METAIRIE, La. (AP) — Injuries prevented defensive end Alex Okafor, middle linebacker Alex Anzalone and nickel back P.J. Williams from participating in the playoffs when the New Orleans Saints nearly advanced to the NFC title game last season.
The fact that all three have played virtually the entire 2018 season only begins to tell the story of how relatively healthy the Saints are as they return to the postseason as their conference's No. 1 seed.
METAIRIE, La. (AP) — No matter how much New Orleans' defense may have improved since this season's opening week, linebacker Alex Anzalone doesn't see the benefit in dismissing as irrelevant the 48 points the Saints surrendered in a Week 1 loss to the Buccaneers.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The dynamic Saints running back duo of Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara agree that the word "savage" best describes New Orleans' offense.
Certainly, the Saints are scoring so often, and in so many ways, it's enough to bruise defenders' egos.
"I'm glad we don't have to play them," Saints linebacker Alex Anzalone said Monday, a day after New Orleans broke the 50-point mark in a victory over Cincinnati.
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Adam Thielen was putting together yet another stellar performance for the Minnesota Vikings, who were on the verge of extending a three-point lead late in the second quarter when Thielen plunged forward for extra yardage after a short first-down catch.
METAIRIE, La. (AP) — Saints linebacker Alex Anzalone hopes he's done seeing promising seasons snuffed out prematurely by his troublesome right shoulder.
"It was fixed really well this time," Anzalone asserted after New Orleans' offseason practice on Thursday. "My shoulder dislocated, but it was fixed differently."
If "differently" means better, Anzalone's return could be a significant boon to a young defense that improved considerably during the Saints' playoff run last season.
METAIRIE, La. (AP) — The New Orleans Saints have placed rookie linebacker Alex Anzalone on injured reserve following his shoulder injury during Sunday's victory over Miami in London.
Anzalone, a third-round draft choice out of Florida, started New Orleans' first four games this season and has been in on 16 solo or assisted tackles to go with one sack and one pass breakup.
NEW YORK (AP) — Marshawn Lynch's return to the NFL came with a price.
The Oakland Raiders running back was fined $12,154 by the league for flipping the middle finger on both hands last Sunday in the fourth quarter of the team's 26-16 victory at Tennessee. Lynch, who was retired last season, ran for 76 yards on 18 carries and caught a 16-yard pass.
METAIRIE, La. (AP) — Saints rookie linebacker Alex Anzalone quickly diagnosed a screen pass to running back Adrian Peterson, bolted into the backfield and swarmed Peterson moments after the catch.
For the first time this year, Saints coach Sean Payton and his staff got a look at their players in full pads and with a good bit of contact Saturday, providing a better look at young and newly acquired players New Orleans will lean on as it tries to climb out of a three-year rut of 7-9 records.
METAIRIE, La. (AP) — When linebacker A.J. Klein joined the Saints this offseason, he wasn't keenly aware of the problems New Orleans had on defense during the past few seasons and remains uninterested in revisiting it.
"I really didn't look into numbers. I didn't look into what's happened in the past," Klein said after a minicamp practice on Wednesday. "Right now I'm focused on the future, focused on building on what we have."
METAIRIE, La. (AP) — New Orleans Saints general manager Mickey Loomis says the club has signed six of seven draft choices, leaving only offensive tackle Ryan Ramczyk unsigned.
Loomis, who announced the signings Friday, says cornerback Marshon Lattimore, safety Marcus Williams, running back Alvin Kamara, linebacker Alex Anzalone, and defensive ends Trey Hendrickson and Al-Quadin Muhammad have agreed to four-year deals, ensuring they'll be under contract for mandatory minicamp from June 13-15.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Florida defensive tackle Caleb Brantley is leaving school early and entering the NFL draft, joining four teammates in forgoing their final year of college eligibility.
Brantley announced his departure Friday in a lengthy letter posted on SEC Country, saying "like many kids, this was always a dream for me."
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Oft-injured Florida linebacker Alex Anzalone is forgoing his final year of college eligibility and entering the NFL draft.
A fourth-year junior who missed 20 games over the last four years because of injuries, Anzalone announced his decision Wednesday. He joins cornerback Quincy Wilson and offensive tackle David Sharpe in leaving the Gators (9-4) early to turn pro. Cornerback Jalen Tabor and defensive tackle Caleb Brantley are expected to join them.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — No. 15 Florida will be without starting defensive end Jordan Sherit for the Southeastern Conference championship game against top-ranked Alabama.
Coach Jim McElwain made the announcement on a conference call Sunday, adding "we took some significant hits again."
Sherit injured his right knee in a loss at Florida State on Saturday. Nickel cornerback Duke Dawson (ankle) and left guard Martez Ivey (leg) also left the game.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — No. 22 Florida will be without safety Marcus Maye for the rest of the season because of a broken left arm.
Maye injured his arm in the first quarter against South Carolina on Saturday and left the field on a cart. Coach Jim McElwain said after the 20-7 victory that Maye "will be done obviously."
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Florida coach Jim McElwain ended up making a quarterback change after all.
He had no choice this time.
The 22nd-ranked Gators will be without quarterback Luke Del Rio "for a while," maybe even the rest of the season, because of a right shoulder injury.
"It's bad, man," McElwain said Monday. "When you can't lift your duffel bag up, chances are something's hurt, right?"