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Andy Tanner after he made a short reception

  • December 28, 2017 6:57 PM PST

    METAIRIE, La. Danilo Jersey . - The Saints defence has made takeaways its top priority after forcing an NFC-low 19 turnovers in 2013. Near the start of a workout in late May, New Orleans rookie cornerback Stanley Jean-Baptiste stripped wide receiver Andy Tanner after he made a short reception. That play set the tone. Defenders have continued to punch and slap at the ball in the first two practices of minicamp. Although New Orleans finished fourth in the NFL in yards allowed under new co-ordinator Rob Ryan last season — a dramatic improvement after yielding the most yards in NFL history a year earlier — Ryan wont be happy until he sees more turnovers. Seven fumble recoveries and 12 interceptions were not enough. "That was a glaring weakness last year," he says. "We did pretty decent as a unit, but we want to be great, and to be great, you have to take the ball away." They did more than just talk about it. They signed free agent Jairus Byrd, whose 22 interceptions since his rookie season in 2009 are the most for any NFL safety, and also picked up veteran Champ Bailey, whose 52 career interceptions are the most for any active cornerback. In film sessions, Ryan has repeatedly shown cutups of Chicago safety Charles Tillman punching out the ball. In 2012, Tillman forced 10 fumbles, which is three more than the Saints managed as a whole in 2013. "Great players can be imitated, and were trying to do that here," Ryan said. "Imitation is the biggest form of flattery. We know we have to improve on that." Linebacker Curtis Loftons statistics were a perfect illustration of the Saints strengths and weaknesses last year. He made a team-high 125 tackles for the resurgent defence but had a hand in only turnover, forcing a fumble against Miami. He did not recover a fumble or pick off a pass all season. "We didnt create enough turnovers, so thats definitely an emphasis for us," he said. "Weve been working on it, and its showing up in practice. Then we are going to take what we do in practice and do it in games." After winning the Super Bowl in 2009, New Orleans has returned to the playoffs in three of the last four years but has come up short of the NFC Championship Game each time. Seattle was the roadblock last year, hammering the Saints 34-7 in the regular season and beating them again 23-15 in the divisional round of the playoffs. The Saints werent that far behind the Seahawks in yards allowed per game (273.6 to 305.7) and registered 49 sacks to the Seahawks 44, but Seattle had more than twice as many takeaways with 39. "If you look at all the past great defences, they forced a lot of turnovers," Bailey said. "Theres a reason Seattle won the Super Bowl. They forced a lot of turnovers. If we dont get them, we wont go very far." Ryan expects the presence of Byrd and Bailey to help close that gap. Bailey deflected a pass that turned into an interception in the Saints first open practice of the summer. Byrd is out for the summer after undergoing back surgery, but coach Sean Payton said he was on schedule to return for the beginning of training camp. In addition to his interceptions, he forced 11 fumbles in his five years with Buffalo. Thats not Tillman territory, but it beats what the Saints did last year. "You can see guys attempting to punch through the ball, almost over-exaggerating it," said linebacker Junior Galette, who had 12 sacks last year but forced only one fumble. "Charles Tillman is a beast at it, and we are motivated to make the extra effort to knock it out." NOTES: During one 11-on-11 session in Wednesdays practice, a machine on the side of the field cranked up crowd noise as the offence approached the line of scrimmage on each play. Coach Sean Payton said it was the first time he has piped in noise during minicamp. The Saints went 3-5 on the road in the regular season last year — their first losing record away from home under Payton since 2008. .Minicamp ends with another practice on Thursday. ___ AP NFL websites: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL Manchester City Jerseys .Corey Brewer had 19 points eight rebounds, five assists and five steals for the Timberwolves, who snapped a six-game losing streak and won for just the third time since Ricky Rubio went out with an injured ankle on Nov. Pablo Maffeo Jersey . -- Canada played to expectation up until halftime.LONDON - Tony Romo practiced Thursday for the first time since arriving in London, and the Dallas Cowboys quarterback says his injured back is getting better.Romo missed last Sundays loss to the Arizona Cardinals because of his third back injury in 18 months. He skipped Wednesdays practice following the teams arrival Tuesday.Well keep taking it day by day and just see what happens, Romo said. Its improving each day and I think we did some things today that were positive. Just keep going in that direction, I think well have a good chance (of playing Sunday).The Cowboys (6-3) play the Jacksonville Jaguars (1-8) at Wembley Stadium in the last of three regular-season games in London this year. They have lost their last two games, however, with backup Brandon Weeden playing last weekend.Romo has fractures in two small bones in his back. The injury is unrelated to a herniated disk last year or to off-season surgery to remove a cyst earlier in 2013.The quarterback said Thursday he was still a little sore, but called it normal stuff and said his back loosened up during practice.If youre always waiting to feel great to play in every game you play in, youre only going to pllay a couple of games a year, he said. Kevin De Bruyne Jersey. The best players are the guys who are able to play at the same level with stuff going on.Even though Romo practiced, Dallas coach Jason Garrett is still not sure who will start.We would never put a player in harms way. Obviously its a very physical sport that we play, Garrett said. He (Romo) has to be functional. He has to be able to protect himself.Against the Cardinals, Weeden threw two interceptions and had one late touchdown. So for the Cowboys, who have a bye next week, getting Romo on the field is a priority if they want to end the two-game losing streak.Even if he is in a little pain.No one cares once you actually step on the field on Sunday whether youre banged up or not, Romo said. Its just about what you do when youre out there.Each day you just get incrementally better, you improve. Im feeling better. I think its getting to a point where you can manage it.Cowboys owner Jerry Jones watched practice and said Romo had a comfortable flight to London.Im anticipating him playing, he said. Have no reason to think that he wont.___Online:AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys China Cheap Jerseys From China Cheap NFL Jerseys Authentic Wholesale Jerseys China Cheap NFL Jerseys China NFL Cheap Jerseys ' ' '