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New Orleans Saints star running back Alvin Kamara is in the final year of his contract and could potentially hold out for a new contract worth north of $100 million.

Cheap Alvin Kamara Jersey has been a staple for the New Orleans Saints for years now. He has become a fan favorite and a highlight in the city of New Orleans, but his time in the great city might be coming to an end with his rookie contract.

Over the past couple of seasons, we have seen a handful of running backs in Alvin Kamara’s situation hold out and demand more money before returning to the football field — Le’Veon Bell and Melvin Gordon are just a few stars names.

Kamara is going into his final year on his rookie contract with the New Orleans Saints. Currently, Kamara is making less than $1 million per year. Just to put that into perspective, his market value right now is roughly $13.5 million per year.

With the Saints staring down a $13 million per year pay increase for Kamara, there is a good chance that they won’t or can’t pay him that much. If they were to choose not to pay him, the best way to get something out of him would be to trade him.

Here are five high-profile trade packages that the New Orleans Saints could use now for Kamara.

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METAIRIE, La. — For years, Sean Payton has admitted that letting safety Cheap Malcolm Jenkins Jersey go in 2014 was one of his biggest regrets. So the New Orleans Saints didn’t hesitate to scoop him back up after the Philadelphia Eagles decided not to exercise the 2020 option on Jenkins’ contract this week.

“Should have never let him leave to begin with,” Payton told ESPN.

The Saints agreed to terms with Jenkins, who was named to three Pro Bowls during his six years with the Eagles. Jenkins’ deal is for four years and worth $32 million, a source told ESPN’s Jordan Schultz. The contract has $16.25 million guaranteed and has a maximum value of $35 million, the source said.

“Malcolm, I think the world of him,” Payton said after a 2018 game against the Eagles — during which Jenkins was seen extending his middle finger at his former coach (for which he quickly apologized). “He’s a tremendous player, and I hate that he got out of here. That was probably as big a mistake as we’ve made here in 13 years. He’s made up of all the right things, and he’s a tremendous competitor.”

Signing Jenkins, 32, would likely indicate that the Saints are prepared to lose veteran safety Vonn Bell in free agency. But Jenkins will bring added value as a mentor to promising young safeties Marcus Williams and C.J. Gardner-Johnson.

The Saints always valued Jenkins’ leadership off the field as much as his ability on the field. He was twice elected at a young age as a captain by teammates.

The Saints drafted Jenkins out of Ohio State with the 14th pick in 2009 — the year they won the Super Bowl. He began his career as a nickel cornerback and special-teams standout before moving to safety in his second season. And he started a total of 63 games in five years.

Jenkins made some occasional spectacular plays — most memorably sprinting the length of the field to chase down a wide receiver before the goal line on two separate occasions. But he never quite lived up to his Pro Bowl potential in New Orleans, and the Saints decided to try to upgrade when they signed free-agent Jairus Byrd to a blockbuster deal in 2014 (a deal that never panned out for them).

Jenkins had a total of six interceptions, 38 pass defenses, 4.5 sacks and 6 forced fumbles during his five years with the Saints.

The Eagles had until May 18, the start of the league year, to exercise the option, which would have paid Jenkins $7.6 million this season. Jenkins made it clear in January that he wanted a pay raise and wouldn’t play in Philadelphia under the current contract.

The safety market has shifted considerably over the past couple of seasons, with the highest-paid players at the position making $14-plus million on average.

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Cheap Alex Anzalone Jersey has only made it through a 16 game season once in 2018. His rookie year, he played in four games before injuring his bad shoulder, and last year he only played in two games before undergoing another season-ending shoulder surgery. He’s one of the most physically talented linebackers on the roster, but that shoulder, which has hampered him since college, has remained a problem throughout his professional career.

Cheap Kaden Ellis Jersey started off strong last season, contributing heavily on special teams, and looked like another seventh round draft pick diamond in the rough, but he didn’t make it past week three and went on injured reserve with a knee injury. Same story with Colton Jumper, who didn’t make it to September before going on injured reserve.

