I haven't. Most them think what you would think about those games: That's it's hard on the body and leads to a sloppy product because there isn't enough time to game plan properly.
The only thing I think anyone likes about it is that you get a "mini" bye week after the game. But I'm pretty sure a lot of player would give that up to just play on a Sunday like any other week.
It's a problem. Not breaking new ground by saying this, but it's hypocritical for the league to talk about player safety so often and then make these guys play on Thursday night.
No, I don't think so. That would be pretty drastic. The Thursday night schedule isn't ideal, but, unfortunately, it's just something teams have to deal with as long as it exists.
I think playing home playoff games will be very important for this team. New Orleans could go to Seattle or Philadelphia and still win a game, but the road will be a lot easier if they can keep those games at the Superdome.
Unless things change in the NFC, I'm not sure there will be any opportunities to rest players.
I think there are probably a few.
The Saints already did fine in a game without Marshon Lattimore, winning in Week 3 against the Carolina Panthers, but I think losing him for an extended period would be costly and change how New Orleans can operate on defense.
I actually would select him as my MVP of the first half of the season. Yes, even over Brees. He's been that important.
There isn't anyone who could replace Cam Jordan. I would put him pretty high on the list. Vonn Bell could probably spell Kenny Vaccaro for a few games, but I think that would be another big hit.
On offense, it's hard to locate a single player who would crush the team. Alvin Kamara would be a pretty big hit, but I think the Saints could scheme around it. Losing Michael Thomas would probably be a sizable blow.
He's doing well. He's making some plays in support and had one of his better moments last week when he forced Mike Evans out of bounds before he could complete a catch.
His teammates often talk about how his communication has served the secondary well, and it's one of the reasons for the turnaround since the beginning of the season.
Here's what defensive coordinator Dennis Allen had to say:
"I think he has grown a lot from where he started at, to where he’s at right now just in terms of his communication in terms of his awareness of what’s going on around him and his ability to orchestrate the backend of the defense and make sure we’re all in the proper call and doing the right things. I think he’s done a really nice job for us. I am really pleased with where he is at.”
That's every game, every snap.
You can motions and and do some other things to expose tells in man or zone coverage.
But the Saints are a game-plan team on both offense and defense. What you see one week probably isn't going to be what you see the next week. For example, against the Bucs, New Orleans used a lot of two-safety shells and zones that it hadn't used in previous games.
So, in essence, you can spend the whole week preparing for one thing and end up seeing something you didn't expect. That's not unique to the Saints, but you need to be able to adjust to have success. Tampa Bay did not.
I believe he will be a restricted free agent after the season. So, the Saints would start by tendering him at a certain level and then wait to see if a team matches the offer.
If New Orleans wanted to sign him to an extension, it would probably be for a lot less money now than it would have been after the 2015 season. Practically speaking, he hasn't been healthy in a game since Week 1 of last season. His negotiating power is severally diminished.
If I were him, and I thought I could get healthy and play at the same level, I would play next season out and go back to the table at a position of strength.
Run at them until they have to take the cornerback off the field. Getting caught in something like that would eventually open things up to where the defense would have to make another change.
You could come out in heavy sets and see if they stick with the same decision. If they do, just run it on them and use the mismatch to your advantage that way.
You might be able to get some advantageous looks with your tight ends or a second back over the middle, as well, by spreading them out.