NFC South: Bobby Hebert

Would Ed Reed fit with Saints?

February, 4, 2013
2/04/13
11:57
AM ET
NEW ORLEANS -- Now that the Super Bowl is over, it’s time to start thinking about the offseason.

Free agency doesn’t start until mid-March, but we might as well start the speculation process. And we might as well start it with an intriguing piece of speculation.

Actually former New Orleans quarterback and current WWL Radio host Bobby Hebert started it when I joined his show last week. Hebert asked for my thoughts on the Saints pursuing Baltimore safety Ed Reed, who is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent.

Even though we still don’t know who New Orleans’ defensive coordinator will be or exactly what the defensive scheme will be, there are a lot of reasons why adding Reed would make sense.

First off, he’s a Louisiana native and he might be attracted to the possibility of finishing his career at home. Second, Reed looks like he still has something left in the tank physically.

But, perhaps most importantly of all, Reed would bring swagger and leadership to a defense that was horrible last season.

While the other three NFC South teams like to build through the draft and don’t often bring in players in their 30s, the Saints have shown a past willingness to go in the other direction. In 2009, they brought in veteran safety Darren Sharper and he helped get them a Super Bowl title.

The Saints need a lot of other pieces to fix their defense. But adding Reed, even if it’s only for a year, might help speed up the process of improving the defense.

NEW ORLEANS -- The glitz is still here, but the tone this Super Bowl week just doesn’t seem to fit with the celebrations on Bourbon Street or the free and easy nature of the host city.

The issue of player safety has been as topical as Ray Lewis' last game or brothers Jim and John Harbaugh coaching against each other.

We've heard predictions that the NFL will be gone in 30 years, or at least reduced to a game of two-hand touch. President Barack Obama hypothetically has wondered whether or not he would let a son play football. Current players have said they "signed up" for a violent game and all that may eventually come with it, even as thousands of former players are pursuing lawsuits claiming the NFL failed to warn them of the long-term effects of concussions.

ESPN.com surveyed a group of current and former players and executives to get their thoughts on the player-safety issues.

The group included current San Francisco linebacker NaVorro Bowman, former NFL cornerback Eric Davis, current Baltimore safety Ed Reed, retired quarterback Bobby Hebert, former NFL director of officiating Mike Pereira, former linebacker Willie McGinest, current San Francisco linebacker Aldon Smith, NFL Players Association president Domonique Foxworth, current Baltimore linebacker Terrell Suggs, retired lineman Shaun O’Hara, current San Francisco fullback Bruce Miller, longtime Dallas Cowboys executive Gil Brandt and current San Francisco guard Alex Boone.

[+] EnlargeEric Davis
AP Photo/Kevin Terrell"Let's be real honest," former NFL safety Eric Davis said. "It's a gladiator sport. Coliseums were built for it."
Here are the highlights of their answers to the hot-button questions:

Where do you see the NFL in 30 years?

Brandt: "I don’t think we’re Montgomery Ward. Montgomery Ward, at one time, was the leading retailer in the world and they made the mistake of saying we’re not going to go into the little towns, we’re just going to go into these big places, and they stood still. The league may doze, but it will never close. They’re always looking for ways to make things better. They’ve been working on making the game safer and they’ll continue to make it safer."

Pereria: "I see it not a whole lot different than it is. I think the league will go as far as it can and still go further than it is now to try to make the game safer. But I don’t think it’s going to make the league disappear as some people have said. I think this is still a once-a-week game that people get very passionate about their games."

McGinest: "I think the NFL definitely is going to be here to stay. I think that this is the best game in the world. I think that they’re doing everything in their power to keep it that way and to make it one of the safest games. I don't think it's going to look different. I think they're just changing certain things to make it safer. If you're talking about hit zones, if you're talking about staying away from head shots and stuff like that, that's not something we're not used to hearing. So I don't think we're going to go back to leather helmets with no face masks or no helmets. This game is going to be the way it is. I just think they're doing everything and taking every precaution to make it safer."

