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NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Drew Brees is in his 13th year playing

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Post time 2018-11-8 14:28:30 | Show all posts |Read mode
about that long since he’s beaten the Cleveland Browns.Brees’ first game with New Orleans was a victory at Cleveland in 2006. The Browns have won the past two meetings in 2010 and 2014.“Man New Orleans Saints Customized Jerseys , they’ve been tough games against these guys,” Brees recalled this week as he prepared for his latest clash with Cleveland on Sunday.While the Saints (0-1) made the playoffs last season, they’ve opened the season with an upset loss at home to Tampa Bay. Cleveland (0-0-1) comes in with a marginally better record after its opener against Pittsburgh finished in a tie.And Brees doesn’t want to hear about how the Browns haven’t won a game since 2016 — not after watching Cleveland’s defense produce six Steelers turnovers last weekend.“You hate the fact they haven’t had a win for a while, because you look at their side of the ball and you’re like, ‘Man, that is a really good defense that did a lot of good things,'” Brees said.“Forget their record. Forget last time they had a win. … Whatever they throw at us, we have to have a plan for, we have to be ready for — do all the things that equate to winning football.”If Cleveland were to end a long winless streak in the Superdome on Sunday, it wouldn’t be the first time.When the current incarnation of the Browns joined the NFL as an expansion team in 1999, they arrived in New Orleans winless through seven games and wound up celebrating their first victory after Tim Couch’s 56-yard heave as time expired found Kevin Johnson in the end zone. The lasting image for Saints fans was deflated then-coach Mike Ditka lying face-down on the turf.For the Saints to avoid falling on their collective faces against Cleveland again, New Orleans’ defense likely will have to improve on the more than 500 yards it allowed to the Bucs in Week 1.For new Browns QB Tyrod Taylor, the opportunity to play the Saints represents a shot at redemption. He struggled against the Saints last year while playing for Buffalo. He passed for only 56 yards without a touchdown and was intercepted before being removed from that game and benched the following week.“Of course, I remember that game,” Taylor said. “It didn’t go as planned. So, definitely looking forward to competing against that group again.”Some other story lines surrounding the Browns-Saints matchup:RENEWING ACQUAINTANCESAdding intrigue to the matchup is the return of Browns defensive coordinator Gregg Williams to the city where he helped the Saints win a title in 2009. Williams left after 2011 and was suspended months later for his role in the Saints’ bounty scandal New Orleans Saints T-Shirts , which also resulted in Saints coach Sean Payton’s one-year suspension.The previous time the Saints faced one of Williams’ defenses, Payton’s offense ran up the score in a 49-21 victory over the Los Angeles Rams. But Payton now dismisses any notion of lingering animosity.“My relationship with Gregg is great. He was part of a championship we won,” Payton said. “He has done a great job in Cleveland. … This game is more about the Saints and the Browns and finding a way to win regardless of how many points it takes.”BETTER BREESBrees is now 39 and in his 18th season, but showing little sign of slowing down. He passed for 439 yards and three touchdowns last week. And while the Saints lost, the offense looked good scoring 40 points.Brees “continues to play at a really high level,” Browns coach Hue Jackson said. “Obviously, they have very talented players around him.”Saints running back Alvin Kamara, who had 112 yards receiving last week, said Brees’ ability to read defenses will help against the blitz packages favored by Cleveland coordinator Williams.“They’re a high-risk defense. They want to get pressure on the quarterback,” Kamara said. “When you do that, you’ve got to make sure you make it to the quarterback. So, with some of those looks they’re bringing, we’ve got some good things schemed up.”PRESSUREThe Saints’ second highest-paid player on offense is left tackle Terror Armstead, who expects to have one of his tougher assignments this season against Browns defensive end Myles Garrett. Last week, Garrett had two sacks.