of unrestricted free agency.
Drew Brees isn't worried about the Saints' conspicuously heavy reliance on the passing game during a season-opening loss.
On one hand Kai Forbath Jersey , the result begs the question of how much the four-game suspension of running back Mark Ingram is affecting New Orleans' ability to gain advantages in time of possession from running the ball. At the same time, one game does not make a trend and it's hard to be overly critical of an approach that produced 475 yards and 40 points.
If not for a couple of lost fumbles 鈥?including one on a running play that was returned for a Tampa Bay touchdown 鈥?the Saints might have pulled out their high-scoring affair with the Bucs instead of losing by eight .
Brees explained that two factors led to the Saints passing 45 times and running only 13. One was that they liked their matchups in the passing game. They also fell behind by multiple scores in the second half, which all but forces the team playing catch-up to throw more.
"That's just kind of the way that game went," Brees said after practice on Wednesday. "The next thing I'd say is, 'Were we efficient?' And I'd say we were. So there's going to be games where it's lopsided in one way or the other.
"There are going to be games where we're probably running the ball more than passing it," Brees continued. "And I'll ask the same question: 'Are we efficient?' So, if we are, if we're moving the ball, if we're scoring points, then I'd say obviously that was the right plan."
Last season, with Ingram and fellow running back Alvin Kamara operating as a Pro Bowl tandem, the Saints ranked fifth in the NFL in rushing with 129 yards per game. When their defense played well, they were able to build leads and then control the clock. That recipe helped produce an 11-win regular season and one playoff victory before they fell in the divisional round at Minnesota on the last play of the game.
While New Orleans had only 43 yards rushing last Sunday Martavis Bryant Jersey , a bright spot was the effectiveness of two running plays from within 5 yards of the end zone. Kamara scored both times. He also ran for a 2-point conversion, showing that the Saints' offensive line could get the push it needed in those situations.
Still, even Kamara had most of his production 鈥?112 yards 鈥?as a receiver. Meanwhile, Michael Thomas set a franchise single-game record with 16 receptions for 180 yards and a score.
When asked if playing from behind was the main reason for the Saints' lack of balance on offense, coach Sean Payton said, "Not just that. We also wanted to throw it when we began to see how we were getting defended."
Against Cleveland, Payton added, "We'll look closely at the best way we think we have to move the football in this game and understand the type of defense we're playing is quite a bit different than what we just saw."
While the Buccaneers did not generate a relentless pass rush on Brees, who was sacked only once, the Browns come in with a blitz-heavy scheme and defensive end Myles Garrett. Garrett is an emerging star who had two sacks against Pittsburgh in Week 1 and who has at least one sack in each of his past three games.
Two other factors on the Saints' injury report are worth watching this week as they pertain to pass-protection against Garrett and the receiving game. Saints left tackle Terron Armstead (knee) and left guard Andrus Peat (ankle) were listed as limited in practice on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Thomas (illness) and fellow receiver Ted Ginn Jr. (knee) both missed practice. Ginn was among the Saints' top three receivers in Week 1 with five catches for 68 yards, including a 28-yard touchdown.
Browns coach Hugh Jackson said he sees little reason to doubt the Saints' ability to move the ball on the ground.
"A lot of teams are not able to throw the ball as much as they did with the success that they did" against Tampa Bay, Jackson said. "You look up when it's all said and done Eric Berry Jersey , and they have 40 points on the board. That's a credit to them, a credit to Drew and the rest of their offense.
"I just think they got behind," Jackson continued. "We've all been in those situations where sometimes the game plan goes out the door; you do what you need to do to try to win the game.
"At the end of the day, I think they're going to still be able to run the football. They have really good runners. They've got blockers. They don't want to be as one-dimensional, but if they are going to be, they do have the right quarterback to do that."
The Latest from NHL free agency (all times Eastern):
A person with direct knowledge of the trade tells The Associated Press the Buffalo Sabres acquired two draft picks, including a 2019 first-rounder, and three players in dealing center Ryan O’Reilly to the St. Louis Blues.
Buffalo also acquired veteran centers Vladimir Sobotka and Patrik Berglund, and center Tage Thompson, the Blues first-round pick in the 2016 draft.
Buffalo also acquired a second-round selection in 2021.
The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the trade had not been announced.
– AP Hockey Writer John Wawrow
A person with direct knowledge has told The Associated Press that the Buffalo Sabres have traded center Ryan O’Reilly to the St. Louis Blues.
