Saints S Marcus Maye suspended 3 games for violating NFL policy on substance abuse

The NFL suspended Saints S Marcus Maye three games for violating the league’s policy on substance abuse.

The NFL announced a three-game suspension of New Orleans Saints safety Marcus Maye for violating the league’s policy on substance abuse on Wednesday.

Maye, who has played a team-high 123 defensive snaps for the Saints over the first two weeks, will miss games against the Green Bay Packers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New England Patriots. He is eligible to return on Monday, Oct. 9 and can play again in Week 6 against the Houston Texans.

Over two games, Maye produced 13 tackles, one interception and 1.0 sack for the Saints defense, which is fifth in the NFL in points allowed entering Week 3.

Signed by the Saints in 2022, Maye played in 10 games for New Orleans last season. He is a starter with Tyrann Mathieu at safety.

The Saints could use rookie Jordan Howden, who has played 26 snaps over the first two weeks, as a replacement for Maye at safety. The Saints took Howden (Minnesota) in the fifth round out of 2023 draft.

Maye will join running back Alvin Kamara and quarterback Jake Haener on the team’s suspended list. Suspended players do not count against the 53-man roster limit.

Saints say Jimmy Graham ‘experienced a medical episode’ in Los Angeles

TMZ first reported that Jimmy Graham was arrested Friday evening in Los Angeles, with the Saints saying team doctors believe he suffered a seizure that led to erratic behavior:

TMZ Sports first reported that New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham was arrested Friday evening in Los Angeles on a couple of misdemeanor charges — suspicion of being under the influence of a controlled substance, as well as as resisted, delaying, and obstructing a police officer, though he was later released from police custody and the incident is under investigation. TMZ sources with the Los Angeles police department say Graham was seen “walking in the streets” and resisted arrest.

Now we have word from the team, with the Saints saying in a statement Saturday morning that their team doctor believes Graham suffered a seizure which led to his erratic behavior:

“New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham experienced a medical episode last evening, which resulted in him becoming disoriented. He was taken into custody by local authorities and transported to a local hospital for evaluation for what Dr. John Amoss believes to be a likely seizure and spent the night under medical supervision and testing. Amoss met Graham at the hospital and is overseeing his care at this time. he was released this morning and is with the team as they continue preparations for Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Chargers.”

We’ll watch out for updates on this front, but the most important thing is that Graham’s health has stabilized. Returning to football in humid New Orleans and Los Angeles after a year away from the game takes a toll on the body, and Graham has received frequent rest days throughout training camp to help him shoulder the workload. The 36-year-old doesn’t have a history of seizures so hopefully this was just a one-off for him.

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QB coach/passing game coordinator Ronald Curry to stay with Saints for 2023

QB coach/passing game coordinator Ronald Curry to stay with Saints for 2023, won’t join Buccaneers or Sean Payton on Broncos after interviewing for OC jobs:

Here’s some good news for the New Orleans Saints: KPRC 2 Houston’s Aaron Wilson first reported that quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator Ronald Curry is expected to remain with the Saints in 2023 after interviewing with both the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Denver Broncos for their offensive coordinator vacancies. NewOrleans.Football’s Nick Underhill confirmed that Curry will stay in town.

Curry, 43, is a coach on the rise who started his Saints career working with receivers before moving to quarterbacks, and now he’s responsible for managing multiple position groups in fine-tuning the passing attack. He called plays in a preseason game last summer and should continue to see his role expand in New Orleans.

Hopefully, anyway. Pete Carmichael struggled to maximize the talent available to him last year and some fresh insight is needed offensively. It’s tough to make waves with a backup quarterback and without three of your top five receivers (Michael Thomas, Jarvis Landry, and Deonte Harty missed most of the season with injuries) but Curry’s background as a position coach and familiarity with his players should be a resource the Saints draw from more heavily moving forward.

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Sean Payton on poaching Zach Strief: ‘It’s only right, because I found him’

Sean Payton on poaching Zach Strief from the Saints: ‘I feel like it’s only right, because I found him’ as a seventh-round draft pick way back when

One of the bigger departures of the New Orleans Saints offseason has been Zach Strief, one of Sean Payton’s former players who turned to coaching after hanging up his helmet. Payton reflected on his history with Strief and how he came to New Orleans in a conversation with WWL’s Brooke Kirchhofer.

“When I arrived in ’06, we’re putting the draft board together and going through it. We’re in the late rounds and I called the late Randy Walker, then the head coach at Northwestern. I was asking him about a quarterback,” Payton reminisced, “He said, ‘What do you think of my right tackle?’ I had no idea who he’s talking about, he goes ‘This kid will play at your level. He’s been a captain here for two years.'”

