The New Orleans Saints continued their preparations for Sunday’s game against the (7-5) New York Giants on Thursday by focusing on third down situations.
The team this week also has been emphasizing the importance of ball security and it was something worked on for a second straight day at practice. “They’re continuing to take the ball away and they’re doing a good job of pressuring the quarterback. That’s an area that we worked hard on today to give us a chance to compete on Sunday if we have any hopes of winning this game.”
New York has taken the ball away 30 times.
Two Saints did not work on Thursday. Right tackle Charles Brown (knee), and cornerback Corey White (knee). White was not listed in Wednesday’s report.
Everyone else was listed as having fully participated. Wednesday safety Roman Harper was listed as being limited due to hurt ribs something that caused him to miss about a dozen snaps in Atlanta. “He worked real well today,” Vitt said following practice on Thursday.
This has all been the first week in a month that defensive end Junior Galatte has had back to back full practices. Galette has missed four straight games as he recovers from an ankle injury. In facing the Giants this week a team that can equally pass and run the ball, having as many healthy pass rushers is a good thing for the Saints.
“He has a lot of energy. He was happy to be out there,” Vitt said of Galette being healthy once again. It’s something the third year player hasn’t had to go through before. I think this is the first time Junior has had a setback medically. Now, he’s going to have to count himself down and understand academically what he’s got to do on the field and start to listen to and relay the calls. The want-to is there. He’ll work hard to prepare himself but now he’s got to make sure he knows what he’s doing out there.”
Galette has had a pretty good season recording four sacks on the year.
The New York Giants seem to every year start out the season well, then stumble, then swoon, and then make a push into the post season where they then become a tough out. Dallas won the season opener in New York before the Giants won two straight. Philadelphia then got them in the city of brotherly love before the Giants won four straight. Consecutive losses to Pittsburgh and Cincinnati had the folk up north predicting gloom, and then came the Packers beat down following the team’s bye week.
Monday night the Giants lost to the Redskins in our nation’s capitol 17-16 in a game where New York rushed for 117 yards as a team and quarterback Eli Manning went 20 of 33 for 280 yards to go with a touchdown and no picks. Decent numbers no doubt as the offense accumulated 390 yards of offense. The problem was that the Giants were forced to settle for four field goals converting on three of them.
Overall the performance was not one that made the head man happy. “The thing that happened the other night that was totally off the wall was the penalties. We’ve been averaging four penalties a game and had nine,” says Coughlin. New York was flagged nine times for 73 yards. “They came at critical times and came either as drives mounted in to the green zone which created long-yardage situations which we did not overcome. The not scoring of touchdowns in the green zone has been there before, but the penalties had not.”
Penalties seem to be the message being driven home this week at Giants camp. “We moved the ball well, but didn’t score enough points,” Giants quarterback Payton Manning told New Orleans media this week when asked about their up and down season. “Part of that is field position and we had some penalties. We have had pretty good rhythm running the ball and throwing the ball well. We have to put it all together and finish some drives. We can’t hurt ourselves with penalties and hurting our chances of getting touchdowns.”
New York is the defending Super Bowl champions and historically following a season where you win a ring, the next is extremely challenging. The Super Bowl hangover if you will. Manning feels that the team isn’t dealing with that this season. “I think right now we are 7-5 and in first place in our division. We have four games left. I like where we are right now, says the New Orleans native. “We just have to make sure we finish strong. That is what it is going to come down to. Its starts this week with the Saints game. We are going against a good team and we have to make sure we are prepared to play good football.”