O’Hara: "Football is not going to disappear in 30 years. Will it look different? Of course it'll look different. Look at the game 30 years ago to today -- different game, different rules, different equipment. So 30 years from now, absolutely, it'll be a different game."

Are the safety concerns overblown?

Foxworth: "My responsibility is just to protect the rights of the players and their health and safety, so I don't think that there can be enough [attention given to safety issues], especially given some of the things that have happened as a result of some of the head injuries. I'm pretty sure that those players and their families would say that there's no such thing as too much attention on the health and safety of the guys. So I come from that standpoint, and, being a former player, it's something I'm keenly aware of from a personal standpoint, and a lot of my friends are in this league and I know a lot of our kids may potentially be in this league. So it's very important that we put as much effort, time and money toward evolving the game and the science of the game as we can."

Smith: "The game is what we signed up for. We didn’t sign up for tennis. We didn’t sign up for swimming and didn’t realize we were going to go out there and get tackled. We signed up for football, which we knew was a physical sport.”

Davis: "Let’s be real honest. It’s a gladiator sport. Coliseums were built for it. People like to watch it and we’re talking about big, strong, fast men. There are going to be collisions. There are going to be injuries. Do all the things you have to do to make it as safe as possible, but the reality is there’s always going to be some danger."

Hebert: "A little bit. But the NFL is so popular because it’s the modern-day gladiator. I mean, I don’t know what that says about mankind. But you can also look at boxing and ultimate fighting and how popular they are. Fans don’t want to see flag football. I still think football will be here. You can change it, but you can only change it so far."

McGinest: "I think it's necessary based on some of the studies, some of the former players and what they're going through, some of the players now. It's necessary. And it's also showing that the NFL cares about its players. If they're taking time to put on these full-on studies and they're going through every precaution with the testing of the gear and the helmets and they are willing to change certain things about the game to make sure that it's going to be here and be a safer game, it has all the signs of going in the right direction."

Boone: "I just never understood how you change the game when you have players who are bigger, stronger and faster every year. It’s just football. It’s going to be physical. It’s a physical sport. There are going to be injuries, but we’re doing things to correct it.''

What one change would you make to improve safety?

Pereria: "The safety issue is really all about the head. That’s something the league has been focusing on for a long time and they’ll continue to focus on making the rules broader than they are right now. Right now, only nine players are protected in certain situations. Can you go further? Possibly. The whole notion is going to try to be to get the head out of the game and get back to the wrap and tackling as opposed to lowering the head. They’re serious about that, and they should be. To me, as I watch so much football on Sundays, it’s already made a difference. You see situations where a defender really has a chance to blow up a receiver and he doesn’t. To me, that means the rules are taking effect and that the fines have made a difference."

Davis: "They’re making the game safe for quarterbacks and star players. But they’re not making it safer for all players. You never hear of a defenseless running back. You never hear of a defenseless linebacker. Defensive players aren’t protected. Unless you make it safer for all players, I don’t think you’re doing as much good as you can. You have to put everyone on equal footing."

Reed: "Defensive players should be protected, too. Offensive guys, quarterbacks in general, shouldn't be treated better than everybody on the football field.''

McGinest: "I would take out the chop-block. That's another thing we don't talk about. A lot of emphasis is on the head, guys getting concussions and stuff, but there are also a lot of players getting their ACLs knocked out because now guys are diving. Now that they know they can't go high, guys are starting to attack with chop-blocking. That's also knocking guys' careers either out or messing them up. Not everybody's Adrian Peterson coming back from those injuries. A lot of guys, they take the wrong hit on the knee, they're never the same player."

O’Hara: "I think the only real way to get everybody on the same page is to somehow get all the players in the NFL and all the coaches in the NFL and all the referees, get everybody in the same building and have, 'This is what is acceptable and this is what is not.' No second- and third-person regurgitation of the facts and, 'Here's what we're looking for,' because that needs to be consistent and everybody needs to hear the same message. Centralize the education, basically."

What else can be done to make things safer?

Hebert: "I think you truly have to take it out of the players' hands as far as whether you’re going to go back into the game or not after a head injury. As a player, when it comes to your teammates, you never want to be looked upon as a wuss. You want to be a tough son of a gun. To me, it totally has to be out of the hands of the players."