“It’ll be a fun game,” Armstead said of facing Garrett New Orleans Saints Hats , the top overall draft choice in 2017. “Size, speed, power — he possesses a lot of tools.”QB QUESTIONSWhile wet conditions didn’t help, Taylor’s Browns debut was a sloppy one. He went 15 for 40 passing. If he doesn’t perform better in the dome, it’ll only increase pressure on Jackson to turn to 2018 top draft choice Baker Mayfield.BUCKEYE BATTLESThe game sets up a possible matchup between a pair of former Ohio State players who thrived in Week 1.Cleveland rookie defensive back Denzel Ward had two interceptions and could cover Saints receiver Michael Thomas, who had 16 catches for 180 yards and a touchdown against the Bucs. Saints coach Sean Payton said it’s too early to judge New Orleans’ last-ranked running game.New Orleans managed only 43 yards rushing on 13 attempts in a Week 1 loss to Tampa Bay, but Payton said that was more about the nature of a game because the Saints had to lean on the pass after falling behind. And though the coach was more critical of the running game following the Saints 21-18 victory over Cleveland, he stressed: “We’re talking about one game here. We’re not talking about a crisis.”The Saints’ surge to the NFC South title last season was fueled to a large degree by a rejuvenated running game that ranked fifth in the NFL.The addition of Alvin Kamara, who became the 2017 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, to Mark Ingram, who had his second consecutive 1,000-yard rushing season, gave New Orleans an elite tandem.Heading into Sunday’s game against Atlanta, the Saints are averaging an NFL-worst 52.5 yards rushing during a 1-1 start.Ingram is serving a four-game suspension for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs. Falling behind early also has compounded matters for New Orleans. Payton has had to lean heavily on Drew Brees and wide receiver Michael Thomas, who has an NFL-record 28 catches through two games.“We definitely miss Mark,” Thomas said. “He adds value to this offense.”New Orleans’ 36 rushing attempts are third-fewest in the NFL https://www.thesaintsfanshop.com/hoodie , but the Saints also have struggled when they have run the ball, averaging only 2.9 yards per rush. That ranks second-to-last, ahead of only Tampa Bay.When Ingram’s suspension was announced in the spring, Payton said the solution would not be to just give his carries to Kamara. Yet, Kamara’s workload has increased. He has averaged 10.5 carries and 7.5 pass receptions after averaging 7.5 rushes and five receptions per game last season.The Saints spent much of the offseason, training camp and preseason looking for a complementary running back to Kamara.The turnstile of rushers hasn’t worked out.New Orleans signed veterans Terrance West and Shane Vereen and drafted Boston Scott in the sixth round to join holdovers Jonathan Williams, Trey Edmunds and Daniel Lasco.West and Edmunds were released, Vereen and Lasco wound up on injured reserve and Scott was released and later signed to the practice squad.The Saints wound up signing Mike Gillislee after he was released by the Patriots at the end of the preseason and bringing up Williams after briefly placing him on the practice squad.After two games, Gillislee has 11 rushes for 27 yards and he lost a fumble that Tampa Bay returned for a pivotal touchdown in the Saints’ 48-41 loss in the season opener. Williams has rushed just twice minus-1 yard.Payton said communication and blocking were the main issues against the Browns, who held the Saints to 62 yards on 23 rushing attempts.“We just didn’t run as effectively against (Cleveland) as we would have liked,” Payton said. “It’s one of those teams that’s going to give you some tough run looks. There’s just a number of things that we have to get cleaned up.”Brees cited two important runs that helped the Saints rally from a 12-3 deficit in the fourth quarter.Kamara had an 18-yard run that started a touchdown drive which pulled them within two points. He also gained five yards on a third-and-2 to extend another touchdown drive that gave New Orleans its first lead.“When we rushed better in the latter part help of the game it helped,” Payton added. “When we review with our players where we stand in terms of what’s important to winning and losing, (running effectively) certainly sits at the top.”Notes: Defensive tackle Tyeler Davison (foot), receiver Tommylee Lewis (knee) and linebacker Manti Te’o (knee) did not practice on Wednesday. … The Saints listed three players as limited in practice: left tackle Terron Armstead (knee), receiver Ted Ginn (knee) and left guard Andrus Peat (ankle).

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