The only other linebackers on the Saints’ current roster are Cheap Andrew Dowell Jersey, Cheap Chase Hansen Jersey, and veteran Cheap Kiko Alonso Jersey who tore his right ACL for the second time in the Saints’ first round playoff loss to the Vikings. Alonso has also torn his left ACL in the past, and even if given a generous timetable to return, that doesn’t put Alonso back on the field until August or September at the earliest.

Depth and durability are an obvious weak point and the loss of A.J. Klein in free agency only compounded that issue. In addition, because the Saints are switching from such a good run stuffing safety in Bell to one more comfortable in coverage in Jenkins, that takes away another valuable player in run defense and creates even more need for another playmaker at the linebacker position.

Luckily, this year’s draft is ripe with quality linebackers who seem ready to play at the professional level. My fellow CSC contributor Nate Williamson put together a great linebacker wishlist for the Saints if they are so lucky to see any of these players fall to the #24 draft slot.

If the Saints can address the linebacker position through the draft and somehow avoid the injury bug, this could be one of the strongest Saints rosters of the last ten years. Dare I say, this could be one of the strongest Saints rosters ever.

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The New Orleans Saints called up two players form their practice squad for Monday night’s game with the Indianapolis Colts, promoting defensive tackle Taylor Stallworth and safety T.J. Green. Green was waived on Wednesday to open up a roster spot for veteran safety D.J. Swearinger, who took part in a group workout at the Saints practice facility. Per a report from Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle, that list included:

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While Swearinger signed with the Saints as a member of the 53-man active roster, New Orleans filled their two vacancies on the practice squad by signing Dalton and Johnson.

Dalton (6-foot-6, 300 pounds) is a rookie defensive tackle/end hybrid who can line up almost anywhere up front. He initially signed with the Chicago Bears after the 2019 NFL Draft, but was released during September roster cuts and hadn’t yet caught on with another team. With Sheldon Rankins ending his year on injured reserve and Stallworth called up to the active roster, the Saints needed someone to fill out snaps in practice.

Johnson (6-foot-3, 200 pounds) is also a rookie, though the small-school safety spent his summer with the Houston Texans before joining their practice squad after annual roster cuts. He was briefly a member of the Philadelphia Eagles practice squad before they released him as part of other personnel changes. Players signed onto NFL practice squads around this time of the year typically agree to futures contracts with those teams, but it’s unclear whether that’s the case with these two additions for the Saints.

All told, these signings bring the Saints practice squad back up to its 10-man capacity. Dalton and Johnson will join wide receivers Lil’Jordan Humphrey and Emmanuel Butler, running back/wide receiver Taquan Mizzell, offensive linemen Derrick Kelly and John Leglue, linebacker Andrew Dowell, tight end Jerrell Adams, and tight end/defensive lineman Mitchell Loewen.

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With free agency on the verge now of being completed, it only makes sense to look forward to the NFL Draft which, despite all of Mother Nature’s attempts to ruin it, is still on course to begin as expected on Thursday, April 23rd.

With Taysom Hill reportedly going to be the No. 2 quarterback on the roster heading into the next season, the time to list and use him as a tight end may be fleeting. However, when you draft Jordan Love, it’d be a waste to not use the complete-football player Hill in a few different ways.

Whether or not you utilize him this way, Jared Cook and Josh Hill are getting up there in age, and though they’re both still solid contributors in this Saints team at the tight end spot, Cheap Garrett Griffin Jersey and Cheap Jason Vander Laan Jersey make up the remainder of the depth at the spot. Asiasi would provide a fascinating prospect moving forward.

With free agency on the verge now of being completed, it only makes sense to look forward to the NFL Draft which, despite all of Mother Nature’s attempts to ruin it, is still on course to begin as expected on Thursday, April 23rd.

