catches for 66 yards.

So in the end what seemed like one of the biggest blockbuster trades ever made turned into a pile of poop for the four teams involved. The Saints at least got production from Ricky Williams, but they also got a win loss record of 20-28 during his years as a Saint. The Redskins did get some great production from Champ Bailey, but by no means was it the kind of return on they expected when they got the eight picks from the Saints. The Redskins failed with their picks, but not as bad as the Bears. Chicago seemed to be in the right place at the right time, but all those picks mean nothing when you have a general manager who goes 0-5 on those picks. The Broncos got a tight end out of the deal, but it was only Desmond Clark, so not really a win there either. With all of these teams, and their scouting departments they took 12 picks and turned them into basically 2 or 3 players that were worth anything. Nicely done guys.

The history of this trade proves that there are many general managers, and teams, that have no idea how to draft a winning team no matter how many picks you give them. The Saints gave away their draft for Williams, but it is hard to call them a loser in this exchange, as the other teams netted zero from all of those picks. At least we will always have Dikta in a tuxedo and Williams in his bridal dress for the worst wedding couple of all-time.


 


ditka and ricky



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Deuce McAllister

Deuce McAllister was one of the most dominating rushers when he entered the league and though he had a short career is still the all-time leading rusher for the New Orleans Saints.  McAllister had a unique blend of speed, power and elusiveness that made him a great running back.  McAllister had his career cut short by 2 ACL injuries; otherwise he might have gone down as one of the best running backs in his era and would have been in the talk of the best running backs of all time. 

When McAllister joined the Saints as a first round pick in 2001 NFL draft he found himself behind Ricky Williams, whom the Saints traded away an entire draft to acquire.  In his first season, McAllister only had 16 carries, but had one go for 54 yards, which showed his big, play ability.  He also added 15 receptions and scored 2 TD in his first year playing behind Williams.  The next season, though, he would be the bell cow for Saints and showed he was ready for the spotlight. 

In his second season McAllister would carry the ball 325 times for 1,388 yards and added 47 receptions for another 352 yards and scored 16 total TD.  McAllister showed his big play ability and hard nosed running up the middle with elusiveness on his way to becoming a fan favorite in New Orleans, but this season was just a precursor for what was to come.  The next season McAllister would enjoy his best season as a professional and was a fantasy stud that caught everyone’s attention. 

McAllister started all 16 games in 2003 and once again carried the load with 351 carries for an impressive 1,641 yards and 8 rushing TD.  McAllister also added 69 receptions for 516 yards for a total of 2,157 yards from scrimmage.  McAllister saw his TD total drop, but he was a beast this season with an impressive yards per carry average of 4.7.  Unfortunately, the team was unable to take advantage of his great play and finished with an 8-8 record.   McAllister was showing that he was an all around player who had the tools to dominate at the running back position.  The problem for McAllister, and other running backs in his era like him, was that the amount of carries he had over those first 2 seasons as a starter began to take their toll on him and this showed over the next 2 seasons. 

In 2004 McAllister began to show the effects of all those carries and was unable to duplicate the durability he showed in the previous 2 seasons.  McAllister only had 269 carries in 2004 and finished with only 1,074 rushing yards and added 34 receptions for 228 yards with 9 total TD.  Even with the lowered totals, McAllister went on to become the first Saint’s running back in their history to have 3 straight 1,000 yard rushing seasons.  McAllister was looking for a bounce back season in 2005, but his hopes were crushed early. 

McAllister was only able to play in 5 games in the 2005 season before tearing his ACL in his right knee.  Before the injury occurred McAllister was not having a good season with only 335 yards rushing in those 5 games and 117 receiving yards with 3 TD.  McAllister also saw his yards per carry drop to the lowest level in his career with a 3.6 YPC average.  The big play was missing from his game as his longest run went for only 26 yards during this injury-shortened season. 

