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Good Article from Saints Blogger


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The New Orleans Saints (10-4) will have an issue Monday night in the Georgia Dome. Just how much do they want to try and play up tempo against the Atlanta Falcons?

The Saints have a no huddle offense, of course, and they can spray the ball around and gas the defense with a lot of different weapons.

But what if the Falcons go on one of their long drives with their no huddle? What if they keep the Saints' defense out on the field?

Then, if New Orleans uses its no huddle and they have a quick three-and-out, the defense is right back out on the field. That defense could be awfully tired. The game could have some pivotal moments in the first quarter.

It could be the Saints try and get a conventional first down with scripted plays and then go to the no huddle. Either way, there will be a chess match Monday night.

"The challenge is that you have to be smart," coach Sean Payton said. "If you decide to use it and your defense needs rest because they've been out on the field, you can be right back out on the field defensively. There was a time in the (Baltimore) game in the first half where we were contemplating going into it and our defense was on the field. We stayed away from it.

"We used it at the end of the second quarter and then hurried up a few other times. But that was our plan going in."

Payton said he wanted the game with the Ravens, a 30-24 loss, to be up tempo. One of the reasons was the Saints did not have running back Chris Ivory and they are still trying to work Pierre Thomas back in the mix. New Orleans cannot play a ball control type game.

"We wanted this game to be an up-tempo game," Payton said. "We wanted to make this game one that was a back and forth game played as opposed to that ball control. We wanted this game to have a lot of snaps. We got some of that, but not enough of it offensively."

Extra Points

• Payton said Monday that kickoff return man Courtney Roby has been cleared to play. He suffered a concussion against the Rams in Week 13 and missed Sunday's game in Baltimore. Pierre Thomas averaged 22 yards on five returns, but Reggie Bush had 32 yards on one return. He does not typically return kickoffs.

• Payton said the Saints did not even work out Ivory before the Ravens game. They had been hopeful during the week he might be able to play after suffering a hamstring injury against the Rams, but he was held out.

"We were hoping he would feel better in the morning but I think he'll be closer this week," Payton said.

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