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AFC North coaches talk about playing New Orleans Saints

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; AFC North coaches talk about playing New Orleans Saints By James Varney, The Times-Picayune March 24, 2010, 10:00AM Michael DeMocker / The Times-PicayuneThe Cincinnati Bengals are more familiar with the New Orleans Saints because the teams have faced each other ...

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Old 03-28-2010, 07:43 AM   #1
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AFC North coaches talk about playing New Orleans Saints

By James Varney, The Times-Picayune

March 24, 2010, 10:00AM

Michael DeMocker / The Times-PicayuneThe Cincinnati Bengals are more familiar with the New Orleans Saints because the teams have faced each other recently in the preseason, including last year.


ORLANDO, FLA. -- There's nothing newfangled about the Pittsburgh Steelers, and that is true whether they are playing hated Cleveland or, as they will in 2010, largely unknown New Orleans.

Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin said it's the gladiatorial spirit that moves Pittsburgh, not the opponent.

"I respect everybody that we step in stadiums and play," Tomlin said Tuesday during the AFC coaches' breakfast at the NFL owners' meeting.


"But ultimately, I think this is a man vs. themselves or team vs. themselves kind of game. That's the approach that I take in terms of preparing our football team, and that's the mentality that I want our football team to have walking into stadiums.

"We respect the heck out of those guys and what they were able to do in '09. They're well deserved; they're awesome champions. But that won't be in the front of my mind as we step in to New Orleans to play those guys in 2010."

The Steelers and the AFC North division they often win will be very much on the Saints' minds this upcoming season. That's the AFC division the Saints have drawn in the schedule, which means one quarter of the Saints' games in 2010 will be against the AFC North. How the Saints play against that division and their own -- 10 of their 16 games -- will go a long way to determining postseason status.

Tomlin said he was "marginally" familiar with the Saints.

"I'm pretty conscious of the personnel around the league," he said, describing himself as a "personnel-beatnik man."

"If you're in this thing long enough, you get familiar with the personalities of the men that kind of orchestrate, or formulate or put it together."

That sort of connection also explains why Cincinnati Bengals Coach Marvin Lewis said the Saints aren't as mysterious as they might appear at first glance.

"We actually played them every preseason the last three years, so we feel pretty close to that," Lewis said. "Played them four years ago. We practice against them, and Sean (Payton) is there. Actually, they're one of the teams that we may not play a lot that we have a lot of familiarity with because of Sean and our friendship and Mike Zimmer and their friendship."

Zimmer is the defensive coordinator for the Bengals and his son, Adam, is an assistant linebackers coach for the Saints.

"It's one team that we follow pretty closely," Lewis said. "You know Mike's son was coaching there. They had a lot of Mike's former players from Dallas on their defensive football team, and it's one team that we don't play all that much -- but we're probably as familiar with them as any non-divisional team we'll play."

Neither Lewis nor Tomlin would touch a question about how the Saints appearance on a schedule has gone from a blessing to a curse in a short time.

"I don't have probable Ws because this is the National Football League," Lewis said sharply. "They circle us, and we circle them -- and then we go at it."

Generally speaking, a team has an extensive library of information on divisional opponents. Cleveland Browns Coach Eric Mangini said he and new general manager Mike Holmgren and the staff soon will make a book on the Saints, but that might prove a moot exercise.

"It's a little bit tougher," Mangini said. "What we do during the offseason is, we study every team based on last year -- and you'll do an offseason report on a team to get familiar with as much as you can, big-picture wise.



Depending on where you face them during the season, it's going to tie in to how much that's used. If it's early in the season, you may look at that more, because that's the only tape you have outside of the early preseason games."

Baltimore Ravens Coach John Harbaugh said it wasn't only a lack of familiarity with the Saints that worried him.

"It's tough, especially when they're the champions," he said. "We haven't really dealt with the Saints. It's not a team that we played last year; it's not a team we prepare for. I just know Sean Payton, and I've known Sean for, oh, 20 years, and what a great coach he is. He's a brilliant offensive coach, and he's a really good leader, so you always kind of knew the Saints were there."

What he doesn't know yet, and may not know for sure until next month, is when the Saints will be on the other sideline.

"And unless we're playing them first, I'm not going to think too much about them," Harbaugh said. "We'll see when the schedule comes out. Have you seen a schedule yet? If we open up with the Saints, then we're going to get real interested in them real fast."


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Old 03-28-2010, 08:30 AM   #2
 
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Re: AFC North coaches talk about playing New Orleans Saints

No locker room material yet ... good politically correct speak for now! It's going to be a great year in Saints Football. as we'll be introduced in every game this year as The Defending NFL Champions! WHO DAT .... TWO DAT!
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Old 03-28-2010, 12:14 PM   #3
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Re: AFC North coaches talk about playing New Orleans Saints

The Steelers still annoy me but I'm starting to respect Mike Tomlin more with the way he's handled the Roethlisberger fiascos and the Steelers in general. I thought he was just a young gun who lucked into getting a loaded team, but starting to think he's a decent coach too.
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Old 03-28-2010, 01:04 PM   #4
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Re: AFC North coaches talk about playing New Orleans Saints

Originally Posted by neugey View Post
The Steelers still annoy me but I'm starting to respect Mike Tomlin more with the way he's handled the Roethlisberger fiascos and the Steelers in general. I thought he was just a young gun who lucked into getting a loaded team, but starting to think he's a decent coach too.
The verdict is still out on the loaded team statement. They didn't do too well last year. Although it still has to be difficult to win the superbowl stacked team or not. While I wouldn't say Tomlin is top 30 all time if he makes the playoffs this year he could crack 30
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Old 03-28-2010, 03:28 PM   #5
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Re: AFC North coaches talk about playing New Orleans Saints

The Steelers suck. We could beat them by 20.
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Old 03-28-2010, 05:41 PM   #6
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Re: AFC North coaches talk about playing New Orleans Saints

It will be a very interesting season! Can't wait!
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Old 03-29-2010, 01:21 PM   #7
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Re: AFC North coaches talk about playing New Orleans Saints

I'm not ready for a new season yet. I'm still savoring the SB championship

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Old 03-29-2010, 10:35 PM   #8
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Re: AFC North coaches talk about playing New Orleans Saints

Originally Posted by neugey View Post
The Steelers still annoy me but I'm starting to respect Mike Tomlin more with the way he's handled the Roethlisberger fiascos and the Steelers in general. I thought he was just a young gun who lucked into getting a loaded team, but starting to think he's a decent coach too.

With all the trouble their having right now. Will see.
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Old 03-29-2010, 10:43 PM   #9
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Re: AFC North coaches talk about playing New Orleans Saints

The Steelers suck. We'll be lucky if those cheap shot artists don't take out one of our marquis players.
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Old 03-29-2010, 10:51 PM   #10
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Re: AFC North coaches talk about playing New Orleans Saints

Their Quaterback might be jail.
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