When McAllister returned the next season he found himself in tough spot due to the fact the Organization made Reggie Bush their first round draft pick in the 2006 NFL draft.  McAllister now had heavy competition from a Heisman Trophy winner with big play ability.  McAllister would retain the starting job, even with the arrival of Bush, and had a decent season, but not a great season.  McAllister would once again reach the 1,000-yard mark rushing with 1,057 yards on 244 carries and scored 10 rushing TD.  The arrival of Bush, though, ate into his receiving production as he only had 30 receptions for 198 yards on the season.  McAllister and Bush looked like they could be a good combination of power and speed, until early in the 2007 season. 

In 2007 McAllister saw his career come to a screeching halt.  It was the third game of the season against the Tennessee Titans and McAllister would end up tearing the ACL in his left knee.  He was placed on injured reserve and would make one last run at the NFL the next season before hanging up his cleats forever.  In his return in 2008 he was no longer the starter and only carried the ball 107 times and had a 3.9 yards per carry average.  McAllister clearly lost a step and he ended up taking the 2009 season off and was resigned by the Saints in 2010, before their Divisional Playoff Game, and he McAllister was named the honorary Captain for the game, although he would never carry the ball in the NFL again. 

McAllister finished his short career as the all-time leading rusher in Saints history with 6,096 yards rushing and his 55 TD were the best in team history until Marques Colston passed him recently, but he is still 2nd in team history for TD scored.  McAllister also set a team record with twenty-two 100-yard rushing games in his career.    

McAllister had a fantastic career and unfortunately it was cut short and we did not get to see the full impact he could have had on the running back position and the NFL.  As it stands he remains one of the greatest players in Saint’s history and for those of us who were lucky enough to watch him play could see that he was a dominating force with a great combination of speed, power and elusiveness. 


Deuce McAllister career stats


 







 


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The Dome Patrol

The New Orleans Saints franchise had struggled since its inception in 1967, and would go without a winning season for their first 20 years. When the team finally did get on their winning ways, it was easy to identify which players changed the course of the franchise. They were known as the “Dome Patrol”. The Dome Patrol was made up of Ricky Jackson, Pat Swilling, Sam Mills and Vaughn Johnson. Who Dat? Only the best linebacking corps the NFL has ever seen.

The leader of the Patrol was their veteran Ricky Jackson. The Saints selected Jackson in the second round of the 1981 draft, and he would make an immediate impact as a rookie with 125 tackles and eight sacks. Jackson was an aggressive outside rush linebacker that knew how to get the quarterback, and he holds the Saints record with 123 sacks. Ricky only missed two games in his career, because of a car accident. He was supposed to be out for 4-6 weeks, but instead came back with a wired jaw and recorded 7.5 sacks on the season. Jackson was the emotional leader for this corps, but he needed help and had to wait until 1987 for the arrival of the rest of the patrol.

The first two arrive on the scene was Vaughn Johnson. Johnson played for the USFL’s Jacksonville Bulls, and had 154 tackles in 1984. In 1985 the Saints selected him number one in the NFL’s supplemental draft. Johnson took over as one of the inside linebackers in the Saints 3-4 defense. He would lead the team in tackles in 1987 and 1988, and from 1989-1992 was named All-Pro. Vaughn was that solid presence on the inside that shut down opposing rushing attacks.

In 1986 the USFL concluded its final season, which allowed for a large influx of talent to come to the NFL. The first move the Saints made was to hire Jim Finks from the Bears to run their football operation, and his first move was to hire former USFL Philadelphia/Baltimore Stars head coach Jim Mora. Mora led the Stars to all three USFL Title games, winning two of them. Once Mora was on board, he immediately brought Sam Mills with him.

Mills was an undersized linebacker, standing only 5’9” and weighing 229 pounds, but he was a playmaker with a tremendous motor. Sam was cut by the Browns in 1981 and was not playing football until he got a call from Jim Mora to come play for his Philadelphia Stars in the USFL. Mills would end up leading the Stars in tackles the three seasons he played for them. Mora brought Mills to the Saints, and took over the other inside linebacker position next to Johnson. Mills led the team in tackles in 1989 and was named All-Pro five times with the Saints.

