New Orleans Saints: parys haralson

New Orleans organizers officially submitted their preliminary bid to host the 2018 Super Bowl, according to The Times-Picayune’s Jeff Duncan. New Orleans is one of three finalists to host the game, along with Indianapolis and Minnesota. The game will be awarded during the NFL meetings from May 19-21.

If New Orleans wins, it will become the first city to host 11 Super Bowls, and it will be used to kick off the city’s 300th birthday.

Haralson back: The Advocate’s Ramon Vargas caught up with linebacker Parys Haralson, who re-signed with the Saints this week. Haralson was a very solid addition for the Saints last year after they acquired him in a trade with the San Francisco 49ers. But Haralson admitted he wasn’t sure how things would work out when he became an unrestricted free agent for the first time just months after tearing a pectoral muscle.

Smith analysis: ESPN.com Patriots reporter Mike Reiss did an excellent job of breaking down former Saints defensive end Will Smith after reviewing film of three of his games from 2012. Smith visited with the Patriots this week and could be a good fit as a rotational player who brings a power-rushing element.
A look at the New Orleans Saints' projected defensive depth chart as it stands today:

DE1 –- Cameron Jordan, Tyrunn Walker

DE2 –- Akiem Hicks, Glenn Foster

NT –- Brodrick Bunkley, John Jenkins

OLB1 –- Junior Galette, Keyunta Dawson, Kyle Knox

OLB2 –- Parys Haralson, Victor Butler, Rufus Johnson

SILB –- Curtis Lofton, Ramon Humber

WILB –- David Hawthorne, Kevin Reddick

CB1 –- Keenan Lewis, Rod Sweeting, A.J. Davis, Trevin Wade

CB2 –- Corey White, Patrick Robinson, Terrence Frederick, Derrius Brooks

SS –- Kenny Vaccaro, Rafael Bush

FS –- Jairus Byrd

Thoughts: There aren't too many glaring holes here. I keep ranking cornerback as the Saints' top defensive need because they could use a more proven starter opposite Keenan Lewis. But they obviously have plenty of depth at the position.

Conversely, the Saints don't have much depth at safety. But if they sign a veteran corner such as Champ Bailey, they could use him as a pseudo-safety in nickel and dime packages. They could potentially do the same thing with White, who played safety in college.

The one position I really think the Saints need to address at some point in the draft is linebacker. They could use young backups who can play special teams right away and eventually push to replace veterans such as Hawthorne and Haralson.

And as coach Sean Payton said last week, teams are always on the lookout for more pass-rushing help -- though they should be improved in that area with Victor Butler returning from injury and Rufus Johnson having another year to develop.
So much for slowing down the free-agency pace now that we’ve hit April.

The New Orleans Saints stayed plenty busy on Tuesday, bringing in future Hall of Fame cornerback Champ Bailey for a visit and re-signing linebacker Parys Haralson.

Both moves make sense. Even though the Saints have been going through a bit of a youth movement this offseason, they could still use a little veteran depth on defense.

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Obviously, the enthusiasm over the 35-year-old Bailey should be tempered a bit. The Denver Broncos chose to release him, and they’re in the exact same boat as the Saints -- a team going “all-in” to win right now.

Still, the idea of signing Bailey is a fascinating proposition. He’s one of the NFL’s all-time great cornerbacks, who would match wits in practice every day with another 35-year-old future Hall of Famer in quarterback Drew Brees. And if nothing else, Bailey would be a great addition to the locker room with one of the league’s rising young defenses.

Bailey is not a lock-down cornerback anymore. But that’s not what the Saints need (and it’s certainly not what they can afford at this point).

New Orleans has an outstanding No. 1 corner in his prime right now in Keenan Lewis, an outstanding safety in his prime in Jairus Byrd, and an up-and-coming star in safety Kenny Vaccaro.

Bailey could fit in nicely as a savvy veteran who would compete for the No. 2 job with unproven youngsters Corey White and Patrick Robinson. Or perhaps he could even play safety, which he is reportedly willing to consider, or some sort of hybrid role in nickel and dime packages.

It’s similar to the Saints’ line of thinking when they showed interest in veteran cornerback Brandon Browner this offseason.

Someone asked on Twitter why the Saints didn’t just keep Jabari Greer. I agree that a healthy Greer would be an ideal fit. But Greer’s knee injury remains a question mark for now.

