Having gashed the Falcons on the ground in the season opener, the Saints brace for a stouter Atlanta run defense in the rematch Sunday

Associated Press photo by DAVID GOLDMAN -- Saints running back Mark Ingram runs for a touchdown as Atlanta Falcons cornerback Robert McClain chases during the second half Sunday.  Ingram scored a touchdown on the play.

The New Orleans Saints first alerted the NFL that they would be capable of fielding a top-10 rushing attack this season when they played in Atlanta in the season opener. The Saints ran for an impressive 139 yards, and they got three touchdowns on the ground from Mark Ingram (two) and Khiry Robinson as they lost… Continue reading →

Kenny Vaccaro settling into familiar role

Associated Press photo by Nam Y. HuhBears quarterback Jay Cutler slides as Saints strong safety Kenny Vaccaro makes the tackle during the second half of Monday's game in Chicago.

Kenny Vaccaro went through the reports written about him last season. He didn’t like what he was reading. The critics called him a jack of all trades, someone who was good at a lot of things but was great at nothing. Vaccaro wanted to be considered great. That’s how he views himself, and he believes he… Continue reading →

Video: Getting pressure on Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan will be the key for the Saints in Sunday's NFC South showdown

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) passes against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 14, 2014, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

. First place in the NFC South will be on the line when the New Orleans Saints play host to the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. The key to the game will be the play of the New Orleans Saints defense. Click here to see the video.Continue reading →

Terron Armstead among those questionable against the Falcons

The Saints might be without left tackle Terron Armstead against the Falcons. Armstead (neck) and safety Jamarca Sanford (hamstring) are both listed as questionable for Sunday’s game after missing Friday’s practice due to injury. Defensive tackle Akiem Hicks (ankle) is also listed as questionable. He was limited Friday. If Armstead is unable to play,… Continue reading →

Saints linebacker Junior Galette expected to have limited action in Sunday's game against Atlanta

. The Saints were forced to limit Junior Galette’s snaps last week against the Chicago Bears due to a knee injury that he’s been managing. He doesn’t expect his situation to change Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons. “Basically the passing situations, probably the same thing going into this game,” Galette said. “Trying to ease off the… Continue reading →

Atlanta Falcons receiver Julio Jones listed as questionable for Sunday's game against the Saints

Atlanta Falcons' Julio Jones (11) catches a touchdown pass in front of Green Bay Packers' Sam Shields during the second half of an NFL football game Monday, Dec. 8, 2014, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Tom Lynn)

. Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones is questionable for Sunday’s game against the Saints in New Orleans because of a hip injury, Atlanta announced Friday. Despite missing last week because he was hurt, Jones is second in the NFL in receiving yards (1,428). He is also second on the Falcons in touchdown catches (six), behind only… Continue reading →

Why Saints safety Kenny Vaccaro is happy to return to his role as defense's chess piece

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan speaks with New Orleans Saints strong safety Kenny Vaccaro (32) on the bench in a NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers in the Superdome in New Orleans, La. Sunday, Dec. 7, 2014.

New Orleans Saints safety Kenny Vaccaro thought he had it all figured out in the off-season. He wanted to be considered a great player, not a player who was adequate at multiple positions. So this season -- his second year -- he'd focus on playing great at one position. That plan hasn't worked out, but Vaccaro… Continue reading →

With Falcons looming, Saints can find advantage in solving quarterback cadences

Associated Press photo by Nam Y. HuhSaints quarterback Drew Brees throws a pass as Bears defensive tackle Stephen Paea pursues during Monday's game.

