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New Orleans Saints: Bell ready to toll versus Cowboys

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; METAIRIE - New Orleans Saints running back Mike Bell sat at his cubicle Wednesday with a smile on his face and an ice pack wrapped tightly around his injured right knee. The smile and the ice pack seemed to contradict ...

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Old 12-17-2009, 09:45 AM   #1
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METAIRIE - New Orleans Saints running back Mike Bell sat at his cubicle Wednesday with a smile on his face and an ice pack wrapped tightly around his injured right knee.

The smile and the ice pack seemed to contradict each other, but Bell vowed to be back on the field for Saturday night’s primetime showdown against the Dallas Cowboys at the Superdome after missing Sunday’s close encounter against the Atlanta Falcons.

“I think we’re having a mindset this week,’’ Bell said. “We have to establish our run game, and we have to establish it early. I don’t know how many times we’re going to run the ball. But I know when we do run it, we’re going to be physical and we’re going to get yards because we’re coming in with the mindset.

“This is not your conventional 3-4 defense that we’re facing. They’re really hard to run against.’’

That might not bode well for a Saints offense that has struggled running the ball the past two games against the Falcons and Washington Redskins.

In those games, the Saints rushed 50 times for 150 yards for a pedestrian-like 3.0-yard average. By comparison, the Saints had averaged 4.76 yards per rush through the first 11 games (1,660 yards on 350 carries).

Saints Coach Sean Payton isn’t ready to sound an alarm just yet, in part because the team has found ways to win both games by a field goal and keep their pursuit of perfection intact.

But the lack of running game has forced Saints quarterback Drew Brees to go to the air 89 times, a season-high 49 against the Redskins and 40 more against the Falcons.

Granted, both games ended in victory for the Black and Gold. But those wins are the exception rather than the rule since Brees joined forces with Payton in 2006. Consider: In the previous 22 games when Brees has thrown at least 40 passes in a game, the Saints are 5-17, a dismal .227 winning percentage.

And each time Brees drops back, the potential for injury is always present, which is why the Saints want to restore the roar in their running game, beginning Saturday night against the Cowboys.

Dallas enters the game ranked eighth in the NFL in rushing defense, yielding 100.2 yards per game.

Their strength lies in their front seven, starting up front with defensive ends Marcus Spears of LSU fame (6-4, 309) and Igor Olshansky (6-6, 315) and nose tackle Jay Ratliff (6-4, 303). But their shining star is outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware (6-4, 262), who is questionable after suffering a potentially serious neck injury in Sunday’s 20-17 loss to the San Diego Chargers.

Ware did not practice Wednesday and his status for the game is uncertain.

“This is not your conventional 3-4 defense,’’ Saints right tackle Jon Stinchcomb said. “They play a lot of under, which is like a 4-3 base defense. You’re talking about a matter of 12 inches in their alignments but it makes a difference. With those 3-4 defenses, you got a lot more 2-gap out of their big 3. That frees up some of their linebackers to take different angles and still play other things. It’s definitely a change from a base 4-3.

“They are a very athletic front and they make a lot of plays. Their inside three guys are three big bodies with Joe Ratliff being one of the most athletic nose guards we’ve faced in a 3-4. He’s not like Vince Wilfork in New England; Ratliff moves like an athlete. So your mindset and your approach have to be different because of what they try to take away.’’

Said Bell: “Coach Payton always comes up with a good game plan. We just have to trust the plan and execute.’’

INJURY REPORT

For the third consecutive week, the list of walking wounded includes 18 players, including kicker Garrett Hartley, who apparently injured a hip during pre-game warm-ups before the Atlanta game in the Georgia Dome. Payton did not elaborate on the extent of Hartley’s injury.

Hartley did not practice Wednesday, nor did DT Sedrick Ellis (knee), CB Jabari Greer (groin/abdomen), DE Bobby McCray (back), TE Jeremy Shockey (toe) and RT Jon Stinchcomb (knee).

Ten players practiced on a limited basis, including LB Scott Fujita (knee) and CB Tracy Porter, among others.

One encouraging sign is that WR Lance Moore practiced fully Wednesday for the first time since Halloween. He has missed the past six games while recovering from a high left ankle sprain and an injured hamstring.

Moore actually dressed out against Atlanta and served as the team’s third quarterback, a position he last played as a senior in high school.

“Just being able to dress for the game felt great, and I’m ready to take the next step if they’ll let me,’’ Moore said.

Moore said he hopes to begin shaking off six games worth of rust as soon as possible.

“They want me to be full go in the playoffs, and I believe to be able to be that way and expect to be myself than I have to get some time in before the playoffs,’’ Moore said.

“I’m hoping they’ll let me play Saturday night. It’s already been too long. It has nothing to with the Cowboys or Saturday night or primetime; I could really care less about that. It could be Tulane stadium playing in front of 10 people. I’m just excited about getting out there and playing again.’’

WHAT’S IN A NAME

The Drew Brees rage in recent months has spawned the moniker “Breesus,’’ an obvious spinoff in reference to Jesus that now adorns T-shirts, among other things that are circulating around Who Dat Nation.

“It’s definitely a little sacrilegious,’’ Brees said. “I mean that might be a little far. But it’s obviously a sign of affection and that people respect you and maybe what you stand for. So, in that case, it’s an honor to have people feel that away about you.’’

Several teammates offered their opinions on the nickname.

“That might be a step too far for me,’’ Stinchcomb said. “He’s not only earned the respect of this city but this nation as well. But I don’t think he can offer salvation to anybody.’’

Injured fullback Heath Evans gave his perspective.

“Religious leaders would scream ‘sacrilegious’ and everything else,’’ Evans said. “At the end of the day I guess you can look at it that way. I look at it as Jesus was a sacrificial servant and I think Brees is, too. He’s a leader everyone dies to have on their team.

“Is he Jesus Christ? No. He’d be the first one to say that. But he does a great job of leading this team in a sacrificial manner. I think his Christian faith is a big part of that. He works hard to benefit others. That’s what Jesus did.’’

Said Saints strong safety Roman Harper: “If that’s what fans want to believe about (Brees), I’m not going to knock anybody down for it. I think Drew is a very good player, but I’m not going to call him ‘Breesus.’ I’ll leave that up to the fans.’’

New Orleans Saints: Bell ready to toll versus Cowboys

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Old 12-17-2009, 02:12 PM   #2
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Re: New Orleans Saints: Bell ready to toll versus Cowboys

Cue the band AC/DC---Hells Bells.
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Old 12-18-2009, 12:23 PM   #3
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Re: New Orleans Saints: Bell ready to toll versus Cowboys

I'd like to see Bell have a break-out night and see Moore have a good return to form. What does Lance Moore know about Tulane Stadium???He's been doing his homework it seems. Maybe he can check out a book on "Landshark Stadium". It just might come in handy.

Last edited by darstep; 12-18-2009 at 12:25 PM..
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Old 12-18-2009, 08:25 PM   #4
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Re: New Orleans Saints: Bell ready to toll versus Cowboys

I do not care which of the NO players has a great game. I would like to see them all have a great game.

PLEASE just beat the Cow-Girls. The only team I loathe more is the Falcons.
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