dering what they ca

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dering what they ca

panxing18
Drew Brees isn't worried about the Saints' conspicuously heavy reliance on the passing game during a season-opening loss.

On one hand L. P. Ladouceur Jersey , the result begs the question of how much the four-game suspension of running back Mark Ingram is affecting New Orleans' ability to gain advantages in time of possession from running the ball. At the same time, one game does not make a trend and it's hard to be overly critical of an approach that produced 475 yards and 40 points.

If not for a couple of lost fumbles 鈥?including one on a running play that was returned for a Tampa Bay touchdown 鈥?the Saints might have pulled out their high-scoring affair with the Bucs instead of losing by eight .

Brees explained that two factors led to the Saints passing 45 times and running only 13. One was that they liked their matchups in the passing game. They also fell behind by multiple scores in the second half, which all but forces the team playing catch-up to throw more.

"That's just kind of the way that game went," Brees said after practice on Wednesday. "The next thing I'd say is, 'Were we efficient?' And I'd say we were. So there's going to be games where it's lopsided in one way or the other.

"There are going to be games where we're probably running the ball more than passing it," Brees continued. "And I'll ask the same question: 'Are we efficient?' So, if we are, if we're moving the ball, if we're scoring points, then I'd say obviously that was the right plan."

Last season, with Ingram and fellow running back Alvin Kamara operating as a Pro Bowl tandem, the Saints ranked fifth in the NFL in rushing with 129 yards per game. When their defense played well, they were able to build leads and then control the clock. That recipe helped produce an 11-win regular season and one playoff victory before they fell in the divisional round at Minnesota on the last play of the game.

While New Orleans had only 43 yards rushing last Sunday, a bright spot was the effectiveness of two running plays from within 5 yards of the end zone. Kamara scored both times. He also ran for a 2-point conversion, showing that the Saints' offensive line could get the push it needed in those situations.

Still, even Kamara had most of his production 鈥?112 yards 鈥?as a receiver. Meanwhile, Michael Thomas set a franchise single-game record with 16 receptions for 180 yards and a score.

When asked if playing from behind was the main reason for the Saints' lack of balance on offense Dexter Manley Jersey , coach Sean Payton said, "Not just that. We also wanted to throw it when we began to see how we were getting defended."

Against Cleveland, Payton added, "We'll look closely at the best way we think we have to move the football in this game and understand the type of defense we're playing is quite a bit different than what we just saw."

While the Buccaneers did not generate a relentless pass rush on Brees, who was sacked only once, the Browns come in with a blitz-heavy scheme and defensive end Myles Garrett. Garrett is an emerging star who had two sacks against Pittsburgh in Week 1 and who has at least one sack in each of his past three games.

Two other factors on the Saints' injury report are worth watching this week as they pertain to pass-protection against Garrett and the receiving game. Saints left tackle Terron Armstead (knee) and left guard Andrus Peat (ankle) were listed as limited in practice on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Thomas (illness) and fellow receiver Ted Ginn Jr. (knee) both missed practice. Ginn was among the Saints' top three receivers in Week 1 with five catches for 68 yards, including a 28-yard touchdown.

Browns coach Hugh Jackson said he sees little reason to doubt the Saints' ability to move the ball on the ground.

"A lot of teams are not able to throw the ball as much as they did with the success that they did" against Tampa Bay, Jackson said. "You look up when it's all said and done, and they have 40 points on the board. That's a credit to them, a credit to Drew and the rest of their offense.

"I just think they got behind," Jackson continued. "We've all been in those situations where sometimes the game plan goes out the door; you do what you need to do to try to win the game.

"At the end of the day, I think they're going to still be able to run the football. They have really good runners. They've got blockers. They don't want to be as one-dimensional, but if they are going to be, they do have the right quarterback to do that."

As NFL training camps opened this week, complete with interminable speculation about position battles, rookies who might make an impact and what players can or can’t do while ”The Star-Spangled Banner” is playing James Daniels Jersey , let’s remember two players who aren’t suiting up.

Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid are good enough to be playing for someone.

That much is beyond debate.
 
