Posts Tagged ‘New Orleans Saints’

Well it’s that time of year, when we get two stunning contests between the cream of the NFL. God I love the conference championship games, and this season we have two intriguing contest between four very different teams.

AP has been quiet in January but next will be his crowning glory against the Saints

The Indianapolis Colts and the New Orleans Saints have shone throughout the season and are the #1 seeds respectively, with the Minnesota Vikings looking good all round and the New York Jets acting out a Disney sports movie script.

I have done a TO and got the popcorn ready, as well as some alcoholic ginger beer (lovely) and some chips and dips. Ok I’ll look like death warmed up in the morning but lets hope its gonna be worth it.

My predicting skills have been pretty average in the playoffs as I have got 5 out of 8 correct so far.

Here goes with my conference championships predictions;

NFC CHAMPIONSHIP – Vikings @ Saints

This game is not exactly your traditional NFC championship, where defense dominates and the score finishes 13-10.

Minnesota and New Orleans are explosive high-powered offensive led teams with lots of talent across the field.

Both play in a Dome, both rely on young studs with speed, agility and soft hands, and both have quarterbacks that are grizzled veterans who both deserve to be playing in the Superbowl for what they have done this season.

This game has all the makings of a wild west shootout, with Brett Favre looking to take the Vikings to a place they haven’t been since Fran Tarkenen and the Purple People Eaters reached four Superbowls in the 1970s (losing all four).

Favre has shown that he can both play disciplined football and also air it our when he needs to, and he has turned Sidney Rice into a megastar, in a way that I suspect Sage Rosenfels or Tavaris Jackson would not have been able to in 2009.

Adrian Peterson has been strangely quiet in the second half of the season and has quite remarkably gone a little under the radar. This I think will all change in the NFC Championship as Peterson will show some of those jaw dropping skills that made him the most exciting rookie since Barry Sanders.

The Saints will simply be unable to bottle up Peterson for 60 minutes, and that my friends will be the difference in the game.

Defensively the Vikings are a remarkable unit up front, with Jared Allen, Kevin Williams and Pat Williams in the middle and the on-fire Ray Edwards at the other end.  This is a front four that should have helped a team to reach a Superbowl by now, and they will have to be tackling for their lives against the eel like Reggie Bush, and the the powerful and speedy Pierre Thomas.

The Saints D is led by veteran safety Darren Sharper, who has had an Ed Reed type season, picking off passes and being in the right place at the right time far too many times for it just to be luck or coincidence. Former Jet LB Jonathan Vilma is playing the best football of his life, and underrated pro’s such as Will Allen and linebackers Scott Fujita and Scott Shanle deserve to win today for their consistent effort on a team that has not always been this good.

X-Factors = The obvious x-factors in this game are Reggie Bush for the Saints and Percy Harvin the electric rookie WR for the Vikings.

Thing is I don’t like obvious, and I will instead look at some lesser known players that could be the difference between a trip home and a trip to Miami….

Saints TE David Thomas – With Jeremy Shockey not 100% Martin could be asked to catch 5 or more passes, and this could include in the redzone

Vikings RB Chester Taylor – Taylor has been a passenger in the Viking sailboat that has plundered and pillaged the NFL this season, leaving him fresh for this game. He is the best pass catching back on the team and could break a catch in the backfield and turn it into six huge points.

Prediction – Vikings 33-30 Saints – MVP Adrian Peterson 131 yards rushing and 3 touchdowns

AFC CHAMPIONSHIP – Jets @ Colts

Everyone loves an underdog and the New York Jets , who snuck into the playoffs on the back of the Colts decision to rest their starters in Week 17, are going to have a lot of neutral fans rooting for them. Only problem is Rex Ryan and the Jets don’t consider themselves underdogs, and that positive mentality has willed the Big Apple warriors to the AFC Championship game.

The Colts on the other hand are doing what they always do, winning 12 or more regular season games with relative ease, and without a mind-blowing running game. The last time the Colts won a Superbowl they did it with a precision passing game and a combination of Joesph Addai and Dominic Rhodes in the backfield (sometimes both on the field at the same time). Not much has changed, Addai still has a partner, but this time he is the veteran and Donald Brown is the rookie who knows no better.

Peyton Manning does not need much of a description here, just look in a dictionary for the definition of an All Pro QB and Manning’s face will be there.

Marvin Harrison is gone at WR, but in his place are Austin Collie and Pierre Garcon, who have both stepped up when needed and have helped catapult the Colts to a championship game.

The Jets have won games the way they used to be won, with a big nasty offensive line and a running game that gives opposition DCs nightmares. The combination of ‘the most underrated RB in NFL history’ Thomas Jones, and rookie rocket pack Shonn Greene, is pretty much perfect, and FB Tony Richardson is one of the best in his position in the past 30 years.

New York will go into this game with a rookie under center, and unfortunately this will be the game that brings Mark Sanchez crashing down to earth. It’s not that Sanchez can’t move the ball or pass accurately, its just that Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney will be more pumped up than the world’d biggest hot air balloon.

