... and 10 Ten thoughts related to tomorrow night's...

September 24, 2006

... and 10

Ten thoughts related to tomorrow night's Falcons-Saints game:

One

Brees better -- When the Dolphins traded for Daunte Culpepper instead of signing Drew Brees to a free-agent contract last March, the state of Brees' surgically repaired shoulder was a deciding factor. The Dolphins believed a veteran quarterback coming off a major knee injury like Culpepper was a safer bet than Brees, who had suffered major shoulder damage in the 2005 season finale while playing for San Diego.

Brees, though, has clearly made the quicker recovery for the Saints (2-0).

Just as encouraging for New Orleans is how Brees' shoulder responded to contact against the Packers. Brees weathered two blows that could have caused harm if his arm weren't sound.

two

Left or right? -- The negative for the Saints is that left tackle Jammal Brown was beaten on one of those sacks. Brown clearly is more comfortable at right tackle, where he played as a rookie last year. That makes the Saints' offseason trade of Wayne Gandy to Atlanta even more suspect, especially considering the high marks he has earned manning the Falcons' left tackle position.

three

Brotherly advice -- Quarterback Michael Vick has benefited from the Falcons installing spread option plays normally reserved for the college ranks. But Vick's younger brother, Marcus, doesn't believe those calls are good for an NFL quarterback's health. "Maybe you can sneak in a play here and there, but guys [in the NFL] are too big and fast," said Marcus Vick, a quarterback in college who is making the transition to wide receiver on the Dolphins' practice squad. "If you want your quarterback to last, I wouldn't be advising that you call those types of plays."

four

heavy legs -- The Falcons' Michael Koenen entered the season as the first player to assume all kicking and punting duties full-time for a team since the Los Angeles Rams' Frank Corral in 1981. But when Koenen missed four field goals vs. Tampa Bay, the Falcons added veteran Morten Andersen to handle attempts inside 50 yards.

five

Old-timers -- Andersen, 46, said part of his motivation to return was breaking Gary Anderson's NFL record of 2,434 points. Andersen, who is 77 points short, showed a sense of humor about his age last week. "I was just talking to my old roommate Y.A. Tittle this morning," Andersen said. "We were reminiscing about the times we were taking stage coaches to the games."

six

Hauling service -- Part of the $185 million in repairs to the Louisiana Superdome was the removal of 5,000 tons of debris and 3.8 million gallons of water that had accumulated because of Hurricane Katrina, The Kansas City Star reported.

seven

Early returns -- So far, Houston's decision to pass on Reggie Bush in favor of defensive end Mario Williams with the 2006 draft's first pick doesn't look good. Williams has five tackles and no sacks after two nondescript games; the Saints' Bush is providing a spark on offense and special teams.

eight

In demand -- Brees and Bush said they each received 30 to 40 ticket requests to the sold-out game. Bush said his massage therapist offered free labor in exchange for seats.

nine

going South -- Tomorrow night's loser will still have a one-game lead over Carolina and Tampa Bay in the NFC South. The loser of today's Panthers-Buccaneers game will fall to 0-3.

Ten

A prediction -- Falcons, 27-20. Atlanta's running game will be too strong for the Saints' overmatched defense.

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