Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) pushes away New Orleans Saints safety Marcus Maye (6) during the first quarter at the Caesars Superdome in New Orleans, La., Sunday, Sept. 10, 2023.

Saints S Marcus Maye suspended three games by NFL

New Orleans Saints safety Marcus Maye was suspended three games without pay by the NFL on Wednesday for violating the league policy on substances of abuse.

The suspension stems from Maye’s arrest in 2021 for driving under the influence in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He received six months’ probation and was given 50 community service hours after accepting a plea deal on Aug. 22.

Maye is eligible to return to the roster on Oct. 9, one day after the Saints’ game against the New England Patriots in Foxborough, Mass.

Maye, 30, becomes the third Saints player to be currently suspended, joining running back Alvin Kamara and rookie quarterback Jake Haener.

Maye has 13 tackles, one interception and one sack in two games this season for the Saints (2-0).

He recorded 385 tackles, seven interceptions and 4.5 sacks in 72 career games (all starts) with the New York Jets (2017-21) and Saints. He was selected by the Jets in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft.

–Field Level Media

Aug 27, 2023; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA;  New Orleans Saints quarterback Jameis Winston (2) hands the ball off to running back Kendre Miller (25) against the Houston Texans during the first half at the Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Saints RB Kendre Miller likely to start in NFL debut at Lambeau

Running back Jamaal Williams won’t be on the field for the Saints for his return to Green Bay this weekend.

Williams is dealing with a hamstring strain and head coach Dennis Allen said the injury could take “some time” to heal. Williams logged 18 snaps Monday at Carolina before leaving the game. He averaged 2.7 yards per carry in the first two games of the season with Miller (hamstring) inactive and starter Alvin Kamara serving a three-game suspension.

Miller would be making his NFL debut at Lambeau Field after gaining 49 yards on 22 carries in the preseason. He also caught seven passes for 47 yards.

The Saints are averaging 3.4 yards per carry as a team, with quarterback/tight end Taysom Hill leading the team with 79 yards on 12 carries.

Green Bay has allowed 333 rushing yards — and 4.5 yards per carry — in two games.

Miller, a rookie drafted in the third round out of TCU, was held out of Monday’s game due to limited practice reps. Allen said he’ll be “full go” at Green Bay.

The Packers drafted Williams in the fourth round in 2017. He spent four seasons with Green Bay before joining the Lions in 2021 and rushing for 1,667 yards and 20 touchdowns in 30 games.

–Field Level Media

Sep 18, 2023; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Taysom Hill (7) with the ball as Carolina Panthers linebacker Brian Burns (0) and defensive end Nick Thurman (91) defend in the first quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Saints ride defense to victory over Panthers

Tony Jones Jr. rushed for his first two NFL touchdowns and the New Orleans Saints dominated on defense for the second consecutive game in a 20-17 victory against the Carolina Panthers on Monday in Charlotte, N.C.

Jones, in his fourth NFL season, took on an expanded role because of a hamstring injury sustained during the game by Jamaal Williams, who was starting in place of a suspended Alvin Kamara.

Derek Carr completed just 21 of 36 passes for 228 yards with one interception and no touchdowns, but he provided enough offensive balance for the Saints to improve to 2-0.

Bryce Young, the rookie No. 1 overall draft choice, struggled against New Orleans’ aggressive defense, connecting on 22 of 33 passes for 153 yards with one touchdown.

New Orleans wound up with a 341-239 edge in total yards.

The Saints, who didn’t allow a touchdown in a season-opening 16-15 home victory against the Tennessee Titans, didn’t allow a touchdown in the first half on Monday, but neither did the Panthers (0-2).

Eddy Pineiro tied his career long with a 54-yard field goal to pull Carolina even at 6-6 early in the third quarter.

The first touchdown came when Carr drove the Saints 75 yards on 10 plays and Jones ran 2 yards to give New Orleans a 13-6 lead with just under three minutes left in the third period.

In the fourth quarter, Young scrambled for 26 yards on third-and-11 to move the Panthers to the New Orleans 41. That led to Pineiro’s 36-yard field goal that pulled Carolina within 13-9 with 5:30 left.