We all know that Darelle Revis the Jets CB should have been voted NFL Defensive MVP this season, and we also know that he will do an outstanding job tracking whoever will dare to matchup with him. It’s the rest of the Jets corners that I have bigger issues with.

X-Factors =This comes down to the Jets offense being able to move the ball and the Colts defense showing that their game last week was no fluke.

Colts – Defensive tackles Antonio Johnson and Daniel Muir are pretty much unknown outside of Indy, but they hold the key to this game. If they can hold the Jets running game it could be a long night for Sanchez.

Jets – WR Braylon Edwards. Yes Edwards has had a lot of stick recently for dropping passes, but he has the talent, the speed and the desire to show why he was an early first round pick by the Cleveland Browns. Edwards, if he is given the opportunity by the play calling, could surprise all NFL fans with a monster game.

Prediction – Colts 26-16 Jets – MVP Peyton Manning 289 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Like poo on a shoe I have a feeling the Cardinals will not be removed from the playoffs this week as Kurt gets busy through the sky

There’s nothing like starting my divisional playoff predictions with a Kylie Minogue song reference, but ‘I can’t get the Cardinals out of my head’ and as long as Kurt Waner hasn’t been concussed and is lying in a heap on the Superdome floor I smell an upset.

I got three out of the four Wild Card games right last week, with my only mistake being predicting an Eagles win against the Cowboys. I have to admit the only reason I went with Philly was because they were my pre-season Superbowl prediction, and I didn’t want to be a hypocrite.

Well now its time to dust down the Mystic Meg costume and sprinkle so prediction powder on the 2009-2010 NFL Divisional Playoff round;

NFC – Cardinals @ Saints

If you thought you saw an unforgettable fireworks display last week in the desert, this could be bigger, better faster and even higher scoring (seriously). Bizarrely this game will not come down to the quality of the QBs or WRs, it will come down to the team that has the most convincing running game. Mike Bell and Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush versus Tim Hightower and Chris ‘Beanie’ Wells. Momentum is a funny thing and the Cardinals will have it in bucket loads after their electric game last week, whereas the Saints looked awful after they lost their unbeaten record to the Cowboys (and yes I know the Saints were playing scrubs Week 17). Both teams have dominant All-Pro safeties in the form of Adrian Wilson and Darren Sharper, but both team CBs (as a unit) are not the best in the league. Providing the Cardinals offensive line keeps up the work rate then they have the ability to push Arizona into a 2nd NFC championship in a row.

Prediction – Cardinals 38-33 Saints – Game MVP Kurt Warner 307 yards passing 3 touchdowns.

NFC – Cowboys @ Vikings

I have even having to type the word Favre, seeing as he should have retired in the last decade, but here I am again talking about Mr Wrangler. The Vikings and the Cowboys match up pretty well, and I have to say this is going to be the biggest game of the weekend, with two star studded squads that can boast remarkable offensive lines, excellent quarterbacks, and defensive studs – exemplified by the Cowboys DeMarcus Ware and the Vikings mullet wearing nut job Jared Allen. Both teams have receivers that have had bonanza breakout seasons (Miles Austin and Sidney Rice), and both have some depth and ability to change the gears with their running games. Now the romantics will want Brett to take his weapons to the NFC Championship but I have Dallas showing why they are no longer a team to be laughed at when it comes to the business end of the season. That and the fact Felix Jones is just about the only human being I know that could keep pace with Chris Johnson in a running race. Wait for Felix to do something jaw dropping and then let others know you read it here.

Prediction – Cowboys 27-24 Vikings – Game MVP Tony Romo 311 yards and 2 touchdowns

AFC – Jets @ Chargers

It doesn’t matter what you wear, what you smell like or whether you know your tango from your Foxtrot, providing you have a ticket to the dance you can do whatever you like on the dance floor. Take a bow the Rex Ryan led New York Jets. The Jets have the number one defense and the number one running game, but they now face a team that has the hottest winning streak in the NFL. We all have to admit that Ladanian Tomlinson is no longer the same 20+ touchdown monster that he has been, but he still has a nose for the end zone. The maturation of Vincent Jackson has countered the decline in LT’s skills, and Antonio Gates continues to remain at top three fantasy TE for San Diego. This should be the game that signifies the Philip Rivers era in the AFC, but Jets CB Darrell Revis is that good that he can kill off Jackson and force Rivers to make passes that he might not want to attempt. This game will be the lowest scoring and it could come down to the kicking game (both field goals and field position from punts). It could be a bit of magic from Darren Sproles that blows this game open but I see the Jets leaving California with their Superbowl dream still intact.