It became a running joke last year when the microphones on the field repeatedly picked up Peyton Manning barking “Omaha” at the line of scrimmage during a Denver Broncos game. The call became so synonymous with the quarterback that Manning can now be heard yelling the catchphrase in commercials. After the Broncos beat the… Continue reading →

Saints sign kicker Dustin Hopkins to practice squad

Watch out Shayne Graham — the Saints have a kicking competition. The Saints signed Dustin Hopkins, a former sixth-round pick of the Buffalo Bills in the 2013 NFL draft, on Tuesday. Hopkins was put on the 10-person practice squad, which is rare for kickers. Graham has converted 19 of 22 field goals this season, but missed one in… Continue reading →

If the Saints need him against Atlanta, defensive tackle Bryce Harris will be coming off of his best performance

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- Saints T Bryce Harris (79) makes a block during the morning Saints Training Camp practice Sunday in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.

Four times this season, reserve tackle Bryce Harris has played more than 50 snaps filling in for an injured Saints starter. One key thing made the most recent occasion — New Orleans’ 31-15 victory over the Bears at Chicago on Monday night — different from the rest. When Harris entered the contest, the Saints (6-8) were in… Continue reading →

Bailey Leon, girl who received game ball from Saints coach Sean Payton after the Bears win, died Thursday

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton and Chicago Bears head coach Marc Trestman talks after an NFL football game Monday, Dec. 15, 2014, in Chicago. The Saints won 31-15. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Bailey Leon, the young girl from Rayne battling pediatric cancer who Saints coach Sean Payton honored during New Orleans’ 31-15 win at Chicago on Monday night, died Thursday at Ochsner Hospital, her family said. She was 12. Bailey was a devoted fan of the Saints and Payton, with whom she developed a friendship after meeting him. Payton… Continue reading →

Desmond Trufant, Atlanta defense wary of Drew Brees

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown(84) celebrates making a first down reception against Atlanta Falcons cornerback Desmond Trufant (21) during the first quarter of the NFL football game on Sunday, Dec. 14, 2014, in Atlanta.  (AP Photo/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Curtis Compton)  MARIETTA DAILY OUT; GWINNETT DAILY POST OUT; LOCAL TELEVISION OUT; WXIA-TV OUT; WGCL-TV OUT

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — Falcons cornerback Desmond Trufant expects to be exhausted by the end of Atlanta’s NFC South showdown Sunday at New Orleans. Drew Brees, the Saints’ eight-time Pro Bowl quarterback, is renowned for sidestepping pressure and picking defenses apart. In the series, Brees is 13-4 with 35 touchdowns and 19 interceptions and… Continue reading →

Jamarca Sanford, Terron Armstead, and Akiem Hicks miss Thursday’s practice

The Saints injury report remained the same from Wednesday’s simulated report. In the first actual practice of the week following Monday’s win over the Chicago Bears, defensive lineman Akiem Hicks (ankle), offensive tackle Terron Armstead (neck) and safety Jamarca Sanford (hamstring) were held out of action. For Atlanta, wide receiver Julio Jones (hip) and guard Jon… Continue reading →

The Saints grade out well in win against Chicago, but the troubled Bears made some things easy

Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (6) is sacked by New Orleans Saints inside linebackers David Hawthorne (57) and Ramon Humber (53) during the first half of an NFL football game Monday, Dec. 15, 2014, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

If Monday night’s win over the Chicago Bears were a scene in a sports movie, this would be the game early in the season when the team that is the subject of the movie is still trying to get it together and the New Orleans Saints would be the villainous outfit. That’s how it felt watching the… Continue reading →

In response to Keenan Lewis’ funeral remark, Falcons receiver Roddy White says Atlanta will do talking on the field

FILE - In this Aug. 8, 2013 file photo, Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Roddy White (84) smiles on the sideline during a preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals in Atlanta. On the eve of training camp, the Falcons have agreed to terms on a new contract with receiver White. The Falcons announced the four-year extension Thursday, July 24, 2014.   (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)

Roddy White said he heard Keenan Lewis say that New Orleans hoped to put the Falcons in their graves on Sunday, but the veteran Atlanta receiver preferred to wait until after the game’s opening whistle at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome to offer his response to the Saints cornerback’s funeral barb. “May we rest in peace,”… Continue reading →

