New Orleans Saints gameday notes and quotes from the team's players, coaches, NFL sources, and researchers in Week 17.
Although he has not officially declared this is his last season with New Orleans and in the NFL. But, Drew Brees may be dressing for his final regular-season game in the NFL.
As the leader of the Saints since 2006, Brees' record is 141-86-0. His 80,157 passing yards are the most any quarterback has ever thrown in the National Football League.
Shush! Don't tell anyone. But, there's a sneaky suspicion Brees' Hall of Fame bust is already being cast in Canton.
ALVIN & THE SAINTS RUNNING BACKS
Kamara will miss the Carolina Panthers game because of his positive COVID-19 test results. New Orleans will be without their entire running backs corps and position coach Joel Thomas because of the NFL's contact tracing protocols. More importantly, if the Saints are to play in the NFC Wild Card round on Saturday, Kamara will not be available.
WILD CARD NOTES
Adam Schefter reports the National Football League will not consider scheduling for next week's Wild Card Round games to help teams hit with reserve/COVID-19 players on their respective rosters. The "player availability will not factor into Wild-Card scheduling" in Schefter's morning tweet.
KAMARA COMES UP SHORT OF 1,000
According to the NFL statistics, Saints star running back Alvin Kamara will not be getting his first 1,000 yard rushing season. Due to his COVID-19 positive results, the dynamic rusher will fall 68 yards shy of 1,000 yards at 932 yards (5.0 yards/carry). He recorded 756 receiving yards, 21 touchdowns, 112.5 scrimmage yards/game, and 6.3 yards per touch in the 2020-21 regular season.
He finally eclipsed the 3 straight seasons of 81 catches. He will finish with 83.
Alvin Kamara has a 729 YAC (yards after the catch) on the season. How does this compare to other NFL running backs? The closest competitor is over 250 yards away from Kamara. Scary good player!
SAINTS ROSTER MOVES
An announcement from EVP/GM Mickey Loomis and the New Orleans Saints organization listed several roster moves and reserve/COVID-19 designations on Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021.
STANDARD ELEVATION FROM PRACTICE SQUAD:
- #30 CB Grant Haley
- #42 LB Chase Hansen
COVID-19 ELEVATIONS TO ACTIVE ROSTER:
- #14 WR Tommylee Lewis
- #37 RB Tony Jones, Jr.
- #45 TE Garrett Griffin
- #50 LB Andrew Dowell
- #84 WR Lil’Jordan Humphrey
- #36 S D.J. Swearinger
- #28 RB Latavius Murray
- #24 RB Dwayne Washington
- #32 FB Michael Burton
Saints Running Backs Coach Joel Thomas will not travel or coach in Sunday’s game at Carolina. The offensive coaching staff will assume his duties.
The Dayton Flyer, rookie tight end Adam Trautman, has graded well in the regular season by Pro Football Focus.
The New Orleans Saints' wide receivers and tight ends pride themselves in the game's blocking phase. Trautman received an 84.1 Run Blocking grade this season. His grade is the best of all NFL tight ends.
THE BIG O! DAVID ONYEMATA
In this week's media zoom calls, defensive tackle David Onyemata may have had the best quote of the week. New Orleans Saints staff writer John DeShazier asked the stellar defensive player if he's been a part of chatter on the field with the opposition. Onyemata responded, " "If someone says something, I definitely have to finish the conversation."
Pro Football Focus also grades him in the Top 10 of interior defensive lineman for the 2020-21 regular season at 87.9 OVR - which is 9th in the NFL.
A CLEAN SWEEP?
The New Orleans Saints can claim another milestone with a win in Carolina this afternoon. Since the NFC South's inception due to NFL realignment in 2002, no team has swept the entire division's opponents.
If doing so over former Saints quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and the Panthers, the Saints will be the first and place themselves at least as the #2 seed in the NFC playoff seeding.
For the first time this season, the Saints will don their white jerseys and gold pants against the Panthers. The Saints are a six-point favorite on the road against their division rival. In October, the last meeting between the teams resulted in a close 27-24 win by the Saints.
New Orleans Saints (11-4) leads Carolina Panthers (5-10) in the all-time series 27-25. The Saints vs. Panthers contest will be held inside Bank of America Stadium's confines in Charlotte, NC, for a 3:25 PM CST projected kickoff.
FAREWELL BARRY HIRSTIUS
Farewell to our Saints News Network family member, friend, and colleague Barry Hirstius. Barry covered the New Orleans Saints, Pelicans, and Louisiana sports scene. He passed on Christmas Eve. Barry was 53.