Prediction – Jets 19-16 Chargers – Game MVP Thomas Jones 103 yards rushing 1 touchdown

AFC – Ravens @ Colts

The Ravens blew past the Patriots from the first offensive play and then like a skilled surfer dude they rode the wave of momentum to build up a lead that even Tom Brady could not claw back. The Colts will simply not allow this to happen as Peyton Manning will lock and load time after time to help Indy create an early lead. The Ravens running game is pretty special and Ray Rice was rewarded for his show of skills by gaining a 2nd Team All-Pro selection earlier this week. With support from Willis McGahee the Ravens running game has been  up there with the best. This game is in my opinion the Colts to win, with their home fans, home turf and NFL MVP. If the Colts get a 21 point lead this game could get ugly. I would love to see the unfashionable Ravens get the upset and set up a defensive slug fest with the Jets for the rights to go to the Superbowl, but this is Manning’s time. The Colts have no Steelers or Patriots to face and they just have to much speed to be stopped. Reggie Wayne to have a beast of a game and Dallas Clark to cause headaches to the Baltimore D all day long.

Prediction – Colts 30-19 Ravens – Game MVP Reggie Wayne 121 yards and 1 touchdown

Any thoughts???????

13_dan_marino

My god is that Leo Sayer in a Pitt uniform or is it the guy who passed for 5084 yards in 1984? (Pic from SI)

It’s the NFL equivalent of the Holy Grail, it’s a record that has not been touched until last season, and it’s a record owned by a guy who never won a Superbowl.

Yes the annual pilgrimage by 32 NFL quarterbacks to eclipse former Miami Dolphins qb Dan Marino’s single season passing yards record of 5084 (in 1984) has begun in earnest.

The 2009 NFL season has seen passers come out of the blocks faster than Usaine Bolt realising he needs the toilet after some dodgy jerk chicken.

So who are the contenders to Sayers…oops…Marino’s title?

1) Matt Schaub – Houston Texans (9 games played so far, 2653 yards)

Schaub is on pace for 4716 yards, so he is 369 yards of pace to break the record. This means he needs to improve production per game by 52 yards a game.

2) Peyton Manning – Indianapolis Colts (8 games played so far, 2545 yards)

Manning is on pace for 5090 yards, so he is on pace to beat the record by 6 yards.

3) Tom Brady – New England Patriots (8 games played so far, 2364 yards)

Brady is on pace for 4728 yards, so he is 357 yards of pace to break the record. This means he needs to improve production per game by 45 yards a game.

4) Drew Brees – New Orleans Saints (8 games played so far, 2336 yards)

Brees is on pace for 4672 yards, so he is 412 yards of pace to break the record. This means he needs to improve production by 52 yards a game.

Elsewhere Jay Cutler, Ben Roethlisberger, Aaron Rodgers, Philip Rivers, Tony Romo and Kurt Warner are on pace for over 4000 yards but I think they are not going to be able to drastically improve production to get over the 5000 hump.

So coming into Week 10 the only person who is on pace is Colts Superbowl winning qb Peyton Manning. Miracle Manning has thrown for over 300 yards in 7 out of his 8 contests so far, and to top it off he has won every single encounter.

The Colts have a mega tough second half schedule, with games against the Patriots, Baltimore, Denver and the Jets.

Can Manning do it? Ill say yes. I said Brees could get the record last year, and whilst Brees had the bra off and the skirt hitched up, I see Manning breaking the seal on his pack of extra-large Trojans.

The NFL Tailgate party at Wembley yesterday included some incredible prize draws to win a plethora of 2009 NFL gear, from signed shirts and signed helmets to signed balls.

Here is a selection of some of the signed helmets that you could have won. You just wrote your name, email address and phone number on a scrap of paper and put it in a post box below each piece of merchandise. Most NFL teams donated a signed object, and I have to admit I did enter about 10 different draws. Fingers crossed I get one of these…

Former #1 overall pick Carson Palmer the Bengals QB signed this helmet

Former #1 overall pick Carson Palmer the Bengals QB signed this helmet

 

The entire Tampa Bay Buccaneers team signed this helmet

The entire Tampa Bay Buccaneers team signed this helmet

 

5,000 yard passer Drew Brees from the New Orleans Saints signed this one

5,000 yard passer Drew Brees from the New Orleans Saints signed this one

 

This signed Frank Gore San Francisco 49ers helmet looked particularly impressive

This signed Frank Gore San Francisco 49ers helmet looked particularly impressive

 

Not sure who signed this Carolina Panthers helmet

Not sure who signed this Carolina Panthers helmet

 

The lone bright spot on the St Louis Rams roster RB Steven Jackson signed this mini-helmet

The lone bright spot on the St Louis Rams roster RB Steven Jackson signed this mini-helmet