Video: The Saints roster has had a lot of changes since its season-opening loss to the Atlanta Falcons

In this image made with a fisheye lens, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) cheers with teammates before the first half of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons, Sunday, Sept. 7, 2014, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

. A person will need a scorecard when they compare the Saints roster from its 37-34 season-opening loss to its roster for Sunday's NFC South Division showdown in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Saints quarterback Drew Brees explains. Click here to see the video.Continue reading →

New Orleans Saints sign free-agent kicker Dustin Hopkins to practice squad

. The Saints filled up an open spot on their 10-man practice squad by signing free-agent kicker Dustin Hopkins. Hopkins was a former 2013 sixth-round draft selection out of Florida State for Buffalo. Click here to see the report. Continue reading →

Saints' Akiem Hicks, Terron Armstead, Jamarca Sanford remain sidelined because of injuries

Advocate staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELD --  New Orleans Saints offensive tackle Terron Armstead (72) protects New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) against the Minnesota Vikings during the second quarter Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014, at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

The Saints (6-8) did not do team drills Wednesday; but if they had, defensive lineman Akiem Hicks (ankle), tackle Terron Armstead (neck) and safety Jamarca Sanford (hamstring) would've been sidelined because of injuries, the team said. All three played in the Saints' 31-15 victory at Chicago. But Armstead was hurt 13 snaps into the game and was… Continue reading →

Video: Saints cornerback Keenan Lewis not worried about repercussions from previous Falcons comments

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Harry Douglas (83) jumps by New Orleans Saints cornerback Keenan Lewis (28) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 7, 2014, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham finishes second in Pro Bowl voting at tight end

Advocate staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELD -- New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham (80) finds his hips but not the football after a dropped pass against the Carolina Panthers during the third quarter Sunday, Dec. 7, 2014, at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Carolina won 41-10.

New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham finished 2nd in fan Pro Bowl voting for tight ends on Wednesday behind New England's Rob Gronkowski. Graham had 413,366 votes. Gronkowski leads all tight ends with 76 catches for 1,093 yards and 11 touchdowns. Graham leads the Saints with 73 catches for 782 yards and… Continue reading →

The Saints grade out well in win against Chicago, but the troubled Bears made some things easy

Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (6) is sacked by New Orleans Saints inside linebackers David Hawthorne (57) and Ramon Humber (53) during the first half of an NFL football game Monday, Dec. 15, 2014, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

If Monday night’s win over the Chicago Bears were a scene in a sports movie, this would be the game early in the season when the team that is the subject of the movie is still trying to get it together and the New Orleans Saints would be the villainous outfit. That’s how it felt watching the… Continue reading →

Atlanta Falcons receiver Roddy White says his team will do its talking on the field against the Saints on Sunday

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Roddy White (84) walks off the field during the second half of an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Sunday, Dec. 14, 2014, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson )

. Roddy White heard Keenan Lewis say that New Orleans hoped to put the Falcons in their graves on Sunday, but the veteran Atlanta receiver preferred to wait until after the game’s opening whistle at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome to offer his response to the Saints cornerback’s funeral barb. “May we rest… Continue reading →

Who's this version of Roddy White? Falcons wide receiver saving trash talk for game vs. Saints

Advocate staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELD -- Falcons receiver Roddy White has his helmet spun around by Saints cornerback Keenan Lewis during the fourth quarter Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013, at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

New Orleans Saints defensive back Keenan Lewis said after the team's win in Chicago that he and his teammates hoped to give the Atltanta Falcons their funeral on Sunday. What's the reaction from known trash-talking Falcons wide receiver Roddy White? Continue reading →

Atlanta Falcons prepare to face New Orleans Saints with all-world receiver Julio Jones, league’s worst defense

Associated Press photo by TOM LYNN -- Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones is tripped up by Green Bay Packers cornerback Tramon Williams after a catch during the second half Monday in Green Bay, Wis.