[+] EnlargeShaun O'Hara
AP Photo/Mel Evans"You wouldn't give your son a circular saw and let him go and start whittling wood," former lineman Shaun O'Hara said. "You would teach him how to use that."
Davis: "Look, the guys I played with and the guys that are playing now were schooled a certain way. It’s too late for us and maybe too late for the guys still playing in the NFL. But the next generation is where a difference can be made. The kids that are coming into Pop Warner now need to be taught how to tackle properly. And maybe, just as importantly, they have to be taught that if you get dinged, if you take a hit to the head and you don’t feel right, you go straight to the coach or the doctors and tell them immediately. People do that with ankle injuries. You hurt your ankle, you come out of the game. Head injuries need to be treated the same way."

Foxworth: "In nine years, you can ask me that question and I'll have a definitive answer. But I don't know. We don't know how much damage repetitive hits do or whether it's the big knockout blows that do the damage. There are just so many questions. We're not sure about the best treatments and the quicker recovery time and if there are any precursors that make someone predisposed to have these kinds of brain injuries. Those are questions that will be answered by this Harvard research, and at that point, I think we can be able to set forth clear protocols of how to treat a player after a practice or how many hits [before] it's time to sit a guy out. Those sorts of things that are changes that can be made easily."

Brandt: "I think it’s like the Internet. People that are older, like myself, are not Internet-savvy. Kids that are 7 or 8 know more about it than I do. I think it’s a thing that you build from the bottom up. Where I think we have a problem is that we have a lot of youth football leagues and the guys that are coaching sometimes get overzealous. I think we’re gradually educating that element."

Would you let a young son start playing football right now?

Bowman: "I’m not going to deter my kids from the game. When they see the game, they understand what it’s all about. It’s a physical game."

Suggs: I respect [the president's comments] for the simple fact that this is a very physical and dangerous sport, especially considering that with the concussions and the current findings of Junior Seau. A parent would be reluctant [to let] his or her child play football. I think, if you play the game right and you play it appropriately, that injuries are part of the game.''

Pereria: "Sure, I would. But I’d also be out there with him, coaching and working with the coaches to make sure that the game, at that level, is being coached properly and that kids are keeping their heads up and abiding by the rules that are still in the NFL rule book, which defines tackling as wrapping your arms around the opponent and taking him to the ground."

Miller: “Everyone has their own opinions, but I would let my kid play football. It’s a violent game, but not too violent. At the same time it builds character, hard work, dedication, responsibility. All of those things are important. They are taking caution to be careful and concerned for the players’ safety and taking that into account more.”

Foxworth: "My son's so young, I like to think that we would have made advances by the time he's old enough to play to make it safer. Given the current state of the game, I wouldn't stop him from playing it, but I'd be very cautious about the exposure and the frequency with which he may come into contact with those type of dangers."

O’Hara: "If my son wanted to play football, I would absolutely let him. I would drive him. But I would teach him. You wouldn't give your son a circular saw and let him go and start whittling wood. You would teach him how to use that. There's a proper way to use power tools. So my issue is, when I hear parents say, 'I don't want him to play football,' well, it's because you don't want to take the time to teach him how to do it right. Or you don't know how to teach him right. So that, to me, is a big sticking point. When I see kids that want to play football, I just want them to learn it the right way. We need to make sure our coaches are teaching our kids the right way to do things, because for every one kid that gets hurt, that's something that could affect a whole lifetime."

'Cajun Cannon' picks the 49ers

January, 29, 2013
1/29/13
12:46
PM ET
NEW ORLEANS -- I caught up with former New Orleans and Atlanta quarterback (and local radio host) Bobby Hebert during the San Francisco portion of Super Bowl media day.

I talked to him about matters involving a couple of projects that will run later in the week. But I also asked him for his prediction and thoughts on the game. I can share that part with you now.

“A lot of Saints fans are cheering for the Ravens,’’ Hebert said. “They view Baltimore as a blue-collar port city like New Orleans.’’

