Welcome back to The Times-Picayune | New Orleans Advocate’s Saints mailbag.
Every week, I hand-pick a few questions from my Twitter mentions and emails to attempt to satisfy y’all’s Saints curiosities.
If you want your question included in my mailbag, send them to me on Twitter at @Amie_Just or email them my way at email@example.com.
Here are some questions you asked about the Saints ahead of the Saints’ wild card game against the Chicago Bears:
Who is still on reserve/COVID-19?
A: Alvin Kamara is back; he was activated from the list on Saturday afternoon.
Starting nickelback C.J. Gardner-Johnson was activated from the reserve/COVID-19 list on Friday, while three running backs — Latavius Murray, Dwayne Washington and Michael Burton — were reinstated to the active roster Wednesday.
There’s just one player left on the reserve/COVID-19 list, and that’s safety D.J. Swearinger. With him remaining on the list, that means he’s likely unavailable for this week’s game against the Bears.
What about injured reserve?
A: The Saints brought back receiver Michael Thomas, receiver Deonte Harris and cornerback Patrick Robinson from the injured reserve Saturday. On the flip side, they placed interior lineman Nick Easton on the injured reserve after he’s had multiple concussions this season.
If the Saints beat the Bears, receiver Tre’Quan Smith would be eligible to return for their divisional game.
Taysom Hill was on the injury report with a concussion. Will he play?
A: It looks like it. Hill left the regular-season finale against the Carolina Panthers early with what was then an undisclosed injury. He was limited during Wednesday’s practice with a concussion and then was a full participant on Thursday and Friday, and then wasn’t given a game designation.
When players aren’t given a game designation, that means they’re good to go for the upcoming game.
What happened to Trey Hendrickson?
A: I’m not 100% sure, but something must have happened in practice, just based on the timing.
The Saints’ leader in sacks was limited in Wednesday’s practice with his neck injury after playing on Sunday. The neck injury is nothing new; it kept him out against the Chiefs on Christmas. And then, he didn’t practice Thursday or Friday, something that came as a surprise, and was ultimately ruled out for the game against the Bears.
Without Hendrickson available, the Saints still have Cameron Jordan, Marcus Davenport and Carl Granderson on the ends.
Has a team ever swept their divisional teams and then beat another non-divisional team twice in the same season?
A: This question comes after my history lesson on teams that have swept their respective divisions since realignment in 2002. FWIW: The Saints became the first team to sweep the NFC South, and are now the 23rd team since 2002 to sweep their division. The Buffalo Bills joined the ranks this year, too, going 6-0 in the AFC East.
But were any of those 22 previous teams matched up in the playoffs against a team they’d previously played in the regular season? Yes. And there were a few sweeps, too, though not many.
The 2002 Tennessee Titans went 6-0 against their AFC South opponents, and then went 2-0 against the AFC North’s Pittsburgh Steelers, winning in Week 11 and then winning in the divisional round. An interesting nugget there, though, too. The Titans went 0-2 against the Raiders that year, losing in Week 3 and then again in the AFC title game.
Those 2002 Steelers also swept their division, but they played an AFC North opponent in the Browns three times that year, facing Cleveland for the third time in the wild-card game. They went 0-2 against the Titans.
Other sweeps: The 2004 Eagles swept the Vikings, winning in Week 2 and the divisional game. The 2007 Patriots swept the Chargers, winning in Week 2 and the AFC title game. But those Patriots went 1-1 against the Giants, losing the Super Bowl. The 2009 Colts swept the Ravens, winning in Week 11 and again in the divisional round. The 2011 Ravens swept the Texans, winning in Week 6 and then the divisional round. The 2012 Patriots also swept the Texans, winning in Week 14 and then the divisional round. The 2013 Colts swept the Chiefs, winning in Week 16 and then again in the wild-card game. The 2014 Colts swept the Bengals, winning in Week 7 and winning in the wild card game.
And, not to re-traumatize Saints fans, but the 2018 Rams swept the Saints, winning in Week 9 and then in the NFC championship game.
When was the Bachelor, Matt James, with the Saints?
A: Matt James, a former Wake Forest receiver, tried out for the Saints during minicamp, but didn’t receive a rose to attend training camp.
Former Saints beat reporter Evan Woodbery tweeted during that minicamp one observation: James’ height. One fan apparently yelled “He tall” when James ran by, which is true. The Bachelor is 6-foot-5.