That conversation compelled Payton to move Strief up their board from an undrafted free agent to a seventh-round grade, and the Saints called him up at the second pick in that frame at No. 210 overall. And the rest is history. Strief first got on the field with the offense as the sixth man in jumbo packages before starting for years at right tackle. Payton hired him as his assistant line coach after a brief stint doing play-by-play on the radio for Saints games, and now he’s being promoted on Payton’s staff in Denver.

“It’s not announced yet but he is going to be coming with us. And I feel like it’s only right, because I found him,” Payton grinned. Replacing Strief won’t be easy, but he was the assistant to full-time offensive line coach Doug Marrone, so the Saints should be able to find some good options. One candidate who should be considered is Strief’s old teammate Jahri Evans, who worked with him as a coaching intern for training camp last summer.

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Derek Carr had dinner with Saints brass, visiting team facility a second day

Derek Carr had dinner with Saints brass, returns to visit the team facility for a second day of meetings, as first reported by @nick_underhill:

The New Orleans Saints kicked off a second day of meetings with Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr on Thursday, per NewOrleans.Football’s Nick Underhill, who adds that the Saints took Carr out to dinner on Wednesday night after he spent the day meeting with coaches and touring the team facility. It’s developing into a drawn-out recruiting pitch, but a second day suggests he’s receptive to what they’re selling him.

And the clock is ticking. The Raiders will be on the hook for more than $40 million in guaranteed money over the next two years if Carr is on their roster after 3 p.m. CT on Wednesday, Feb. 15. They’re hoping to reach an agreement to trade him to another team like the Saints prior to that deadline, or else he’ll be released and become a free agent.

New Orleans probably can’t afford to enter a bidding war with other teams should Carr hit the open market so they have some incentive to reach a deal with Las Vegas, but a trade will only materialize if Carr is happy with the situation he’s walking into thanks to his no-trade clause. That gives him a ton of leverage and agency in these discussions, but it’s notable that he hasn’t yet scheduled any future meetings with other teams as this window continues to shrink. The Saints are very much in the driver’s seat.

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Ian Rapoport says the Saints are the front-runner for Derek Carr

Ian Rapoport said the Saints are the front-runner for Raiders QB Derek Carr, though no trade has been agreed to just yet:

Derek Carr is busy meeting with the New Orleans Saints on Wednesday, and we’ve got some insight on the situation from NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. Rapoport broke things down during an appearance on the Pac McAfee Show, in which he said the Saints are the front-runner to acquire the Las Vegas Raiders quarterback. That doesn’t mean things are signed, sealed, and delivered, but it does mean things are trending that way.

One point Rapoport clarified is that the Saints and Raiders have not necessarily agreed on trade compensation so much as reached an understanding on the framework of a deal: “What my understanding of the situation is, he was only going to be allowed to visit if a team was willing to give the compensation that it would take to do a trade. … They’re in the ballpark. They’re in the conversation. It’s not like, I know the pick, here’s what it is. It’s like, yeah, this is kind of the range a pick might be.”

And Rapoport added other scenarios to the discussion: what if Carr is willing to redo his contract to facilitate a trade, which would add incentive to the Raiders in taking on some of his salary, thus increasing the asking-price? What if Carr doesn’t want to weaken the Saints by forcing them to send a draft pick when he could wait and sign with them as a free agent? What if the Saints aren’t willing to pay him what he’s seeking on a contract extension?

These are all topics that will be discussed during his visit, and any scenario will change the specific draft-pick compensation going back to Las Vegas. At the end of the day, everyone needs to be on the same page. Carr and the Saints need to agree on the money. The Saints and the Raiders need to agree on the trade compensation. If either of those two conversations go sideways, a trade won’t happen.

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Report: Saints hire former Cardinals defensive backs coach Marcus Robertson

The Saints are reportedly hiring former Cardinals defensive backs coach Marcus Robertson. He brings a strong resume and connections with Dennis Allen and Joe Woods:

Here’s another new addition to the New Orleans Saints coaching staff: Arizona Football Daily’s Mike Jurecki reports that the Saints are bringing in former Arizona Cardinals defensive backs coach Marcus Robertson, who was previously linked to the team by CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson. Robertson has a strong resume with 12 years as a player in the league and several years working in player development before he turned to coaching.

He also has some connections with Saints head coach Dennis Allen and defensive coordinator Joe Woods. Robertson was Woods’ assistant under Allen on the 2014 Oakland Raiders squad, and he later joined Woods on the Denver Broncos beneath head coach Vance Joseph (where they coached up Bradley Roby, who now plays for the Saints). He brings a lot of energy and insight to the coaching staff, which should be a welcome injection after the team moved on from secondary coach Kris Richard and defensive assistant Cory Robinson this offseason.