Although Hebert is deeply rooted in New Orleans, he’s taking a different route than the locals.

“But I personally know (San Francisco coach) Jim Harbaugh from when he was at the University of Michigan and I was playing for the Michigan Panthers,’’ Hebert said. “The Lions wouldn’t let us use their facility, so we went to Ann Arbor. So I know Jim and I just think the 49ers are the better team overall. I think it will be a close game because we usually have close Super Bowls here. I’ll take the 49ers by a field goal.’’

Statistical superlatives on the Falcons

November, 19, 2012
11/19/12
10:59
AM ET
It wasn’t pretty on the surface, but the Atlanta Falcons got to 9-1 with their 23-19 victory against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday. With some help from ESPN Stats & Information and Atlanta’s media relations department, let’s take a look at some of the statistical superlatives and a few lowlights from the game:
  • The Falcons clinched their fifth consecutive winning season. The franchise never had back-to-back winning seasons since coach Mike Smith arrived in 2008 and accomplished that in his first two seasons. It's kind of strange because the Falcons aren't making a big deal or talking much about clinching a winning season. I guess that goes hand in hand with their biggest theme of this season -- that simply winning in the regular season isn't enough.
  • Matt Ryan was intercepted a career-high five times. He also was intercepted three times in the first quarter, the most times he ever has been intercepted in a quarter.
  • Ryan became the first Atlanta quarterback with five interceptions in a game since Bobby Hebert (yeah, he didn't just play for the Saints) was picked off six times in a 1996 game against the Rams.
  • Ryan became the first quarterback to throw five interceptions without a touchdown pass and come away with a win since Bart Starr in 1967.
  • Ryan’s career home record is 31-4 (an .886 winning percentage). That’s the best percentage by a quarterback to debut a career in the Super Bowl era.
  • Ryan recorded the 20th fourth-quarter, game-winning drive of his career. That’s the most by any quarterback since 2008 and the most by any quarterback in his first five seasons since 1966
  • Atlanta’s 9-1 record marks the best 10-game start in franchise history.
  • The Falcons now have won nine straight home games, the most since a 10-game streak in the 1997 and ’98 seasons.
  • The Falcons improved to 19-3 after a loss in Smith’s tenure. They haven’t lost back-to-back games since Weeks 13 and 14 of the 2009 season.
  • Running back Michael Turner now has 56 touchdowns since joining the Falcons. He is tied with receiver Andre Rison for No. 2 on the team’s all-time list. Receiver Terance Mathis holds the team record with 57 touchdowns.
  • The Falcons held the Cardinals to 173 net yards of offense. A major reason for that came due to the fact the Falcons allowed Arizona to convert only 2 of 16 (13 percent) third downs into first downs.
  • Defensive end John Abraham finished with two sacks and now has 121 for his career. Abraham is the NFL’s active leader in sacks and one of only 15 players in history with 120 or more career sacks.
  • Roddy White had his fifth game of the season with at least 100 receiving yards. It was also the third consecutive game in which White has had 100 receiving yards. He holds the franchise record with 33 games in which he has had at least 100 receiving yards.
  • White needs 54 yards to record his sixth consecutive 1,000-yard season.

Film of the NFC South chat

June, 8, 2012
6/08/12
3:30
PM ET
As we review the highlights of this week’s NFC South chat, I’m going to lay things out a little differently. I’m going to pick a few questions and answers involving each team and we’ll run all the stuff pertaining to that team in one grouping.

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

Maen (Orlando): Hey Pat, two questions: I am hearing a lot of talk about how Jeremy Zutah may be a flexible OL but not a even a decent Center. Any truth to that?Are the Bucs looking to make any free agency pick ups, especially at DE?

Pat Yasinskas: I've seen some websites (including ours) where the scout types are skeptical of Zuttah. I don't claim to be a scout. But Bucs obviously are high on him and think he can be starting center. They paid him like one and cleared the opening for him. Schiano had him in college and knows him pretty well.