Teams will look to rebuild, or in the case of the New Orleans Saints, reload, as they head into the new-look NFL in the upcoming year. With the Saints possessing a pick in every round except for the second and seventh rounds, they’ve got plenty of draft capitol for a team that, typically, prefers quality over quantity in the first place—and this draft class is chock full of quality.

From their first round pick, to their last pick in the sixth (probably), the Saints have a real chance to put together the finishing touches on a team that is already expected to contend for a Super Bowl title this year, coming out of what could be the league’s toughest division in the NFC South.

With plenty of challenges on the road ahead, let’s take a look at what proverbial armor the Saints may put on to finish their roster off, and face them.

Drew Brees to Jordan Love, with one or two years on the bench learning the Saints offense, patiently learning behind one of the greatest to ever sling a football downfield, would provide an immediate, seamless transition that could serve to keep this team in Super Bowl contention for years to come.

Breaking down Love as a prospect, it’s only due to the sheer talent at the top-half of this class that such a solid, developmental starter could fall to the Saints at pick No. 24. In other years, I think Love would still go higher than this—but for this year’s sake, it’s just possible he falls and you wouldn’t have to trade up to get him.

Rather than add someone at the linebacker spot or corner spot here (think, Jeff Gladney out of TCU) the Saints extend their window, ideally. In this year’s linebacker class, there are plenty of guys that you could put onto the field in addition to their current linebacker room, and you can get them for a much later draft pick.

Guys like Kenneth Murray from Oklahoma or Patrick Queen are options here, no doubt. Rather than set all your chips on this being the season you win the Super Bowl, why not take the potential of, still doing that, and expanding the window? And the Saints appear to be interested.

Even though Jefferson, son of former wide receiver and now coach Shawn Jefferson, will be 24 before his first NFL snap, he’s one of the best route runners in this class, and considering the talent level in this class of receivers, that’s quite the feat. Jefferson has better route running than many of the NFL’s veteran receivers and works all of his moves with intentionality.

He’s not the fastest, but working out of the slot he is a smooth, quick athlete. He shouldn’t have any trouble fitting into any scheme at the NFL level, and thanks to a natural football IQ also creates easy leverage in the short to immediate areas of the field. Jefferson provides a pro-ready target that is a hard worker, and steady contributor right away.

Drops were a large problem for the Saints last year out of the slot, and with the addition of Jefferson, not only do they start to (finally) build a formidable wide receiver room with Michael Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, Jefferson and TreQuan Smith—they find a slot receiver with dependable hands.

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This year’s leap into NFL free agency started off with a whirlwind of moves, with one of the largest transactions involving a trade of Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs in exchange for a haul of Buffalo Bills draft picks. A few days later, the New Orleans Saints agreed to sign the best wide receiver on the free agent market, Cheap Emmanuel Sanders Jersey. But things almost went very differently.

Sanders spoke about his minor role in the Bills-Vikings trade during an appearance on The Rich Eisen Show, detailing how he was nearly the Pro Bowl-caliber weapon paired with Bills quarterback Josh Allen.

Sanders said, “I spoke with the Bills for a little bit. And I told them, ‘Let me think about the idea, give me a night.’ And 30 minutes later the Stefon Diggs deal went through and I was like, ‘Okay.’”

The implication certainly seems to be that if Sanders had accepted the offer Buffalo put on the table then and there, he’d be shopping for parkas and making the rounds as a new number-one receiving option in the Queen City. Instead, his delay meant that the Bills had to move quickly to secure Diggs before another team could beat them to the punch. It’s funny how things work out.

Sanders then turned to the rest of his experience in free agency, in which he weighed competing offers from the Green Bay Packers and a possible reunion with the San Francisco 49ers, who swapped multiple draft picks to acquire him at last season’s trade deadline.

“Then I kind of waited,” Sanders said. “I was talking to Green Bay, I was talking to the Niners. Just trying to figure out what kind of deal, what kind of money we’re talking about. And then the Saints called. And I ecstatic that they called, the opportunity to play with Drew Brees and everything, and the numbers made sense.”

