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Brees Believes in his O-Line

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Brian Allee-Walsh - New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees flashed a boyish smile Wednesday when asked about a topic near and dear to his fleur de lis-shaped heart. “I feel like we’ve got one of the best O-lines, if not ...

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Old 01-22-2010, 11:31 AM   #1
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Brian Allee-Walsh - New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees flashed a boyish smile Wednesday when asked about a topic near and dear to his fleur de lis-shaped heart.

“I feel like we’ve got one of the best O-lines, if not the best O-line, in the league,’’ he said without hesitation. “They really take a lot of pride in keeping me clean and doing the job and being physical, being nasty.

“That’s why I love them.’’

The feeling is mutual, according to one of Brees’ five in-game body guards, whose primary job will be to keep him “clean’’ in Sunday’s NFC Championship game against the Minnesota Vikings at the Superdome.

The winner advances to Super Bowl XLIV on Feb. 7 at the newly-named Sun Life Stadium in Miami.

“We don’t like to see Drew get hit,’’ Saints center Jonathan Goodwin said. “We feel a certain way about it because we feel like if we can protect Drew, he can pick any defense apart. So when we see him getting hit and we’re giving up sacks, it’s kind of a letdown for our offensive line.

“They definitely have a D-line that can destroy a game plan if you let them. So, it’s going to be big for us to keep Drew protected and give him plenty of time in the pocket.’’

The outcome of Sunday’s game may well be decided in the trenches where one of the league’s top defensive lines (Minnesota) will man up against one of the league’s top offensive lines (New Orleans).

The Vikings’ front four features two Pro Bowl starters (end Jared Allen and tackle Kevin Williams), a third who easily could have been a Pro Bowl starter (tackle Pat Williams), and a fourth (end Ray Edwards) who played like one in their 34-3 mauling of the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday in Minneapolis.

The Saints will counter with three of their own Pro Bowl players (right tackle Jon Stinchcomb, right guard Jahri Evans and Goodwin), a second alternate (left guard Carl Nicks) and left tackle Jermon Bushrod.

Bushrod has the unenviable task of going head up against Allen, a Tasmanian devil-like pass rusher who finished the regular season with 14 ½ sacks.

Bushrod has filled in admirably for two-time Pro Bowl left tackle Jammal Brown, who has missed the entire season because of sports hernia and hip surgeries. If there is a weak link along the Saints O-line, it is Bushrod but only because their other four starters are all established veterans.

“(Allen) is high motor guy, has great skills with great ability and is just an all-around good player,’’ Bushrod said. “We’re going to have to be firing on all cylinders to have success, so Drew can get that ball out of his hands. We have to go into this game with the mindset that it’s going to be all day.

“He’s going to have to be accounted for on every play, play in and play out.’’

Bushrod’s position typically means he will draw an opponent’s top pass rusher and Sunday is no different.

This season, he has faced some of the NFL’s elite pass rushers – Carolina’s Julius Peppers, Atlanta’s John Abraham, Osi Umenyiora and Jason Tuck of the New York Giants, Dallas’ DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer, Miami’s Jason Taylor and Joey Porter, Philadelphia’s Trent Cole and Washington’s Brian Orakpo, among others.

Spencer and Ware caused fits for Bushrod the night Dallas snapped New Orleans’ 13-game winning streak, combining on four sacks and two forced fumbles in the Cowboys’ 24-17 victory at the Superdome.

After the game, a crestfallen Bushrod sat at his cubicle as teammates filed out of the locker room, coming to grips with the fact that he had been victimized for two of the Cowboys sacks and both forced fumbles.

“After the game it kind of hit me hard,’’ Bushrod said. “But the next day I had to let it go because if I didn’t let it go, then it was going to determine how I play the rest of the year. I couldn’t have that leaning down on my shoulders knowing what we were capable of doing.’’

Evans summed of the offensive line's assignment against the Vikings front four this way.

“Every time Drew gets flustered, or we don’t do as well as we want to do in pass protection, we do take it personally,’’ Evans said. “This week is going to be an even bigger task because these guys know how to get to the quarterback. They get to the quarterback better than anybody in the league.

“That’s one thing that we got to do this week. We got to keep Drew protected to be successful.’’

GOODWIN NAMED PRO BOWL STARTER

Goodwin learned Wednesday that he has been added to the NFC squad as a starter. He replaces Cowboys’ center Andre Gurode, who has pulled out of the game after sustaining an unspecified injury against the Vikings.

It will mark Goodwin’s first trip to the Pro Bowl, though he has no intention of playing in the game Jan. 31 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami, a week before Super Bowl XLIV at the same venue.

“It feels great to be recognized like that, especially since I’ve been in the league for eight years and I spent the first six years pretty much as a backup,’’ said Goodwin, who thanked Saints Coach Sean Payton for giving him an opportunity to start when center Jeff Faine signed with Tampa Bay during free agency after the 2007 season.

INJURY REPORT

The Saints opened game preparations for the Vikings on Wednesday. Five players are on the week’s initial injury report: CB Malcolm Jenkins (hamstring), TE Jeremy Shockey (knee), WR Robert Meachem (ankle) and FS Darren Sharper (knee) did not practice. DE Bobby McCray (back) fully practiced.

ROSTER UPDATE

The team promoted second-year wide receiver Adrian Arrington from their practice squad to their 53-man roster Wednesday, filling the vacancy created by the retirement of running back Deuce McAllister.

The 6-foot-3, 192 pound Arrington was released prior to the start of the 2009 season. He was hurt most of the two years he spent with New Orleans after being drafted in the seventh round in 2008.

It is the first time on the 53-man roster for Arrington.

Arrington's signing is a hedge against the possibility of Meachem being unavailable for Sunday's game. Meachem hurt his left ankle in the Saints' 45-14 divisional playoff round victory against the Arizona Cardinals last Saturday at the Superdome.

Also, team officials signed former LSU defensive tackle Marlon Favorite (6-1, 317) to the practice squad. Favorite, who played at West Jefferson High School, went undrafted in 2009.

WORTH REPEATING

“I’m not single but I’m not married, either.’’ _ A smiling Saints RB Reggie Bush told reporters when asked about reports that he will marry his girlfriend Kim Kardashian if the Saints win the Super Bowl.


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Old 01-22-2010, 01:14 PM   #2
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Re: Brees Believes in his O-Line

What I took from this article was that Coach Payton has been stressing the passing game more than the running game. I haven't heard anyone saying that they were going to open holes for the running backs yet. That tells me to expect a lot of passes to be thrown Sunday. Make them protect the pass then eat them up with PT and Bush. It sounds like a plan for success to me.
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Old 01-22-2010, 01:29 PM   #3
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Re: Brees Believes in his O-Line

Three of the five are Pro-Bowlers, I would be too.
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Old 01-22-2010, 06:08 PM   #4
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Re: Brees Believes in his O-Line

Originally Posted by QBREES9 View Post
Three of the five are Pro-Bowlers, I would be too.
exactly what i was thinking

3 pro bowlers on the offensive line

and a LG that could've easily made it any other year

the only one to really worry about is bushrod but with help, he is fine to be left out there
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Old 01-22-2010, 06:19 PM   #5
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Re: Brees Believes in his O-Line

everyone that called our games had nothing but praise about big carl nicks but he got shuned for the pro bowl.
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