NFC South: Billy Miller

Saints have weathered injuries

January, 11, 2010
1/11/10
5:40
PM ET
One of the things the New Orleans Saints did best this season was overcome injuries. That’s a huge improvement from 2008, when injuries were largely responsible for keeping the Saints out of the playoffs.

This season, they ended with 15 players on injured reserve, and some of those guys were significant players.

Here’s the complete list of Saints on injured reserve with comments about the more significant ones.

  • FB Heath Evans: This actually might have been the most significant injury the Saints suffered. Evans was a jack-of-all-trades and a perfect fit in this offense. Without him, the Saints have had to scramble because they did not have another proven fullback. They’ve had to throw some guys in there as well as line their tight ends up in the backfield at times.
  • TE Dan Campbell and TE Billy Miller: These guys also could have helped the fullback situation. They were both good blockers to go along with Jeremy Shockey, who is used mostly as a pass catcher. The Saints did pick up David Thomas and he’s done a nice role filling in.
  • DE Charles Grant: He didn’t get hurt until the end of the regular season, so we won’t know the full impact until the Saints hit the field again. Backup Bobby McCray might get some time at end on passing downs. McCray is at least as good a pass rusher as Grant and Anthony Hargrove, who also plays inside.
  • LT Jammal Brown: It’s pretty amazing the Saints won 13 games when they didn’t have their Pro Bowl left tackle for any of them. Jermon Bushrod and Zach Strief have alternated at the position. They’ve had some ups and downs, but the coaching staff has done an excellent job of putting help near them.
  • DT Kendrick Clancy: This veteran was kind of an unsung hero. Losing him hurt, but players like Hargrove have done a nice job filling in.
  • FB Marcus Mailei
  • WR Rod Harper
  • WR D’Juan Woods
  • LB Mark Simoneau
  • LB Jo-Lonn Dunbar
  • LB Stanley Arnoux
  • CB Leigh Torrence
  • CB Reggie Jones
  • S Chip Vaughn

Saints trade for TE Thomas

September, 5, 2009
9/05/09
6:32
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com’s Pat Yasinskas


After placing Billy Miller on the injured-reserve list Saturday, the Saints went out and got some needed depth at tight end.

The Saints just announced they’ve traded with New England for tight end David Thomas. The price tag is a seventh-round pick in 2011.

Thomas is a fourth-year player, who has made 13 career starts while catching 21 passes for 261 yards and a touchdown. Thomas is known best for his blocking ability.

Saints make roster cuts

September, 5, 2009
9/05/09
6:11
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com’s Pat Yasinskas


The Saints just announced they are down to 53 players. They took several different routes to get there.

Tight end Billy Miller, fullback Olaniyi Sobomehin and safety Chip Vaughn were placed on the injured-reserve list. Receiver Adrian Arrington, guard Nate Bennett, tackle Michael Brown, center Digger Bujnoch, running back Herb Donaldson, guard Tim Duckworth, cornerback Danny Gorrer, receiver Skyler Green, defensive tackle Earl Heyman, running back P.J. Hill, tight end Martrez Milner, tackle Jeremy Parnell, defensive tackle DeMario Pressley, receiver Courtney Roby, receiver Matt Simon and linebacker Anthony Waters.

The following veterans had their contracts terminated: offensive lineman Anthony Davis, quarterback Joey Harrington and defensive end Paul Spicer.

Payton addresses Brees-Shockey flap

November, 10, 2008
11/10/08
4:09
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas

New Orleans coach Sean Payton downplayed any tension between Drew Brees and Jeremy Shockey at his news conference Monday. That came a day after television cameras captured Brees looking very animated and frustrated with Shockey as the two came off the field after an offensive series in a loss to Atlanta.

BreesShockey

"To be honest with you, I didn't see any of that," Payton said. "I've talked with both Drew and Jeremy and you have two guys that are very emotional and very competitive.

"I think a lot has been made out of something that isn't that big of a deal. When Drew comes off, he's going to talk with not only the tight ends, but he's going to talk with the receivers and you're going to see him talk with everyone. That's something that he does a good job with."

Payton went on to explain why Shockey frequently was out of the lineup.

"Going back through the sequence, one of the things that we tried to do was make sure that we had a rotation with receivers," Payton said. "You were going to see a series or two in that fourth quarter where [Marques] Colston was out or Devery [Henderson] was out. We're basically working four receivers for three positions. After we had run one series, Shockey came out, Billy Miller went back in and then Shockey was back on the next one. There's a rotation going on there for good reason."

Point taken. But you have to wonder why in the world the Saints traded draft picks for a former Pro Bowl tight end if they planned to rotate him with Miller.

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