Sanders pointed to other factors that helped make his decision easy — playing most of his games indoors in the NFC South was a big selling point, as was the pairing with Michael Thomas across the formation from him. And Sean Payton’s resume as a play-caller spoke for itself.

“(Payton) had texted me, and he told me to go and look at the film of what they’d been doing for the last 12 years, I think he said,” Sanders continued. “And he was like, ‘You’ll love it here.’ I didn’t even go look at the film, I texted him back within 10 seconds and told him I didn’t have to look at the film, I know what you guys have done and what your system produces.”

Sanders revealed another detail — that Drew Brees was the first person to reach out him and welcome him to the team, reacting even before members of Sanders’ family learned of the news. That meant a lot to him, reinforcing Sanders’ belief that this was the right landing spot for him to choose. The fact that he gets to enjoy the weather in sunny New Orleans rather than frigid Green Bay was just another bonus, as well as proximity to his extended family near the Texas-Louisiana state line. Maybe things worked out best for everyone after all.

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Once an integral part of HBO’s Boxing After Dark series, Derrick Jefferson is now in a fight of a different kind.

The former heavyweight contender was diagnosed with coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and is currently in a medically induced coma while under observation at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at Royal Oak (Michigan) Beaumont Hospital. Jefferson, 52, was admitted on Sunday after showing symptoms of the disease.

“When they first tested him for coronavirus, it came back negative,” Jabari Jefferson, the 18-year old son of the former title challenger told Detroit’s WXYZ News. “So, I just thought it was a common cold or flu-like symptoms. But the second test came, he tested positive.

Following the second test, Jefferson—who hails from the greater Detroit area—was placed in a medically induced coma and continues to breathe through the aid of a ventilator. According to a report from WXYZ, Jefferson remains in isolation, with family contact limited to updates over the phone from medical staff.

Jefferson enjoyed a 10-year pro career from 1995 to 2005. The 6’6” heavyweight was considered among the sport’s rising stars in the late 1990s, reaching the peak of his popularity following his November 1999 slugfest with Cheap Maurice Harris Jersey, whom he knocked out in six rounds. The instant classic aired live on HBO’s B.A.D. series, with Jefferson surviving a knockdown to score four of his own, including a final left hook which ejected Harris’ mouthpiece as he collapsed to the canvas.

The bout was hailed by Ring Magazine as the 1999 Knockout of the Year.

Jefferson was well on his way to emerging as a viable heavyweight contender in his very next fight, graduating to HBO’s World Championship Boxing series on the undercard of then pound-for-pound king Roy Jones Jr. in a January 2000 doubleheader. Jefferson was ahead on all three scorecards through eight rounds versus David Izon before literally punching himself into exhaustion as he was stopped in nine rounds.

More bad luck came in his next fight, when Jefferson suffered a broken ankle following an opening round knockdown at the hands of Oleg Maskaev. Jefferson braved the injury until the fight referee Mike Ortega mercifully halted the May 2000 contest in four rounds.

The lone title shot of Jefferson’s career came in March 2001, when he was stopped in two rounds by Wladimir Klitschko. Five wins would follow before suffering a 2nd round knockout versus DaVarryl Williamson in April 2005, the final fight of his career as he retired with a record of 28-4-1 (21KOs).

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When jersey No. 30 became available Monday after the waiver of fullback Cheap Ricky Ortiz Jersey, Quinn suggested that it go to rookie running back Qadree Ollison as a way to honor his brother, who had worn the number as a youngster and died after being shot at a Niagara Falls, N.Y., gas station.

Lerowne Harris, Ollison’s older brother, died Oct. 14, 2017, after being shot three times, a crime for which Denzel K. Lewis of Niagara Falls pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter in May, 2018. Three months later, he was sentenced to up to 25 years in prison for what the judge said was “an assassination more than a murder.”

Police reports and accounts of the crime showed that Harris, who was 14 years older than Ollison, fled across the parking lot after being shot, then was placed in a car and driven to Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center, where he died. A youth league star, Harris had dropped out of high school before his junior year; his younger brother later used football as a way out of housing projects in Niagara Falls.