Carr threw a 45-yard completion to Rashid Shaheed, leading to Jones’ 2-yard touchdown run that increased the lead to 20-9 with 3:14 remaining.

Young tossed a 3-yard touchdown pass to Adam Thielen and they teamed up on a two-point conversion pass to pull the hosts within 20-17 with 1:16 left. However, New Orleans recovered an onside kick and ran out the clock.

On the Panthers’ first possession, Young drove his team 31 yards to Pineiro’s 52-yard field goal and a 3-0 lead.

Blake Grupe kicked a 28-yard field goal to tie the score at the end of the first quarter.

New Orleans drove to the Carolina 4 before stalling, and Grupe’s 23-yard field goal gave the Saints a 6-3 lead.

–Field Level Media

Sep 10, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Bryce Young (9) passes against the Atlanta Falcons during the second half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

MNF Odds: Saints-Panthers Preview, Props, Prediction

Derek Carr and Bryce Young will kick start a new NFC South rivalry when the New Orleans Saints visit the Carolina Panthers on Monday night.

After nine seasons with the Raiders, Carr won his first game as the Saints’ quarterback while throwing a touchdown in a 16-15 Week 1 victory against Tennessee. He visited Carolina before signing with New Orleans in free agency, contributing to the Panthers trading up to select Young with the No. 1 overall pick.

Young began his NFL career by throwing for 146 yards with a touchdown against two interceptions in last week’s 24-10 loss at Atlanta.

The Saints intercepted Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill three times in the opener and their defense presents a very difficult challenge for Young in just his second career start. The consensus 3.0-point line for New Orleans is a dicey one, lending us to watch for a key half-point swing ahead of kickoff.

Prediction: Saints 20, Panthers 16

Both teams want to be able to establish the run early. That’s especially true for the Panthers, who need to provide favorable down-and-distance situations for Young. It also doesn’t help that Carolina lost guard Brady Christensen to a season-ending injury in Week 1.

The Saints will again be without suspended running back Alvin Kamara. They rushed for only 69 yards in the opener, led by Jamaal Williams with 8 carries for 45 yards — with Tony Jones Jr. getting a lone carry.

“If we’re going to go where we want to go,” Carr said, “the running game is going to be a big part of it.”

Look for New Orleans to play a field-position game, with that ground game getting a thorough workout if the Saints can build a lead. The third-most popular player prop for the game at BetMGM has been Carr to throw for less than 230.5 yards at -115, and we like the Under as well.

9 – The Saints’ current streak of games holding opponents to 20 points or less.

–“Every step for Bryce is a new step in the NFL. But at the same time, he’s played on a big stage his whole life. So enjoy the moment.” — Panthers coach Frank Reich, who made the first start of his career as an NFL quarterback in 1989 on “Monday Night Football.”

–“There were a couple of plays where I felt like I left points on the field. On offense all 11 guys have to do the right thing in order for a play to work.” — Carr on his Saints debut in Week 1.

The Panthers are expected to start Nash Jensen at left guard in Christensen’s place. Cornerback Jaycee Horn was placed on injured reserve because of a hamstring injury, while wide receiver D.J. Chark is listed as questionable after missing the opener with his own hamstring issue.

The Saints are close to full health entering the game. Defensive back Juantavius Gray (shoulder) is questionable along with rookie running back Kendre Miller (hamstring), who was inactive in Week 1.

–Field Level Media

New Orleans Saints quarterback Derek Carr (4) throws the ball in the fourth quarter against the Tennessee Titans at the Caesars Superdome in New Orleans, La., Sunday, Sept. 10, 2023.

Saints, Derek Carr look for 2-0 start vs. Panthers, Bryce Young

The New Orleans Saints won their first game with their new quarterback.

The Carolina Panthers lost their first game with a new signal caller.

Now Derek Carr and the Saints will visit Bryce Young and the Panthers on Monday night.