This is a good hire, even if it’s drawing some criticism for Allen getting his old Raiders team back together (in addition to Woods and Robertson, he’s working to acquire quarterback Derek Carr). But his back is against the wall in 2023 after the 2022 season turned into a big disappointment. Sink or swim, Allen is surrounding himself with his own coaches. His secondary only intercepted 7 passes last season and 2 of them came from backup safety Daniel Sorensen. If these new assistants can help the Saints make more plays on the back end and give their offense more opportunities to close out games, it will have been worth it.

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Report: Offensive assistant Kevin Petry staying with Saints, won’t join Broncos

Report: Offensive assistant Kevin Petry staying with Saints, won’t join Broncos

Three cheers for Kevin Petry. NewOrleans.Football’s Nick Underhill reports that Petry is staying with the New Orleans Saints as an offensive assistant coach, opting to remain in Louisiana rather than join Sean Payton with the Denver Broncos. Petry has climbed the ladder on the Saints coaching staff and most recently began working with the quarterbacks.

It makes sense that he’d want to stay. Petry is a Louisiana native and an LSU graduate with a lot of local connections. Uprooting and moving to Denver would be a massive change. If he has opportunities for advancement in New Orleans with Payton siphoning other assistant coaches to staff the Broncos offense, this could end up being the better move for him.

Saints quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator Ronald Curry is interviewing for the Broncos offensive coordinator job soon, and they’ve already lost assistant offensive line coach Zach Strief to Denver. Another assistant coach, Declan Doyle, is in consideration for the Broncos’ tight ends coach position. Payton hasn’t taken anyone who isn’t replaceable with him to Denver, but the Saints will still be busy searching for replacements to any future departures.

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Derek Carr to visit the Saints ahead of Raiders trade deadline

Derek Carr will visit the Saints ahead of the Raiders trade deadline on Feb. 15:

Bang: we’ve got movement. The New Orleans Saints will host Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr for a visit at their facility on Wednesday, as first reported by NewOrleans.Football’s Nick Underhill and confirmed by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. The Raiders have a hard deadline to reach an agreement on trading Carr to a new team before Feb. 15, when more than $40 million guarantees on his contract. If no trade agreement is reached prior to that deadline, he’ll be released and become a free agent.

A trade won’t be processed until March 15 at the start of the new league year, and most of that money will convey onto Carr’s new team if he is traded. This is complicated by the no-trade clause Carr has in his contract. He can throw his weight around and force a trade to a team if he chooses, but the Saints won’t be his only suitor. The Saints would also need to create about $34 million in salary cap space to fit him on their books, and they’re currently over the cap by more than $57 million. They have their work cut out for them.

So it’s on New Orleans to sell him on what they have to offer. They have a solid supporting cast on offense with pass-catchers Chris Olave and Rashid Shaheed, running back Alvin Kamara, and an offensive line flush with high draft picks. Their defense is stronger than any unit Carr has ever played with. We’ll see if they can successfully recruit him. It’s worth noting that Carr was drafted by Saints head coach Dennis Allen when he was coaching the Raiders back in 2014, so a relationship already exists there.

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Ronald Curry to interview for Broncos offensive coordinator job

Saints quarterbacks coach and passing-game coordinator Ronald Curry plans to interview for the Broncos offensive coordinator job, per’s Jeff Duncan:

New Orleans Saints quarterbacks coach and passing-game coordinator Ronald Curry plans to interview for the Denver Broncos offensive coordinator job, per’s Jeff Duncan. Curry took on an elevated role last season after previously working with the Saints wide receivers, and he’s widely respected around the league as a coach on the rise.

And he could soon be working for Sean Payton in Denver. Payton has started to build his Broncos staff by targeting multiple assistants in New Orleans: assistant offensive line coach Zach Strief is going to Denver, and he could be followed by offensive assistants Declan Doyle and Kevin Petry. Multiple former Saints staffers are also in consideration for jobs with the Broncos.

But Curry might be the biggest loss of them all. He’s played a big part in getting young players up to speed in the offense in recent years and helping multiple position groups remain functional as injuries hit the team hard. He isn’t exactly indispensable, but Curry is exactly the kind of talented young coach an organization would like to keep around. He wouldn’t be calling plays under Payton in Denver, but he would have a wider range of responsibilities and more opportunities for advancement than he’s seeing right now behind Pete Carmichael.

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