Ranking the New Orleans Saints’ players: No. 12, Pierre Thomas

Saints John Paul II and John XXIII

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So let the debate begin. No. 12: RB Pierre Thomas Last Year’s Rank: 14 Season: 7; Age: 28; Height: 5-11; Weight: 215 Like a lot of players on this list, Thomas shouldn’t be judged by last year’s numbers (473 rushing yards, 354 receiving yards, two touchdowns). The entire Saints running game struggled, especially early in the season. And none of their four running backs got enough touches as the Saints often abandoned the run. Expect Thomas, Darren Sproles and Mark Ingram all to be much more productive now that Chris Ivory is gone and coach Sean Payton is back and making the run game a top priority. Longtime Saints fans obviously don’t need to be sold on Thomas’ credentials. He was a fan favorite even before he had a breakout season en route to the Super Bowl in 2009. Thomas is a versatile back who can run, catch and block — and he does his best work scooting down the field on screen passes.

Vatican: Popes John Paul II, John XXIII to Be Made Saints

EDT July 4, 2013 New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton, left, will be caddying for Ryan Palmer at the Greenbrier Classic. (Photo: Rick Barbero, AP) He will caddie for Ryan Palmer at Greenbrier Classic The two are good friends who met in Dallas Payton compares caddying to visualizing an NFL game through a QB’s eyes WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. (AP) New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton is moonlighting this week as Ryan Palmer’s caddie at the Greenbrier Classic. With the start of NFL training camp later this month, Payton said he was planning to spend a week relaxing at The Greenbrier resort in West Virginia. One thing led to another, and Payton ended up agreeing to help Palmer, who gave his regular PGA Tour caddie the week off. “It’s pretty cool to hear the mindset of one of the great coaches in the game, Super Bowl winning coach,” Palmer said.

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But last year, following the departure of Robert Meachem , Moore emerged as the team’s deep threat (16.0 yards per catch). “We never look forward to playing him,” says one NFC West scout of Moore. “He has a knack for coming up with big plays.” Derick E. Hingle/USA TODAY Sports Rookie safety Kenny Vaccaro joins what was statistically the most porous defense in NFL history last season. But perhaps the biggest playmaker of all — the most exciting weapon on a 2013 squad that’s chock-full o’ daggers — is a guy few people outside the 504 area code have even heard of: Joe Morgan . Projected to replace Devery Henderson as the team’s third receiver, the third-year man out of Walsh University averaged a ridiculous 37.9 yards per catch last season, best in the NFL among players with at least 10 receptions. Of course, the guy distributing the ball is kind of fun to watch, too. During his time in New Orleans, Brees has set NFL records for most passing yards in a season (5,476), highest single-season completion percentage (71.2) and most consecutive games with at least one passing touchdown (54), just to name a few. “He knows where to put the ball,” says the NFC West scout.

In response to those who portended only peril and danger in the world, Pope John responded succinctly in his opening address to the Second Vatican Council: “We feel we must disagree with these prophets of gloom.” But neither was John XXIII perfect: a few point to his pontificate as the beginning of “drift” in the church and his Council as ultimately one that tilted too much towards the modern world. The joint announcement by Pope Francis may strike some as simply a canny “move.” The two popes are seen to appeal to different types of Catholics, and so this announcement will serve to unite these groups. For me, I deeply admire John Paul II, but John XXIII is a great hero. For some friends of mine, that statement would be reversed. But all, I hope can rejoice today. But there is a much deeper message here, one that goes beyond what some might call church “politics.” And that message is about the saints.

Saints score, allow points by bushel

Manning & Welker  130705 [203x114]

Two trials failed to prove accusations by Italian magistrates that the Bulgarian secret services had carried out the plot with Agca on behalf of the Soviet Union. Millions of people attended his funeral in April 2005, and many cried “Santo Subito” or “Make him a saint immediately.” His successor, Benedict, waived a Church rule that normally requires a five-year waiting period before the preliminaries to sainthood can even begin. John Paul is respected by Jews because of his 1986 visit to Rome’s synagogue, the first by a Pope to a Jewish temple. He is already considered a saint by millions of his countrymen in Poland, having supported their bid for freedom on the world stage for 11 years before the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. “I am so happy and hardly can wait.

Saints coach Sean Payton moonlighting as caddie

@wwltvsports 1. Goal Line Stand 2. Drew Brees 2nd half magic Sean Larken (@Lark_NessMonsta) June 27, 2013 Quarterback Drew Brees went 20 of 22 in the second half, the defense came up with two second-half turnovers and a goal-line stand and the Saitns held on in a hard-hitting matchup. And fans definitely remember how big the game was. @wwltvsports statement win in a huge game that turned around the Saints’ season. Chest Rockwell (@Chest_Rockwell7) June 27, 2013 @wwltvsports Giving up my tickets to go trick or treating with my kids. Mistake. Boat_Lawyer (@Boat_Lawyer) June 27, 2013 It was a must-win game for the Saints, who had just lost the lowly Browns at home a week earlier.

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