The final piece to the puzzle was outstanding outside linebacker Pat Swilling. Swilling was a third round pick from Georgia Tech in 1986, and spent his first year on special teams before elevating with the arrival of Jim Mora. Pat became the starting outside linebacker, and he paid immediate dividends leading the team with 10.5 sacks in 1987. In 1989 he was named All-Pro for the first time and set a new team record with 16.5 sacks on the year. Swilling would have 17 sacks in 1991, and would be named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year. Together these linebackers were the DOME PATROL.

The Saints had 20 losing seasons before these linebackers came together, and while they were together from 1987-1992 the Saints never experienced a losing season compiling a 62-33 record. Now you have to understand that these linebackers were basically all the Saints had during this time. In those six seasons the Dome Patrol was named to 13 Pro Bowls, while there was only one All-Pro season from the rest of the Saints defensive players during this span. The Saints offense was offensive during this time as well.

When you think of the Saints now, you think of Drew Brees, Jimmy Graham and a high flying offense, but that was not the case for New Orleans during the years of the Dome Patrol. During those six seasons the Saints were led by quarterback Bobby Hebert and Steve Walsh, need I say more. The best receiver on the team was Eric Martin, who you probably have no idea even played in the NFL. The stud running backs for this team were Rueben Mayes, Dalton Hilliard and Criag Ironhead Heyward. The simple truth for this team was that they did not have an offensive that could win games on their own, and it was the defense that led the way.

The Dome Patrol led the Saints to three playoff berths, although their offense helped to ensure that they did not win any of those games. Regardless, if it were not for the Dome Patrol, the Saints would never have made a playoff appearance. These linebackers were fierce, dominating, intimidating, and just plain ruthless. Their speed on the turf in the Superdome was unparalleled, and they put fear into the best offenses in the game. For the six years they were together they were the best linebacking corps and could be the best of all time. The crowing achievement for these four horsemen came in 1992 when all four of them were named to the Pro Bowl, which had never happened before.


 







 


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Reggie Bush vs. Darren Sproles

Bush vs Sproles

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First Play in Team History was a Touchdown

The Saints were known for being a losing Franchise during their beginnings in the NFL.  The Saints came into the NFL in 1967 and it took until 1987 before the Saints would register their first winning season in Franchise history.   Although, there were high hopes when the Saints took the field for the first time in 1967, and the Franchise would open with a bang. 

The first game the Saints ever played was a home game, which was played at Tulane Stadium on Sept. 17th 1967, and there were over 80,000 fans on hand to see the birth of this NFL Franchise.  The Saints were taking on the Los Angeles Rams and the game started with a most unlikely occurrence.  John Gilliam was a rookie running back on that team and also drew kick return duties and this is where he made his mark and will forever go down in Saints history. 

Gilliam took the opening kick in the Saints first ever game and took it back to the house 94 yards for a TD.   The stadium was rocking and the Saints fans were feeling good about themselves, but the good times in that game and their history would have to wait a long time to bring that happy feeling back.  The Saints would go on to lose that first game to the Rams by a count of 27-13.  The Saints would also keep searching for that first Franchise win which did not come until November 5th against the Philadelphia Eagles 31-24, for one of their 3 wins in their inaugural season that finished with a 3-11 record. 

The Saints would continue to struggle and it would take until 1979 for the Saints to have their first non losing season, but it was also not a winning season as they finished 8-8 on the year.  The Saints would have to wait until 1987 to get their first winning season in Franchise history with a 12-3 record.  For those players that were there from the beginning winning did not come easy, although it seemed like it might after the first play in Franchise history.  Looking back it can truly be said that Gilliam’s kick return was not the auspicious start that it first seemed to be. 


 







 


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Danny Abramowicz uses his head

Danny Abramowicz is not a name that is easy to say spell or very well remembered in the history of the NFL. Abramowicz was a very productive receiver for 6 seasons with the New Orleans Saints, but he is most remembered for one of the greatest football follies moments of all time. 