Chris (England): Hi Pat huge Bucs fan from the UK here, cant help but think that Freeman is going to have an awesome year. without the lockout he has prep time and is grounded from last years displays. better running game and more targets means less rash decisions. will be better than Matt Ryan

Pat Yasinskas: Think he's got better talent all around him and better coaching. He has the phsycial skills. Just needs to settle down a bit and not force some of the things he forced last year.

Tim (Athens): Paul Gruber is one of my all-time favorite Bucs. Was good to see him again and doing well. What is your best memory of him in Tampa?

Pat Yasinskas: I covered him through some very lean years for the Bucs. The whole Sam Wyche era was kind of crazy and there were a lot of weird things going on all over the place. But Paul was the rock in those days. Same guy every day. The kind of guy the media could go to after a win or a loss and get good quotes and insight. In my business that's much appreciated. Paul always was -- and still is -- a very class guy. One of the best people I've ever covered.

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

Amar (laplace, la): What was your impressions of the Saints' receivers and linebackers from this week's mini camp ?

Pat Yasinskas: Again, they're not in pads and there's no contact, so you don't know how guys will respond when it's real. However, I will tell you the LBs overall looked much quicker and more athletic than in the past. We already know Colston is good, but he had exceptional practice Wednesday morning. Henderson and Moore looked same as ever. Toon was the one that impressed me of the young guys. Vitt also was talking a fair amount about Joe Morgan.

Isaac [via mobile]: Best new player at saints camp?

Pat Yasinskas: If you're including free agents, Curtis Lofton, hands down. He's going to have a big impact on that team. Plus, he's carrying a chip on his shoulder after what happened with Falcons.

Brian (Baton Rouge): What's the word on Malcolm Jenkins? My thinking is that he will be better in the new system.

Pat Yasinskas: Agree completely. Think he'll finally be able to be a true center fielder. Was talking about that with Bobby Hebert while watching practice the other day and he feels the same way. Would be nice if they at least get an interception out of their starting safeties this year. Pretty amazing that they didn't last year.

Daniel (NOLA): Rumor is that Brees will sign as early as today, but probably next week. With player suspensions not as bad as everyone was expecting, can we go ahead and crown the Saints NFC South champs again? I know Payton is gone, but even a crappy coach could let this offense do it's thing and win at least 10 games.

Pat Yasinskas: Think you might want to slow down your time frame on Brees. Not sure it will happen as quickly as some rumors suggest. But it will happen at some point. Put him back in the mix and there's no way you can write off the Saints. They should at least be in the mix.

ATLANTA FALCONS

Carter (Atlanta): Now that Atlanta wants to go into more four receiver sets, do you see them having at interest in ochocinco?

Pat Yasinskas: Don't think he really fits the Dimitroff/Smith profile. They kind of pride themselves on locker-room chemistry.

Sharell (NCFalconFan): What's your take on Brent Grimes? He's playing on the tag do you think it's in his best intrest to work out something with the Falcons or test FA after the season. If it weren't for us picking up Samuels will he still be holding out?

Pat Yasinskas: Suspect you could still see a long-term deal before camp. But also my take is that Grimes wouldn't be terribly upset if he does end up playing for the tender.

Robertussen (chucktown): why is it, do you think, that there are a lot of negative reports on how the falcons will fair this year. i see them winning the division and going far in the playoffs.

Pat Yasinskas: I'm guessing because people still have questions about them getting it done in the postseason. They've been picked to win Super Bowl or get close to it by some media outlets in recent years and it hasn't worked out. But, also, I think Smith prefers it this way. He likes to fly under the radar.

Tony (Richmond, CA): Do you think Harry Douglas can really step up this year alongside White and Jones if he stays healthy? He has the talent to do so.

Pat Yasinskas: I think so. But that's only if he truly is allowed to focus on playing the slot. If Roddy and Julio stay healthy, he can just play slot and they can open things up for him. I agree, the talent is there.

Geoff (DC): I don't see how the Falcons will be any better. Where or how did they improve? Looks like another year older to me. Please explain

Pat Yasinskas: Maybe not a lot of personnel changes. But new coordinators and new schemes on offense and defense. I think that's where you'll see a difference and improvement.

