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Saints $22M-plus over salary cap, but general manager Mickey Loomis has a few ways to solve problem

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON-- New Orleans Saints outside linebacker Junior Galette (93) reacts as the final minutes tick away in the 23-15 loss in a NFL NFC divisional football playoff game between the New Orleans Saints and the Seattle Seahawks at Century Link Field in Seattle, Wash. Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014.

The Saints need to trim nearly $22 million from the books by March 10 to be in compliance with league rules. The NFL informed teams that the salary cap for the 2015 season will be $143.8 million, according to league’s network. That means the Saints have a little more than a week to trim an estimated $21.9… Continue reading →

Report: Rita LeBlanc, Gayle Benson got into physical altercation at Saints game last season, sparked Tom Benson's ownership changes

New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson walks with his wife Gayle Benson, left, and co-owner Rita Benson LeBlanc before an NFL football game against the Washington Redskins at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Sunday, Sept. 9, 2012. (AP Photo/Bill Haber) ORG XMIT: NYOTK

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At pivotal time for Saints, here’s a position-by-position look at how their offseason might unfold

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham (80) and New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton watch the replay of Graham's touchdown attempt that was ruled as a stripped ball and recovery by the Atlanta Falcons in a NFL football game in the Superdome in New Orleans, La. Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014.

Disappointing seasons often lead to sweeping change — especially when said season began with championship aspirations. We’ve already seen some of the pieces fall for the New Orleans Saints. Major changes have been made to the coaching staff, and coach Sean Payton has spoken out about the lack of leadership in his locker room. What we haven’t seen is… Continue reading →

Saints use tracking data in practices to help prevent injuries, gain better understanding

Associated Press photo by CHARLES REX ARBOGAST -- New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton watches during the first half against the Chicago Bears on Monday.

For years, NFL teams have gone through the process of preparing for an upcoming opponent based on gut feelings and have done things a certain way because that’s the way things have always been done. It worked before, so why wouldn’t it work now? But as technology and data have become more available and accessible, teams are finding… Continue reading →

Evolving running back market could affect Mark Ingram and the Saints

New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram (22) holds the football after scoring against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on a 1-yard touchdown run during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 28, 2014, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Brian Blanco)

When discussing his free-agent prospects at the Super Bowl, Seattle Seahawks cornerback Byron Maxwell said he was going to be “the prettiest girl at the dance.” The implications were clear. Maxwell was coming off a good season and there weren’t many other quality cornerbacks scheduled to hit the open market. Maxwell knew then that… Continue reading →

Saints coach Sean Payton talks about analytics, making gut decisions

. Sean Payton was part of a panel at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference on Friday, where he spoke about how the Saints use analytics. The most interesting thing Payton talked about is how his team uses GPS tracking in practices to prevent injuries and better understand what’s happening in those sessions. Continue reading →

Saints draft prospects: Michigan State cornerback Trae Waynes

Michigan State cornerback Trae Waynes at the NFL combine (Associated Press)

. Not only do the Saints need an edge rusher but they also need to fill the void at cornerback across from Keenan Lewis. Enter Michigan State’s Trae Waynes, who is the clear number one cornerback prospect in the draft, who would bring a dose of physicality to Rob Ryan’s secondary. Click here… Continue reading →

Saints coach Sean Payton, General Manager Mickey Loomis ranked fifth-best coach-general manager combo in NFL

Saints coach Sean Payton and General Manager Mickey Loomis (AP)

. The working relationship and sharing of ideas between Sean Payton and Mickey Loomis is the foundation on which the Saints are built. This is no secret and more often than not, those two men know how to concoct a winning formula. This is why NFL.com has named them one of the best coach-general manager combinations… Continue reading →

ESPN's Tod McShay has Clemson pass rusher Vic Beasley with the Saints in his latest mock draft

Clemson defensive lineman Vic Beasley is measured at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

. Many people believe Vic Beasley worked himself into the top 10 with a strong performance at the combine, putting him out of reach for the New Orleans Saints. Todd McShay isn’t among those people. The ESPN draft analyst projects the Saints will be able to select the Clemson pass rusher with the 13th pick in… Continue reading →

Saints draft prospects: Kentucky defensive end and outside linebacker Bud Dupree

Kentucky linebacker Bud Dupree talks with reporters during a news conference at the NFL football scouting combine at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Friday, Feb. 20, 2015. (AP Photo/Doug McSchooler)