402 yards gets a place in history

402 yards gets a place in history

I have to admit it I love NFL single season records.
Whenever I play Madden on my PS2 or Wii I only consider a season good if I break an NFL record, such as rushing yards or passing yards.
Playing on a console however is not reality, however Drew Brees the New Orleans Saints quarterback is real (trust me I saw him for real at Wembley Stadium earlier this year) and he has a chance to break a record that has stood since 1984 – Dan Marino’s 5,084 yards passing in 16 games.
Brees needs 402 yards against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday to break the record that has stood for almost a quarter of a decade.
The former Purdue QB has had four 400+ yard passing games in his career;
– 421 yards @ Denver (Sept 2008)
– 422 yards @ Atlanta (Nov 2008)
– 445 yards v Jacksonville (Nov 2007)
– 510 yards v Cincinnati (Nov 2006)
He has had a very mixed bag of Week 17 games in his career (yards passing);
2002  – 332 yards v Seattle (for Chargers)
2003 – 97 yards v Oakland (for Chargers)
2004 – 290 yards @ Indianapolis (for Chargers)
2005 – 68 yards v Denver (for Chargers)
2006 – 46 yards v Carolina (for Saints)
2007 – 320 yards @ Chicago (for Saints)
Carolina have only given up 300+ yards passing in one game in 2008 (375 yards v Kurt Warner’s Arizona Cardinals). The Panthers also have the #11 ranked pass defense (by yards).
With Deangelo Williams on fire and rookie Jonathan Stewart an excellent backup (who has slowed down towards the end of the season) the Panthers will in my humble opinion spoil the Brees ‘5085’ party.
If Brees does get 402 yards it will be a minor miracle. He does have an incredible supporting cast with Marques Colston, Lance Moore, Devery Henderson (bad hands good speed), Jeremy Shockey, Billy Miller and running backs Pierre Thomas and Deuce McAllister and even Aaron Stecker and Mike Bell. He does have a bloody quick release, but I think it will be lack of time of possession that will eventually kill off Brees attempt at the record.
My prediction – Brees gets 273 yards and two or three touchdowns passing but he throws one costly interception and ultimately fails to get the record.
Blame the Panthers running game for not giving Brees enough time.

Merry Christmas everyone who has read my blog in 2008 – It has been a pleasure and an honour to have you read my words. 

Mike Tolbert congratulates Antonio Gates - Tolbert is under the radar but he could make a big difference today at WembleyI hope everyone has a magical day, and that the NFL message reaches thousands, even millions of new people thanks to both BBC and Sky tv coverage and those who are coming to see a game for the first time.

Here are a few lesser known players that I say will have some bearing on the outcome of the game (which I still have the Chargers winning 24-21)…..

Mike Tolbert (pictured left jumping on Antonio Gates) – San Diego Chargers fullback – #35 – He is a rookie that has had to step into the rater large shoes of Lorenzo Neal – who should go to the Hall of Fame as one of the greatest players in his position. Tolbert has made 10 catches so far, averaging 13.4 yards a catch, and with so much focus on LT it could be Tolbert that converts some crucial 3rd downs.

Eric Weddle – San Diego Chargers safety – #32 – He is another young player in only his second season, but surprising to some he is leading the Chargers in tackles with 59. He is able to sniff out where the ball is, and is on course for over 100 tackles in only his first full season starting. Weddle will no doubt cover every blade of Wembley grass today, so look out for him laying hits on the likes of Jeremy Shockey and Matt Campbell.

Billy Miller and Mark Campbell – New Orleans Saints tight ends – #83 and #80 – Now people all know Jeremy Shockey and for those at Wembley for the Giants win over the Dolphins they will be familiar with the ink armed warrior. It has been the likes of Miller and Campbell that have been moving the chains in Shockey’s injury absence, and helping Drew Brees to rack up those yards. Both are support acts, but both have great hands, and if the Saints go into a two TE formation they could find gaps in the Chargers secondary for crucial 10 yard gains. Miller in fact is averaging 15.1 yards a catch on his 16 catches which is over a third more than Shockey’s 9.6 on 21 catches.

Kendrick Clancy – New Orleans Saints defensive tackle – #71 – Clancy has bounced round the NFL having played for the Steelers, the Giants and the Cardinals, but he looks to have found a good home in Louisiana. He has started all 7 games this season, gaining 20 tackles and two sacks. Clancy will be one of the guys that fans new to the game will find hard to track in the pile of bodies each down, but Clancy plays hard and can do a great job getting his hands on LaDanian Tomlinson.

Lance Moore – New Orleans Saints wide receiver – #16 – Very quietly Lance Moore actually leads all Saints wide receivers in catches with 32 (for 341 yards) after 7 games. The likes of Marques will get the headlines because he is the stud and coming back from injury, and Devery Henderson has an eye popping 31 yards a catch, but it is Moore that comes up with the clutch catches time after time. With Reggie Bush out for Wembley Moore is also likey to return kicks, so look to #16 having a huge impact on the game as he will no longer be the focus of the Chargers star cornerback Antonio Cromartie.

Everyone going have fun – its gonna be like Christmas day for thousands of NFL FANS IN ENGLAND (and the rest of the UK and Europe).

With under a week to go before the San Diego Chargers take on the New Orleans Saints at Wembley NFLFANINENGLAND has some great interview footage below.

I wont claim any credit for any of the interviews below, but seeing as I am sure you will want to read as much as you can with the Chargers and the Saints under a week away, here is three transcripts from earlier today. These interviews are courtesy of the fantastic San Diego Chargers PR staff. Thankyou all.

Coach Norv is in da house - for the 3rd time

Coach Norv is in da house - for the 3rd time

Head Coach Norv Turner

 

 

 

How do you treat this week as far as curfews and free time and things for the players?

