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Ted Lewis: Saints tight end Benjamin Watson offers perspective in new book

Advocate staff photo by SHERRI MILLER -- Saints tight end Benjamin Watson reads from his new book, 'Under Our Skin,' at Barnes & Noble in Metairie on Nov. 22.

Those expecting lots of football talk in Saints tight end Benjamin Watson’s new book — “Under Our Skin” — won’t find it. There might be five paragraphs — total — about the 12-year veteran’s career. You won’t find any insights about Drew Brees or Tom Brady, Watson’s quarterback when he began his NFL career as a first-round… Continue reading →

Detail-oriented Dennis Allen takes over the Saints defense, with a chance to show what he can achieve on short notice

In this Aug. 30, 2015,  photo, New Orleans Saints then-senior defensive assistant Dennis Allen, center, and head coach Sean Payton, right, watch from the sideline in the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Houston Texans in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Jonathan Bachman, File)

The big change Dennis Allen brings to the New Orleans Saints defense lies in the tiniest of details. Allen is a stickler for the details. From the moment he arrived and took over the Saints secondary this offseason, Allen started putting his imprint on the defensive backfield, a remade unit trying to blend elements of the old, the… Continue reading →

The Advocate’s gameday preview: Saints at Texans

New Orleans Saints cornerback Delvin Breaux celebrates an interception during the Philadelphia Eagles 39-17 win over the New Orleans Saints in a NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 11, 2015, in Philadelphia, Pa. (Photo by Winslow Townson/AP Images for Panini)

The nuts and bolts SAINTS at TEXANS Noon Sunday, NRG Stadium Houston TV: Fox Radio: WWL-AM, 870; WWL-FM, 105.3; WDGL-FM, 98.1; KMDL-FM, 97.3 Favorite: Texans by 3 Over/under: 48 Storyline of the day: Resurgent Texans seem primed to exploit Saints’ weaknesses Continue reading →

Slowing down Houston’s J.J. Watt is a tall order for Saints tackle Zach Strief — and the rest of the offensive line

Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt (99) celebrates a play during the first half of an NFL football game against the New York Jets, Sunday, Nov. 22, 2015, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

The toughest assignment of Zach Strief’s season is lurking Sunday. For the most part, on nearly every snap, Strief will line up and stare across the line of scrimmage at J.J. Watt, the transcendent defensive end who has made the title of the NFL’s best defensive player anything but arguable in the past couple of seasons.… Continue reading →

Dennis Allen crucial to Saints' stingy 3rd-down defense, but can he help on early downs too?

FILE - In this Aug. 28. 2014, file photo, then-Oakland Raiders coach Dennis Allen smiles as he talks with cornerback Charles Woodson during the second quarter of an NFL preseason football game against the Seattle Seahawks, in Oakland, Calif. Saints coach Sean Payton promised changes were coming to his sagging defense. He started by firing defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. Senior defensive assistant Dennis Allen will assume Ryan's duties. The move, announced Monday night, Nov. 16, 2015, on Payton's weekly radio show on WWL-AM, comes a day after the Saints allowed 526 yards in a 47-14 loss to the Washington Redskins. (AP Photo/Ben Margot, File)

It probably should have been more obvious that Dennis Allen had his fingerprints all over the New Orleans Saints’ third-down package. The disguised coverages, the heavy blitzing and various fronts, all hallmarks of Allen’s defenses in Denver and Oakland, have been on display on third downs throughout the season. Maybe it shouldn’t be a… Continue reading →

Ramon Humber, Hau’oli Kikaha return to practice; Willie Snead a full participant

Ramon Humber and Hau’oli Kikaha returned to action in a limited capacity on Wednesday. Humber missed the last two games due to a hamstring injury. Kikaha (ankle) was limited to nine snaps against the Washington Redskins. Cornerback Keenan Lewis (hip/knee), cornerback Damian Swann (concussion), linebacker David Hawthorne (thigh) and linebacker Dannell Ellerbe (hip) did not practice. Offensive lineman Terron Armstread (knee)… Continue reading →

Former LSU quarterback Matt Flynn thinks it would be a mistake to fire Les Miles

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- Trophy with Matt Flynn and Les Miles during the BCS national title game Monday Jan. 7, 2008, in New Orleans.

The man who directed Les Miles’ national championship team has been surprised by the whirlwind of speculation surrounding his former coach’s job security. And Matt Flynn believes LSU will be making a mistake if they fire Miles after the Tigers finish off their season against Texas A&M. “Off the cuff, yeah, I do,” Flynn said. “He’s… Continue reading →

A good deed indeed by Saints receiver Willie Snead, whose Thanksgiving outreach brought him more than he expected

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--New Orleans Saints wide receiver Willie Snead (83) makes a reception against the Tennessee Titans at the Superdome in New Orleans, La. Sunday, Nov. 8, 2015.

Willie Snead got a taste of the impact he has made on the community Tuesday. As part of a contingent of players who handed out 1,000 Thanksgiving dinners to families in need, the New Orleans Saints receiver quickly found out he would be doing much more than picking up and handing out turkeys. Fans… Continue reading →

Saints coach Sean Payton: 'We’re not just going to continue on status quo. That would be madness, right?'

