Kristian: Saints trying to put road woes in rear view mirror
by Kristian Garic,posted Sep 4 2014 4:02PM
Road Struggles: The Saints had a nice rebound season in 2013, going 11-and-5 and 1-and-1 in the playoffs before falling 23-15 to the Seattle Seahawks in the divisional round. The Saints were unbeaten on the road but surprisingly struggled on the road on their way to a 3-and-5 mark away from the Superdome. Three of the Saints five road losses were by six points or less. “One of the points of emphasis in the offseason on offense was finish and securing a game, there were times where we got into our four minute (offense,) and you need a first down, and we have to do a better job with that,” explained Sean Payton. The Saints rank top three in the NFL on the road under Sean Payton at 35-29 since 2006, and second by New England at 23-17 since 2009.
Griffin back on the practice squad: The Saints officially announced the re-signing of QB Ryan Griffin to the practice squad today, also waiving LB Todd Davis from the practice squad. Griffin said he was a little caught off guard after initially making the final roster on Saturday “Yeah, when it happened it happened I didn’t know it was coming!” Griffin said. While it might be harsh, it’s reality of the NFL. Aside from a very few players, nobody's roster spots is completely secure, especially on roster cut-down day, and the days after. The really good teams like the Saints have mastered the art of manipulating that bottom part of the roster and practice squad.
Uh-Oh Julio: The Saints don't have to defend Atlanta tight end Tony Gonzalez this Sunday, as he retired at the end of 2013. That's a welcome change for the Saints and Payton: "He's a guy that did it forever, it seems like. We sent him his retirement card." Now the problem becomes wide receiver Julio Jones, who's coming off a foot injury that kept him out of the final eleven games last season. "You have to be aware of where he is on the field every play. He's got great size, great athleticism, he can run, and has fabulous hands." Payton said they'll mix up the coverages and try and keep Atlanta guessing as to how they're covering Jones.
Stills a no go: Saints WR Kenny Stills did not practice today, and he was limited in practice on Wednesday. Stills injured his quad on the first day of training camp, and played briefly in the preseason against the Colts and re-aggravated the injury in that game. Safety Marcus Ball and fullback Erik Lorig both sat out of practice again today. Ball and Lorig are yet to practice this week. Lorig is listed on the injury report with an ankle injury.