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Conwell's back - as a Saint

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  • Conwell's back - as a Saint

    By Lori Shontz
    Of the Post-Dispatch

    Ernie Conwell was born in Reston, Wash., and he stayed at home for his college years at the University of Washington. Since 2002, he has played tight end for the New Orleans Saints.

    But when people ask Conwell and his wife, Andrea, where they're from, they often fail to mention either of those places.

    "My wife and I, we still have a tendency to say we're from St. Louis," said Conwell, who played in St. Louis for seven years after the Rams chose him in the second round of the 1996 NFL draft. "That's where we really grew into adulthood as a married couple. Where our kids grew up."

    So when Conwell returns to the Edward Jones Dome on Sunday for the first time as an opposing player, he expects to feel a twinge or two.

    "I'm sure it's going to be a weird feeling to be on the opposite sideline," he said. "And it'll be a different experience. But I think all that'll happen in pre-game, the warm-ups, and then just like anything else, when the game starts we're playing football and it'll kind of just subside, I'm sure."

    The Saints, as usual, are looked upon as a team with plenty of talent, particularly offensively, with running back Deuce McAllister (who was injured a week ago against the *****), quarterback Aaron Brooks and wide receivers Joe Horn and Donte' Stallworth. Somehow, however, that talent rarely turns into results.

    "The key right now is we don't want to talk about talent, ability, potential," Conwell said. "They're almost like four-letter words in this business. We just know that we have to take care of business every week and that we're only as good as we are on game day.

    "I think we're just maturing in that we realize that we're going to have to prepare like champions, we're going to have to practice like champions, and then go out and play hard and winning will take care of itself. I think we're starting to learn that as a team."

    That said, the Saints started the season with a loss to the Seattle Seahawks, and although they beat San Francisco a week ago, they played sloppily at times. They also lost McAllister with a high-ankle sprain. He will be out for four or five weeks, leaving the running back duties to Aaron Stecker and Ki-Jana Carter.

    "We'll package them up based on what they do best," Saints coach Jim Haslett said in his Monday news conference. "I think both of them have good qualities; both of them are good running backs.

    "I think Aaron showed (Sunday against San Francisco) that he has good, pretty good running skills, he's tough. You can see why Ki-Jana Carter was the No. 1 pick in the draft - he's got great vision. He's lost a little bit of speed, but he's a good player."

    By necessity, Haslett said, the Saints will need to rely more on their passing game.

    A week ago, Brooks passed for three touchdowns and posted a 127.0 quarterback rating. Stallworth caught a career-high nine passes for 113 yards, including a 16-yard TD pass with 1:01 remaining, and Horn grabbed eight passes for 94 yards and a TD. Additionally, Horn completed two passes, including a 37-yard TD pass to Jerome Pathon.

    Conwell, too, has been a receiving threat. Last season, he started the first 10 games for the Saints, catching 26 passes for 290 yards and two TDs. Then he missed the rest of the season with a fractured right ankle.

    "I was just starting to get into a rhythm with Aaron," he said.

    Now, Conwell said, he feels "as good as I've ever felt, physically." So far this season, he has started both games for the Saints, who frequently have been using a two tight-end offense, catching three passes for 32 yards, including a 6-yard TD reception against the Seahawks in the opener.

Related Topics


  • RamWraith
    Saints' super-sized clowns have ties to St. Louis
    by RamWraith
    By Kathleen Nelson

    Meet the Meatheads.

    Four members of the New Orleans Saints who love to lift weights have formed a merry band that eats together, goes to movies together and terrorizes the halls of the Alamodome in San Antonio on motorized scooters.

    Think circus clowns - super-sized circus clowns.

    They are a source of companionship to one another and comic relief to their teammates, a necessity since Hurricane Katrina forced the Saints to leave their homes and families. Two of the Meatheads are former Rams: tight end Ernie Conwell and defensive tackle Brian Young.