Carr, signed as a free agent after nine seasons with the Raiders, passed for 305 yards and the game’s only touchdown in the Saints’ 16-15 victory against the visiting Tennessee Titans last week.

Young, the 2021 Heisman Trophy winner and 2023 No. 1 overall draft choice, passed for just 146 yards and a touchdown in a 24-10 loss at the Atlanta Falcons last week.

Carr visited with the Panthers during free agency before deciding to sign with the Saints, which contributed to Carolina’s decision to trade up and grab Young at the top of the draft.

Now Carr and Young are beginning an NFC South rivalry.

“There were a couple of plays where I felt like I left points on the field,” Carr said of his New Orleans debut. “On offense all 11 guys have to do the right thing in order for a play to work.”

Carr had a limited running game to work with. The Saints finished with just 69 yards while leading rusher Alvin Kamara served the first game of a three-game season-opening suspension for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy.

“If we’re going to go where we want to go,” Carr said, “the running game is going to be a big part of it.”

Jamaal Williams, formerly of the Detroit Lions, rushed 18 times for 45 yards and Tony Jones Jr. (one rush for 5 yards) was the only other running back to carry the ball against the Titans. Rookie third-round draft choice Kendre Miller (hamstring) missed the opener, but practiced on a limited basis Thursday.

The ineffectiveness of the running game and the low point total in the opener didn’t matter, because New Orleans extended its streak of games in which it has allowed 20 or fewer points to nine.

Young, whose longest completion gained 14 yards, was intercepted twice by Jessie Bates III. He’ll be facing a Saints defense that intercepted Tennessee’s Ryan Tannehill three times.

“I don’t think we executed when it was (most) important,” Young said. “You always want to have explosive plays, but that wasn’t what we were able to do. There’s good stuff on film that we have to continue to do and then there’s stuff that obviously we have to learn from, that I have to learn from.”

First-year Carolina coach Frank Reich made the first start of his career as an NFL quarterback in 1989 on “Monday Night Football.”

He said he will try to prepare Young and the team’s other rookies for the unusually long wait that accompanies playing on Monday night.

“Every step for Bryce is a new step in the NFL,” Reich said. “But at the same time he’s played on a big stage his whole life. So enjoy the moment.”

The Panthers lost starting left guard Brady Christensen for the season due to a biceps injury suffered against Atlanta, and starting cornerback Jaycee Horn is out indefinitely because of a hamstring suffered in the game.

–Field Level Media

Sep 10, 2023; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA;  New Orleans Saints quarterback Derek Carr (4) celebrate a touchdown pass to New Orleans Saints wide receiver Rashid Shaheed (22) against the Tennessee Titans during the second half at the Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Saints edge Titans in Derek Carr’s team debut

Derek Carr passed to Rashid Shaheed for the game’s only touchdown and New Orleans intercepted Ryan Tannehill three times in a 16-15 victory over the visiting Tennessee Titans on Sunday.

Carr, who signed with New Orleans as a free agent in the offseason after nine seasons with the Raiders, completed 23 of 33 for 305 yards with one interception and teamed with Shaheed for a 19-yard tie-breaking score in the third quarter.

Marshon Lattimore, Marcus Maye and Paulson Adebo each had an interception against Tannehill, who completed 16 of 34 for 198 yards.

The Saints drove 60 yards on their first possession of the third quarter and rookie Blake Grupe kicked a 52-yard field goal — his third in as many tries — to tie the score at 9.

After Adebo got New Orleans’ third interception of Tannehill, Carr threw the scoring pass to Shaheed for the Saints’ first lead, 16-9 with 1:23 left in the third quarter.

In the fourth quarter Nick Folk kicked a 45-yard field goal and a 29-yarder that pulled Tennessee within 16-15 with 2:17 left in the game.

Carr’s 41-yard completion to Shaheed on the ensuing possession helped New Orleans run out the clock.

On the opening kickoff the Titans’ Amani Hooker took the ball away from Shaheed, leading to Folk’s 50-yard field goal.

Carr drove New Orleans 67 yards to Grupe’s 26-yard field goal that tied the score at 3.