“We have a normal schedule.  We have a pretty tight schedule and obviously these first couple days they have a little more time in terms of freedom.  Tuesday is our normal day off.  When we get into Wednesday it’s our regular schedule and then late in the week certainly there will be a curfew.”

 

When they’re at home, do they have a curfew?

“Players living at homes, apartments, houses and whatever … no there’s no curfew when they’re at home.”

 

You were scheduled to practice today.  Why did you decide not to go on the field?

“Our guys worked out.  They went in the weight room and worked out and got a workout in.  Obviously we have a light practice at times at home, but after playing a game, the workout and getting the sweat going is the most critical thing.”

 

Have you had a chance to watch the tape from Buffalo ?

“We watched it quickly and got into it.  Obviously we were in the process of doing that as you guys were speaking with Philip and LT.”

 

What are your thoughts about it a day later?

“The biggest thing … sometimes after the game you make comments and you may be off base and sometimes you’re right.  Obviously we had two critical turnovers, one at midfield when we had the lead and gave them a short field.  We had a critical interception going in (to the endzone) late in the fourth quarter.  The other things we talked about: our inability to get them off the field, in terms of creating pass rush. I thought there were times on third down if we had tackled better we could have gotten them off the field and kept them putting together long drives.  Then we’re not running the ball the way we need to.  We need to run the ball better.”

 

What are your feelings about playing in London ?

“I’m excited.  It’s an exciting trip for me; for our players.  Our guys will handle it well in terms of the preparation.  To play well, preparation is always the key.  We have a great facility here.  The field is in fabulous condition.  The gentlemen that did the work on it and prepared everything did an outstanding job.  We couldn’t ask for a better facility in terms of us getting ready.  I’ve been over here a couple times in the preseason and I know how exciting the games are.  That was preseason, so I know being a regular season game and the way the crowd gets into it and how they respond, it will be exciting for everyone involved.”

 

Last year’s Giants-Dolphins game was played in the rain and was low scoring.  Do you think with conditions being different, scoring may be higher this time?

“I think every year you do this, you learn from it.  I’ve been told the field is in great shape.  We’ve got two very good quarterbacks.  Both teams are capable of scoring points.  I would like to see us score points and hold them down.”

 

What do you expect from the crowd, with it being not just Chargers and Saints fans but a mix of NFL fans?

“Sometimes you don’t know what to expect, but as I said, in my experiences being here, the crowds have been outstanding.  They’ve been loud and full of energy.  It makes for a accelerated atmosphere.”

 

When were you in London before?

“I came here once with the Rams and once with the Cowboys in the late 80’s, early 90’s.”

 

With the fans not really aligned with either team, how do they react?

“It has been a while for me but I do remember it being awfully loud and exciting.”

With the way the season has gone for the Chargers, does this trip come at a good time?

“You really have to do this, and that’s not a pat answer; you really have to do this as an NFL player or coach. The schedule comes out, everything is determined and you know what it is.  You have to get it in your mind and say, ‘Here’s what it is and we’ve got to handle it.’  As I said, I think the fact that the facilities here are so outstanding, they’re going to help our guys get prepared.  Playing well is about preparation.  Whether this comes at a good time or not, it’s what we make of it.  If we do our job and prepare properly and go out and play well and find a way to win the game, then it came at a great time.”

How did you react when you found out the Chargers were going to play in this game?

“My reaction was the same as our players: it was true excitement.  There’s experiences that you get to do and I think a lot of the experiences I’ve had being involved in preseason games overseas, I think of the games I’ve been in involving unusual circumstances, and those are the ones that really do standout.  Getting the opportunity to come over here and play, the excitement of the match up and everything involved, it’ll be exciting for everyone.”

 What type of advantage is it to take one of your road games and play it at a neutral site?

“I’m anxious to see how that plays out.  Obviously I’m sure New Orleans would rather be playing this game in their stadium.  But they’re an awfully talented football team.  They’re a very good football team.  I’m sure they’re going to make this into their home game.”

Its no European Vacation for Phillips

Its no European Vacation for Phillips

Linebacker Shaun Phillips

 

 

 

 

 What is your reaction to traveling to London and seeing your surroundings?

“It’s kind of exhausting, especially coming off a game like we had (in Buffalo ). The whole long flight and everything is a bit exhausting. We’re a mature team. We should be able to respond to whatever we have in front of us.”

 Is this trip a good escape?

“Games are going to be played every Sunday, almost every week anyway. It really didn’t matter if we were playing in London or back in the states. We have to prepare to play a good football team. We have to be mentally ready to play a good football team.”

Why couldn’t the defense get pressure on the quarterback (Trent Edwards)?

“Well, I haven’t seen the tape from this game yet. I can’t answer the question yet on why weren’t able to get pressure on the quarterback. Maybe they just did a great job blocking. I have no idea until I see it. I feel like we’ve been doing a good job throughout the weeks. A lot of times we were half a step away from a sack. Sometimes we get the sack. Sometimes we get the quarterback hit. It’s not like the pass rushing has gone bad. It’s not one particular thing. It’s the back end holding up as well as the front end.”

