The New Orleans Saints are closer to getting

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The New Orleans Saints are closer to getting

METAIRIE Cullen Gillaspia Jersey , La. (AP) —back their second-highest-paid offensive player as they try to rebound from a first loss in more than two months — and lock down a playoff berth.Starting left tackle Terron Armstead returned to practice Wednesday, marking his first time in pads since his pectoral injury at Cincinnati in Week 10. The injury cost Armstead three games, including New Orleans’ loss last Thursday night in Dallas, when the Cowboys’ defensive line consistently pressured quarterback Drew Brees and limited the Saints’ ground game to 65 yards — the fewest since Week 2.“He’s a difference maker for sure and big confidence when he’s there on the left side,” Brees said of Armstead, who has been a starter since late in his rookie season in 2013, but who also has been beset by various injuries much of his career.Armstead, listed as “limited” on the club’s practice report Wednesday, said his recovery has been “going pretty well” and that he might be ready to play Sunday against Tampa Bay.“Time away, that’s never great. You get in a rhythm so much with your guys up front — my technique, my timing — so that will be a learning curve and adjustment,” Armstead said Tytus Howard Jersey , adding he at least hopes the rest of his body benefited from recent rest as high-stakes games approach.“I’ve been battling injuries for a long time, so definitely hard to find positives in an injury for me,” Armstead said. “But just thinking of it … my body definitely has some things, some bumps and bruises, and I took the time and benefited off of it for sure. But I would much rather have been playing.”Right guard Larry Warford said Armstead’s return to practice was good for morale, even if it’s not yet clear when he’ll be ready.“I’m just happy that it seems that he’s making progress,” Warford said. “He’s one of the best, if not the best, left tackle in the league. Unfortunately, he’s had injuries hinder him throughout his career.”The Saints would win the NFC South with one more victory, or a loss by Carolina, who New Orleans plays twice in the final three weeks of the regular season. Whether the Saints remain in contention for one of the coveted top two seeds in the conference and receive a first-round bye Rock Ya-Sin Jersey , depends on how they respond to their first loss since Week 1.In New Orleans’ locker room, players predicted that the 13-10 loss in Dallas, which halted a 10-game winning streak, was more likely a brief stumble than the beginning of a slump.“Sometimes you have to lose a battle to win the war and you learn a lot from something like that,” Brees said. “I just think we had a bad day. You turn on the film and it’s glaringly obvious where we failed and we have to make sure that doesn’t happen again.”On New Orleans’ defense, confidence is surging after a seven-sack, two-takeaway performance in Dallas that also marked the fourth straight game holding an opponent to 17 or fewer points.Against the Cowboys, the Saints’ normally prolific offense was the unit which struggled most. But since offense-minded coach Sean Payton and Brees joined forces in New Orleans in 2006, that side of the ball rarely has stagnated for more than a rare game.Brees said the opportunity to clinch the NFC South for the second straight year is “significant,” and would be a “first step” toward more lofty postseason goals. He said the Saints’ commanding four-game lead in the division with four games left speaks to the quality of football they played during their winning streak, when they became the only team to beat the Los Angeles Rams and won several other games by wide margins.“That was a great run. We gained a ton of confidence, a ton of momentum http://www.coltsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-ben-banogu-jersey ,” Brees said. “We had a ton of guys step up and play really well — guys that we’re going to need down the stretch.“We really established an identity for ourselves as an offense and a defense,” Brees added. “We know how to play winning football.”NOTES: Saints leading receiver Michael Thomas did not practice Wednesday and his ankle was cited as the reason on the club’s injury report. However, he was present at practice and the Saints regularly err on the side of resting top-performing veterans when they have soreness, particularly early in the week. … In addition to Armstead, DT David Onyemata (hip) and right tackle Ryan Ramczyk (shoulder) were listed as limited in practice. … Fullback Zach Line, who left the game in Dallas with a concussion, was able to practice fully. CINCINNATI (AP) — While Minnesota and Cleveland changed kickers after only two games, the Bengals gave Randy Bullock a two-year contract extension for his perfect start.He’s made every field goal and extra-point attempt, helping the Bengals remain unbeaten.The seventh-year kicker has settled into the job after beating out fifth-round draft pick Jake Elliott last year, prompting the Bengals (2-0) to offer the contract extension through 2020. He signed it on Tuesday.Bullock is one of 11 kickers in the NFL who have yet to miss.“Randy has come in here, grown in his role and has developed a trust through the building,” coach Marvin Lewis said. “He’s morphed his body and feels confident about things. He’s been consistent Khari Willis Jersey , and he’s just got to keep working at it. Now is not the time to relax.”Bullock arrived in Cincinnati in 2016 after Mike Nugent was released . He filled in while Chris Boswell was hurt in Pittsburgh, and the Bengals claimed him off waivers for the final three games. They drafted Elliott and staged a competition for the job in training camp last year. Bullock won, and Elliott wound up with the Super Bowl champion Eagles.Bullock went 18 of 20 in field-goal attempts and made 31 of 33 extra-point tries last season, earning the Bengals’ trust. He spent the offseason lowering his body fat and strengthening his core muscles.“I feel like a new person,” he said Thursday after practice. “I feel a lot stronger.”Heading into a game on Sunday at Carolina (1-1) , Bullock is 4 for 4 on field goals and 8 for 8 on extra points.Kickers are part of a closely knit group. They compete for jobs, stay in touch during the season, work out together in the offseason on occasion, and offer congratulations or support, depending upon how the last game has gone. Bullock got congratulatory messages from other kickers when he signed his extension.“A lot of guys have reached out to me in the last couple of days,” Bullock said. “Even Jake Elliott reached out to me, so that was cool. I’ve stayed in touch with him a little bit.”He’s been on the other side as well. He started his career with Houston from 2012-15 Josh Allen Jersey , and also has kicked with the Jets, Giants, Steelers and Bengals.Bullock keeps up with how other kickers fare each week. He saw clips of Minnesota’s Daniel Carlson missing three field goals in a 29-29 tie with Green Bay on Sunday, and Cleveland’s Zane Gonzalez missing a pair of field goals and extra points during a 21-18 loss at New Orleans . Both kickers lost their jobs.“It’s tough to watch anybody struggle, whether they’re a rookie or a second-year guy or somebody older,” Bullock said. “Unfortunately that’s the growing pains. You’re not going to make every kick, even though you go out with the mentality that you will.“You can see the look on their face when they miss. Every day your job’s on the line to perform at a high level. Everybody knows that. Nobody knows that better than the person who’s just missed.”TRA CARSON RETURNS: Running back Tra Carson cleared waivers and reverted to the Bengals’ injured reserve list on Thursday, a day after the team waived him with an injured hamstring. Carson was hurt in practice on Monday.GIO BETTER: Running back Giovani Bernard had a full practice on Thursday, a day after he was limited by a sore knee. Bernard is the Bengals’ only veteran running back with experience in their system heading into Sunday’s game. Starter Joe Mixon is out for a few weeks following knee surgery, and Carson — No. 3 on the depth chart — got hurt as well.Linebacker Preston Brown and defensive end Michael Johnson went through limited practices. Brown sat out last Thursday’s 34-23 win over Baltimore with a sprained ankle. Johnson went out early with a strained knee. Center Billy Price (sprained foot) also got hurt in the game and is sidelined several weeks.