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New Orleans Saints: Top news and video clips

In a career that has spanned more than two decades in the league, Williams’ resume includes stops as head coach, coordinator or assistant coach with six teams. At the end of this year, with his three-year contract up, there could be a seventh. Or it could not.Williams offered no hint Thursday he has any interest in getting back on the coaching carousel or testing the free-agent market for coaches. Instead, he is locked in on facing the 49ers on Saturday in a divisional playoff game, and loving it.

The Saints don’t really have a pure pass rusher right now — it’s safe to say that more was expected of rookie Cameron Jordan — but that doesn’t mean that Williams’ guys don’t annoy passers. New Orleans totaled 87 quarterback hits, above the league average (the Houston Texans ranked first with 115, which is bad news for Joe Flacco). Interestingly enough, safety Roman Harper led the team in QB hits with nine, and he’s generally a much better blitz guy than he is in coverage. End Will Smith led all Saints linemen with eight and Jordan had just two.

Now, back in the postseason, the 49ers face the daunting task of trying to slow down Brees, whose versatile offense produced a playoff-record 626 yards in Saturday night’s 45-28 win over the Lions. Brees threw for 466 yards and completed 33 of 43 passes — and no doubt will provide the toughest test yet for San Francisco’s deep and talented defense. Darren Sproles ran for two touchdowns against Detroit and Pierre Thomas also rushed for a score.

Linebacker Jonathan Vilma picked up a veterans day off Thursday, resting his surgically repaired left knee ahead of Saturday’s NFC divisional-round playoff game at San Francisco.Vilma said he feels fine and will be ready for the game.Receiver Lance Moore (left hamstring), meanwhile, was listed as DNP for his eighth straight day despite saying a day earlier he felt hopeful about his participation against the 49ers.

Carmichael’s profile has been raised exponentially this season. For years, his work went largely unrecognized because of Payton’s considerable reputation as a game-planner and play-caller. This year, though, he’s starting to earn his due. On a recent “Monday Night Football” broadcast, former NFL coach Jon Gruden touted him as a head coaching prospect. He has one very powerful ally in Brees, whose relationship with Carmichael dates to 2002 when Carmichael was an offensive assistant on Marty Schottenheimer’s San Diego Chargers staff.

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Tags: 2012 NFC Divisional Round Aaron Brooks Aaron Kromer Aldon Smith Alex Smith Calvin Johnson Dennis Allen Detroit Lions Drew Brees Gregg Williams Hurricane Katrina Jabari Greer Jeff Fisher Jim Haslett Justin Smith Lance Moore Matchup Matthew Stafford Mercedes-Benz Superdome Mickey Loomis NaVorro Bowman New Orleans Saints New Orleans Saints 2005 Season NFC NFC Divisional Round NFL Patrick Willis Rick Reiprish San Francisco 49′ers Sean Payton St. Louis Rams Tom Benson

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