Ken Crawley Jersey

Saints CB Ken Crawley has signed his original round restricted free agent tender, as veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer tweets. We learned last week that Crawley would be signing the tender, as he had not garnered any interest from rival clubs.

The lack of interest is not surprising, even though a team that signed Crawley to an offer sheet would not have needed to send any draft compensation to the Saints (since Crawley entered the league as an undrafted free agent). Crawley was demoted from his starting role prior to New Orleans’ Week 3 matchup last year, and although he was reinstated as a starter for the next three contests, he wound up appearing in only ten games and did not return to the starting lineup.

That was quite a contrast from his 2017 campaign, when he started all 13 games that he appeared in. But in 2018, Crawley finished as a bottom-three cornerback, per Pro Football Focus‘ advanced metrics, and although he is now under contract for 2019, his $2.025M salary is not guaranteed, so he could be cut without any cap repercussions.

For his career, Crawley has 128 tackles, an interception, a forced fumble, and 31 passes defensed.

A lot has gone right for the Saints this year — but not everything. When the Sean on the Shelf turns in his report, it won’t be just his opponents he tells Santa about. It’ll be his own team, too — along with a few others.

One of the most important positions on any Sean Payton Saints roster is the second cornerback spot. When the Saints have good play from the position, they tend to win a lot of games. When they don’t, they tend to finish the season 7-9. In 2017, Ken Crawley competently handled CB2 for a surprisingly resurgent Saints defense. In 2018, he struggled and lost his starting spot, necessitating the trade for former New York Giant Eli Apple to replace him.

Specifically the injury bug that has gotten to the Saints’ wide receivers. Ted Ginn and Cameron Meredith were supposed to be major contributors to the passing game, but both ended up on injured reserve. The Saints signed former Dallas Cowboys star Dez Bryant to help patch up the spot, but he promptly tore an Achilles’ tendon in practice, and joined the list.

In 2011, Brees broke the single-season passing yardage record and scored more touchdowns during a more explosive season than the one Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers had, but MVP voters favored Rodgers’ league-leading efficiency and gave him the award.

In 2018, it’s Brees who leads the NFL in passing efficiency. However, don’t be surprised if many voters favor the yards and touchdowns of Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, flipping the logic of 2011 on its head and costing Brees yet another MVP award he has done enough to win.

So ask Santa for a Brees MVP stocking stuffer (or for him to deliver lumps of coal to the MVP voters who deserve them).

The third-year defensive tackle has rocketed to the top of the nice list this year by putting everything together and becoming the sort of explosive interior pass rushing presence New Orleans has lacked since the departure of Saints Hall of Famer La’Roi Glover in 2002.

These are the types of plays the Kansas City Chiefs hoped Tyreek Hill would make when they used a fifth-round draft pick on him earlier this year.

Midway through the second quarter of Sunday’s game against the New Orleans Saints, Kansas City quarterback Alex Smith took a deep shot down the sideline to Hill. While Saints defensive back Ken Crawley did everything he could to break up the pass, the rookie wideout made a great play to haul it in and put points on the scoreboard.

The 38-yard touchdown and Cairo Santos’ extra point gave the Chiefs a 21-7 lead seven minutes before halftime en route to a 27-21 win.

This was Hill’s only catch of the day (he added 23 rushing yards on two carries), but it was one for the highlight reels.

New Orleans Saints cornerback Ken Crawley intends to sign his restricted free agent tender when the team reports for the offseason workout program next Monday, according to a league source.

The Saints offered Crawley the original-round tender last month before free agency began, a one-year deal worth about $2 million that gave the team right of first refusal if another team signed him to an offer sheet.

The NFL’s deadline for restricted free agents to sign offer sheets is Friday (April 19). To this point, Crawley has yet to receive another offer, and the expectation is that he won’t before the deadline.

Like all good defensive backs, Marcus Williams has been trained to have a short memory.

The message has been drilled into his head over the years. Forget the last play. Move on to the next one.

Unfortunately, for Williams, his last play was a doozy. His ill-timed missed tackle on Stefon Diggs’ 61-yard touchdown catch in the NFC Divisional playoffs authored the Minnesota Miracle and spawned a litany of cold-hearted memes and gifs on social media.

The play meant sudden death to the Saints’ 2017 season and vaulted Williams into the halls of infamy with other players who have suffered the unfortunate fate of committing miscues at critical moments in big games.

In an attempt to turn a negative into a positive, Williams used the play as motivational fuel throughout the offseason. In March, he posted a workout video on social media with the caption “Turning my nightmare into my motivation!!!” He also posted motivational notes in his Metairie apartment, including one that read “Never let it happen again.”