Abramowicz was one of the original Saints players who were there when the franchise was founded.  He was not fast at all and did not run the best routes, but Abramowicz found a way to make big catches for a team looking for an identity.  Abramowicz played for the Saints for 6 seasons and had 37 TD during his years with them, never having less than 5 TD in a season while only playing 14 games a year. 

Abramowicz was top 10 in the NFL for receptions and yards in 1968-1970, and was top 10 in TD in 1968 and 1972.  In 1969 Abramowicz had his best season as a Saint topping the 1,000-yard receiving mark for the only time in his career and added his best catch total ever with 73.  Another interesting fact about Abramowicz is that he was the NFL record holder for catching a pass in consecutive games when he retired with 105.  These are all great things about Abramowicz and his numbers, but unfortunately for him this is not what he is known for. 

Abramowicz was part of a football follies video where they were documenting the history of the Saints and their dismal beginnings.  There is a clip below and at the 1:07 mark of the clip you will see Abramowicz catch a short slant pass and go out of bounds, head first into a huge camera.  This was back in the days when they did not have hand held cameras, or cameras on wires to show the action.  Instead, there were huge cameras that would move up and down the sideline only a few yards out of bounds.  This event led to the cameras being moved behind the benches.  After this video came out and has been replayed on NFL Films Abramowicz has always been known as the guy that cracked his head into the camera. 


 


Check out this clip at the 2:38 mark.







 


 


By Houdini

Spread The Fire

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Too much love for Fleener?

"I'd say it's an ongoing progression," Coach Sean Payton said Monday of Fleener's adjustment process.

Pyro's take: "I'd say it's an ongoing progression," Coach Sean Payton said Monday of Fleener's adjustment process. "I think, man, there's some plays that are real good, and then there's some plays where we've got to be a little bit more detailed and that's something that I know he's got to work on."

Fantasy Goo: Fleener himself goes on to say he considers himself 1C instead of being outright 1. I love the potential of any decent tight end that has Drew Brees throwing the football. However, last month we heard Sean Payton talk about how Fleener catches everything. I still strongly recommend Coby fleener as your tight end but maybe relax a little on going too soon on draft day. Fleener is currently going in the 6th round as the #5 tight end. If you are patient you can possibly take Zach Ertz as the leagues last owner to take a tight end in a 12 team draft as Ertz is going 12th and in round 10. Simply, there are quality tight ends for EVERYONE.


08/23/16, 01:40 PM CDT by STiFFKiTTY
Source: www.nola.com

Coby Fleener Developing A Rapport With Drew Brees Early In Camp

Coby Fleener

Pyro's take: Coby Fleener is catching onto the new playbook quickly with the Saints. While he admits that he has some catching up to do, it's apparent that he's building chemistry with quarterback Drew Brees. (Nola.com)

Fantasy Goo: Brees has said that Fleener should be able to exploit matchups this season. It's clear that Brees favors his TE in this offense, as seen previously with Jimmy Graham and last year with Ben Watson. Fleener has a lot of upside in this offense and should be drafted as a TE1 as Drew has shown in the past that he loves to showcase his tight end especially in the red zone.

08/02/16, 08:44 AM CDT by PK Ripper
Source: www.nola.com

New Orleans RB Situation

One of the big developments of last season was Mark Ingram emerging as a true every-down player

Pyro's take: One of the big developments of last season was Mark Ingram emerging as a true every-down player. As far as who makes the team, Ingram is the only lock. Tim Hightower seems like the best bet to back him up. It would be hard to envision Spiller not making the team, but he needs to prove he can still be productive.