“I grew up in a rough neighborhood, like any type of projects where drugs, and gangs, and violence are evident,” Ollison said, via ESPN. “Really, just to be blunt, my brother got caught up in that lifestyle.”

Ollison, a fifth-round pick by the Falcons out of Pittsburgh, and his father, Wayne, differed over Lewis’s punishment, with Ollison writing an emotional note to the judge explaining why he could not hate Lewis, with whom he had attended middle school.

“For some reason, you thought it was right to go and gun down my brother that morning of Oct. 14. You had that choice. My brother, at gunpoint, didn’t have a choice to live. It wasn’t up to him. He lost the two greatest things God gives us as people: He lost his ability to choose, and he lost his life,” Ollison wrote. “Now here I am, and I have this choice to hate you or not. I choose not to. I don’t hate you, Denzel. I hate what you did, most certainly. But I still think your life is just as precious as the next person’s. No life means more than another’s. None of us are perfect.”

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The New Orleans Saints are trying to kick off their season on a good note for the first time since 2013 when the Houston Texans come to town for Week 1’s Monday Night Football matchup inside the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

The reigning AFC South champions are coming off their third playoff appearance in four years, while New Orleans is the two-time defending NFC South champion and is coming off its second-straight playoff appearance.

A look at all the Saints and Texans’ position groups, the intangibles and who has the edge:

QUARTERBACK: It’s 19-year vet Drew Brees vs. third-year quarterback Deshaun Watson. The edge goes to Brees, but let’s analyze the stats.

Watson played a full season last year after missing the rest of his stellar start of a rookie campaign due to a tore ACL. The Clemson alumnus tossed for 4,165 yards — ranking 11th in the league — with 26 touchdowns and rushed for 551 yards with five touchdowns last season. Watson’s quarterback rating came out to 103.1, which was sixth among all quarterbacks.

Saints coach Sean Payton knows Houston’s dual-threat quarterback, who he likened to Carolina’s Cam Newton, isn’t to be looked over.

“The thing that’s impressive about Deshaun, he’s able to make plays outside the pocket when a play breaks down,” Payton said Thursday. “You have to be able to try as best you can to keep him from really hurting you in all areas of the field outside the pocket.”

Brees, as a 39-year-old, threw for 3,992 passing yards and 32 touchdowns with a league-leading 74.4 completion percentage. In total, Brees’ quarterback rating last year was a league-leading 115.7.

To quote Houston head coach Bill O’Brien, “He’s one of the best ever do it.”

The backups: New Orleans’ Teddy Bridgewater, Taysom Hill. Houston’s AJ McCarron.

OFFENSIVE LINE: New Orleans’ offensive line returns both its starting guards and tackles, with the only new face to the pipeline being rookie center Erik McCoy. Payton said on Thursday that the team won’t announce the starter until gameday, but McCoy has solely taken reps with the ones since early in training camp.

The talent of Terron Armstead, Andrus Peat, Larry Warford and Ryan Ramczyk speaks for itself. New Orleans quarterbacks were only sacked 20 times last season, the second-lowest number in the league.
Compare that to the Texans, who led the league in sacks. Watson was sacked 62 times last season. That’s tied for the fifth-most ever for a single season.

To their credit, the Texans have made some personnel changes since last season. The Texans traded for left tackle Laremy Tunsil, a first round draft pick out of Ole Miss in 2016. The Texans also drafted left guard Tytus Howard out of Alabama State with their first round pick in 2019, and he’s listed as the starter at that position on the game’s flipcard depth chart.

Even with a new-look offensive line for the Texans, it’s not even close. Edge goes to New Orleans.

The backups: New Orleans’ Nick Easton, Will Clapp, Patrick Omameh, rookie Ethan Greenidge. Houston’s Roderick Johnson, Senio Kelemete, Greg Mancz, rookie Max Scharping.

