Another week down, and it’s another week closer to the return of the New Orleans Saints. There’s been some interesting news items recently. I’m happy to share with them you.
Ramon Antonio Vargas | The Advocate | Saints reserve Rufus Johnson says he’s ready to answer the call
“When you get lined up with your hands in the dirt, you know what you’re doing: You’re rushing the passer,” Young explained. “When … you’re an outside backer … you may have to go out and cover somebody. There’s a lot more to it.
“What Rufus did in college versus what he did here was a big change.”
I wrote about Johnson in my Saints Youth Movement column in May.
If you haven’t been told before, I’ll tell you now to become familiar with Rufus Johnson, who plays outside linebacker for the Saints. Johnson was only the fourth player ever taken from Tarleton State, which is located in Stephenville, Texas. The team liked him so much that they drafted Johnson in the sixth round last year, which made him the highest drafted player out of Tarleton State. Johnson has appealing size at 6’5″, 272 pounds, and while he may not see immediate action playing behind Junior Galette, Victor Butler, and Parys Harlason, Johnson is one to keep an eye on.
I can only echo what I said. Johnson is someone you need to keep our your Saints radar. As Vargas’ article suggests, Johnson is more than willing to go where he’s needed. I firmly believe that he will make the most of it.
Brian Allee-Walsh | Special to The Advocate | Saints rookie WR Brandin Cooks balancing school, playbook
“We go through the practice tape and go through the installation online,’’ Saints coach Sean Payton said after the team’s fifth and final minicamp workout Thursday. “He was here for the rookie camp, and he was able to take the (playbook) back with him and kind of work through page by page.’’
Payton said Cooks’ nightly online work lasted between 60 and 90 minutes in accordance with the league’s collective bargaining agreement.
“He will be here this weekend and Monday kind of getting caught up to speed as quickly as possible,’’ Payton said.
We already knew about Cooks’ character (see his generous act for his mother after being drafted). He’s now showing us more that will easily make him a fan favorite. Despite having his dreams come true by playing for a professional team, Cooks continues to work in school. That’s awesome, folks.
Brian Allee-Walsh | Special to The Advocate | Saints’ Junior Galette still motivated by his humble NFL beginnings
“Last year was last year,” he said. “It’s a new year. We’re not trying to stay the same. If we stay the same and do the same we did last year, then we didn’t make any progress.
“Nothing is going to come out of that. We got a lot of young guys here who are hungry and they want to be successful.”
I love that Galette is staying hungry. It’s his contract year, and if he wants to cash in, his sack production is key. He’ll be measured up against the 12 sacks from 2013. Fear the beard, and bring your body bags.
Larry Holder | The Times-Picayune | New Orleans Saints’ Jimmy Graham a franchise tight end, clearly not a wide receiver
Graham’s rate vs. corners would rank 81st out of 111 wide receivers last season, tied with Atlanta’s Darius Johnson, according to the catch percentage rate compiled at Pro Football Focus. It would be the lowest rate among Saints wide receivers. By comparison, teammate Marques Colston ranked 11th last year, catching 70.1 percent of the passes thrown his direction.
If you missed it yesterday, there was a very interesting debate going on Twitter involving Pro Football Talk and Larry Holder. I’d say do some leg work and check it out, but to give you the short version, Holder states that Graham should be a tight end. If you can’t beat cornerbacks, then you don’t deserve to be paid like a top-tier wide receiver, like Calvin Johnson. I couldn’t agree more. Graham can get paid, but why can’t he be satisfied as the highest paid tight end in league history? That should be the goal. The language in the CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement) is flawed, which seems to be the whole point of this.
Jeff Duncan | The Times-Picayune | Don’t blame Jimmy Graham for playing hardball with Saints
Everyone loved Graham when he battled Seahawks defenders before the NFC playoff game in January and when he rattled the crossbar in Atlanta’s Georgia Dome. But heaven forbid he battle for his long-term livelihood or rattle a system so heavily weighted in favor of management.
The grievance Graham’s camp has filed with the NFL is really nothing more than a contractual Hail Mary. It’s a leverage ploy.
The Saints played their trump card by using the franchise tag on Graham. Now Graham’s reps are following suit.
By challenging Graham’s tight end designation, agent Jimmy Sexton is trying to exploit a potential gray area in the collective bargaining agreement, which states that the franchise-tag designation is based on the position “at which the Franchise player participated in the most plays during the prior League Year.”
This may infuriate you when you first read this, but understand this. Duncan has a point. The same people who ‘love’ Graham for what he did last season (and before that), and then say ‘trade him’ because of his price tag is ludicrous. You’ll miss Jimmy Graham if he’s not there, and complain if the team pays him handsomely. Players are replaceable. Jimmy Graham will stay on the Saints, and once this is all over, you’ll forget about it.
Other articles to check out:
- Saints WR Robert Meachem says New Orleans became home a long time ago | Video
- Converted receiver Je’Ron Hamm is turning heads as a tight end with the New Orleans Saints
- Pierre Thomas happy he’s still a part of the Saints | Video
- Rafael Bush says Saints and Seahawks will be competing for NFL’s best secondary | Video
- New Orleans Saints Spotlight | Get to know linebacker Ronald Powell