As for Haralson, his fit is pretty obvious. Even though the Saints have outside linebacker Victor Butler coming back from a torn ACL this year, the two can split time in a rotation. Butler is more of a pass-rush specialist, while Haralson is more of a run-defense specialist.

Haralson played 37 percent of the Saints’ defensive snaps last season, racking up 30 tackles and 3.5 sacks. He could be used in a similar role this year, especially if the Saints line up in more true 3-4 formations than they did last year.

Chances are, the Saints will mostly line up with five defensive backs. That worked for them last season, and the modern passing game in the NFL practically requires it.

But as you may have noticed, Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan is creative enough to mix and match a lot of players in a lot of formations.
METAIRIE, La. -- The New Orleans Saints have had some preliminary discussions about re-signing free agent linebacker Parys Haralson, according to a league source. It sounds similar to the initial talks they've had recently with fellow veteran free agents such as right tackle Zach Strief and receiver Robert Meachem.

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Although nothing is set in stone, it's still worth noting that the Saints have shown some interest in bringing Haralson back. I could definitely see him coming back as long as the price is right.

Haralson, 30, had a solid debut season with the Saints last year after they traded for him late in the preseason. He had 30 tackles and 3.5 sacks in a rotational role -- used primarily as a run defender. The 6-foot, 255-pounder played in every game in the regular season, starting eight of them, and he played 37 percent of New Orleans' defensive snaps.

Haralson went down with a season-ending torn pectoral muscle in the playoff opener at Philadelphia. But he is expected to be healed in time for the start of spring conditioning programs.

The Saints will have at least one more option available at outside linebacker this year, with veteran Victor Butler returning to the lineup after missing all of last season with a torn ACL. Butler is known as a pass-rushing specialist, though, so there could definitely be room for both players in a rotation across from fellow outside linebacker Junior Galette.
The New Orleans Saints have 13 players scheduled to become unrestricted free agents on March 11. Here’s a breakdown on outside linebacker Parys Haralson:

Position: OLB (part-time starter)
Age: 30
Height: 6-0
Weight: 255

Scouting report: The Saints probably got about exactly what they expected from Haralson last year when they acquired him in a late-August trade with the San Francisco 49ers for a seventh-round pick. He was a solid member of the rotation -- primarily in run packages -- while playing 37 percent of the Saints' snaps.

Haralson made eight starts and appeared in every game in the regular season before going down with a season-ending torn pectoral in the playoff opener. He finished the regular season with 30 tackles and 3.5 sacks.

Before joining the Saints, Haralson spent seven years in San Francisco. He started there for five years before missing all of the 2012 season with a triceps injury. Haralson has primarily been a 3-4 outside linebacker in his career, with a total of 232 tackles and 25 sacks.

Projection: I could see Haralson coming back in a similar role, as long as his salary is minimal. He was a solid addition both on the field and in the locker room. And the Saints could continue to use him in run packages. However, the Saints could also opt to go younger at the position.

The Saints will have more depth at outside linebacker this year, with veteran Victor Butler returning from the knee injury that sidelined him all of last season. They already re-signed veteran backup Keyunta Dawson. Young backups like Rufus Johnson and Kyle Knox could push for greater roles. And the Saints could add even more young talent in the draft.
A position-by-position look at where the New Orleans Saints stand heading into the 2014 offseason -- ranked from 1-12 in order of the team's need for upgrades or replacements.

Current depth chart:

Lofton
Curtis Lofton. Age 27, signed through 2016. 2014 salary and bonuses: $3.2 million. 2014 salary-cap number: $5.2 million.

David Hawthorne. Age 28, signed through 2016. 2014 salary and bonuses: $2 million. 2014 salary-cap number: $3.51 million.

Parys Haralson. Age 30, unrestricted free agent.

Jonathan Vilma. Age 31, unrestricted free agent.

Ramon Humber. Age 26, unrestricted free agent.

Will Herring. Age 30, unrestricted free agent.

Kevin Reddick. Age 24, scheduled to become restricted free agent in 2016. 2014 salary and bonuses: $495,000. 2014 salary-cap number: $496,666.

Analysis:

As I wrote earlier, I broke down the Saints' front seven into three categories (interior linemen, edge rushers and linebackers) since they run a hybrid between a 4-3 and a 3-4. So this is essentially the group of true linebackers who play in space, rather than the pass-rushing linebackers such as Junior Galette.