RUNNING BACK/FULLBACK:

The Saints start two-time Pro Bowler, do-it-all back Alvin Kamara. The starting running back listed on Houston’s depth chart is former Cleveland Brown Duke Johnson, after 2018 Pro Bowl running back Lamar Miller ended up on injured reserve for the season with an ACL injury.

Kamara totaled 1,592 yards from scrimmage last season (708 receiving, 883 rushing), while Johnson was primarily used as then-rookie Nick Chubb’s backup, totaling 630 total yards (429 receiving, 201 rushing).

Edge goes to New Orleans.

The backups: New Orleans’ Latavius Murray, Dwayne Washington, full back Zach Line. Houston’s Carlos Hyde, Taiwan Jones, Buddy Howell, rookie fullback Cullen Gillaspia.

WIDE RECEIVER:

The Saints and the Texans were neck and neck in the middle of the pack last year in reference to regular season receiving yards. New Orleans came in at No. 15 with 4,174 and Houston was No. 16 with 4,165.
So what makes or breaks the edge here is the individual talent. And both teams have plenty of that.

Fourth-year Saints receiver Michael Thomas used his statline and All-Pro and Pro Bowl accolades from last year as leverage to earn a blockbuster contract that’s set to begin next year. He had a league-high 125 receptions that went for 1,405 yards receiving on the season, which ranked sixth among league wideouts.

Houston’s DeAndre Hopkins brought in a career-high 1,572 yards receiving on 115 catches last year, earning his second first-team All-Pro distinction for his efforts. Hopkins’ yards receiving ranked second among NFL wideouts and his catches were third.

“I think he’s got very strong hands in traffic,” Payton said of Hopkins. “He’s very confident, a lot of catches in contested areas. (Watson) has got that confidence in him. And so the timing of watching those two work is very impressive.”

In all three phases of offensive production, the Saints ranked eighth last year in average yards per game (379.2). Comparatively, the Texans ranked 15th (362.6).

This one’s a close one, but based on last year’s stats, Hopkins gets the slight nod in Houston’s favor.

The rest of the WRs: New Orleans’ Ted Ginn, Tre’Quan Smith, Keith Kirkwood, Austin Carr, rookie Deonte Harris. Houston’s Keke Coutee, Will Fuller V, Kenny Stills, DeAndre Carter.

TIGHT END:

One of the other new faces to the Saints offense is veteran Pro Bowler Jared Cook. The 11-year pro comes to New Orleans from Oakland and he’s coming off a career-high 896 yards receiving on a career-high 68 catches. He also had a career-high six touchdowns receptions last year from Raiders quarterback Derek Carr.
Cook didn’t play much in the preseason, seeing just 31 snaps and one catch for 4 yards, but fans shouldn’t worry about that. Cook and Brees’ chemistry was apparent at practice all camp long.

Houston’s starting tight end is listed as Darren Fells, who came to Houston from the Cleveland. Fells had 117 yards receiving last year, catching all but one pass thrown his way.

Edge goes to New Orleans.

The backups: New Orleans’ Josh Hill, Taysom Hill. Houston’s Jordan Akins, Jerrell Adams, Logan Paulsen.

DEFENSIVE LINE:

The Saints defensive line will look different for a bit. Starting defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins tore his Achilles tendon during the playoffs and was limited in Thursday’s practice. Though, it is a good sign that the Saints elevated him to the active roster from the physically unable to perform list ahead of the roster deadline. Behind him on the depth chart is defensive tackle Mario Edwards Jr., but he was not observed at practice on Thursday during the media viewing window and did not practice due to a hamstring injury.

In addition to Rankins, major role player David Onyemata is suspended for the first game of the season.

The Saints have All-Pro defensive end Cameron Jordan and PFWA All-Rookie defensive end Marcus Davenport anchoring the outside.

The Saints rush defense last year ranked second-league wide in total rushing yards allowed and average yards per opponent carry.