 

What are you looking forward to the most to see while in London ?

“I would definitely say just playing the game. Playing in front of the London fans is going to be huge. You think of the soccer matches and how huge the soccer matches are, 80, 90 thousand fans screaming. We’re hoping to get that same impact that’s what I’m looking forward to the most.”

 

What are your thoughts on Wembley Stadium?

“I don’t know much about it. I haven’t done a lot of background on Wembley Stadium. I know how excited the guys out here get about soccer. English soccer is huge. We’re looking forward to that. We want to have all of the fans screaming and roaring and hopefully not fighting like we see on TV. We’re looking forward to this game.”

 

Do you have any plans to go into the City?

“Maybe I’ll do a little sight seeing tomorrow. Today I’m going to let my body catch up and get adjusted to the time change and the long flight. Rest my body a little bit.”

 

What are your thoughts on going against Drew (Brees)?

“I’m excited because I never got a chance to hit Drew. We played on the same college team and I always use to joke around by saying ‘I’m going to get a hit on you one day’. This is going to be the first time that I get an opportunity to get a chance to hit him. Hopefully, I’ll get a chance and if I do he’ll definitely know about it.”

 

What do you think about what’s he’s done in New Orleans ?

“I expected it. I’ve seen Drew since he was in college. I knew what type of player he was. Once I got to the pros and have the opportunity to be on the same team with him…he’s just a great quarterback. He’s going to continue to do that. I only expect good things and success out of Drew.”

 

Are you happy Drew’s had success?

“Definitely, like I said, I expected it. I see the type of work he puts in and the type of leadership, dedication that he has to the game of football. I expected it from him. It’s not a surprise to me at all.”

 

Is this your first trip to London ?

“No, I’ve gotten a few chances to be here before.” 

 

Are you excited to see anything in particular?

“Probably, the Queen’s palace. I didn’t get a chance to see that. I was out here for Wimbledon and got to see a lot of great players play. That was the big thing I did the last time I came out here last summer.”

 

 

LT looks to be the man with Bush out

LT looks to be the man with Bush out

Running Back LaDainian Tomlinson

 

 

 

 

 

What do you think of the Pennyhill Hotel?

“I think it’s great.  They really have set it up for us and obviously everything around here is put together well.  The practice fields, weight room, locker room, the meals.  Where we’re staying there’s a great spa right there where we can get treatment, so everything looked nice and we’re excited to be here.”

 

You came out this summer to promote this game.  What’s been the difference from what you saw during your first trip?

“I stayed kind of more in London .  This is kind of out a little bit.  We’re kind of to ourselves right now and have a chance to bond as a team.  I think that’s a bit different.  I think once it gets closer to the game when we’re able to go back in town and see the atmosphere of the people of London, I think it will kind of be the same atmosphere I got when I was here earlier.”

 

What did you do during your summer trip?

“I just did media things and promoted the game, got the people excited about us coming over here and playing.”

 

What was the sense you got from people here about their interest in the game?

“I thought they were very excited about us being here.  They were really interested in American football.  I think that’s evident in how many tickets have been sold.  I think they’re pretty excited.  I’m pretty sure they want to see a good game.  That would help.”

 

Were your teammates asking you what to expect once they arrived?

“There were a couple of guys asking what it was like.  One of my guys said, ‘Are there any big guys in London like us or are we going to stand out?’  I thought to myself, ‘I didn’t see too many big guys so you might stand out a little bit.’  Of course he was a lineman, so.”

 

Is there an added importance for you to perform because you are serving as an ambassador for the NFL?

“I think it’s important to have a good showing and to really give the fans something to talk about, a reason to want the NFL to come back and have more games here.  I think that’s important.  Obviously we’re trying to get our game more exposure in the world wide sense.  I think it is important for us to have a good showing.”

 

How do you feel about seeing Drew Brees on the other side?

“I’m excited.  Obviously I’m not excited about competing against him because he’s a heck of a competitor and a (heck of a) quarterback.  That’ll be kind of different but at the same time I think it’ll be fun being out there on the same field with him again but this time hoping that he throws some interceptions.”

 

When you guys were drafted on the same day, did you think you and Drew would spend your whole careers together?

“Of course you think that because that’s the time you’re dealing with now.  You never think about someone leaving as a free agent or what have you.  You just think it’s going to be forever.”

 

Are you happy to see the success he’s had?

“Absolutely.  To me he never ceases to amaze me to be honest with you, all the passing yards he has and touchdowns.  I see in the offseason how hard he works because we workout together.  It doesn’t amaze me the success that he’s having now.”

 

What do you think of Wembley Stadium as a venue for an NFL game?

“I really like it.  When I came here earlier I was just kind of taking in the atmosphere and obviously it was empty at that time, but just wondering what it would be like with people in the stands.  I thought it was a great stadium, really built well and the grass seemed really good.  From what I understand they’ve really been taking care of the grass and making sure that it’s up to somewhat better than last year.  I’m excited.  I really am.  I’m excited to get there and see the atmosphere.  I think it’s going to be great.”