Fantasy Goo: Mark Ingram had 25.03% of the Saints touches while he was on the field in 2015. As Ingram continues to become a receiving threat he will hold on to his nice draft position which is currently the 25th player selected in mocks. Last season Tim Hightower rewarded waiver wire hounds by keeping seasons alive with his surprising success with an AVG of over 20 touches per week from weeks 14-17 with 4 touchdowns. C.J. Spiller is no longer worth talking about as his career has become more of wishes than rewards. In his 6 years he has only had one solid season which was in 2012. If you have a deep roster you might want to draft Tim Hightower late or keep your waiver wire eyes open for him if Ingram gets banged up…again.


07/17/16, 12:08 PM CDT by STiFFKiTTY
Source: www.theadvocate.com

Multiple'years ahead of him

In saying the 36-year-old Brees appeared to have "multiple" years left to play, Payton said Brees in 2015 had "one of his better seasons here in the last five years."

Pyro's take: In saying the 36-year-old Brees appeared to have "multiple" years left to play, Payton said Brees in 2015 had "one of his better seasons here in the last five years." "I mean, he was outstanding," Payton said.

Fantasy Goo: Drew Brees is one of the better value players for this year’s 2016 fantasy drafts. Drew is currently going in the 6th round, 6th overall quarterback in 12 team mocks drafts. You can possibly take five of the best RB/WR players and then reward yourself with Brees come round 6. Brees has Brandin Cooks, Willie Snead and Coby Fleener as his current focal attack weapons for 2016. Last year Brandin Cooks pissed in his owner’s soup to start the season but, halfway through the season Cooks became a respectable chef. Coby Fleener is a rising darling for many fantasy owners. Fleener will be entering his prime with HOF QB Drew Brees tossing him the pigskin.


07/13/16, 01:15 PM CDT by STiFFKiTTY
Source: www.nola.com

Mark Ingram and stardom

The only thing that stands between Mark Ingram and the Pro Bowl might be his health.

Pyro's take: The only thing that stands between Mark Ingram and the Pro Bowl might be his health. Ingram is no longer the young first-round pick who struggled to make the transition from Heisman Trophy to the pros; he spent 12 weeks among the NFL’s leaders in yards from scrimmage last fall. By almost any measure, he’d pushed his way onto the list of the league’s most productive backs.

Fantasy Goo: In 2015 Mark Ingram was the 17th ranked RB for touches per game with 18 which was below CJ2K, Forsett and Yeldon but, ahead of DMC, Miller and Lynch. Ingram made up 25.03% of the Saints percentage of offensive workload and 24.32 % of the Saints percentage of red zone workload. Mark is going near the top of the 3rd round and as the 12th RB taken in 12 team mock drafts at this time. If you believe he can stay healthy then make sure to grab Ingram who has also become a receiving threat with 5 passing targets per game in 2015.


07/05/16, 12:28 PM CDT by STiFFKiTTY
Source: theadvocate.com

Drew Brees says Coby Fleener was “always open” with Colts

Colts head coach Chuck Pagano said earlier this offseason that Fleener will “flourish” in the Saints’ system with Sean Payton and Drew Brees, and it’s likely true.

Pyro's take: Colts head coach Chuck Pagano said earlier this offseason that Fleener will “flourish” in the Saints’ system with Sean Payton and Drew Brees, and it’s likely true. Already in mini-camp it sounds like Brees and Fleener are a good duo, and we could see that on the field in 2016 as well.

Fantasy Goo: From the 1984 movie Bachelor Party, “Gentlemen... start your boners.” If Drew Brees likes Coby Fleener, YOU like Coby Fleener. Last year 35 year old Ben Watson had moments of dominance catching 74 passes for 825 yards. The tight end position is filled with players you can draft without sweating. You can be one of the later owners to draft a starting tight end in 2016 and end up with Coby Fleener. Not bad, eh?


06/18/16, 03:47 PM CDT by STiFFKiTTY
Source: www.stampedeblue.com

C.J.Spiller Expects To Flourish In 2016 In Saints Offense

New Orleans Saints

Pyro's take: New Orleans Saints RB C.J. Spiller was hampered by a knee injury in 2015 and never got it going with his new team. "It played a big role, because of the style of play that I play, the cutting and stopping, I didn't have that explosion that I'm known for," Spiller said of his disappointing performance last season. Spiller believes that he can "flourish" in the Saints' offense in 2016 if he remains healthy. "This offense is built for my type of skill set. I wouldn't want to be in any other one."