The key piece on the Texans’ three-man front is five-time All-Pro defensive end J.J. Watt. Watt led the league — alongside Kansas City defensive end Dee Ford — in forced fumbles last year with seven. Watt was second league-wide in sacks with 16. He was tied with Jordan for sixth in tackles for loss with 18, too.
“Number one, he’s a really athletic and talented player,” Payton said Thursday. “He can get on an edge. He can beat you with speed. He has great stamina, so you know you’re going to be in for a battle all day long. All those things, whether he’s lining up inside or outside, make him challenging to play against.”

Other than Watt, nose tackle D.J. Reader and defensive end Angelo Blackson round out the Texans’ line. The trio up front last year led the league in rushing defense, allowing opposing ball carriers just 3.4 yards per touch. As far as total rushing defense, the Texans allowed the third-fewest yards.

This one’s a push.

The backups: New Orleans’ Trey Hendrickson, Taylor Stallworth, Wes Horton, rookie Shy Tuttle. Houston’s Brandon Dunn, Carlos Watkins, rookie Charles Omenihu.

LINEBACKERS:

Saints starting linebacker Alex Anzalone returned to practice in a limited role on Thursday, due to a shoulder injury he sustained during training camp. And earlier this week, Payton said Anzalone is “going to be healthy” for the start of the season.

The third-year middle linebacker had 59 total tackles, six quarterback hits, two sacks, an interception, two passes defended and three forced fumbles in 2018. Those three forced fumbles were tied for 10th in the league last season.

Anzalone is joined by his fellow base defense starters, Demario Davis and A.J. Klein.

Davis had 110 total tackles last season and added 11 tackles for loss, 11 quarterback hits, five sacks, four passes defensed, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. Klein totaled 70 tackles in 2018, adding two sacks, seven tackles for loss, two fumble recoveries, one interception and three passes defensed.
The Texans run a 3-4 base defense, and have Whitney Mercilus, Benardrick McKinney, Zach Cunningham and Brennan Scarlett listed as starters.

Mercilus, who’s been with the Texans since 2012, had four sacks, five tackles for loss, 14 quarterback hits, two forced fumbles and 39 total tackles last season. McKinney was second on the team last year in total tackles with 105, adding 1½ sacks, five tackles for loss, five quarterback hits, seven passes defended and a forced fumble.

Cunningham led the team with 107 tackles, and added three tackles for loss, two quarterback hits, a fumble recovery and two forced fumbles. Scarlett started in just three games last season, totaling 18 tackles in his third season with the Texans.

If Anzalone plays Monday, the edge goes to New Orleans. If not, push.

The backups: New Orleans’ Craig Robertson, Kiko Alonso, Kaden Elliss. Houston’s Barkevious Mingo, Peter Kalambayi, Dylan Cole, Jacob Martin.

DEFENSIVE BACKS:

New Orleans’ trio of Pro Bowl cornerback Marshon Lattimore, safety Marcus Williams and safety Vonn Bell have all played together for three seasons now. And the chemistry between them is there. The fourth starter in the Saints’ base defense is safety Eli Apple, who came to the Saints from the Giants via a mid-season trade after cornerback Patrick Robinson broke his ankle and was placed on the injured reserve.

Collectively, the Saints gave up the fourth-most passing yards in the league last year and averaged the fourth-highest allowed passing yards per game. When it came to interceptions, the Saints were in the middle of the pack (T-18th with 12).
Lattimore led the league in one category: most interception return yards.

Houston’s starting secondary looks vastly different than last year.

Their starting unit is made up of two-time Pro Bowl cornerback Johnathan Joseph, new-to-Houston corner Bradley Roby, new-to-Houston safety Tashaun Gipson Sr. and second-year safety Justin Reid.

Roby spent the first five seasons of his career in Denver and started in all 15 games he played in last season. In those games, he had two forced fumbles, 12 passes defensed, one tackle for loss and 50 total tackles. Gipson comes to Houston after a 3-year stint with the Jaguars. He started all 16 games last season, hauling in one interception, seven passes defensed, one tackle for loss, one quarterback hit and 54 total tackles.

