METAIRIE, La. – This was a jam-packed week for New Orleans Saints news. So I wanted to make sure some of the week’s interesting notes and quotes didn’t get left on the cutting-room floor. Here’s some of the best of the rest:
Scouting Hard Knocks? Since the Week 1 opponent Atlanta Falcons were featured on HBO’s training camp documentary “Hard Knocks” this summer, a handful of players were asked if they watched to try and gain any scouting advantage. I know a lot of them were watching, based on their tweets during the opening episode. But I didn’t find any who said they gleaned any scouing tips from it.
Quarterback Drew Brees, a thorough guy who typically turns over every stone, said he simply didn’t have time. (I guess the combination of preparing for the season, recovering from an oblique strain and bringing a new baby into the world adds up to a good excuse.)
Coach Sean Payton, however, did say that the Saints made sure to keep tabs on the all-access show.
“Typically, I would never have the time to watch it,” Payton said, adding, “I don’t even know what channel it’s on.”
“But,” Payton continued, “in this case what you will do is have people that have the time right now maybe scan through the episodes to see if there is something that you might gain from it. You would look to see if there was anything cadence-related, anything personnel-related. Look, there is that conflict that always exists with what they are looking for is not always in the best interest of the team they are covering, despite what they say. I think that our personnel people would pay attention to it and bring something to our attention.”
Cadet the third QB: With longtime former receiver and emergency third quarterback Lance Moore now with the Pittsburgh Steelers, the New Orleans Saints need a new backup backup plan. Payton said they would go with running back Travaris Cadet if needed in a pinch.
“We took out stats and did a study here last week, and the two guys that have played the most amount of quarterback would be Travaris Cadet and Jairus Byrd,” Payton explained. “Now, Jairus Byrd’s numbers were better, but Travaris played in college. So Travaris would probably be someone to handle that role.
“We just recently did that and talked about it. Same thing with the snapper, the punter and the kicker. We’ll have a period tomorrow, just an ‘Are you ready?’ period where hypothetically the long snapper is down, hypothetically the punter is down, hypothetically the kicker is down, and just take a snap. You hope you go through the season and it doesn’t come up, you just have to be prepared if it does.”
Play-calling mystery: Payton, however, did not reveal who will be calling plays for the Saints’ offense this season, joking that, “We’ll probably see how the coin toss goes.” Payton said this summer that he might consider turning those duties back over to offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael Jr., who handled them for most of 2011 and 2012. Either way, both coaches have stressed it will be a collaborative effort. And since they’ve been together since 2006, the offense wouldn’t change much either way.
Worth repeating: When asked what it’s like to face the Falcons without retired tight end Tony Gonzalez, Payton talked for a while about Gonzalez’s great skill set. Then he said, “We sent him his retirement card.”
Worth watching: Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan moonlighted as an actor on FXX’s “The League” this week. He joined Cleveland Browns tight end Jordan Cameron on the episode, which had some fun with their easily-mixed-up names.
Twelve out of 13 ESPN analysts picked the Saints over the Falcons in Week 1. Make it 14 of 15 if you include Vaughn and myself.
ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter talks about the Saints being at the forefront of the growing trend toward investing more in safeties in the NFL.