Behind Enemy Lines: New Orleans

In this edition of "Behind Enemy Lines," get completely ready for the New Orleans Saints with this exclusive scouting report from, including injury updates and key matchups for Sunday's game with Tampa Bay.


The Saints had nothing else to do but move on, which coach Sean Payton and his players were certainly happy to do, in the wake of their 41-10 season-opening loss to the Indianapolis Colts.

With little time to worry about how the Colts thrashed them in the second half, the Saints were focused only on Sunday's matchup with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Raymond James Stadium when they returned to work Monday.

Starting fast in the NFL usually means good things, considering teams that open the season with a win are twice as likely to make the playoffs as teams that lose their debut.

What was more important for the Saints was no one was reaching for the panic button after that disappointing blowout loss to the Colts. It wasn't a stretch to think that they weren't going to follow that path anyway -- especially with Payton at the helm.

"It's a loss and you move on to Week 2," Payton said in the aftermath of the loss to the Colts. "Nine weeks from now, you're just going to look at the record. You're not going to look at the margin of that game."

"You don't want to hold on to last week," defensive tackle Brian Young said. "I guess you have to hold on to it a bit so it'll make us work harder this week, but the best thing we can do is go out and play good this week against a good team."

"Basically, you have to let go of it," said running back Deuce McAllister, who was stymied by the Colts defense and held to 38 yards on 10 carries in the losing effort.

That's why the Saints were so eager to get back to work after a long weekend in which they had a lot of time to think about the things that went wrong. With what Payton called a "bonus day" of practice on Monday, the Saints corrected their mistakes and set their sights on the Bucs (0-1).

"When you come off a loss like that, the next game can't come quickly enough," Payton said of the mood of the team at Monday's workout. "You want to play again. I think we all feel that way."

The Saints had a number of things to correct on both sides of the ball. On offense, the culprit was three turnovers, while the defense gave up at least five big pass plays -- including three touchdown passes to Peyton Manning.

As a result, the defense knows it'll have to play better against Bucs quarterback Jeff Garcia. Last January, Garcia played a solid game with the Philadelphia Eagles, throwing for 240 yards and a 75-yard touchdown, but came up short in a 27-24 loss to the Saints in the divisional playoffs.

And the Saints offense will have to be more careful with the ball against the Bucs opportunistic defense.

"There's a sense of urgency there," quarterback Drew Brees said of the way his team practiced on Monday and Wednesday. "Our guys want to redeem themselves. They want to get on the right track.


31st meeting. The Saints lead the series, 19-11, after sweeping the season series a year ago. Payton's team squeezed out a 24-21 win in the Superdome on Oct. 8 and then crushed the Bucs, 31-14 in Raymond James Stadium on Nov. 5. The Saints are 8-4 all-time in Tampa.


The Saints at the beginning of the week signed defensive end Renaldo Wynn, a 10-year NFL veteran, to give them some depth and additional experience on the perimeter of their defense.

Wynn, who was a first-round draft pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars in 1997, gives the Saints another solid pass rusher to team with starting ends Will Smith and Charles Grant. Wynn played the last five seasons with the Washington Redskins before being released on Sept. 1.

A 6-foot-3, 296-pounder out of Notre Dame, Wynn has played in 152 career games with 127 starts. He has 484 career tackles, 21.5 sacks, six forced fumbles and five fumble recoveries. Wynn has played virtually every position along the defensive line in his career, giving the Saints the versatility to move him inside at tackle if needed.

In order to make room for Wynn, the Saints waived rookie quarterback Tyler Palko. He had been signed to the active roster from the practice squad just before the season opener with the Indianapolis Colts.

Palko, who originally was cut on Sept. 1, cleared waivers for the second time in a week and was signed to the practice squad. The Saints also waived defensive end Willie Evans from their practice squad and signed defensive end Josh Savage to take his place.

The 6-4, 276-pound Savage has played with the Tampa Bay Bucs (2004), Atlanta Falcons (2005) and Tennessee Titans (2006) -- seeing action in a total of 12 games.