As a rookie, Reid had three interceptions with one pick-6, 10 passes defensed, a forced fumble, two fumble recoveries, two tackles for loss, a quarterback hit and 88 combined tackles.

Edge goes to New Orleans.

The backups: New Orleans’ P.J. Williams, rookie C.J. Gardner-Johnson, rookie Saquan Hampton, Patrick Robinson, Justin Hardee, J.T. Gray, Ken Crawley. Houston’s Aaron Colvin, Keion Crossen, Jahleel Addae, A.J. Moore Jr., Cornell Armstrong, rookie Xavier Crawford, rookie Lonnie Johnson Jr.

SPECIALISTS:

Saints punter Thomas Morstead ranked sixth in the league last year in punting average (46.4) and made his lone field goal and lone PAT kick. Kicker Wil Lutz ranked fifth in field goal percentage at 93.3 percent, only missing two during the regular season Lutz also ranked fourth in PAT percentage, only missing one last season.
The new face to the specialists’ squad is rookie returner Deonte Harris. Harris went undrafted out of Division II’s Assumption College and had a stellar start to the preseason, leading the league in kickoff return yards and punt return yards. He was also one of four returners to return punts for touchdowns throughout the preseason.

Texans kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn made 95.1 percent of his PATs last season (39-of-41) and converted 88.1 percent of his field goals (37-of-42). Punter Trevor Daniel was tied for 29th in punting average, booting the ball 43.7 yards per punt.

As a rookie playing for two teams, return specialist DeAndre Carter totaled 249 punt return yards and 425 kick return yards, ranking eighth in the league in combined return yardage.

Edge goes to New Orleans.

The backups: New Orleans’ holder Taysom Hill; punt returner Alvin Kamara, Ted Ginn; kick returner Kamara, Ginn. Houston’s kick returner Taiwan Jones; punt returner Keke Coutee.

INTANGIBLES:

The Saints haven’t won a season opener since 2013. Though, the Saints are in the Superdome for the first game since the NFC Championship game.

The Texans are in win-now mode, as they acquired both left tackle Laremy Tunsil and wide receiver Kenny Stills during roster cuts weekend. They also have several additional new faces to the team, whether that be veterans or a few rookies.

Edge here goes to the Saints.

Fake New Orleans Saints Kiko Alonso Jerseys 2019

The New Orleans Saints acquired linebacker Kiko Alonso in a trade with the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, and he made his debut at Saints practice on Monday wearing No. 54.
There were questions surrounding which number Alonso would pick while in black and gold, with each of the numbers he wore in previous stops — No. 50 with the Philadelphia Eagles and Buffalo Bills, No. 47 for the Dolphins — already claimed by his new Saints teammates. No. 50 is worn by backup defensive end Wes Horton, while starting linebacker Alex Anzalone owns No. 47.

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A few other players changed numbers in the wake of this weekend’s roster cuts. Rookie defensive tackle Shy Tuttle picked up No. 99, having worn No. 74 throughout the summer. Two new practice squad additions also selected new numbers, with running back/wide receiver Taquan Mizzell choosing No. 44, and offensive lineman John Leglue picking up No. 65.

Otherwise, things have remained the same as they were a week ago, when the Saints last practiced. It appears the rest of the rookie class will remain in their chosen numbers. Here’s a refresher on the Saints rookies:

Center Erik McCoy: No. 78
Safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson: No. 22
Safety Saquan Hampton: No. 33
Linebacker Kaden Elliss: No. 55
Tight end Alize Mack: No. 86 (practice squad)
Wide receiver/returns specialist Deonte Harris: No. 11
Wide receiver Lil’Jordan Humphrey: No. 84 (practice squad)
Wide receiver Emmanuel Butler: No. 17 (practice squad)
Offensive tackle Derrick Kelly: No. 68 (practice squad)
Offensive lineman John Leglue: No. 65 (practice squad)
GALLERY
Here is the initial 10-man New Orleans Saints 2019 practice squad
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