. The Saints need pass rushers. Bud Dupree is a very good pass rusher. This form of math isn’t difficult. While he’s raw and needs refinement, he has the natural ability that could make him very enticing to NFL teams. It also helps that he’s a physical freak. Guys of his stature are not supposed to… Continue reading →

Rating how the Saints have fared in their draft trades since 2006

Advocate staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELD --  New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram (22) sweeps wide against the Atlanta Falcons during the first quarter Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014, at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

The Saints love to move around the draft board. Since Sean Payton came to town in 2006, he and general manager Mickey Loomis have engaged in a trade involving draft picks in every season with both men at the helm. This has allowed New Orleans to move around the board and select the players it wants, but if there… Continue reading →

Detroit Lions release running back Reggie Bush

FILE - In this Nov. 25, 2012 file photo, Miami Dolphins running back Reggie Bush stretches during warmups before the start of an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks in Miami. The biggest move Wednesday, March 13, 2013, was made by Detroit, which agreed with Bush on a four-year deal to fill a huge hole at running back. (AP Photo/Rhona Wise, File)

As expected, the Detroit Lions parted ways with veteran running back Reggie Bush on Wednesday. Releasing Bush, 29, saves Detroit $1.7 million against the salary cap. He rushed for 297 yards on 76 carries and caught 40 passes for 253 yards last season. Bush began his career in New Orleans and averaged 4.0 yards per carry and 7.3 yards per reception during… Continue reading →

Saints hire Fitz Ollison as new communications director

. The Saints announced the hiring of Fitz Ollison as the team’s new Senior Director of Football Communications. Ollison, who has worked in the NFL for 15 years, previously held the same position with the Miami Dolphins, where he assisted in the management of public image and overall communications strategy for the organization. Continue reading →

Mock NFL draft roundup: Saints might pick former LSU offensive tackle La'el Collins

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- LSU head coach Les Miles poses with LSU offensive tackle La'El Collins (70) and family members, during Senior Day activities before the Alabama game, Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014 in Baton Rouge.

With all of the top pass rushers off the board, the Saints select LSU’s La’el Collins with the 13th pick in NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah latest mock draft. Many have projected New Orleans will take a pass rusher with its first-round pick, but strong combine performances from Clemson’s Vic Beasley, Missouri’s Shane Ray, and Florida’s Dante Fowler… Continue reading →

Do more draft picks mean more success? The Saints have had the fewest amount of draft picks in the NFL since 2006

Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis has some decisions to make as the free agency period starts this spring.

. It’s become a generally accepted truth that the best way to win in the draft is to maximize the number of opportunities you have to hit on a pick. Most believe the draft is a roll of the dice and that you will only hit on about 60 percent of your picks. So, the logic… Continue reading →

LSU’s Jalen Collins has mixed results at NFL combine. How did other Louisiana athletes fare?

Associated Press photo by David J. Phillip -- LSU defensive back Jalen Collins runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine Monday in Indianapolis.

Jalen Collins’ meteoric offseason rise continued at the NFL scouting combine with a strong performance in Monday’s off-field work. The LSU cornerback ran a 4.48-second time in the 40-yard dash, then jumped a respectable 36 inches in the vertical jump and 124 inches in the broad jump. While he was putting together that performance,… Continue reading →

Former Saints player Steve Gleason says he was hospitalized last weekend, scheduled to return home Monday

Former Saints player Steve Gleason, whose fight against ALS has capitivated the nation and led to a "No White Flags" movement to raise awareness about the disease, was admitted to the hospital last weekend and hopes to return home on Monday. The information about Gleason was posted on the Team Gleason facebook page. "Some has speculated… Continue reading →

Black and Gold blog: Source says Patrick Robinson, Saints have mutual interest in new deal

The Saints have held preliminary contract discussions with cornerback Patrick Robinson and there is “mutual interest” in reaching an agreement, according to a source. Robinson, a former first-round pick, is set to reach free agency. If a deal is not reached, the cornerback will be free to sign with another team when the league year begins on March 10. Robinson… Continue reading →

Ex-LSU cornerback Jalen Collins’ stature is growing, even if he’s just a tad shorter than advertised

Associated Press photo by DOUG McSCHOOLER -- LSU defensive back Jalen Collins talks with reporters during a news conference Saturday at the NFL combine at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

INDIANAPOLIS — Jalen Collins might have checked off the most important item on his checklist at the scouting combine when he measured in at 6-foot-1. It turned out his listed height with LSU was a farce. But it was only a farce by an inch. If it had been off by, say, two inches,… Continue reading →

Jeff Ireland, the New Orleans Saints’ new director of college scouting, on the ‘grind’ to get set for NFL draft

Associated Press file photo by LYNNE SLADKY -- Jeff Ireland, the New Orleans Saints' new director of college scouting, watches the Miami Dolphins practice in July 2013, when he was that team's general manager, in Davie, Fla.

