Will the Saints get the jump on the rest of the NFL in the 2015 preseason?
If Pro Football Hall of Fame President David Baker gets his way, they will.
With Saints owner Tom Benson making an $11 million dollar to the Canton, Ohio, landmark, Baker said Monday it would only be appropriate for the Saints to play in the 2015 Hall of Fame Game.
“It’s up to the NFL, but we’re certainly going to request it,” Baker said.
The 2015 game actually will be the last one in 76-year old Fawcett Stadium, which besides the exhibition game is the home field for two colleges and two high schools.
The construction on the sports complex centered on Tom Benson Stadium will commence thereafter.
The Saints have played in the Hall of Fame Game five times, most recently in 2012 when they defeated Arizona 17-16.
Saints coach Sean Payton has expressed the desire for the team to play its first playoff game near its training camp in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.
The Baltimore Ravens team that took the field on Monday night was markedly different from the one that won Super Bowl XLVII just two years ago.
Of the 53 players on the Ravens’ active roster Monday, just 22 were on the Super Bowl team.
And of that 22, just six were starters Monday — quarterback Joe Flacco, guards Kelechi Osemele and Marshal Yanda, defensive tackle Haloti Ngata and linebackers Terrell Suggs and Courtney Upshaw. New Orleans native Jacoby Jones, who had two touchdowns in the Super Bowl, was a starter in that game but was listed as third team on Monday.
Punter Sam Koch and kicker Justin Tucker also were on the SB XLVII team.
Part of the reason for the turnover was that the Ravens had a large number of retiring or high-priced long term veterans — Destrehan’s Ed Reed, Ray Lewis, Matt Birk and Anquan Boldin to name a few.
Plus Flacco signed a six-year $120.6 million contract after his MVP performance in the game, giving the Ravens severe salary cap issues to deal with as well.
“It doesn’t seem that long ago, but no, I’m not surprised by the changes,” Flacco told The Baltimore Sun last week. “This is my seventh year here, and I think there are just four or five guys from when I got here are on the team.
“It’s still kind of shocking, though.”
The Ravens’ first pass completion went to Steve Smith Sr. It was Smith’s 100th career reception against the Saints, the first 99 of which came when Smith was with Carolina. With his 101st reception — a 15 yarder for a touchdowns, Smith’s yardage total against the Saints rose to 1,522, eight more than he had against Tampa Bay whom he also faced twice a season during his 13 years with the Panthers.
Saving it up
Two years ago, Saints wide receiver Joe Morgan gained 13 yards on a reverse in a game against the New York Giants, but the play was negated by a holding call.
“That’s one we’ve been practicing since training camp,” Morgan said at the time. “We were just waiting for the right time to use it, but unfortunately we got the penalty.
“It’s still in the playbook, though.”
Apparently it was.
On the Saints’ second play from scrimmage, Morgan took the ball on a similar looking play and went 67 yards to the Ravens’ 2 on the first carry of his NFL career.
Saints nose tackle Brodrick Bunkley suffered a leg injury in the second quarter and did not return. ... Mark Ingram’s loss of 2 yards on the Saints’ fourth-down play from inside the Ravens’ 1 put them at 5-of-10 on fourth-down attempts this season. Opponents are 4-of-5. …The Saints used two of their first half timeouts in the game’s first six minutes. …Nick Toon had his first reception of the season, a seven-yarder in the second quarter. Saints second-round draft pick Stanley Jean-Baptiste was a healthy inactive for the seventh time in 11 games. Other healthy inactives were tackle Nick Becton and defensive end Brandon Deaderick. Players who had been on the injury list and were inactive were wide receiver Robert Meachem, running back Khiry Robinson, cornerback Terrance Frederick and linebacker Kyle Know. Ravens inactives were wide receiver Michael Campanaro, cornerback Rashaan Melvin, linebacker Arthur Brown, defensive tackle Terrence Cody, guard Gino Gradkowski, guard Jah Reid and defensive end DeAngelo Tyson.