 

What kind of atmosphere do you expect?

“I expect it to be loud and just everybody having a good time.  The only thing for me, I’m not sure who they’re going to cheer for.  It’s like, which team are they going to go for.  I think that will be the interesting thing to see.  I think they’re going to just want to see good football.  They’ll cheer for both teams.  Whoever scores they’ll cheer because really they just want to see a good game.”

 

Aren’t you used to a crowd that acts one way on offense and another when you’re on defense?

“I think that will be kind of different.  When you’re playing at home, obviously on offense you get to have some peace and quiet.  Then you hear it when our defense is out there.  You kind of get used to that.  Then on the road, it’s opposite.  They’re loud when we’re out there.  I think it will be a good mix of just having the atmosphere of just screaming and yelling the whole time.  I think it will be fun.”

 

When you were here this summer, did you have some anonymity or were people still recognizing you and stopping you?

“Actually I was pretty good in terms of people noticing me.  Obviously I had a few people, but I can walk down the street and I kind of forgot what that felt like.  I was happy to do that, just walk down the street and nobody say anything to me.  I kind of enjoyed that.”

 

Sunday’s game is a night game here.  Do you enjoy playing at night more?

“It’s a great time for us.  Again, it brings out that kid in you.  In high school playing at night a lot and even in college.  It just brings back that feeling that you had in high school or college playing under the lights.  We always felt like that was special.  Even in the National Football League, you really feel like playing in the atmosphere that’s under the lights and the crowd and two teams at night, it just really gets you going.  If you can’t get ready for a night game then you don’t need to be playing football.”

 

Now that you’re here being 3-4, is this a good time in the season for the trip?

“I think it is.  It is a good escape for us.  Obviously losing yesterday, a lot of guys are really down about that loss.  I think it really gives us time to take a deep breath, time to get away from the national media in the States and just have some time to ourselves and really just get close and bond a little bit.  I honestly think that’s why the Giants were successful last year.  They were kind of going through the same struggles.  They came here and it kind of changed their season.  We’re hoping for the same kind of luck.  Hopefully London brings us that.”

 

You don’t think it was a coincidence that the Giants won the Super Bowl after coming to London ?

“No I don’t.”

 

Just 72 rushing yards against Buffalo .  What’s your reaction to that?

“We’ve got to have more opportunities.  I think that’s obvious.  When you don’t get opportunities, I think we talked about this earlier, you don’t get in a rhythm of running the football.  It becomes tough on you to try to do anything if you don’t get a chance to get in a rhythm.  Obviously for me, 14 attempts, that’s not enough.  At the same time, we only had 48 plays.  We’ve got to have more plays and hopefully we start to get more plays.”

Quarterback Philip Rivers

On Surroundings:

“It’s awesome. It’s a beautiful place and very nice. Probably as nice as any place we’ve ever stayed in. We’re looking forward to having a good week. The set-up here, the weight room, the locker room, it’s very accommodating. Hopefully we can zero in and get ready for the game, and certainly also enjoy being here.”

 

On the practice field at PennyHill Park Hotel reminding you of a high school field:

“Yes, it does. It’s really nice. The weather, it’s cool. It will have a little bit of a high school or college-like feel…kind of a backyard feel to it in the whole set up. It’ll be fun. It will be less of distraction maybe than we anticipated, and more of a boost. Change it up a little bit. The transition has been about as smooth as it can be, getting over here today. Obviously a long night, but it’s been good. I already feel like we’re pretty much settled in.”

 

On playing with Drew Brees on the other sideline:

“It’ll be fun. We’re not playing one another (directly), but certainly having been on the same team and obviously he meant a great deal to the Chargers when he was here. I know he’ll be looking forward to the game. It’ll be fun. As far as the game is concerned, (you have) two teams that really need a win. It’ll be as much that has been made of the trip over here and the week’s festivities, and all that kind of stuff. When it comes down to the game, it’s a big one for both of us.”

 

On how giving of his time he’ll be for the NFL’s taste:

“Our game and the preparation comes first. It’s the only game, once a year and we’re that team, so certainly there are some things that come along with it; responsibilities. We’ll manage those. The biggest thing I am going to do individually is try to get in that same routine as we do back there (home). The surroundings will be different, where you watch the tape and stuff like that will be different but I’ll treat is just the same as I would any Monday and Tuesday and then go from there.”

 

On if coming to London makes it easier to put the Buffalo game behind you:

“You have to in this league, especially as we’ve seen this year. We’ve had to do this a couple times, put a tough loss behind us and move on, and get on to the next one. It’s allowed us to move on. You have so many different things you have to worry about and get adjusted to, you’ve already moved on to the next week. But certainly we’ll get in here and watch this tape (and) it’ll all come right back to us. It’ll settle in how we played and how we can correct it and get better. The taste of that loss isn’t gone by any means. It was a big game that we lost yesterday, and we know that, but we’re going to have to rebound. We’ve done a good job of rebounding every week. We just have to find a way to get over the hump of trading wins and losses, and hopefully make a little run here.”