Derrick Henry, who finished with 63 yards on 15 rushes, carried five times for 39 yards on the next possession, setting up Folk’s 27-yard field goal that gave Tennessee a 6-3 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Zach Baun tipped a punt by the Titans’ Ryan Stonehouse and the ball traveled just 1 yard to the Tennessee 28. That led to Grupe’s tying 33-yard field goal.

Folk kicked a 31-yarder to give Tennessee a 9-6 lead. The Saints drove into field-goal range in the final minute of the second quarter, but Hooker intercepted Carr to preserve the Titans’ three-point lead at halftime.

–Field Level Media

Running back Derrick Henry (22), in action against Jacksonville Jaguars in Nashville on Dec. 31, was the Tennessee Titans' leading rusher for 2017 with 744 yards on 176 carries with 5 rushing touchdowns.

Derrick Henry, Titans visit new-look Saints

The host New Orleans Saints have a good idea of what to expect from the Tennessee Titans’ offense.

The Titans have less of an idea of what to expect from the Saints’ offense in the teams’ season opener Sunday afternoon in the Caesars Superdome.

Tennessee has had one of the leading rushing offenses in the NFL while Derrick Henry has averaged 1,420 yards per season since becoming a full-time starter in 2018.

The Titans’ rushing success doesn’t figure to change — especially with the addition of third-round draft choice Tyjae Spears of Tulane as a change-of-pace runner.

New Orleans, on the other hand, made one of the most significant offseason moves in the NFL by signing former Raiders quarterback Derek Carr to try to upgrade an offense that was 16th in passing and 19th overall last season.

“I don’t think there’s any question that this team runs a lot of their offense through the running game, particularly Derrick Henry,” Saints coach Dennis Allen said. “Obviously with Tyjae Spears being there now, they’ve got a couple of different runners that they can utilize. They have home-run hitters running the ball.

“You have to be able to stop the run and play-action game and, hopefully, get them in some longer yardage situations.”

The Titans ranked 30th in passing offense last season and tried to improve that ranking by signing wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, a five-time Pro Bowl selection. The running game and quarterback Ryan Tannehill will be operating behind a rebuilt offensive line.

“In essence, they’ve got five new guys playing in different spots on their offensive line,” Allen said.

Carr played just one series in the preseason, giving Tennessee virtually no indication of what the Saints’ offense will look like with him instead of Andy Dalton or Jameis Winston behind center.

“It’s Week 1 and you have no clue,” Titans linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair said. “You have to know yourself and stay true to your rules. You have to be ready for anything.”

The uncertainty is even greater because of the absence of Saints all-purpose running back Alvin Kamara, who is serving a three-game suspension to start the season for violating the league’s personal conduct policy.

New Orleans signed former Lions running back Jamaal Williams, the reigning NFL rushing touchdown leader, and signed tight ends Foster Moreau and Jimmy Graham. Former All-Pro receiver Michael Thomas is healthy after playing in just 10 games combined in the past three seasons because of injuries.

“We’ll have to be ready for a lot of different things,” Titans coach Mike Vrabel said. “There will be things that we will have seen from tape and there will be things that we haven’t seen.”

Tennessee had the No. 1-ranked rushing defense last season.

“The team that controls the line of scrimmage is probably going to have a pretty good chance of success in this game,” Allen said.

Both teams were a disappointing 7-10 last season but are optimistic of returning to playoff-contender status.

Saints starting cornerback Marshon Lattimore (knee), who missed the last two preseason games, was limited in practice Wednesday. Titans starting linebacker Harold Landry III (abdomen) also was limited.

– Field Level Media

Aug 27, 2023; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA;  New Orleans Saints quarterback Jake Haener (14) against the Houston Texans during the first half at the Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Saints rookie QB Jake Haener suspended 6 games for PEDs

The NFL suspended New Orleans Saints rookie quarterback Jake Haener six games for violating the league’s performance-enhancing substances policy.

The league did not announce what substance Haener was using or for which he tested positive.

Haener, 24, will be eligible to return to the team’s active roster on Oct. 16.

