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panxing18 Offline
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In his 18th NFL season and less than two months from turning 40 A.J. Klein Jersey Salute to Service , Saints veteran quarterback Drew Brees has exhibited a knack for connecting with young people recently.Or, to be more specific, the young receivers on New Orleans' roster.Brees' four touchdown passes last week to four former undrafted free agents , who'd all turned pro within the past three years, was the latest instance of what has been an increasingly encouraging sign for New Orleans during its 10-game winning streak. Relatively young, inexperienced receivers are winning their record-setting QB's trust and getting in the end zone.Four Saints have caught their first career touchdowns this season, among them: receivers Tre'Quan Smith, Austin Carr and Keith Kirkwood, and tight end Dan Arnold. Smith, a third-round selection out of mid-major UCF, is the only one among them who was drafted.The 6-foot-6, 220-pound Arnold was a Division III college receiver who has been transformed into an NFL tight end since turning pro in 2017, but never played before this season. The 6-3 Kirkwood, who spent most of his youth focused on basketball, didn't start playing football until his senior year of high school and was signed as an undrafted rookie out of Temple. Carr is in his second season after being undrafted out of Northwestern. He played in one game last season without a catch.All of them have played prominent roles in the Saints' offense in recent weeks Authentic Marshon Lattimore Jersey , along with Smith, who two games ago caught 10 passes for 157 yards and a touchdown.Arnold's first-career touchdown came on a 25-yard throw down the middle in which he leaped with arms outstretched to grab it and came crashing down in the end zone. Recalling the explosion of noise in the Superdome and celebrating teammates converging on him, he said, "Surreal is the perfect word to describe it.""It's really cool just to look back and think of how far you've come," he said.Arnold was inactive the first four games and made his first two catches at Baltimore in Week 7. He then caught two passes apiece against Cincinnati and Philadelphia before his career-high four catches for 45 yards and a TD last week against Atlanta.Saints coach Sean Payton said Arnold was "big for a receiver, yet he came in here and made a good impression ... we felt like he could make that switch (to tight end). He's done a really good job."Kirkwood made a diving catch on a low throw for his maiden TD, something he said he never envisioned when he was playing youth basketball with or against players such as Karl-Anthony Towns, Wade Baldwin, Malachi Richardson and Deandre Bembry, who all wound up in the NBA."I was a basketball fanatic. That was my thing growing up," said Kirkwood, who spent the first half of the season on the practice squad before making his NFL debut three games ago in Cincinnati. "To come out and be this guy that no one thought I was in football is just a great experience and accomplishment for me, but it's something that a lot of guys back home and around the world can feed off of. ... You know, there's not just one sport in life. Go out and try as many things as you can and you never know what you'll be successful at."Kirkwood now has six catches, including a 42-yarder against the Bengals.Carr has played all season and has just nine catches for 97 yards Limited Marcus Williams Jersey , but his touchdowns of 3 and 12 yards in the past two games indicates the confidence the Saints have in him in red-zone situations, when defenses are keying on the Saints' more established skill players such as receiver Michael Thomas and running back Alvin Kamara."You have definitely seen teams try and neutralize Alvin and Mike," Carr said, calling the recent surge in scoring passes to him and other less-heralded targets "a testament to the depth and development of the younger guys."Kirkwood said greener Saints receivers have developed chemistry with Brees quickly because they regard him as a "football guru" whose lead they are eager to follow.Arnold credited Brees' hands-on approach to developing potential targets."He works at a very, very high level, but he also helps you," Arnold said. "Drew definitely works well with the younger players. He expects things a certain way, but he tells you how to get there. ... He teaches it really well."Notes: Saints LT Terron Armstead remained out of practice with a pectoral injury that as caused him to miss the past two games. ... Arnold (chest), Smith (toe), defensive end Marcus Davenport (toe), kicker Wil Lutz (back), guard Andrus Peat (shoulder) and defensive back P.J. Williams (hip) all practiced on a limited basis. NEW YORK (AP) — The Los Angeles Rams are back in a familiar place: the top spot in the NFL.The Rams reclaimed the No. 1 position in the latest AP Pro32 poll . They received all 12 first-place votes and 384 points in balloting Tuesday by media members who regularly cover the NFL.The Rams (11-1), the NFC West champions, have the league’s best record and are a strong contender to make a run at the Super Bowl.The New Orleans Saints slipped to No. 2 after losing in Dallas last week.“Get revenge against Bucs?” asked Fox Sports’ John Czarnecki. The Saints head to Tampa this week to face the Buccaneers, the only other team to beat New Orleans this season.The Kansas City Chiefs stayed at No. 3 after beating Oakland. The Chiefs Alvin Kamara Jersey Salute to Service , who at 10-2 have the AFC’s best record, will attempt to reach the Super Bowl without the NFL’s reigning rushing champion. The Chiefs released running back Kareem Hunt on Friday after TMZ posted a video of him shoving and kicking a woman in a Cleveland hotel in February.Also staying in place were the New England Patriots at No. 4. The Patriots are closing in on their nearly annual AFC East title as they head to Miami to face the Dolphins on Sunday.The league’s hottest team, the Houston Texans, moved up two spots to climb into the top five. The Texans beat Cleveland last week for their ninth win a row.Another team playing well, the Los Angeles Chargers, kept their spot at No. 6 after a second-half rally on the road to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 33-30. The Chargers have won eight of nine and will have an easier matchup on Sunday as they host the reeling Cincinnati Bengals.“The Chargers proved they are a different team than in years past with a come-from-behind win in Pittsburgh,” said Jenny Vrentas of The Monday Morning Quarterback. “Anthony Lynn is a Coach of the Year candidate.”The Steelers stayed at No. 8 and will face Oakland on Sunday without running back James Conner, who has a sprained left ankle.The Chicago Bears slipped two spots to No. 7 after losing in overtime to the New York Giants. The Bears will have a challenge on Sunday night when they host the Rams.The Seattle Seahawks, who inched up a spot to No. 9, will close Week 14 by hosting Minnesota on Monday night in a game that could go a long way toward determining the NFC wild-card race. The Vikings dropped two spots to fall out of the top 10 at No. 11 after losing at New England.“Offense is out of whack and the defense isn’t as dominant as in recent seasons,” Alex Marvez of Sirius XM said of the Vikings.And the Cowboys moved up two spots to round out the top 10. The Cowboys will host the Eagles in a key NFC East game on Sunday.“A speedy and hard-hitting Dallas defense that hounded (quarterback) Drew Brees into submission readjusts its sights to Carson Wentz in a key NFC East matchup,” said Ira Kaufman of Fox 13 in Tampa, Florida. www.nflshopoutlet.com/detroit-lions
01-30-2019 08:09 AM
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