The person spoke to the AP on Sunday on the condition of anonymity because the trade has not been announced. It was not immediately clear what other players were involved in the trade.
TSN.com first reported O’Reilly had been traded.
The move was completed before the Sabres were due to pay O’Reilly a $7.5 million contract bonus by the end of the day.
O’Reilly completed his third season in Buffalo since being acquired in a trade with Colorado, after which the Sabres signed him to a seven-year, $52.5 million contract. He’s a dependable, two-way forward De'Vondre Campbell Jersey , who set the NHL record by winning 1,273 faceoffs last year.
– AP Hockey Writer John Wawrow
The Boston Bruins have added seven players on the first day of NHL free agency, including defenseman John Moore.
Moore is a 10-year veteran who spent the last three seasons with the New Jersey Devils. He got a five-year deal with an annual cap hit of $2.75 million.
General manager Don Sweeney also added goaltender Jaroslav Halak to back up Tuukka Rask. Forwards Joakim Nordstrom and Chris Wagner each got two-year deals. Defenseman Cody Goloubef and forward Mark McNeill got one-year, two-way contracts, and defenseman Axel Andersson was signed to a three-year, entry-level contract.
The Bruins were in the running for forward John Tavares, who signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Sweeney says he was pleased to have been considered by the former New York Islanders captain, but wishes he had left the division.
After losing John Tavares to Toronto, the New York Islanders have agreed to a four-year, $12 million deal with former Maple Leafs forward Leo Komarov.
The 31-year-old Komarov had seven goals and 12 assists in 74 games last season. For his career, he has 52 goals and 70 assists in 327 games over five seasons, all with Toronto.
Komarov will fill the agitator/penalty-killing role for the Islanders previously held by free-agent Nikolay Kulemin.
New York also re-signed defenseman Thomas Hickey to a four-year, $10 million deal.
Hickey is coming off a season in which he had a career-high 25 points in 69 games Jeff Locke Jersey , finishing with five goals -one shy of his career high- and matching his best with 20 assists. He has 22 goals and 89 assists in 409 regular-season games, all with the Islanders.
The Vegas Golden Knights have signed center Paul Stastny to a $19.5 million, three-year deal as part of a significant day in the free agent market.
The 32-year-old Stastny had 53 points last season plus 15 more in 19 playoff games with the Winnipeg Jets, who lost to Vegas in the Western Conference final.
The Golden Knights also signed defenseman Nick Holden to a $4.4 million, two-year contract and brought back tough-guy forward Ryan Reaves on a $5.55 million, two-year deal.
The Columbus Blue Jackets have signed center Riley Nash to an $8.25 million, three-year deal to replenish some of the depth they lost when Matt Calvert signed with Colorado.
The 29-year-old Nash had a career-high 41 points last season with Boston. He’ll count $2.75 million against the salary cap in Columbus.
The Arizona Coyotes have beefed up their scoring punch, signing forward Michael Grabner to a three-year contract averaging $3.35 million per season.
The 30-year-old Grabner had 27 goals and nine assists in 80 games with the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils last season. The Austrian forward has scored 20 or more goals four times in nine seasons, including 27 each of the past two.
Grabner has 158 goals and 91 assists with five teams since being selected with the 14th overall pick of the 2006 draft by Vancouver.
The Colorado Avalanche have added two free agents from the Columbus Blue Jackets, signing defenseman Ian Cole and forward Matt Calvert to three-year deals.
Cole gets $12.75 million and Calvert gets $8.4 million. The moves are general manager Joe Sakic’s latest attempts to try to improve on last year’s playoff appearance. The Avs traded for goaltender Philipp Grubauer at the NHL draft.
The 28-year-old Calvert had nine goals and 15 assists for the Blue Jackets in the regular season. The 29-year-old Cole had 20 points for Columbus and Pittsburgh, and he won two Stanley Cups with the Penguins.
The New York Rangers have agreed to terms on an $8 million, two-year deal with restricted free agent forward Vladislav Namestnikov. The team announced the contract a few hours into the start of unrestricted free agency.
New York acquired Namestnikov from the Lightning at the trade deadline when it sent J.T. Miller and Ryan McDonagh to Tampa Bay. The 25-year-old forward had 44 points in 81 games with th Authentic Womens Brian Allen Jersey