    Conwell spent seven seasons with the Rams after being drafted in 1996 and signed with the Saints in 2003. The Rams drafted Young in 2000; the Saints signed him as an unrestricted free agent in 2004.

    Young connected almost immediately upon his arrival in New Orleans with Conwell, his former teammate and soul mate, who held the Rams' bench-press record. The other Meatheads are fullback Mike Carney, who grew up with Conwell's nieces and nephews in Conwell's hometown of Kent, Wash., and Rodney Leisle, one of Young's backups.

    The group has served as a surrogate family for Conwell, whose wife, Andrea, and four children are staying in Nashville.

    Conwell serves as a hero to the rest. While buying necessities to take to evacuees, Conwell met Ronald Tennessee, who had lost everything, including the engagement ring he planned to give his fiancee. Conwell took Tennessee to the jewelry counter and paid for a set of rings, as well as clothing for Tennessee's bride. He hasn't seen Tennessee since, though he heard that the couple were married at the shelter.

    The Meatheads take a lot of ribbing for their maniacal devotion to lifting but brazenly flaunt their favored mode of transportation. Conwell bought four scooters on clearance for $200 each, which the quartet uses inside the Alamodome.

    "They go seven, eight miles an hour," Young said. "Most of us are over the suggested weight limit. There's a warning about being over 275 (pounds). I think there's only one of us under the limit, and that's Ernie."

    Far from being the object of ridicule, the Meatheads are at the cutting edge.

    "It's starting to catch on," Young said. "I think everybody realizes how much easier it is on the body. Our meeting rooms, everything, are on the other side of the building. But we have to come down here to get dressed, walk all the way back down there for walk-throughs, come all the way back down here to get dressed and go upstairs to eat. It's a lot of walking, and it will take its toll, so it does save your legs quite a bit."

    We're guessing that you have to be there not to laugh.

    On the field, the former St. Louisans remain...
    -10-22-2005, 05:37 AM
  • MauiRam
    Rams will face a rejuvenated Saints team ..
    by MauiRam
    BY JIM THOMAS Thursday, December 9, 2010 12:10 am

    Your offseason's a month shorter than most since you've been playing all the way into early February. And once the new season begins, there's a bull's-eye on your chest, because 31 other teams want to get where you've been.

    "We talked so much about that coming into the season," Saints quarterback Drew Brees said. "Everybody wants to accomplish what you accomplished less than a year ago. I think we knew coming into the season that we were going to get everybody's best performance, and that everybody would mark us on the calendar as kind of the team to beat until you prove otherwise."

    For the first couple of months of this season the Saints sure looked a little groggy. In 2009, the Saints started 13-0 en route to a 31-17 victory over Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV.

    This season, the Saints lurched out to a 4-3 start that included losses to a couple of less-than-stellar foes in Arizona and Cleveland. By New Orleans standards, the league's most dynamic offense of a year ago had to huff-and-puff its way to points.

    But just in time for the Rams, Sunday's opponent in the Louisiana Superdome, the Saints have started humming on offense. The Saints (9-3) have won five consecutive games, and during the last four victories have averaged 33 points. (They averaged a modest 21 points in their first eight contests.)

    "We're running the ball a little bit more effectively than maybe earlier in the season and that's been a point of emphasis for us," coach Sean Payton said. "I think that's helped us."

    Actually, the Saints have run it a lot more effectively. Through eight games, New Orleans averaged 84.8 yards per game and 3.6 yards per carry on the ground. Over the last four contests? Try 126 yards per game and 4.8 yards a carry.

    This has happened even though Pierre Thomas has been sidelined since suffering an ankle injury in Game 3 against Atlanta. The University of Illinois product was full participation in Wednesday's practice and is expected to return against the Rams. Reggie Bush missed eight games with a fractured fibula. Since returning on Thanksgiving against Dallas, he has only 10 touches in two games.

    The player who has rescued the Saints' running game is unheralded Chris Ivory, an undrafted rookie from Tiffin (Ohio) University. When it was mentioned during a conference call that not many people had heard of Ivory, Brees quipped: "I hadn't heard of him either."

