December 14, 2006

Notes Leading Up To Week 15: Saints sign backup tight end with Campbell hurt; some former Saints find jobs

The Saints have signed former Giants, Texans and Raiders tight end Marcellus Rivers to fill a position on the depth chart that has been bleeding.



The Saints began the season with Ernie Conwell, Mark Campbell and Nate Lawrie on the tight end depth chart. Conwell is on injured reserve with a knee injury, Lawrie was waived to make room for Fred McAfee in late November, and Campbell went down in Dallas with a knee injury that has him questionable on the injury report for week fifeteen.

Meanwhile, the Saints added training camp contributor Billy Miller, who has been on the roster since October and has collected eight catches for seventy yards. Journeyman John Owens was signed two weeks ago and made one catch in last week's victory in Dallas. Owens was the 15th individual Saint to catch a pass from Drew Brees this season.

Now just today, the Saints added veteran Marcellus Rivers, who has 51 catches for for 395 yards and four touchdowns in five years on fourteen starts. Rivers, 6'4, 250, 28 years old out of Oklahoma State, had his most productive year last season with the Houston Texans with 24 catches for 168 yards. Rivers is an accomplished special teamer as well.

The Saints waived defensive end Trevor Johnson to make room for Rivers on the 53-man active roster.

Notes:

Former Saints draft pick CB Keyou Craver has signed on with the Arizona Rattlers of the Arena League... Former Saints WR Az Hakim has signed with the San Diego Chargers... Saint 6th round pick this past April, CB Josh Lay, has signed in St. Louis... Former Saint great Archie Manning has helped Nicholls State, former Saints training camp location and host to the annual Manning Passing Academy, purchase a next generation Astroturf field... In addition to Campbell, the Saints listed WR Joe Horn (groin), RB Aaron Stecker (hamstring) and S Omar Stoutmire (knee) as questionable... The Saints can clinch the NFC South and a home playoff game by defeating the Redskins. The Seahawks trail the Saints by one game in the race for playoff seeding among divisional winners. The Saints trail the Bears by two games for the top overall seed and home field advantage throughout the playoffs.

Props for O-Line:

How diverse is the Saints' offensive line, that leads the conference in sacks allowed (only 15)? They are starting, from left to right, a second-year first round pick, a well-traveled veteran utilityman, an undersized castoff from the 25th rated running game in 2005, a raw rookie from a tiny Pennsylvania school, and a cerebral right tackle recovering from a catastrophic knee injury. Jammal Brown, Jamar Nesbit, Jeff Faine, Jahri Evans and Jon Stinchcomb are aided by Brees' quick release and fast decision-making. Only the Colts have given up fewer sacks (14), and Peyton Manning has the same characteristics as a quarterback. Don't give all the credit to the offensive line, since quarterbacks with a fast release, confidence in decision making and uncanny pocket presence like Brees and Manning help themselves to avoid hits.

Final Quote:

New NFL commish Roger Goodell had a backtracking quote on the NFL in Los Angeles recently in New York: "I think there has been a misunderstanding in the past that we have to be in Los Angeles," Goodell said. "I think we've proven that we don't have to be in Los Angeles."

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