Fantasy Goo: C.J. Spiller could ultimately thrive in the type of offense that the Saints run, but his durability comes into question as it has for the last few years of his career. Spiller played in 13 games for New Orleans in 2015 but only accounted for 351 total yards on 70 touches and two touchdowns, both of which were receptions out of the backfield. Spiller's role on the team remains uncertain as Tim Hightower is penciled in to be the primary handcuff to Mark Ingram. Spiller should be left off of the fantasy radar until he carves himself a more solid spot on the running back rotation. Keep in mind that Spiller's skill set could lead him to become the main receiver out of the backfield, which in previous years has been PPR gold.

06/12/16, 09:31 AM CDT by PK Ripper
Source: www.twitter.com

Colston Vaccum

Michael Thomas

Pyro's take: Thomas is 6'3" tall and a vertical threat. However, the Saints intend to use him as they used Colston in years prior. Brees sat down with Thomas at the beginning of OTAs and discussed how Thomas should deviate from routes in specific coverage schemes. Without hesitation in practice, Thomas recollected the previous conversation and took Brees cue prior to the play, burning the coverage for a deep completion.

Thomas was a burner at Ohio State. The Saints intend to use him as a slot wide-out. It is also noteworthy that Thomas is a nephew to Keyshawn Johnson. Expect regression from Snead if Thomas shows flashes in the preseason.

06/02/16, 10:40 PM CDT by The Archer
Source: www.theneworleansadvocate.com

GM Mickey Loomis said he wants to extend Drew Brees' contract.

DB

Pyro's take: .@Saints GM Mickey Loomis said he hasn't spoken with agent Tom Condon yet but wants to extend @drewbrees contract. @SiriusXMNF

As it stands for 2016, Brees counts $30 million against the Saints' cap.

02/16/16, 10:10 PM CST by Vaaal-verde
Source: twitter.com

GM Mickey Loomis believes injuries were to blame for C.J. Spiller's subpar season i

CP

Pyro's take: .@Saints GM Mickey Loomis said he believes biggest problem in 2015 for @CJSPILLER was injuries. Expects a rebound in 2016. @SiriusXMNFL

Sure, thats what it is. Sean Payton stated on September 28 (just after Week 3) that Spiller was "100 percent." While the Saints can save $3.25 million by cutting Spiller, Loomis' comments suggest the team plans on keeping him.

02/16/16, 10:07 PM CST by Vaaal-verde
Source: twitter.com

Brandon Coleman is "in many ways" the "heir apparent" to Marques Colston.

BC

Pyro's take: “Brandon Coleman who is a big guy out of Rutgers that has done some good things and I think in many ways is the heir apparent to Marques,” Loomis said.

In a Week 16 game gainst the Jacksonville Jaguars, he caught four passes for 45 yards and then followed it up by pulling in five passes for 81 yards during the season finale against Atlanta.



02/16/16, 10:03 PM CST by Vaaal-verde
Source: blogs.theadvocate.com

Saints still has high hopes for restricted free agent TE Josh Hill.

JH

Pyro's take: Mickey Loomis stated about “Josh Hill is a guy that’s been in our building a while now,” Loomis said. “He’s got talent, he’s been for a couple years, he’s kind of been in the background behind Jimmy Graham when he was here and Ben last year as well. He’s got a lot of talent. I know this, he’s a versatile tight end in that he can help us in the pass game and the run game.”

A restricted free agent this offseason, Hill finished 2015 with 16 catches for 120 yards. Watson, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent, finished with 74 receptions for 825 yards.

02/16/16, 09:12 PM CST by Vaaal-verde
Source: blogs.theadvocate.com

Drew Brees said he has yet to have discussions with the Saints about a contract extension.

