Longtime New Orleans Saints kicker Morten Andersen was named among the 25 semifinalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2014. Andersen, who spent the first 13 seasons of his 25-year career with the Saints, is the NFL’s all-time leading scorer with 2,544 points.
Andersen was also a semifinalist last year, but he didn’t make the cut down to 15 finalists.
Meanwhile, the Saints are well represented in this year’s Pro Bowl fan voting so far. They’re the only team with two players in the top 10 – quarterback Drew Brees at No. 2 (540,036 votes) and tight end Jimmy Graham at No. 7 (376,637 votes).
Brees on the rise: Brees needs 38 passing yards Thursday night against Atlanta to move ahead of Warren Moon into fifth place on the NFL’s all-time passing yards list. Brees is currently at 49,288 yards in his 13th NFL season.
It will take a special performance, however, for Brees to move ahead of Denver quarterback Peyton Manning in Dan Graziano’s MVP Watch for ESPN.com. Brees stayed put as a solid No. 2 this week.
Breakthrough win? The Saints will try to win for the first time ever on the NFL Network. So far, they’re 0-for-3 in prime-time games on the NFL Network (a Thursday-night loss at Atlanta last year, a Saturday-night loss at home to Dallas in 2009 and a Thursday-night loss at Chicago in 2008).
Film study extra: I forgot to add Travaris Cadet’s 82-yard kickoff return against San Francisco to my offensive film study this week, but I didn’t want the great play to be ignored.
Cadet caught the ball 3 yards deep in the end zone and followed the two-man wedge provided by blockers Jed Collins and Glenn Foster. Up-back Pierre Thomas also provided a big-time block early in the return to help clear a lane for Cadet. Tight end Josh Hill added a key block further down the field, while Cadet did a smooth job of navigating through the traffic at top speed.
Lofton shines: Also, in case you missed it, here is my defensive film study from the 49ers game. The Saints did a lot of things right in the game, including a standout performance from inside linebacker Curtis Lofton. Pro Football Focus gave Lofton his highest grade of the season (+3.7).
Worth a click:
ESPN’s Falcons reporter Vaughn McClure got some great insight from veteran tight end Tony Gonzalez, who insisted the team has not quit on coach Mike Smith.
ESPN columnist Ashley Fox weighed in on the debate over 49ers linebacker Ahmad Brooks’ penalized hit against Brees by pointing out that, like it or not, quarterbacks get protected for a reason.
WWLTV’s Thanh Truong wrote this touching piece on how longtime Saints equipment assistant Steve Landry remains close with the team while battling ALS.