Advocate staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELD -- New Orleans Saints cornerback Brandon Browner (39) reacts after being called for pass interference for tugging the jersey of Tennessee Titans tight end Delanie Walker (82) during the fourth quarter Sunday, Nov. 8, 2015, at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Tennessee Titans won in overtime, 34-28.

. The eyeball-catching change the Saints made at defensive coordinator might not be the only shift New Orleans implemented during the bye week. Sean Payton wanted to take a look at everything. New Orleans headed into its bye week stumbling to 4-6 after showing promise that the Saints could get back in the playoff race. Faced with that inconsistency, Payton decided… Continue reading →

First look: Breaking down the Houston Texans

Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt walks the field during practice before an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals in Cincinnati, Monday, Nov. 16, 2015. (AP Photo/Gary Landers) ORG XMIT: PBS1

WHEN: Noon Sunday WHERE: NRG Stadium, Houston TV: Fox RADIO: WWL-AM, 870; WWL-FM, 105.3 in New Orleans; KMDL-FM, 97.3 in Lafayette; WDGL-FM, 98.1 in Baton Rouge RECORDS: New Orleans 4-6; Houston 5-5 COACHES: Saints, Sean Payton, 10th season (84-54); Texans, Bill O’Brien, second season (14-12) TEXAns BREAKDOWN LAST WEEK: Houston is officially on a run. Playing with backup quarterback… Continue reading →

Saints’ Hau’oli Kikaha taking change at defensive coordinator in stride

New Orleans Saints outside linebacker Hau'oli Kikaha (44) pressures Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) in the first half of an NFL football game in Indianapolis, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2015.  (AP Photo/R Brent Smith) ORG XMIT: INMC1

Hau’oli Kikaha is ready for whatever Dennis Allen asks him to do. Kikaha, who spent Tuesday afternoon helping a large contingent of Saints hand out the Thanksgiving dinners they bought for under-served families in New Orleans, is taking the Saints change at defensive coordinator in stride. “I’m just thankful to be a part of what we… Continue reading →

Hau’oli Kikaha ready for whatever changes Dennis Allen brings to Saints defense

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON -- Saints outside linebacker Hau'oli Kikaha sacks Dallas Cowboys quarterback Brandon Weeden on Sunday in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Hau’oli Kikaha is ready for whatever Dennis Allen asks him to do. Kikaha, who spent Tuesday afternoon helping a large contingent of Saints hand out the Thanksgiving dinners they bought for under-served families in New Orleans, is taking the Saints’ change at defensive coordinator in stride. “I’m just thankful to be a part of what we have,” Kikaha said. “I have faith… Continue reading →

Saints bring in Phillip Hunt, release Jo-Lonn Dunbar

Associated Press file photo by Carlos Osorio -- The Saints signed former Lions defensive end Phillip Hunt to help boost their pass rush.

The New Orleans Saints made a move to add to their pass rush by signing Phillip Hunt. Hunt, who is an edge player, spent time with the Detroit Lions earlier this season, where he appeared in two games and recorded one sack. He was released earlier this month. To make… Continue reading →

Houston's best QB to return for Sunday's game vs. Saints

. The New Orleans Saints will face Houston’s best at the quarterback position. Brian Hoyer, who missed the Texans’ win over the Jets last week as he went through the NFL’s concussion protocol, is expected to return to the lineup against the Saints. “It sounds like he’s out of the protocol as of this morning,” Texans coach Bill O’Brien said.… Continue reading →

Saints-Panthers Dec. 6 game moved to later time

. The NFL has decided that more people should be able to see the Saints and Panthers play on Dec. 6. Previously scheduled to start at noon, the game has been moved back to a 3:25 p.m. kickoff. If New Orleans is going to compete for a playoff spot, it will likely need to win the rest of its… Continue reading →

Former Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan in levity-filled appearance on NFL Network: ‘The bottom line is this: I’ll hold my head high and walk out in the sunset’

Advocate staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELD --  San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Anquan Boldin (81) catches a 25-yard pass over New Orleans Saints cornerback Corey White (24) as Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan watches during the second quarter Sunday, Nov. 9, 2014, at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Rob Ryan provided plenty of personality in a guest spot on the NFL Network on Sunday, his first public appearance since the New Orleans Saints fired him as defensive coordinator and turned the reins over to Dennis Allen on Monday. But Ryan’s four hours of pregame exposure offered little insight into the end of his tenure in New… Continue reading →

Saints coach Sean Payton on changes coming out of the bye week: ‘It was going to be different, and it needs to be’

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton waves his arms to pump up the crowd against the Atlanta Falcons in the Superdome in New Orleans, La. Thursday, Oct. 15, 2015.

Before the New Orleans Saints broke for their bye week, their leader delivered a message. Drew Brees has been delivering these messages for years. But the fact that the message came from a familiar leader doesn’t make it any less important. Instead of heading into the bye week on a surge, New Orleans limped into it,… Continue reading →

Despite playing through a lingering knee injury, Saints left tackle Terron Armstead is making a name for himself around the NFL

New Orleans Saints tackle Terron Armstead during an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Sept. 13, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

Back in training camp, Zach Strief handed Terron Armstead the kind of praise that can be hard to live up to. Three years of working with Armstead convinced Strief, another tackle, to say the third-year player, under the radar at the time, essentially had no limits to where his career might go. Armstead is making Strief look like… Continue reading →