Saints hope to be close to ‘full strength’ against Bears

Saints hope to be close to ‘full strength’ against Bears
Saints running back Alvin Kamara (41) (Source: Mark Lagrange)

METAIRIE, La. (WAFB) - The New Orleans Saints hope to have star running back Alvin Kamara and the whole gang back for their opening-round playoff contest against the Chicago Bears in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Sunday, Jan. 10.

“There is no next game,” said former Saints running back Deuce McAllister. “You’ve got one game and you can’t allow yourself not to be prepared for that game. You already know that opponent. This was all fun, nice, pretty games. You’re the No. 2 seed. But this is what it’s about. This is the real season for this team.”

The Saints (12-4) received a huge boost Sunday from Ty Montgomery, who made the move from wide receiver to running back after the entire running backs room was wiped out because of COVID protocol.

“They were like, ‘Ty, everything you learned in the receiving room, you now need to learn in the running back room,’ and I was like, ‘Cool, this is what I’m here for,” said Montgomery. “And then, I pull into work the next day and they’re like, ‘You’re our only running back.’ And I’m like, ‘You’re kidding.’ Honestly, I felt prepared for it. It’s kind of like how I started in 2016 with the Packers. We lost Eddie Lacy and James Starks in the same game and I had step up at running back from receiver. But the guys who weren’t in this game, we need them. Can’t wait for them to be back, that’s for sure.”

Montgomery gained 105 yards on 18 carries in the regular season finale at Carolina.

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Kamara can’t practice or be around his teammates until game day against the Bears (8-8). On a conference call Monday, head coach Sean Payton was asked if Kamara will play.

“I think if it was the Saturday game, he doesn’t play; a Sunday game, he can play,” said Payton. “Obviously, anything during the week will have to be Zoomed. Yeah, we’ll see. I think it would depend on the player and the situation. But yeah, a lot of it will be our decision based on where we think we are with the week, the player, and we have to be smart.”

CLICK HERE to listen to the full conference call.

Wide receiver Michael Thomas, who missed the last three games, is expected back.

One of the surprises of the year is on the defensive side of the ball where fourth-year pro, Trey Hendrickson, has recorded 13.5 quarterback sacks this season. The former Florida Atlantic star had just 6.5 total sacks during his first three seasons in the NFL.

The Saints are 9.5-point favorites. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:40 p.m. The game will air on WAFB.

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