This may not seem like one of the Saints' most glaring needs since Lofton and Hawthorne played so well this past season. But look how thin the list gets behind those two veterans. I think it would be especially helpful for the Saints to look at this group in the draft since they need to inject youth and athleticism -- someone who could rotate into the mix right away and develop into a future starter.

Just imagine how much more potent this defense would be with an outside linebacker like Tampa Bay's Lavonte David or Carolina's Thomas Davis roaming the flats. And I ranked this list even before Seattle outside linebacker Malcolm Smith was named Super Bowl MVP, but it seems especially fitting now.

As for the guys who are under contract, I think the Saints are set with their two starting inside linebackers, Lofton and Hawthorne. Lofton played especially well down the stretch this past season, and he has been a great addition as an every-down middle linebacker, captain and leader of the defense. What a smooth transition he has made since arriving as a free agent in 2012. Hawthorne, on the other hand, struggled when he first arrived in 2012, mostly because of injuries. But he bounced back this past year and played at a high level. Hawthorne's contract could become an issue in 2015, but for now he comes at a good rate.

Reddick will also be back, and I could see him playing a more prominent role after he earned playing time as an undrafted rookie in 2013. He played a lot on special teams and joined the defense in jumbo packages. He could have a future as an inside linebacker if he continues to deliver on his potential.

The two biggest question marks among the unrestricted free agents are Vilma and Haralson. I know the popular opinion is that Vilma will be gone after he missed almost all of last season with a knee injury, and he'll be 32 in the spring. However, if he wants to try and play this summer, the Saints would be the team most likely to give him that opportunity since he's been such a valued member of the organization. Haralson is also coming off of a season-ending pectoral injury, but I could also see him back at a minimal contract after he seemed like such a good veteran fit in a part-time role last year.

Humber and Herring are two of the Saints' most valued special teamers, so they could both be back. Humber showed promise as a backup middle linebacker in the summer, as well, so his versatility is valuable.

Saints mailbag: Greatest needs?

January, 26, 2014
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METAIRIE, La. -- Thanks for all of your New Orleans Saints questions on Twitter this week. Send ‘em my way anytime @MikeTriplett:
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METAIRIE, La. -- The New Orleans Saints placed linebacker Parys Haralson on injured reserve with a torn pectoral muscle and released backup safety Isa Abdul-Quddus on Tuesday. They officially announced the addition of veteran safety Jordan Pugh. And they also promoted rookie linebacker Rufus Johnson from the practice squad.

Haralson will be missed -- especially in run defense against the Seattle Seahawks. The veteran has been a solid addition as a part-time starter since the Saints acquired him in a preseason trade with the San Francisco 49ers, with 30 tackles and 3.5 sacks. Veteran Will Herring is his primary backup, though backup Ramon Humber could also see playing time. Or the Saints could spend more time in their three-safety package, which they feature often.

Abdul-Quddus has been a backup safety for three years, with four career starts, and a core special teams player. His role diminished this year with the emergence of young safeties like Kenny Vaccaro and Rafael Bush, and he was inactive the last two weeks.

Veteran safety Malcolm Jenkins said it was tough for Abdul-Quddus’ longtime teammates to see him go after he had been part of the “room” for so long. But Jenkins said everyone understands the business side of the game.

The Saints replaced Abdul-Quddus with Pugh, a fourth-year veteran who has played a similar role with the Washington Redskins and Carolina Panthers.

Johnson, a sixth-round pick from Tarleton State, showed impressive athleticism as a pass rusher in training camp. He could potentially contribute on special teams Saturday.

The Saints added linebacker Vic So'oto to the practice squad to replace Johnson.

Upon Further Review: Saints Week 15

December, 16, 2013
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ST. LOUIS -- An examination of four hot issues from the New Orleans Saints27-16 loss to the St. Louis Rams on Sunday in the Edward Jones Dome.

Playoff scenarios: As bad as the Saints’ loss was at St. Louis, they can quickly make up for it with a win Sunday at Carolina. If the Saints (10-4) beat the Panthers (10-4), they would clinch the NFC’s No. 2 seed. But if the Saints lose, they’ll need a win and a Panthers loss in Week 17 to claim that No. 2 seed. And while we’re looking at worst-case scenarios, the Saints still haven’t clinched a playoff berth yet. They need to win one more game or hope for some losses by other teams.

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Jobs in jeopardy: Two starters are on shaky ground after their performances Sunday. Left tackle Charles Brown was pulled during the third quarter after coach Sean Payton said he “saw enough” of Brown struggling against pass-rusher Robert Quinn. It will be interesting to see if Payton puts Brown back in the starting lineup against Carolina -- a team Brown played well against in Week 14.