CAROLINA PANTHERS

Ben (Atlanta GA): Do you see David Gettis challenging for the #2 spot, or will LaFell hang onto it?

Pat Yasinskas: Oh, I think Gettis is definitely in the mix. I think he and LaFell will compete for starting job in camp. At worst, Gettis will be No. 3 receiver.

Joel (Philadelphia Panthers Fan): Hey Pat, if you had to pick the #2 receiver for the Panthers right now, who would you pick?

Pat Yasinskas: Following up the last question, I'd give LaFell slight edge right now because that's who I think coaches and front office would like to see starting. But it's entirely possible Gettis could beat him out.

Evan (Durham, NC): Do you think Cam's sideline demeanor needs to change? If so, do you think it will or was the recent talk just lip service?

Pat Yasinskas: Personally, I didn't have a problem with it last year. He's a competitor and is disappointed when things go right. But it sounds like he believes it needs to change and is going to change it.

Here’s the complete transcript of Friday’s NFC South chat.

Brees: Giants facing must-win game

November, 28, 2011
11/28/11
2:04
PM ET
NEW ORLEANS – Before I start getting ready to make my way over to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, let’s hear a few words from New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees.

Brees
In this radio interview with Bobby Hebert, Brees talks about how and why the Saints have exceled in November. They have won 10 straight November games.

“For us I think we always view that month of November as the middle part of the season and that is when I think the contenders separate themselves from the pretenders and we view ourselves as a contender and want to be that year in and year out,’’ Brees said. “I think we just put extra emphasis on that month really to kind of establishing our identity and creating momentum moving into the latter half of the season.”

The Saints can extend their November winning streak to 11 games when they host the New York Giants on Monday night. The Saints are coming off a bye and the Giants have struggled lately. But Brees said nothing will be easy because he expects the Giants to play like it’s a must-win game.

“Yeah, they are extremely dangerous,’’ Brees said. “Especially right now because so much of this league is not who you play it is when you play them. I just know our mentality. If we were in their situation and that would be very much a must-win. You want to play your best football. You are on the road Monday night in a hostile environment and all those things, so we are going to need to do our absolute best coming off a bye week to just show how well rested we are by coming out guns blazing and really execute well and just do all the little things cause games like this come down to who’s the most disciplined and who can take care of it when it comes to crunch time.”

Hitting the NFC South links

August, 17, 2011
8/17/11
10:07
AM ET
Time for a look at the morning's top headlines from around the NFC South.

Tom Sorensen writes that Ron Rivera should just end the mystery and come out and say he’s starting Cam Newton in the regular-season opener. I agree. Newton’s at a whole different level than Jimmy Clausen. But I understand what Rivera’s doing by waiting until next week to make a decision. He wants to give Newton one more extended look in an exhibition. As long as Newton comes through that in good shape, then it’s time to make the move official. If you dub Newton the starter now and he goes down to Miami and has a horrible game Friday, it doesn't look good and you messs with the rookie's ego. Let him go out and have another solid outing and things will become obvious.

Jeff Duncan sums up the reason why the Saints released tackle Jon Stinchcomb this week. It wasn’t about money or personality. It was all about production. Stinchcomb’s play fell of dramatically last season and it wasn’t getting any better in training camp. That should serve as a reminder to the rest of the Saints that past laurels and being a good guy aren’t enough.

Colin Franklin, a tight end just signed by the Bucs, made a good first impression.

The Falcons are in Jacksonville to work out with the Jaguars. They’re on the practice field right now, but this session is just a walk-through. The real thing comes tonight when the teams go through a padded practice together.

Here's an audio clip of me talking Saints and the rest of the NFC South with WWL Radio's Bobby Hebert.

NFC South programming notes

August, 16, 2011
8/16/11
2:50
PM ET
TAMPA, Fla. -- I just returned from a trip to One Buccaneer Place to pick up my credentials for Thursday night’s preseason game between Tampa Bay and New England.

I’ll be providing observations live from Raymond James Stadium and we’ll have observations from the preseason games of the other three teams when they play later in the week. Speaking of the Bucs, we’ll have their Camp Confidential profile up on Wednesday.