    Saints opponents are learning about him the hard way. Ivory has rushed for 636 yards and is averaging a robust 5.2 yards a carry. He is coming off a 117-yard, two-touchdown outing against Cincinnati.

    "He's doing great," Brees said. "Just a guy, and we have a lot of these guys, the undrafted...
    -12-09-2010, 12:42 AM
  • DJRamFan
    [SAINTS] Saints back to miss four to five weeks
    by DJRamFan
    9/20/2004, 6:32 p.m. CT
    The Associated Press

    NEW ORLEANS (AP) New Orleans Saints running back Deuce McAllister sat in the locker room Monday, his foot in a heavy orthopedic boot, saying he thought he'd be able to play soon maybe even this coming weekend.

    From Our Advertiser

    He won't.

    "He'll probably be out four to five weeks," coach Jim Haslett said.

    McAllister was injured on his third carry in the Saints' 30-27 victory over the San Francisco ***** on Sunday. San Francisco defensive tackle Bryant Young grabbed McAllister's ankle and the pain was immediate, causing McAllister to drop the football.

    "I felt it pop," said McAllister, who set franchise records in 2003 for yards from scrimmage (2,157) and rushing yards (1,641). "That's why I dropped the ball."

    McAllister thought it was broken at first. X-rays on Sunday were negative and an MRI Monday showed a sprain, a stretched ligament where the shin bone meets the ankle.

    "It's the same ankle he hurt two years ago," Haslett said. "It's probably a little worse than it was."

    McAllister only missed one game with that injury, but played hurt for a long time. This injury has more inflammation and is more serious than the original injury, Haslett said. By Monday afternoon the ankle was so swollen and the skin on it so stretched it looked like a piece of wood, the coach said.

    McAllister wore the boot and was on crutches when he left Saints camp on Monday. He also had an electric stimulator hooked to the boot and a system to pump ice water around the injury at night.

    "He can't drive," Haslett said.

    The Saints offense is built around McAllister, who was second in the NFC and fourth in the NFL in yards from scrimmage last season, and was the team's second-leading receiver with 69 receptions for 516 yards.

    The team was down to just one running back after McAllister's injury on Sunday, after cutting Ki-Jana Carter prior to the game to bring up a defensive lineman because three linemen were out with injuries.

    Aaron Stecker, a free agent from Tampa Bay, gained 41 yards on 15 carries against the *****, despite injuring an ankle and thigh in the game.

    Carter was brought back on Monday.

    The Saints will not rush McAllister to return, Haslett said.

    "I think Deuce is smart enough, he went through this before, to know when he's ready to play," Haslett said. "I know he wants to play. He wants to play this week, but it's not going to happen."
    -09-22-2004, 12:51 PM
  • RamWraith
    Coady, Conwell will cross paths
    by RamWraith
    By Bill Coats
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Thursday, Sep. 23 2004

    Former teammates on
    opposing missions now

    If Rich Coady and Ernie Conwell have a reunion Sunday, it won't exactly be a
    tea-and-cookies affair.

    With Aeneas Williams moving to cornerback, Coady is expected to start at free
    safety for the Rams against New Orleans. Conwell, who played in St. Louis from
    1996 through 2002 and had a locker near Coady's, is the Saints' starting tight

    So Coady and Conwell could meet again, this time on the Edward Jones Dome turf.
    "Playing against (Conwell) every day in practice for three or four years, it'd
    be nice to go live against him," Coady said.

    Conwell represents only a small part of Coady's concerns, though. The Saints'
    top running back, Deuce McAllister, is sidelined with a high-ankle sprain,
    meaning that coach Jim Haslett will have to rely on journeymen Aaron Stecker
    and Ki-Jana Carter for any semblance of a ground game.