“Every day, my motivation is my family, providing for them and doing all I can to be successful in my life,” Williams said Friday (July 27), a green towel draped over his sweat-soaked head. “Doing all I can be to be the best safety I can be, just doing everything on the practice field and in the film room… That’s what motivates me, just being the best motivates me.”

Friday was Williams’ first media session of training camp and reporters predictably peppered him with questions about the play. Each time he politely deflected the queries with some form of a That’s in the past answer.

By the sixth time, he’d had enough: “The play is over with. It’s a new year. … I’m moving on.”

Friday’s media session wasn’t the first time Williams has been asked about the play and it won’t be the last, especially as national reporters arrive in town.

And the Saints are doing everything they can to rally around the 21-year-old free safety and support him through the adversity.

“To be honest, we don’t really talk about it no more,” cornerback Ken Crawley said. “It was just a play. … I know his focus right now is just we leave that in the past. We’re focused on something else this year.”

Easier said than done, of course.

Scott Shanle started 94 games for the Saints from 2006 to 2012 and was a key member of the Super Bowl XLIV championship team. But he still thinks about the play he didn’t make in the 2011 NFC Divisional Playoffs at San Francisco.

Shanle just missed batting down Alex Smith’s 14-yard touchdown pass to Vernon Davis in the waning seconds, capped a desperate, last-minute, game-winning 85-yard touchdown drive.

“I can still feel the air of the ball whistling past my hand,” Shanle said. “It was the perfect pass against that defense, the only time all year that I can remember someone completing a pass against us in that defense.”

For many Saints fans, the 36-32 loss was the most heartbreaking setback in club history. The Saints entered the game having won nine consecutive games and rallied from a 17-0 deficit to twice take leads in the fourth quarter.

“I was near the end of my career, and my angst and regret as I sat in my locker that day was, ‘Man, I don’t know if I’m ever going to get another chance like this,'” Shanle said. “I knew what that loss meant. I will go to my grave believing that we would have gone on to win Super Bowl. We were the best team in the league that year.”

As an analyst for Cox Sports, Shanle was in Minneapolis last January and witnessed the Minnesota Miracle in person. The shock of the extraordinary finish conjured flashbacks to 2011.

“Unfortunately, people will always bring that play up,” Shanle said of the Minnesota Miracle, which won an ESPY award for the moment of the 2017 year. “For Marcus’ sake, I hope he can move past it mentally and not let it define his career because he’s a great young player. He has a chance to make a bunch of more plays and put it behind him.”

Williams seems intent on doing just that – on and off the field. During Friday’s practice, he made a perfectly-timed break-up of a Drew Brees pass during team drills and was mobbed by his teammates after the play. It was the kind of play he routinely made throughout a stellar rookie season in which he started 15 games and ranked among the team leader in tackles (71), interceptions (four) and passes defenses (seven).

“I know what type of player he is,” defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins said. “I know what type of work he puts in and know how much film he watches and I know what kind of teammate he is when we’re out there together on Sundays.

“Guys have been in his corner, telling him, ‘Listen, it’s one play. We’re going to need you to make a lot of plays for us this year so put it behind you and attack each day.’ And that’s what he’s done.”

Williams’ reluctance to discuss the play is understandable.

One play should not define a career. But often it does. Steve Gleason made countless big plays in his eight-year tenure with the Saints, but history remembers him for just one: the block.

And the reality is the playoff stage exacerbated Williams’ infamous moment. Fair or not, the stakes of the postseason have a way of supersizing fame or infamy. Just as it lionized Malcolm Butler, Ray Allen and Kirk Gibson, it condemned Chris Webber, Jackie Smith and Bill Buckner.

The good news for Williams is his whole career lies ahead of him. As a second-year player, he will have many more opportunities to re-write the narrative. How he reacts the next time the ball is in the air and he’s hawking it in center field, is up to him.

“The thing about Marcus is he’s the ultimate warrior,” Saints secondary coach Aaron Glenn said. “He’s going to work no matter what. The thing that’s also good about him is he’s quick to forget bad plays and goes on to the next thing. I know everyone talks about the Minnesota play, but you know what? After it happened, he was down in the dumps, but he forgot about it and he’s gone on to this year ready to play.”

Saints CB Ken Crawley has signed his original round RFA tender, as veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer tweets. We learned last week that Crawley would be signing the tender, as he had not garnered any interest from rival clubs.

The lack of interest is not surprising, even though a team that signed Crawley to an offer sheet would not have needed to send any draft compensation to the Saints (since Crawley entered the league as an undrafted free agent). Crawley was demoted from his starting role prior to New Orleans’ Week 3 matchup last year, and although he was reinstated as a starter for the next three contests, he wound up appearing in only ten games and did not return to the starting lineup.

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