DB

Pyro's take: Christopher Dabe via Twitter "Drew Brees on ESPN about contract extension: "If conversations are to be had, they haven’t happened yet."

Set to count $30 million against the cap in the final year of his deal, it is widely expected Brees will get a contract extension this offseason.


02/04/16, 10:30 PM CST by Vaaal-verde
Source: twitter.com

Mike Triplett expects Drew Brees to sign a contract extension this offseason.

DB

Pyro's take: Drew Brees doesn’t actually need to take a pay cut to help the Saints’ salary cap for 2016. In fact, they could give him a raise and still save millions against their cap – as long as it comes as part of a multi-year extension.

Brees is due to make $20 million in salary and bonuses this year, which is the final year of his contract. But his salary-cap cost will be $30 million because of all the pro-rated bonus money the Saints have pushed back from previous years.

Brees now ranks ninth among NFL quarterbacks in average salary (behind Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, Ben Roethlisberger, Eli Manning, Philip Rivers, Cam Newton, Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco).

01/24/16, 05:58 PM CST by Vaaal-verde
Source: espn.go.com

Coach Sean Payton will return to the Saints in 2016.

DB

Pyro's take: Ian Rapoport via Twitter "After days of deliberation, I'm told that #Saints coach Sean Payton isn't going anywhere. He and GM Mickey Loomis agreed he's staying. Wow"

Look for Drew Brees to be back as well. The Saints going to try to make another go at it. Payton has two years remaining on his contract.

01/06/16, 11:54 PM CST by Vaaal-verde
Source: twitter.com

Drew Brees (torn plantar fascia) does not need surgery on his right foot.

Db

Pyro's take: Mike Tripplet via Ed Werder via Twitter "#Saints Drew Brees flew to Charlotte to have his foot injury evaluated by Dr. Robert Anderson, per @EdWerderESPN...

Drew Brees will be back in action by the offseason.

01/05/16, 07:21 PM CST by Vaaal-verde
Source: twitter.com

Drew Brees (foot) feeling better

DB

Pyro's take: Mike Tripplett reported that Drew Brees is feeling better and has no concern about his contract.

"That's the last thing I'm thinking about right now," he said.

t's a likely scenario, however, even if the Saints are intent on keeping Brees. He is due to make $20 million in salary and bonuses in the final year of his contract in 2016, with a salary-cap cost of $30 million, the highest for any player since at least 2002, according to ESPN Stats & Information. The Saints could lower that figure by agreeing to a contract extension with Brees.--Mike Tripplett

01/02/16, 04:00 PM CST by Vaaal-verde
Source: espn.go.com

Brees Will start

d

Pyro's take: Brees ws in a walking boot all week. It was reported he was in "terrible, horrible pain". Yet, he is indeed starting today 12-27-15. When he was in last week, with the injury, his passes still look clean dispite his grimaces of pain. This game should be a shoot out, I could easily see this being the higest scoring gmae of the week. Owners will likely have to cross their fingers and hope no further damage comes to Brees. The matchup could deliver FF Points gallore to owners.

12/27/15, 11:05 AM CST by PyromaniacMo
Source:

#Saints RB C.J. Spiller played in 26 snaps on offense, 33.8 percent of total. Both numbers are season highs.

CS

Pyro's take: Evan Woodberry via Twitter "#Saints RB C.J. Spiller played in 26 snaps on offense, 33.8 percent of total. Both numbers are season highs."

Spiller was missing in action up until Monday Night, and so were his actual numbers. He touched the ball only four times for 18 yards, including two rushes for two yards. Tim Hightower is the focal point in this offense.

12/23/15, 03:17 AM CST by Vaaal-verde
Source: twitter.com

49ers waive Travaris Cadet

TC

Pyro's take: Travaris Cadet is probably not going to play the rest of the season.

12/23/15, 03:15 AM CST by Vaaal-verde
Source: twitter.com

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