Black & Gold Q&A: Bradley Handwerger
Q: With impending free agency and increasing salaries, how you do see our running back situation playing out in the offseason?
A: That’s a very good question, especially after the way we saw the Ravens game go.
I know that Pierre Thomas is a team player and says all the right things, but this summer’s contract non-negotiations and his two-month injury didn’t help him much in the eyes of the Saints money men. I think he’d like to stay here, but my guess is he’ll take a stronger look elsewhere first.
Chris Ivory has shown, also, that Pierre Thomas isn’t a necessary commodity for the team. Sure, Thomas runs screen passes like no other player on the Saints roster, but Ivory’s straight-forward running style is what Thomas is. Ivory certainly sticks around but the way this team finds rookie undrafted free agent running backs, nobody would seem safe.
I can see Julius Jones saying goodbye after this season just as easily I can see him sticking around.
And then there’s Reggie Bush. Nice guy, average player. I suspect, though, that Sean Payton loves Reggie and Reggie loves Sean and that means he’ll stick around here. He’ll restructure his contract is my guess and be with the Saints for a bit longer.
Q: How impressed are you by the play of the Atlanta Falcons this year? Are they the team to beat in the NFC?
A: Simply put, yes, they’re the team to beat in the NFC. They’ve been the most consistent team this season in the conference and appear to be just like the Saints a season ago. What needs to go right, has been. You could see this coming before the season; it’s why they were everyone’s pick for NFC South division winner and a Super Bowl contender.
Matt Ryan is solid, the running game is stout, Roddy White is hard to stop and the defense is coming up big when it needs to. I’m very impressed with their discipline and will to win.
Q: What worries you most the most about the Saints should we make it to the postseason?
A: I think a lot of people would say the Saints’ inability to stop the run game. But let’s be honest, I think Sunday was an aberration more than anything. They’ve been solid against the run for most of the year.
What I’d be worried about is two-fold: Special teams coverage and Sean Payton’s penchant for going away from the run game for long periods. The coverage units have been mostly pitiful and it crept up against the Ravens.
Meanwhile, 14 runs in an important road game isn’t going to cut it. The Saints had every chance to win against Baltimore, but by the end of the game, the Ravens figured out that New Orleans wouldn’t run the ball and came after Drew Brees.
Q: Finish this sentence: If the Saints don't win the Superbowl___________
A: …the past two years have still been exceptional. At this moment, the Saints are 23-7 during the regular season since the beginning of the 2009 season and 26-7 overall. Even if they were to split the final two – and I believe they win the final two – that’s a spectacular two-year run for a franchise that was hammered by Hurricane Katrina just five years ago.
Q: With the way Jenkins has been playing...do you see us letting Sharper walk?
A: I think the Saints let Sharper walk and when Sharper realizes that he won’t get a great deal on the open market, he’ll likely return. That is, I think that if Gregg Williams returns as defensive coordinator.
Q: What positions do you think the Saints should Draft? (Lb or DT, DE ETC.)
A: In no particular order, LB, DE, DT, OT
Q: Will we see Kiwi Mitchell anytime soon?
A: We saw him a little bit Sunday, but I would suspect he’ll begin to work his way into some more sets by this week. He’s athletic, has good size and gives them a legitimate backup or fourth linebacker.
Q: Is Cassillas the answer at OLB next year?
A: I don’t know, honestly. We barely got to see him this season before he was injured. He has lots of upside and the coaching staff likes what he gives them. But if they can find good value in the draft, I suspect they’d go after one there.
breesfan27 (AKA Mrs. Drew Brees) asks:
Q: What are the chances we keep Pierre Thomas?
A: As I said earlier, probably not good. With Chris Ivory playing well this season, we’ve seen that Thomas is somewhat expendable. Thomas is a good player who brings a lot to the table, but don’t forget that he was an undrafted rookie free agent when he signed with New Orleans. In other words, another guy like Thomas can be found again.
Q: Do you see Gregg Williams staying after we win the Superbowl?
A: Well, that’s quite presumptuous, don’t you think? That means you think he’ll entertain thoughts of leaving! But seriously, it’ll have to be the right situation. I think he enjoys having Drew Brees on the other side of the ball because that helps him as much as he helps Brees. But if the money is right and the situation is right, I suspect he’d leave.
Q: We love Jim Henderson....How long do you think he will keep performing his game announcing duties for the Saints? We sincerely hope he does not hang them up soon.
A: You’re in luck. Jim enjoys calling games as much as we all enjoy him calling games. I think you’ll be listening to the smooth styling of James “Hondo” Henderson for a long time.
Q: Junior Gallet. Hype or hope?
Q: What's happened to Meachem this season? (Seems as if he just disappears from the offense until we go deep.)
A: I think early on his toe injury (he had offseason surgery on one of his toes) hampered him. Now I think it’s just a matter of the offense doesn’t pick out just one person. At times, we’ve seen Marques Colston disappear (early this season). We’ve seen Devery Henderson disappear. We wondered where Lance Moore was early in the year. Plays for Meachem are called and will continue to be. He’ll reappear.
Bradley Handwerger is a Sports Reporter for Eyewitness Sports in New Orleans - WWLTV.COM
Good Stuff. I didn't get any questions in this time around. Will we be doing this again?
We're very excited he did this with our site and hopefully many more will come. Sorry we didn't open it up to the whole board at first as we didn't want to get our hopes up too high and it not happen. Thumbs up to Bradley Handwerger for being a good sport and a big shout out to Halo finishing off the details.
I don't think it's that he doesn't think much of PT, I think it's the fact we've always been able to find these diamond in the rough players and getting them to play at a high level... making essentially everyone back there replaceable. Unless Reggie restructures and takes that 11 million, making it some sort of guaranteed bonus spread over multiple of years with a lower base salary, I just don't see him coming back. Sexy player on paper, but definitely production wise... an average player.
Question for BH:
With the Roddy White twittering flames do you think this is reaching the locker room throughout or is this something players deal with regularly and it's all in fun and no one's really affected by this.
BTW Roddy did slam the city the fans and the coach in his twitter flame remarks.. Nothing really hurtful but it's like their team is laughing at the Saints accomplishments and saying it was a feel good gift, and we should just fall back..
Next question for BH:
With this up-coming game, coming off a loss we were exploited for a lot of weaknesses, many fans already know is Shanle, but Jenkins could also be a liability to us as well with his hot/cold gameday showings..
Who do you think Matt Ryan will target?
Also we already know Falcons are going to run the ball, past couple of games we have been tackling very poorly, how do you think Saints will counter this?
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