The Saints selected Haener in the fourth round of this year’s draft out of Fresno State.

He played in all three preseason games, throwing for 395 yards. He completed 38 of 72 passes with one touchdown and three interceptions.

Haener was the Senior Bowl MVP and is the first Fresno State quarterback to be drafted since Derek Carr, whom the Saints signed as a free agent in March to be their new starter.

Haener threw for 2,896 yards, 20 touchdowns and just three interceptions in 10 games in 2022. That followed a 4,096-yard campaign in 2021.

The Saints also have quarterbacks Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill on their roster. The team changed Hill’s designation from tight end to QB ahead of this week.

Haener was the sixth quarterback selected in the 2023 draft and the first on Day 3.

–Field Level Media

Aug 13, 2023; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Derek Carr (4) passes against the Kansas City Chiefs during the first half at the Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Saints reset with Derek Carr running the show

New Orleans Saints

2022 record: 7-10, tied-second NFC South

Playoff picture: For a franchise once known as the Aints, the Drew Brees days were the brightest by a mile. The Saints are 0-for-2 in making the playoffs since Brees retired.

Biggest Week 1 question: What do franchise icons Michael Thomas and Jimmy Graham have left? Thomas has played just 10 games in the past three seasons with ankle and toe injuries, but it was not long ago when he was the NFL Offensive Player of the Year (2019).

Graham, 36, was out of football in 2022 before reuniting with the Saints in July. The five-time Pro Bowler who once had a 16-touchdown season for the Saints could play a supporting role at this stage of his career. He also suffered a medical episode that contributed to an arrest in the Los Angeles area in August.

What’s new: The Saints set the offseason quarterback dominoes in motion by agreeing to a deal with former Raiders signal-caller Derek Carr in early March. This was before anyone knew of Aaron Rodgers’ intentions. After nine seasons in Oakland and Las Vegas, where he developed a reputation as a deep-ball specialist with precious little postseason success, Carr could benefit from the change in scenery as much as the Saints will benefit from an arm of his caliber.

They’re gone: New Orleans needs to replace three regulars on the D-line: defensive end Marcus Davenport and defensive tackles David Onyemata and Shy Tuttle. The Saints spent their first two draft picks on the position group, grabbing DT Bryan Bresee and DE Isaiah Foskey.

On the money: In addition to handing Carr a four-year, $150 million contract, New Orleans gave defensive end Cameron Jordan a two-year extension worth $27.5 million in guaranteed money. The eight-time Pro Bowler has racked up 115.5 sacks in a Saints uniform since 2011.

Get to know: Bresee followed a long line of NFL-bound defensive linemen at Clemson. The Tigers rallied around him last season when his 15-year-old sister Ella died from brain cancer.

Vegas says: BetMGM is anticipating some improvement from New Orleans with Carr in town. The over/under is at 9.5, highest in the NFC South.

–Field Level Media

Aug 20, 2023; Inglewood, California, USA; New Orleans Saints place kicker Wil Lutz (3) looks on against the Los Angeles Chargers during the second half at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Saints trading K Wil Lutz to Broncos

The New Orleans Saints reportedly are trading veteran kicker Wil Lutz to Denver, reuniting him with Broncos head coach Sean Payton.

ESPN’s trade report on Tuesday did not specify the compensation for New Orleans, who apparently will enter the season with undrafted rookie Blake Grupe handling the kicking duties.

Lutz, 29, entered the NFL with New Orleans and then-coach Payton in 2016 and made the Pro Bowl in 2019, but is coming off his worst season.

He made a career-low 74.2 percent of his field-goal attempts (23 of 31) but converted all 33 extra points in 17 games in 2022.

Lutz has connected on 165 of 195 field goals (84.6 percent) and 286 of 293 PATs (97.6 percent) in 97 games for the Saints. He is 17 of 29 from beyond 50 yards with a long of 60, set in Week 4 last season against Minnesota.

Grupe played four seasons at Arkansas State before transferring to Notre Dame, where he drilled 14 of 19 field goals and all 49 extra-point tries in 2022.

–Field Level Media