When: Noon, Sunday Where: Mercedes-Benz Superdome TV: Fox Radio: WWL-AM, 870 in New Orleans; KMDL-FM, 97.3 in Lafayette; WDGL-FM, 98.1 in Baton Rouge Records: The Saints are 6-8. The Falcons are 5-9. Last week: Owners of a 4-0 record in the NFC South and a 1-9 mark outside of it, the Falcons trailed 13-0 and 20-7… Continue reading →

Lewis: Ever called into your boss' office and told your job is in jeopardy? Here's what clicked for the Saints

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton and Chicago Bears head coach Marc Trestman talks after an NFL football game Monday, Dec. 15, 2014, in Chicago. The Saints won 31-15. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Ever been called in by your boss and put on notice that your job is jeopardy? That’s exactly what happened with the Saints last week. And as if to make sure everyone knew they were on double-secret probation, Sean Payton made an example of Joe Morgan for the players who were cuttable and Kenny Vaccaro for… Continue reading →

Report: Saints fan accused of shoving Chicago Bears chairman George McCaskey during Monday's game

Chicago Bears chairman George McCaskey smiles as he speaks at a news conference at Halas Hall in Lake Forest, Ill., Tuesday, July 26, 2011., after the NFL Players Association executive board and 32 team reps voted unanimously Monday to approve the terms

. The Chicago Bears players weren't the only ones being shoved around Soldier Field in their 31-15 loss to the New Orleans Saints on Monday. According to the Chicago Sun Times, Richard Kohnke of New Orleans was charged with one count of simple battery by the Chicago Police for pushing Chicago Bears chairman George McCaskey during… Continue reading →

New Orleans Saints name punter Thomas Morstead their man of the year, nominate him for the league-wide honor

Advocate Photo by VERONICA DOMINACH --New Orleans Saints punter Thomas Morstead (6) punts the ball in a NFL pre-season game between the New Orleans Saints and the Baltimore Ravens in the Superdome in New Orleans Thursday, August 28, 2014.

. For his charity work benefiting children and people battling cancer, punter Thomas Morstead deserves to win this season’s Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award, the Saints said Tuesday. The Saints honored Morstead as their team’s man of the year, and that enters him into consideration for an award presented by… Continue reading →

After snagging two interceptions vs. Bears, Saints safety Pierre Warren: I was brought back for takeaways

New Orleans Saints free safety Pierre Warren (42) celebrates after intercepting a pass intended for Chicago Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (17) during the second half of an NFL football game Monday, Dec. 15, 2014, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

New Orleans Saints safety Pierre Warren picked a good time to corral his first two career interceptions. In his fourth start, Warren was a key piece in the Saints' 31-15 win vs. the Chicago Bears on Monday night. "I wasn't expecting (any) of this a month ago," Warren said after the game. Check… Continue reading →

Saints defensive back Keenan Lewis on Falcons: 'We're definitely gonna give them their funeral' Sunday

Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte (22) is stopped by New Orleans Saints cornerback Keenan Lewis (28) and defensive end Akiem Hicks (76) during the first half of an NFL football game Monday, Dec. 15, 2014, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

. After the New Orleans Saints' 31-15 win Monday night against the Chicago Bears, defensive back Keenan Lewis said the Saints can't allow Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan to throw for 500 yards next week and expect to win. "Hopefully we come in this week and get to the details and try to figure out what… Continue reading →

Photos: Jimmy Graham leaps, New Orleans Saints celebrate big win vs. Chicago Bears

New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham (80) carries the ball after receiving a pass from quarterback Drew Brees (9) during the second half of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears Monday, Dec. 15, 2014, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

A season that just a few days ago appeared to be in disarray is now once again filled with hope, thanks in part to a hapless effort by the Chicago Bears, as the New Orleans Saints head into the final two weeks in control of their destiny in the NFC South race. New Orleans defeated Chicago, 31-15, on… Continue reading →