    So logic indicates that New Orleans quarterback Aaron Brooks will have the ball
    in the air much of the afternoon. "We expect to have a busy day," Coady said.
    "You like that, though, when the action's around you and when you're around the
    ball. It'll be fun for us to go out there and do the best we can and try to
    shut that down."

    The Saints (1-1) hardly have been on offensive juggernaut: They're averaging
    291.5 yards (22nd in the 32-team NFL) and 18.5 points (17th) per game. Yet
    Brooks' 502 passing yards are exceeded by only eight quarterbacks.

    Wide receivers Joe Horn (14 catches, 204 yards) and Donte' Stallworth (12, 149)
    are his favorite targets. Conwell has three catches for 32 yards.

    The 6-foot-1, 210-pound Coady said Brooks is especially effective when he
    throws "over the middle and deep outside. He's got a real live arm, quick
    release, throws the ball well. And he's got two great receivers to throw to, so
    that makes it easy."

    Coady, 28, was the Rams' third-round pick (No. 68 overall) in the 1999 draft
    out of Texas A&M. He has started 11 games in six seasons, but most of his work
    this year has been as an extra back in passing situations.

    "Instead of playing 30 plays, I'll play 60. So it won't be that big of a
    difference for me," Coady said. "You prepare to start every week, and I've been
    here long enough that I'll know what I'm doing every play. It's not one of
    those things where I've got to go in there and learn a bunch of new
    terminology. It should be pretty simple and pretty basic."

    Chillar rests foot

    First-team linebacker Brandon Chillar sat...
    -09-24-2004, 06:04 AM
  • RamWraith
    Saints carry confidence into meeting with Rams
    by RamWraith
    By Jim Thomas
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Something is strangely amiss. A Saints-Rams game week has come and gone without New Orleans wide receiver Joe "Hollywood" Horn saying anything inflammatory before kickoff.

    Horn has leveled many a zinger at the Rams in the past. But he did nothing but make nice this past week in New Orleans.

    When asked by New Orleans reporters if this was still a big rivalry game for the Saints, he replied: "No. You want to know why? They've got a Super Bowl ring. They've been to multiple Super Bowls. ... I can't say nothing negative about them and try to spark a rivalry."


    And there's more.

    "Coach (Mike) Martz has done a hell of a job," Horn said.

    Take that!

    What about former Saints tight end Cam Cleeland, now with the Rams, and his anti-Saints and anti-Jim Haslett remarks on Wednesday from Rams Park?

    "That's just Cam getting off some frustrations that he felt," Horn said. "He and Kyle (Turley) had some issues that they didn't like (with the organization). But they're very good friends of mine, and I love them to death."

    In your face!

    In a conference call with St. Louis reporters, Haslett, the New Orleans coach, made it sound like he and Martz were bosom buddies. Strange, since in 2000 and 2001 - when the Saints and Rams played each other five times over a 12 1/2- month period - they looked very much like mortal enemies.

    So perhaps this is some sort of a setup. Now a couple of years older and wiser, maybe Horn and Haslett are trying to kill the Rams with kindness.

    Make no mistake, the Saints aren't going to be the least bit intimidated by the Rams' 15-game regular-season winning streak at the Edward Jones Dome. New Orleans has won its last two contests here, including one of only two regular-season losses by the NFC-champion Rams in 2001.

    No Deuce McAllister (ankle) at running back? No problem. The Saints won here in 2000 with Jerald Moore and Chad Morton as their feature backs.

    Besides, the Rams have more on their minds these days than whether the Saints remain a rival. They left the Georgia Dome on the short end of a 34-17 score to Atlanta last Sunday, bewildered by the scrambling sorties of Michael Vick and befuddled by a Falcons front four that played like the Fearsome Foursome.


    "We don't need to look any further than the fact that we need a win," defensive lineman Tyoka Jackson said. "Coming off a loss you need a win even more. It's just the way it feels. So we want to get back in the winner's column, get that good feeling again, and build off of it."

    It's as simple as that. The last thing the Rams want to do is stub their toe at home against...
    -09-26-2004, 05:47 AM