But the league has decided to make an example of them, a clear warning to its employees that only so much social activism will be tolerated even while it feigns a sense of respecting their desire to protest during the national anthem.

If the NFL were really concerned about its players, it wouldn’t be denying these two their well-earned right to make a living.

Rest assured, history won’t be kind when it looks back on the way Kaepernick and Reid were treated by the NFL.

”Both of those guys are NFL talents. Both of them are quality players that can contribute to a roster and contribute to a team winning. They’ve proven it,” New Orleans Saints tight end Benjamin Watson said. ”I do think that 100 percent of the reason why they’re not on a roster is the other stuff that they’re standing for is outweighing the risk a team wants to take to put them on a roster.”

Kaepernick and Reid are following the same path as social warriors who came before them.

Muhammad Ali, who was stripped of his heavyweight boxing title and barred from the ring for more than three years after he refused induction into the military during the Vietnam War.

Tommie Smith and John Carlos, who defiantly stood with their fists in the air on the medal podium at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics to protest the way black people were – and still are – being treated in America.

Ali, Smith and Carlos were vilified at the time.

Now, they’re viewed at heroes – but only after making huge personal, professional and financial sacrifices to stand up for what they believed.

Kaepernick and Reid are making those same sacrifices.

”I do think it’s sad and I want those guys to be on teams because I know they’re good enough to play,” Watson said. ”I hate to see them not be employed in the National Football League, where they should be, simply because they decided to protest and bring attention to systemic oppression, police brutality, injustice – all the things they stated over and over again, which I think are things that we all should be concerned about.”

As of Friday, Kaepernick has gone 572 days since his last snap in the NFL. Tellingly enough http://www.greenbaypackersteamonline.com/jimmy-graham-jersey , he turned in one of his better performances in what might go down as his final game.

On New Year’s Day 2017, playing behind a leaky offensive line that left him running for his life (he was sacked five times), Kaepernick completed 17 of 22 passes for 215 yards and a touchdown in San Francisco’s 25-23 loss to Seattle. His 122.3 rating was the seventh highest of his 69 career games.

But the NFL would have you believe he’s not good enough to play in a league that will employ just under 100 quarterbacks this season, many of them older than Kaepernick (who is still more than three months shy of his 31st birthday, presumably just entering what should be his prime years) and lacking a resume that includes leading his team to the Super Bowl.

Of course, we all know the real reason Kaepernick has effectively been blacklisted from the league – his decision to first sit, then kneel during the national anthem throughout the 2016 season, sparking a debate that carried all the way to the White House.

Reid bravely joined Kaepernick in his stoic, symbolic gesture, and carried on the kneeling when his former teammate was sidelined for the entire 2016 season.

For that, he’s now paying the price.

Despite being beyond qualified for a spot in the NFL – 26 years old, a former first-round pick, a starter in 69 of 70 games over five years with the 49ers, 10 career interceptions, an average of 65 tackles per season, a Pro Bowler in 2013 – Reid has been deemed unworthy of employment by each and every one of the league’s 32 teams.

What makes the treatment of Kaepernick and Reid even more perplexing: The owners and their non-blacklisted players continue to be locked in a back-and-forth squabble over whether protesting during the anthem is a legitimate way to address social injustice in this country.

(Spoiler alert: It is.)

The issue remains a thorn in the league’s side, even after Kaepernick and Reid were cast aside.

”Nothing lasts forever Josh Ferguson Jersey , and this is coming close to lasting way too long,” Cincinnati Bengals owner Mike Brown groaned.

Before there’s any more discussion about sitting or kneeling or staying in the locker room, the players – all of them, black and white – should demand justice for Kaepernick and Reid.

While both have filed collusion grievances, the NFL has lots of highly paid lawyers who will surely try to drag this thing out as long as possible, soaking up prime seasons they’ll never get back.

But all those players who are lucky enough to have a job, some of whom were just as visible and vocal in their calls for social justice, should be pondering what they can do to help get Kaepernick and Reid back on the field.

Maybe a one-day sickout during training camp. Or kneeling en masse before the first game. Perhaps, as a last resort, they should consider an actual strike.

Like Kaepernick and Reid, they need to be willing to make some huge sacrifices.

After all, they could be next.



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