INDIANAPOLIS — Jeff Ireland isn’t going to answer ‘yes’ and simply try to blend in and do things a certain way just because that’s the way they’ve always been done. No, the New Orleans Saints new director of college scouting didn’t show up and start throwing elbows. But he also isn’t going to sit back… Continue reading →

Analytics play role for Saints in locating, evaluating draft prospects, says Mickey Loomis

Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis has some decisions to make as the free agency period starts this spring.

INDIANAPOLIS — Everyone can look at the guys standing under the brightest lights at the combine or universally listed in the endless flood of mock drafts that rush the Internet. Those players are obvious. But somewhere, as everyone looks to figure out the strengths and weaknesses of the biggest names, behind the screen on his… Continue reading →

New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson says team will not increase ticket prices this year

Advocate file photo by RUSTY COSTANZA -- New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson smiles at team headquarters in Metairie in 2012.

INDIANAPOLIS — In a letter to fans, New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson thanked them for sticking with the team over the last “few difficult weeks” and said the Saints will not increase ticket prices this season. Benson also wrote that the team is working to make significant investments to enhance the fan experience at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome… Continue reading →

Black and Gold blog: Why did Saints meet with ex-Florida State QB Jameis Winston at NFL Combine?

Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston talks with the media during a news conference at the NFL football scouting combine at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Friday, Feb. 20, 2015. (AP Photo/Doug McSchooler)

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INDIANAPOLIS — Too much attention is paid to which teams are meeting with which players at the combine. I’m guilty of it. I’ve reported on this very blog the names of a few players who are meeting with the Saints. But between formal and informal interviews, members of the Saints brass will probably meet with more than 100 players… Continue reading →

Saints owner Tom Benson in letter to fans: Thanks for support 'over the last few difficult weeks'; no ticket price increases

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON-- New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson and his wife Gayle sit in on the press conference as head coach Sean Payton talks about the Saints reporting for 2013 Training Camp including meetings, physicals, and conditioning at the Saints Training Facility in Metairie, Thursday, July 25, 2013.

. In a letter written to fans, Saints owner Tom Benson thanked fans for sticking with the team over the last “few difficult weeks,” and said the team will not be increasing ticket prices this season. Benson also wrote that the team is working to make significant investments to enhance the fan experience at the Mercedes-Benz… Continue reading →

Saints GM Mickey Loomis talks about the value of trading up versus trading down in the NFL Draft

Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis has some decisions to make as the free agency period starts this spring.

. INDIANAPOLIS — After the Super Bowl, I was asked to write a column comparing the Saints and the Patriots, the team I previously covered for four years. In doing that comparison, I noted the Patriots have had nearly 30 more draft picks than New Orleans since 2006. Like many other teams, fans and media often… Continue reading →

Former Ohio State receiver Devin Smith says the Saints would "be a great fit" for him

Ohio State wide receiver Devin Smith answers a question during a news conference at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Thursday, Feb. 19, 2015. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

. INDIANAPOLIS — If you’re a young wide receiver with dreams of making spectacular catches in an offense that loves to air it out, it would make sense to envision Drew Brees as the guy throwing you passes. So, when Ohio State product Devin Smith was asked how he would feel about playing in the New… Continue reading →

College systems have made it more difficult for NFL teams to evaluate quarterbacks

Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota, left, pushes away Florida State safety Tyler Hunter during the first half of the Rose Bowl NCAA college football playoff semifinal, Thursday, Jan. 1, 2015, in Pasadena, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

INDIANAPOLIS — While the New Orleans Saints won’t make a selection until a dozen picks later, the first player taken will play a role in the team’s outcomes for the foreseeable future. The Saints will twice per year be granted a front-row seat to watch the development of whomever the Tampa Bay Buccaneers select with… Continue reading →

New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton talks about improving team’s leadership

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON -- New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton talks with quarterback Drew Brees against the Green Bay Packers in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Oct. 26, 2014.

INDIANAPOLIS — Like many of his players, Sean Payton believes one of the reasons his team struggled last season was due to a lack of leadership. The Saints coach was not shy about sharing his feelings during an interview with Pro Football Talk on Thursday at the scouting combine when asked if he’s figured… Continue reading →