Meanwhile, kicker Garrett Hartley’s job could also be in jeopardy after he missed two field goal attempts (one of which was blocked). Payton mentioned the field goals first when listing the areas that bothered him after the game Sunday. And the Saints brought in a handful of kickers for tryouts last month when Hartley was struggling. Could this have been the last straw?

Road woes: Payton and quarterback Drew Brees finally admitted that their road performances have become a serious problem. Previously, the Saints had bristled at questions about their road record. My take is that they were obviously aware of their road issues but always confident they could fix them. Sunday, I think they were genuinely shocked at how poorly they played and how flat they were in a lackluster atmosphere at St. Louis.

“No one in here is blind or ignorant that we have not played as well on the road,” offensive tackle Zach Strief said. “When you get interviewed in this league, you don’t send out panic. That doesn’t mean that when we’re together and our doors are closed that we’re not looking at ourselves in the mirror and saying, ‘What’s going on?’ ... The fact of the matter is that there’s no time for figuring anything out right now. It’s you figure it out now or you go home.”

What went wrong: I’ll break down the specifics in my film studies this week, but it was pretty obvious that there were four problem areas that doomed the Saints: 1. Turnovers (Brees’ first interception and his fumble were due to pressure from Quinn, but the second interception was a poor decision). 2. Pass protection. 3. Missed tackles (more than we’ve seen all year, especially early; safety Malcolm Jenkins, cornerback Corey White and linebacker Parys Haralson missed three bad ones on long touchdown plays). 4. Missed field goals.

Saints’ Week 14 snap counts

December, 9, 2013
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A look at the New Orleans Saints' snap counts from Sunday night's 31-13 victory over the Carolina Panthers:

OFFENSE (65 snaps)

Quarterback – Drew Brees 65
Tight end – Jimmy Graham 47, Benjamin Watson 27, Josh Hill 1
Wide receiver – Marques Colston 51, Kenny Stills 40, Lance Moore 28, Robert Meachem 19
Running back – Pierre Thomas 37, Darren Sproles 15, Mark Ingram 15, Khiry Robinson 3
Fullback – Jed Collins 31
Offensive tackle – Zach Strief 65, Charles Brown 65, Bryce Harris 8
Guard – Jahri Evans 65, Ben Grubbs 65, Tim Lelito 1
Center – Brian De La Puente 65
Safety (on kneel-downs) – Malcolm Jenkins 2

Thoughts: Watching live, I felt like Moore was playing more than he had in recent weeks. But that wasn't the case. In fact, Moore (28 snaps) and Stills (40 snaps) both wound up hitting the exact number of their average snap count from the previous six weeks -- which I outlined in an extensive breakdown of Moore's playing time on Sunday morning. Moore just wound up getting more early targets, finishing with three catches for 40 yards. … Strief's injured ankle obviously held up well. He played every snap and appeared to hold up well. … Sproles' snap count continues to be low every week. I know he also returns punts, and he gets used more when the Saints are in their hurry-up, two-minute offense. But I wonder if coach Sean Payton isn't intentionally trying to keep him fresh for later in the season like he did with Reggie Bush in 2009. … Hill played only one snap before leaving the game with a hamstring injury. The severity is unknown.

DEFENSE (63 snaps)

Safety – Malcolm Jenkins 63, Kenny Vaccaro 63, Roman Harper 47, Isa Abdul-Quddus 12
Cornerback – Keenan Lewis 63, Corey White 60,
Inside linebacker – Curtis Lofton 63, David Hawthorne 51, Will Herring 5
Outside linebacker – Junior Galette 62, Parys Haralson 17
Defensive end – Cameron Jordan 59, Akiem Hicks 45, Tom Johnson 19,
Defensive tackle – John Jenkins 39, Tyrunn Walker 18, Brodrick Bunkley 7

Thoughts: The Saints went with their most traditional lineup for much of this game, with four down linemen, two true linebackers, two cornerbacks and three safeties. They did start out in the 3-4 with Haralson on one edge. But they didn't use the five-linebacker packages they had used against both San Francisco (successfully) and Seattle (unsuccessfully). Not sure if that would have been the game plan all along against Carolina -- or if defensive coordinator Rob Ryan decided to go back to his base package after some new tricks backfired against the Seahawks. … Speaking of sticking with the base, the Saints clearly decided to lean heavily on both Galette and Jordan, playing them almost every snap. Good move. That's an especially high snap count for Galette, who had three sacks in the game. … Bunkley was limited by a back injury during the game, and the severity of the injury is unknown.

