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Monday, January 18, 2010
Evans starting to get more recognition

By Pat Yasinskas
ESPN.com

The Saints just sent out their schedule for practice and interview sessions for the rest of the week and there are a couple of things I really like about it.

First, as I mentioned in my column on Sean Payton earlier today, I like the way he’s been reading his team this season. The schedule only adds to that. Payton is giving his players Monday and Tuesday off, and that’s a good move. At this point, practicing too hard doesn’t help. It’s better to be rested and refreshed with the extra day off, a luxury the Vikings don’t have.

Evans
Second, and this concept may be a little foreign to the average fan, but the NFL basically takes over and runs the show when you get to this stage of the playoffs. Teams and players have to deal with a lot more media obligations than usual and the Saints and the league have announced when a whole bunch of the prominent players will be available for interviews. The thing that really jumped out at me on that list is that New Orleans guard Jahri Evans will be featured on a conference call with the national media Thursday afternoon.

That’s a wonderful idea. Evans is one of the best stories in the NFL, and even though he’s been getting put on a lot of postseason all-star teams, I still don’t think people realize how good he is.

Evans quite possibly has become the best guard in the NFL. Pretty remarkable for a kid who was a fourth-round draft pick in 2006. Even more remarkable that he came out of Bloomsburg (Pa.) University. A lot of people don’t know where that small college is, but I was aware of it because I grew up about an hour away and a lot of my friends and family went to college there. But I have to admit, I never really thought about Bloomsburg even having a football team until Evans arrived on the scene in New Orleans.

I’m going to make it a point to be on that conference call with Evans and also will try to catch up with him in the locker room this week. I think his story is worth getting into a little more.