I hope you’re not sick of hearing 2017 third-rounder Alvin Kamara being liken to Reggie Bush and Darren Sproles. The comparisons will continue, and a red-zone drill session like the one he produced during Saturday’s training camp practice will keep the mentions alive.
The first-year tailback took two consecutive plays into the end zone against the first-team defense to give opposing defenses a glimpse of what might be coming their way during the regular season.
Kamara lined up as the single back behind Drew Brees. The play looked like it was supposed to go up the gut. The hole didn’t exist. Kamara improvised and bounced around the left edge of the offensive line. No one was catching Kamara as he scampered into the end zone.
Kamara lined up in the same spot on the play. Brees gave Kamara a playaction fake to the right. Kamara took his route to out the backfield to the route and made the reception. The Saints tailback then fought through a hit from A.J. Klein around the 2-yard line and dove into the end zone with an outreached arm for the score.
It appears that Kamara will take over as the team's passing down back, a role that has been filled by Sproles and Travaris Cadet in the last few years. He's a sleeper in PPR formats, but with Mark Ingram and Adrian Peterson in the same offense, Kamara is going to have a tough time getting many carries.
Healthy franchise quarterbacks don’t hit the open market. Next year, two of them could.
In addition to Washington’s Kirk Cousins (who threw for more than 4,900 yards last season), Saints quarterback Drew Brees could be available to the highest bidder and/or the best chance to pursue another Super Bowl.
Last year, as Brees was entering the final year of his contract, he signed a one-year extension. Which now puts him in the same place he was a year ago — one season removed from free agency. This time around, however, there is no discussion about an extension.
The team plans to release veteran quarterback Luke McCown, the backup the past four seasons, on Wednesday, according to a source with knowledge of the decision.
Related players - Drew Brees
McCown, 35, initially joined the Saints in 2013. He re-signed on a two-year, $3 million contract during the 2016 offseason, but with the team adding Daniel to the roster, McCown won't have the chance to play on the final year of his deal.
Friday, December 16, 2016, 6:08pm
Saints QB Drew Brees (not injury related) was removed from the injury report Friday. Brees will be out there against the Cardinals, but his home/away splits are not pretty over the last two seasons, and this is a tough matchup.
Thursday, December 15, 2016, 7:16pm
Saints QB Drew Brees (not injury related) was removed from the injury report Thursday after taking limited practice reps Wednesday. Brees will be out there against the Cardinals, but his home/away splits are not pretty over the last two seasons.
Wednesday, December 14, 2016, 7:07pm
Whatever balance the New Orleans Saints appeared to strike on offense three games ago has all but disappeared.
In posting consecutive rushing totals of 50 yards against the Detroit Lions and 46 yards against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Saints have found themselves running the ball far less than they have thrown.
HC Sean Payton attributed some of that lopsidedness to a handful of the season-high 13 penalties in the 16-11 loss Sunday at Tampa Bay. The Saints tried on early downs in the first half to run the ball, as four of their five possessions before halftime began with a running play. But a loss of 3 on a first-and-10 run by Mark Ingram on the second possession put the Saints at second-and-13, and a 10-yard holding penalty by left guard Andrus Peat late in the fourth possession put the Saints at second-and-18, two plays before a field goal trimmed the Saints' deficit to 13-3, the story said.
Brandin Cooks, however, didn't record a target or a catch, and it's not like he wasn't on the field. The third-year pro recorded 45 offensive snaps, which ranked as the second-most among wide receivers behind rookie Michael Thomas' 50.
According to the story, Cooks is apparently just fine and the Saints had plays designed to get him involved. The story went on to say while the Saints could have devised a specific scheme to get Cooks the ball if the coaching staff chose to force the issue, the offense didn't need its top downfield threat against the Rams.
Coach Sean Payton said earlier this week that he’d like to see more consistency from his tight end, Coby Fleener. But no one is ringing an alarm or throwing their hands up at this early juncture.
“Listen, I’ve had more time with guys like Brandin Cooks, Willie (Snead), Brandon Coleman, even Michael Thomas at this point because Coby was banged up a little in the offseason,” quarterback Drew Brees said. “The more time that we get together, the more the confidence builds, the more you find everyone’s role in all of this. I’m confident as we progress here that he’s going to be an even bigger part of the offense.”
