Saints morning report: Quotable and notable

There was no shortage of quality material for the “Worth repeating” section of the New Orleans Saints morning report on Wednesday. So that’s where we’ll kick things off.

Graham hot: When asked how to defend a unique playmaker like Saints tight end Jimmy Graham, Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Mel Tucker replied, “How much time do you have?”

“He’s a huge challenge. He’s a mismatch nightmare,” Tucker continued. “He runs like a fast wide receiver, he’s got excellent catch radius, he’s a fierce competitor, his quarterback looks for him, and he feels like every ball that’s thrown to him he should catch it. He’s very effective, so whether he’s in a core or split out in the slot or the No. 1 receiver out wide, he’s everywhere. And they do a great job with formations, just in general in their scheme. Sean [Payton] and those guys do a phenomenal job of shifts and formations and different types of looks, trying to create mismatches. It’s a huge challenge for us.”

Saints' run game cold: When asked what’s not working in the Saints’ run game, Saints offensive tackle Zach Strief also replied, “How long do you have?”

Strief said it’s been a little bit of everything. Yes, he said, the Saints have had some problems adjusting to the new outside zone blocking scheme they instituted this year. But that’s not the only problem.

“I could stand here and say 'yes' to every question,” Strief said. “Is there an adjustment? Yes, there’s an adjustment. But that doesn’t explain ‘power’ getting blown up for negative-two yards. We’ve run it since the first day I got here.”

Strief did insist, however, that the work is being done off the field and, “We all have faith that it’s a matter of time before the work eventually pays off.”

Man hugs: Strief on facing longtime former teammate Jermon Bushrod and longtime former offensive line coach Aaron Kromer, who are now with the Bears: “I’m sure we’ll do a little man-hug before the game and after the game. And during the game, I’ll do everything I can to make sure they’re unhappy.”

He later added, “I hope Bushy plays his best game of the year in a losing effort.”

Mighty Mouse: Saints quarterback Drew Brees on dynamic 5-foot-6, 190-pound running back Darren Sproles: “He’s pound for pound one of the best football players I’ve ever played with.”

Gym rat: Bears coach Marc Trestman on Brees: “A gym rat since the day he got there who studies and works and won’t take anything but perfection.”


  • ESPN.com columnist Ashley Fox writes that Graham is now second to none among NFL tight ends. No argument here.

  • WWLTV.com’s Bradley Handwerger broke down a list of each of the 15 games that earned Brees a NFC Offensive Player of the Week nod since he joined the Saints in 2006, including this past Monday night against the Miami Dolphins.

  • The Advocate’s Ramon Antonio Vargas on Bushrod’s big year

  • The Times-Picayune’s Larry Holder’s weekly film study led with a breakdown of Sproles’ explosive performance against the Dolphins

  • A montage, courtesy of the Saints, after the first time the Saints and NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans both practiced at their joint facility on the same day.