 

On handling distractions while in London :

“It certainly can be. We’ll have to manage it. Those are things you don’t get an opportunity to do or see some things that are out here. I know for me, and I’ll bet a lot of the guys, we’ve never been out of the country. Those things are fine. Go have fun, and enjoy it. Soak some of those things in. As long as it doesn’t creep in or get in the way of what we’re trying to get done, which is win a game. You certainly can enjoy those things this afternoon and Tuesday when we’re off, and still get in the preparation we need to get in to go win the game on Sunday.”

 

On his first thought when he knew the Chargers were coming to London :

“You really tie the two together, Buffalo and then New Orleans , just because of the trip. You knew you weren’t coming home. It wasn’t a get-on-a-plane-to-San-Diego-and-go-London. I don’t know. It (Rivers’ feelings) was mixed. Certainly you realize what can come with it is a lot of…I don’t want to say a hassle because that’s not the (right) word. But it certainly can be strenuous on the schedule and the time and our bodies, but at the same time it’s exciting. It’s something new. There’s only one (international) game every year, and being that game against the Saints is a good match-up. Mostly positive (thoughts). The way the NFL structured it is outstanding with the bye week following it so we can recover from the trip next week. We have to zero in though and get to .500 at the halfway point, which is not where we wanted to be but it leaves us at a spot where we still have a chance.”

 

On what he anticipates from London natives when he and his teammates are out on the town:

“I think it’ll be a lot of fun. You kind of don’t know. You don’t know how much they pay attention or care. But certainly I imagine it’s a treat for them here too. Something different. From what I gather, I don’t know exactly the capacity of the stadium, but they say it’s just about full, and people are excited. It’ll be fun. Thus far the hospitality has been great. It seems like a very polite, nice town. The airport and how all that ran was so smooth. I know it’s tough when there are 100 or so people coming through there like that. To get us all in and out of there smoothly…it was a smooth process.”

 

On his relationship with Saints’ Quarterback Drew Brees when he was with the Chargers:

“It was good. It was really good. We had a handful of golf matches off the field, but as far as the quarterback room and how everything flowed, it was good. I tried o help as much as I could but stay out of the way at the same time. When a guy has his routine as a starter, you don’t want to bother him but certainly you want to help if you see something. I thought it worked really well. We pushed one another hard. We both handled it well. We both respected one another and knew we were both just here battling to be the guy. It’s worked out for both of us. I think a lot of Drew, and obviously what he’s done down there in New Orleans has been outstanding.”

 

On what Drew Brees taught him:

“Yeah. The one thing he did was the routine approach he took. After a big Monday Night win or Sunday Night win like we had in New England , he was doing the same thing on Monday or Tuesday. If we get beat, like we lost those first two tough ones, he was doing the same thing. That was key because you realize it’s a long year, you’re going to lose some games, you’re going to play not as good as you want to in some games, but you come back in there on Tuesday and you’re doing the same routine Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. That’s the only way to go when you’re talking about 20-plus weeks. That was the one thing, although it’s not the same routine, we all have our different ways of doing it, is find that routine and what works and stick with it all year long.”

 

On if he expects a high scoring game:

“You never know. I think you prepare every week for it to be a defensive battle and try to win 10-7, and certainly with these two offenses, it could. We have faith in our defense, so hopefully not. But we’re ready every week, offensively, to score as many points as we need to to win. We’ve done that so far three times and haven’t done it four times. So certainly this is a big game for us to go out there and play well.”

 

On the coincidence of the Giants winning the Super Bowl after playing in London last year:

“I don’t think you can put too much stock into that. We would love to have it happen again. Come here and win and hopefully win a bigger one later. No, I don’t think there is any (correlation). It’s fun. We’re excited to be here and play. The match-up is fun. It’s a team you don’t play very often. The preparation from that standpoint, you have to zero in on them. It’ll be a fun week and hopefully it ends on a high note on Sunday.”

 

On how frustrating it might be to have so much talent but the record not reflecting it:

“It’s hard to say it’s frustrating because we still feel the guys we have in there, even banged up, and the guys that are healthy, that we can go in there and score points, and go out there an win games. I think that’s the frustrating part. We walk off the field and go, ‘how is this happening?’ That’s every year. Every team deals with injuries and different things. We’re dealing with it off the bat. There are other teams that are too. Hopefully we can get it going and get healthy as this season goes along and be in a position to hopefully be playing in January.”

 

On the running game not being as good as expected:

“You keep working. I don’t know if there is one element of the running game to point to. You just keep working and keep grinding. Just keep going. I don’t think there is any magic answer I can give you, other than you just keep grinding it out. There will be a time when it will all click and go, and hopefully that’s going to be soon. We do a lot of good things. You watch the tape and there are so many good things on there. You look up and there’s 14 points. The turnovers hurt us yesterday. At the same time, it hurts you in the amount of plays. I think we had 49 plays. When you have 70 plays you think about how many different things you could have done. If you’re controlling the football and not turning it over. It all goes hand-in-hand. We just have to play better in all three phases.”