I’ll spend much of this afternoon and evening working on that, but will be bouncing in to provide analysis if there’s any breaking news around the NFC South.

Also, a couple of broadcast notes. I’m scheduled to join my friend Bobby Hebert on New Orleans’ WWL Radio at about 5:35 p.m. ET. Also, I’m scheduled to do a phone interview on ESPNEWS’ "SportsCenter" at approximately 9:30 p.m. ET.
There will be two new members inducted into the Saints Hall of Fame this fall. Former safety Sammy Knight and longtime radio and television announcer Bruce Miller have been named as the newest selections.

Each NFC South team has some way of honoring its former players. For instance, the Bucs do it with their Ring of Honor, which, so far, includes only Lee Roy Selmon and John McKay.

We’ll see how long this lockout lasts, but I’m thinking if it drags into the middle of June or later, we might go ahead and do some Call It polls to let you select who belongs in the NFC South Hall of Fame. There’s no such thing right now, but, even if it’s just for fun, it might be a good time to start one.

Here’s a list of past inductees into the Saints Hall of Fame.
  • 1988 -- Archie Manning and Danny Abramowicz
  • 1989 -- Tommy Myers and Tom Dempsey
  • 1990 -- Billy Kilmer
  • 1991 -- Tony Galbreath and Derland Moore
  • 1992 -- George Rogers, Jake Kupp and John Hill
  • 1993 -- Joe Federspiel
  • 1994 -- Henry Childs and Jim Finks
  • 1995 -- Doug Atkins and Bob Pollard
  • 1996 -- Dave Whitsell and Dave Waymer
  • 1997 -- Stan Brock and Rickey Jackson
  • 1998 -- Dalton Hilliard and Sam Mills
  • 1999 -- Bobby Hebert and Eric Martin
  • 2000 -- Pat Swilling and Vaughan Johnson
  • 2001 -- Jim Wilks and Hoby Brenner
  • 2002 -- Jim Mora and Frank Warren
  • 2003 -- Jim Dombrowski and Wayne Martin
  • 2004 -- Rueben Mayes and Steve Sidwell
  • 2006 -- Joel Hilgenberg
  • 2007 -- Joe Johnson
  • 2008 -- William Roaf
  • 2009 -- Morten Andersen
  • 2010 -- Joe Horn
What key event significantly changed the fortunes of the Saints -- for better or worse? Give us your take and we’ll give you our definitive moment on May 25.

These events could be positives or negatives. In the case of the Saints, I elected to just stick with the positives because there have been a lot recently. This long-suffering franchise has done all sorts of good things since the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

There have been two trips to the NFC Championship Game, a Super Bowl title and a future that still looks very bright, and most of your choices are from the modern era. You can trace all that's right with the Saints these days back to 2006, when coach Sean Payton and quarterback Drew Brees, who supposedly had a shoulder injury so bad he might not play again, arrived. For those with longer memories, I even included the arrival of Jim Mora as coach in 1986. That move triggered the first real surge of competitiveness as the "Dome Patrol'' and Bobby Hebert showed it was possible to win in New Orleans.

Prior to that, the highlights I left out were Tom Dempsey’s 63-yard field goal and the days of Archie Manning running for his life, but also throwing some nice passes. Beyond that, there wasn’t much else.

If you vote Other, give us your suggestion in the comments area below.
Bobby Hebert just called an audible on our radio interview Wednesday night. Technically, it was his producer making the call, but it sounds better to say a former NFL quarterback was checking off.

Anyway, I’ll still be on the show on New Orleans’ WWL Radio (870 AM and 105.3 FM). But we now are scheduled to go live at approximately 6:35 p.m. ET (5:35 p.m. for those in New Orleans) so that Bobby can get Saints’ draft pick Johnny Patrick on in another time slot.

You can find the route to listen live by going to the station’s homepage.
Just a quick heads-up to let you know I’ll be joining my good friends Bobby Hebert and Deke Bellavia on New Orleans’ WWL Radio (870 AM and 105.3 FM) at approximately 7:35 p.m. ET on Wednesday (that’s 6:35 p.m. for those in New Orleans).