Saints coach Sean Payton said he's not overly concerned that veteran kicker Olindo Mare has problems with his accuracy because he's missed some long-range attempts.

Mare hooked a 52-yard attempt in his first attempt as a member of the Saints in their 41-10 loss to the Indianapolis Colts last week before connecting on a 34-yarder.

Prior to that, Mare missed three field goals in the final exhibition game against the Miami Dolphins although two of those attempts were from 52 and 55 yards out.

"For a minute, I thought about punting because you worry about giving that offense a short field," Payton said of the miss against the Colts on the Saints' first drive of the game. "When you start trying to hit the field goals that are further out -- which he's capable of making -- I have confidence he's going to make those kicks."

Following a suggestion by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and his new player advisory council, which is putting a renewed emphasis on permanent team captains, the Saints have elected five players to serve as captains for the 2007 season.

Quarterback Drew Brees and center Jeff Faine are representing the offense, while strong-side linebacker Scott Fujita and defensive end Will Smith are the defensive captains. Running back Aaron Stecker was chosen as the special teams captain.

Like other players around the league, the Saints captains are wearing a "C" on their jerseys to recognize their status.

Brees recently received the Arthur S. Arkush Humanitarian Award for his charitable work with the Brees Dream Foundation, which he started along with his wife, Brittany, in 2003.

Brees, who was named the co-winner of the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award by the NFL last February, has also been extremely active in the New Orleans community in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

The award is named after the founder of Pro Football Weekly.


0 -- Completions of 25 yards or more for Brees in the Saints' season-opening loss to Indianapolis. Brees had 41 completions of that length or more in 2006, which led all NFL quarterbacks.


"We have high expectations and aspirations. We just got off to a bad start. But it doesn't change our mindset, our goals and our approach. We believe." -- Saints RB Deuce McAllister, on his team's disappointing season-opening loss to the Indianapolis Colts.


TE Mark Campbell missed practice again Wednesday with a disk problem in his back and his status for Sunday's game at Tampa Bay won't be known until later in the week.

DT Brian Young, who missed the entire exhibition season with a fractured foot, came out of last week's game with the Indianapolis Colts in good shape and could be back in the starting lineup against the Bucs.

DE Renaldo Wynn will likely see his first action as a member of the Saints after being signed this week to back up Will Smith and Charles Grant.

QB Tyler Palko, who was added to the active roster just last week, was cut to make room for Wynn and was re-signed to the practice squad after clearing waivers.

WR David Patten will likely be the third wide receiver on the field against the Bucs, working with starters Marques Colston and Devery Henderson.


After being stymied by the Colts in a season-opening loss last week, the Saints will try to get the offense going against the Bucs. The Saints might have gotten away from the running game a little early vs. the Colts, so it would not be surprising to see them try to open things up with a steady dose of Deuce McAllister and Reggie Bush. That could lead to a big day for Drew Brees, who failed to get much going against the Colts. On defense, the Saints will have to make sure that Jeff Garcia and Joey Galloway don't have a big day with Carnell Williams ailing.


Saints RDE Will Smith vs. Bucs LT Luke Petitgout. Smith came close to getting to Peyton Manning several times last week, but came up empty after collecting a career-high 10.5 sacks a year ago. There should be a few more opportunities to get to Garcia after the Bucs gave up five sacks in their season-opening loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

Saints RBs Deuce McAllister vs. Bucs front seven. McAllister has had some nice games against the Bucs with four 100-yard games and a 99-yard effort in eight starts against them since becoming the featured back in 2002. McAllister ran over the Bucs for 123 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries in the first meeting of the two teams last October.

Saints RCB Jason David vs. Bucs QB Jeff Garcia. After giving up three touchdown passes to Manning last week, David can expect to be tested by Garcia at least a couple of times early in the game -- especially if he gets matched up with top receiver Joey Galloway.


TE Mark Campbell could miss another game after being sidelined for the last two games (including the preseason finale) with a disk problem in his back. He had a couple of epidurals in an attempt to calm the back down.

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