Know the enemy: Saints on Frank Gore

November, 15, 2013
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METAIRIE, La. -- NFL running backs are supposed to slow down once they hit the age of 30. But the San Francisco 49ers' Frank Gore apparently hasn't gotten the memo. The ninth-year veteran has run for 700 yards and seven touchdowns this season, on the heels of back-to-back 1,200-yard campaigns in 2011 and 2012.

The 5-foot-9, 217-pounder has always stood out as a power runner. But he's surprisingly slippery as well. Just like the New Orleans Saints said two weeks ago after their game against the New York Jets, teams know that Gore is gonna be running the football "stepping off the bus." But they can't stop him anyway.

Here's what the Saints have been saying about Gore this week:

LB Parys Haralson (longtime former 49ers teammate): "Any time you play the 49ers offense and Frank Gore is there, you have to be able to stop Frank. I think that's common sense. You have to stop Frank Gore. ... Got to find a way to tackle him. It's what it calls for. Me and Frank are friends. Being there and knowing how he practices and being on the sidelines watching him against other defenses, you know what he brings to the table. He's a physical runner. He's one of the best running backs I think I've seen play the game of football."

LB Curtis Lofton: "I think he has the best pad level of any running back I've ever played against. ... I think it starts up front with the offensive line. They do a lot of shifts, motions, pulling a ton of guys. And, you know, they've got a big, physical line. And what makes Frank Gore special is he's a north and south runner. And so, when they get those big guys on you, you've got to be able to punch and get off and make plays. And he runs so low to the ground."

Coach Sean Payton: "He's a player we coached back in 2006 at the Pro Bowl. He is very durable. He has very good vision and balance, and I would describe him as strong. He's a guy that's difficult to bring down with one player. ... The first thing that comes to my mind is consistency and how long he has done it. He is very durable and he was outstanding coaching him in the Hawaii that one season. He's a special player."

LB David Hawthorne: "Frank, he's been a monster, man, ever since I've been in the league. I remember when I was in Seattle, he was like the main attraction. We always knew that we had him twice a year. We always knew what kind of runner he was. And you know, the plan of attack is you have to come at him. And you have to make a conscious effort to not let him slip by your vision. ... I feel like he's one of those guys that he's never done running, until you absolutely take his cleats out of the ground and put him on the ground. His legs are always churning. He's always fighting for extra yards."
METAIRIE, La. -- Parys Haralson has mostly flown under the radar since being traded from the San Francisco 49ers to the New Orleans Saints during the preseason. But the veteran outside linebacker has been a steady part of the rotation and a respected leader for a young defense that has far exceeded expectations.

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“There was a good fit, not only physically as a football player, but also as one who has had experience and been part of a winning program,” Saints coach Sean Payton said of Haralson, whom the Saints reportedly acquired for a seventh-round pick after they lost their own veteran leader, Will Smith, to a season-ending knee injury.

“There’s a confidence level about him that he brings, and it really worked out well for us, just with his level of expertise of playing outside linebacker,” Payton said. “He is versatile in that he can give you rush snaps, and I think he is an outstanding teammate.”

Haralson has played 30 percent of the Saints’ snaps this season, with two sacks (including one last Sunday night against the Dallas Cowboys), 14 tackles and a pass defensed. Haralson (6 feet, 255 pounds) has long been considered a strong run defender -- and he has been used more heavily against run-heavy offenses this season. That means he might see more playing time than usual this Sunday against his former team.

“I really look at it as it’s a regular game,” Haralson insisted this week. “I don’t say that because it’s probably the right thing to say -- you don’t want to go out and say something hurtful. But that’s really how I feel. There’s a bunch of guys I played with over there. I’ve got a bunch of friends still in that locker room. But I’m a New Orleans Saint, and I want to go out and help the Saints win. That’s what I’m focused on doing, going out and doing what I’ve got to do to help us earn a W.”

San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh said it was hard to trade Haralson, but that he’s happy for him. Haralson, who missed all of last season with a triceps injury, became expendable because of the 49ers' linebacker depth.

“I can’t wish him as much luck this week, but (I have) nothing but great respect for Parys Haralson as a player and a person,” Harbaugh said. “A-plus. A-plus-plus.”

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