We’ll be talking about what the Saints did in the draft and, if time allows, I wouldn’t be surprised if Bobby and Deke want to talk about what the rest of the NFC South teams did in the draft. Just writing this item makes me wish the lockout gets lifted soon and the Saints quickly schedule a minicamp.

One of the true pleasures in a trip to see the Saints in minicamp or training camp is the opportunity to stand on the sideline with Hebert and watch practice. He’s a former NFL quarterback and he can see things the average person can't. Even better, he’s not afraid to voice his honest opinions.

Anyway, if you’re in New Orleans tonight, tune in. If you’re elsewhere, go to the station’s home page and look for the button that lets you listen to the live programming.

NFC South draft radio row

April, 27, 2011
4/27/11
7:15
AM ET
It’s time to talk draft, so I’ll be talking a lot about the draft on the radio the next few days.

Just a quick heads-up on some scheduled appearances. On Wednesday at approximately 9:30 a.m. ET, I’ll join my good friend Bill Rosinski on 730 AM in Charlotte. Rosinski is the former radio play-by-play guy for the Carolina Panthers and he and I once wrote a book together on the team. I’ll do that interview from Tampa, before heading to Charlotte later in the day.

On Thursday, we’ll flip that around. I’ll be in Charlotte, but I’m scheduled to join The Fabulous Sports Babe at approximately 12:20 p.m. ET on ESPN Tampa Bay (1040 AM). I’ll be back on that same station on Saturday at approximately 11 p.m. ET to chat about the first two days of the draft.

Also, a note to my good friend Bobby Hebert in New Orleans: I know you’re going to call and I’ll gladly take care of you. But, sometimes, a little advance notice can be helpful at this time of year because it helps me mark off time in my schedule. But, hey, I’ll always make time whenever the "Cajun Cannon" calls.
We’ve talked plenty already about New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton’s decision to move his family to Dallas and “commute’’ to New Orleans.

It seems like a lot of people are confused by the logistics of how that will work and some are assuming Payton will be flying back and forth between the two cities each day. That simply isn’t the case and Payton explained how things will work in this radio interview with WWL’s Bobby Hebert and Deke Bellavia.

“It’s hard to draw an analogy to commuting cause really it’s not a thing where you commute daily day-to-day,’’ Payton said. “It’s something where your family comes in on the weekends when you’re playing games. I’ll get back to Dallas on weekends in the offseason. You know we have our time as a family in the summer down at the beach. You know I really look at it as, as far as the time management thing, something that will be easy for me to handle. You know I’ll have more time in the office from the standpoint of in-season I won’t be trying to get back-and-fourth certainly on a day-to-day basis. It’s something I’ve looked at closely. We’ve looked at closely as a family.’’

Around the NFC South

November, 22, 2010
11/22/10
5:49
PM ET
Time for an afternoon trip through the NFC South headlines.
  • Tampa Bay coach Raheem Morris said the team will fine wide receiver Mike Williams, who was arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence last week. Williams was allowed to play in Sunday’s game. His blood-alcohol level, according to police reports, was below the state limit (0.08). Williams submitted to a urine test for law-enforcement officers. He also took an independent test Friday and the Buccaneers said that showed no signs of any illegal substances.
  • Atlanta fans often are criticized for showing up late for games. That might be part of the reason coach Mike Smith issued a plea Monday for fans to show up on time and be loud for Sunday’s game with Green Bay.
  • Carolina coach John Fox wouldn’t name a starting quarterback for Sunday’s game at Cleveland. Jimmy Clausen still hasn’t been cleared after sitting out one game with a concussion, but he’s expected to have more tests soon. If Clausen isn’t cleared, Fox would have to choose between Brian St. Pierre and rookie Tony Pike, but the coach didn’t rule out the possibility of signing another quarterback.
  • The Saints, who have a short week because of the Thursday game with Dallas, didn’t have media access today. But I’ll be talking about the Saints with Bobby Hebert on WWL Radio in New Orleans tonight at approximately 6:30 CT.

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