Kristian's quick hits: Saints not ''elite'' & O-line beat up
by Kristian Garic,posted Nov 3 2011 8:40AM
Saints... Elite Team? Not yet:
A reporter asked Saints quarterback Drew Brees if the Saints are an elite team.
You would have been able to put them in that category after their week 7 pasting of Indianapolis 62-7. However, you can't put them in the elite category after losing to the previously winless Rams 31-21 in week 8. Brees agreed, "I believe we have the ability to be, but we haven't proven it yet. We gotta win games like the one last week. We have to be able to put together good performances consistently… Show that we can win in a lot of different ways."
The Saints are not an elite team. That's not to say they can't get there over the next 8 games. They're a good team, but they aren't on the same level as the Packers, and for that matter, I don't know that they are on the level as the 49ers right now. I'm just calling it like I see it. Furthermore, elite teams win on the road. All of the Saints loses this season have been away from the Superdome. What's that tell you?
The injury bug has hammered this unit this season. The Saints have now placed offensive tackle Charles Brown on injured reserve, ending his season. In his place the Saints signed offensive lineman Ray Willis. He played six seasons in Seattle and has been on the couch since the Dolphins cut him in training camp.
Tackle Zack Strief is back from injury and will start Sunday against the Buc's. Strief has been missing since week 3 against Houston. Running back Mark Ingram did not practice as the Saints returned to the practice field this week, as he continues to recover from a bruised heel. Also, middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma missed practice.
Coach Payton said, "He's further along this Wednesday than he was last Wednesday." Vilma has battled a knee injury for most of the season, and he missed one game as a result. Tight end David Thomas finally looks as though he'll return this week after missing the previous five games recovering from lingering effects of a concussion sustained in week 3 against Houston.
For those uniform junkies always concerned with what color the Saints are wearing this week. The team will wear their "throwback uniforms" this week against Tampa Bay. New Orleans wore them against Houston in week 3 and beat the Texans 40 to 33.