It hasn't been a good start for Fleener, but the story notes that Ben Watson only had five catches for 31 yards at this point last season (on nine targets) and he finished with 74 catches for 825 yards. If possible, Fleener should be benched until he starts to produce, but it's too early to send him packing.
It looks like they will get the deal done.
PFT has learned, via a league source, that the two sides are close on an agreement that would keep Brees in New Orleans beyond the expiration of his contract at the end of the 2016 season.
PFT added there’s no word on the total figures or length of the deal, but it’s likely to be one that runs to a point when the next question for Brees will be whether he’s retiring or not. Brees is now surrounded by a young group of very talented WRs and he should continue to produce fantasy numbers as long as he stays healthy.
The Saints’ starting offensive line has been abysmal, both in pass protection and the run game.
There is still plenty of confidence the unit can turn things around in time for the real thing. It’s not like the Saints' scheme or personnel has changed drastically from last season, when they had the NFL’s No. 2 offense.
But there also wasn’t a lot of sugarcoating going on after Friday night’s 27-14 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“I know this -- I don’t think that I’ve ever felt as responsible for our team doing poorly as I think we do as a group right now,” Saints veteran right tackle Zach Strief said. “That’s tough, and yet we deserve it, and it will be on us to change it. Nobody else.”
The biggest concern has to be the guard position, which is the only position that has changed since last season, after the Saints decided to part ways with veteran Jahri Evans, the story said. Of course, with guys like Brees, WR Brandin Cooks and RB Mark Ingram being relevant fantasy options in drafts, this is something to take note of.
Words and tone from Drew Brees and Sean Payton have told a lot about the Saints' newest tight end. My translation: The Saints yearn for more from Coby Fleener. The former Colts tight end hasn't been reliable enough lately on catching passes. He also isn't on the same page with Brees on some routes. Maybe I'm reading too much into things, but I feel like I've seen Josh Hill more involved in the passing game the last couple of practices. Maybe the weird drop to third team in a Saints "unofficial" depth chart really was a message.
This report came a few days after Sean Payton said that Fleener is still a "work in progress." Brees has spoken very favorably of Fleener this offseason, but the latest buzz isn't terribly encouraging. Fleener has a ton of upside in this offense but he's suddenly looking a bit risky. We're still buying, but we've moved him behind Delanie Walker and Travis Kelce, who are more established in their respective offenses.
It's easy to see the things Coby Fleener does well on a football field.
The 6-foot-6 tight end can get open, catch the ball and run downfield, and in a New Orleans Saints offense in which quarterback Drew Brees likes to throw to tight ends, Fleener should have plenty of chances to showcase those skills.
However, some of the finer points of the position could limit Fleener's opportunities as he adjusts to a new offense.
inRead invented by Teads
"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."
As the story pointed out, he's clearly the top tight end for the passing game, both from his performance this summer and his five-year, $36 million contract. Josh Hill bobbling a pass from Brees that resulted in an interception by rookie cornerback De'Vante Harris only provided another reason to think Fleener will be the main target in the tight end group. However HC Sean Payton said there's a lot more to being a TE than catching passes and Fleener still has some work to do.
It's safe to say New Orleans Saints tight end Coby Fleener is still trying to learn the nuances of playing with Drew Brees after playing with the same quarterback for his entire college and NFL career in Andrew Luck.
Brees is still learning Fleener's game, of course. Yet Fleener seems well aware of who's the boss and it's more about learning Brees than vice versa.
"There's absolutely some catching up to do on my part," Fleener said after Day 4 of training camp practices Sunday at The Greenbrier. "Drew can write the playbook if he wanted to. He's just that well versed in what we're doing.
The last two days displayed how quickly the two are coming along the story said. It added Brees connected with Fleener on a few intermediate routes in team drills, and also a one-armed grab with a ball thrown behind him in team drills. On Sunday, Brees hit Fleener perfectly on a deep seam route for a long touchdown connection.
Wednesday, July 27, 2016, 7:39pm
"We haven't made any progress," general manager Mickey Loomis said Wednesday evening when asked for an update on contract negotiations with the franchise quarterback.
Brees, who's entering the final year of his contract, told ESPN last week that he'd like to have a new deal in place by the start of the regular season, and when asked about that deadline Loomis said, "That's fine."
Both Loomis and Payton said they don't expect the lack of an extension to be a distraction for the 37-year-old quarterback during training camp.
- Page 1