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New Orleans Saints mailbag: The pressure was greater at NFC championship game

Posted on Jan 30, 2010 in Local Issues, Sports

By Jeff Duncan, The Times-Picayune January 30, 2010, 12:09PM Welcome to today's edition of the New Orleans Saints mailbag. Just some news and notes to tide you over until we report the updates from practice later this afternoon. I'll also have a Vlog later today after I visit with players and coaches during the open locker-room media session. Until then, here's today's Q&A: Q: My contention is that the NFC game at home created a greater weight and pressure on the team than the Super Bowl will. I believe the team will play more loose offensively in the Super Bowl. Re-watching the game, after the first drive of the second half, the Saints basically went 3 and out even though the yardage was usually short, very manageable. Brees missed some open looks and Payton seemed to make some tight calls. Do you think the weight of the game at home was a bit greater than anticipated? Derek Monjure, Dacula, Ga. A: I agree with you completely, Derek. The pressure on the Saints to win the NFC title game was enormous. You could feel the weight of the city on their shoulders on nearly ever snap. The Super Bowl is almost lagniappe now. I think the Saints will play extremely loose and aggressively in the Super Bowl. They're playing with house money now. Q: How come only 4,000 tickets allocated to the season ticket holders for the fans they "love" so much? They received around 13,000, 17.5 percent of the total to each team. What are they doing with the other 9,000? Merlin Bianchini, Metairie. A: Most teams split their allotment of Super Bowl tickets among three groups: season-ticket holders; sponsors and suite holders; and players, coaches and team officials. That seems to be exactly what the Saints have done. They recently made available another 600 tickets for season-ticket holders, which would bring the total to 4,600. That's right on the money with their division of thirds. Mike BellScott Threlkeld / The Times-PicayuneNew Orleans Saints running back Mike Bell should be well rested for the Super Bowl. Q: Where is Mike Bell? Is he injured? A.L. Brown, Bossier City, La. A: Bell is fine. He didn't get a snap at running back against the Vikings. Sean Payton discussed the situation earlier this week and said he wanted to get Bell more reps but just couldn't find a way in the frantic second half. Remember, the Saints had only 45 offensive snaps in the game. That's a season-low. There weren't a whole lot of snaps to divide among the Saints' plethora of perimeter players. Guys like Bell and Lance Moore came up short. Q: Jeff, I'm curious. Can you let us know who the inactives were for the last two games? Dixon, Mobile, Ala. A: Here ya go, Dixon. For the Minnesota game the inactives were as follows: Chase Daniel; Anthony Waters; Jamar Nesbit; Darnell Dinkins; Tory Humphrey; Paul Spicer; Adrian Arrington; and Malcolm Jenkins. The list was the same for the Cardinals game except Deuce McAllister and Chris Reis were inactive. Jenkins was active and Arrington was on the practice squad. Q: What do you make of the Colts bringing in Mike McKenzie and Jason David to workout with the team? I think David offers very little insight from the Saints since he was cut pre-season, however, it would be very difficult to see Mike McKenzie line up against the Saints in the Super Bowl. McKenzie knows the attacking style very well and although he is not the best tackler, could help out the Colts in preparing the Colts for the Saints. Also, do you think the Saints would take Mike off the list of extended team members that could have gotten a Super Bowl ring since he visited with the Colts? Matt Tesvich, Cumming, Ga. A: The Colts are in need of cornerback help. I just think it was coincidence that three of the guys they worked out had experience with the Saints. David and McKenzie had very little time in the Gregg Williams system. Not sure what if anything the Colts would gain by signing them. McKenzie is definitely part of the Saints' extended family. He watched the two playoff games from Reggie Bush's luxury suite at the Superdome and was part of the team celebration in the locker room after the NFC championship game. Still, he has to make a living. He's a professional football player. If another team is willing to offer him a contract he has to listen. The Saints understand that and will not hold it against him.

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