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'People want to see underdogs do well. There's been no bigger underdog than New Orlea

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; 'People want to see underdogs do well. There's been no bigger underdog than New Orleans After the Saints' dream season last year, GM Mickey Loomis welcomes even higher hopes this season Tuesday, August 21, 2007By Mike Triplett Saints General Manager ...

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Old 08-21-2007, 09:21 PM   #1
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'People want to see underdogs do well. There's been no bigger underdog than New Orlea

'People want to see underdogs do well. There's been no bigger underdog than New Orleans

After the Saints' dream season last year, GM Mickey Loomis welcomes even higher hopes this season Tuesday, August 21, 2007By Mike Triplett
Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis was chosen the NFL's Executive of the Year after he helped orchestrate one of the greatest turnarounds in league history last season, but that was the easy part.

Loomis sat down Monday to talk about trying to follow up with an even better performance in 2007. He also broke down some of the team's roster moves, discussed the emotions that surrounded last season and gave credit to some of the Saints' celebrity groupies, among other topics.

Two weeks before the season opener, how do you feel about the team?

I feel good about where we're at. I think we've had a good training camp, and the players have come in with a good attitude. I think the guys that we've brought in have all worked hard, made a strong push, created some good competition at a number of positions. I think our first groups on offense and defense played well the other night, so that's always positive. And I think we've got some young guys that have made some progress and have flashed some ability. So what that translates to after two more weeks in the preseason, we'll see.

Are the lofty expectations surrounding this team dangerous in any way?

No. I don't think they're dangerous. I think you want to have high expectations, and you want to have people to have high expectations of you. It feels a lot better when people talk about you as a team that can compete for a championship than it does when they talk about you as a team that should be in last place.

Now, that being said, it doesn't mean anything, because ultimately it's on our shoulders -- and it's how we respond that will determine the outcome of this season. And with regard to that, I'm excited about how our coaching staff has approached this season. I'm excited about how our players have worked hard in the offseason and haven't really sat back and felt satisfied. I think the message we had from (Detroit Pistons President of Basketball Operations) Joe Dumars (when he visited the team during training camp) about, 'OK, you had a good season last year, but let's see if you're really one of these teams that can sustain success,' I think that's a good message for us. And I think the character of our team will respond to that.

You guys have had Joe Dumars, Kenny Chesney, Jimmy Buffett around here. What does it say about this team that you've got celebrity groupies now?

Well, I don't know that we have celebrity groupies, but we have people that have been in our corner for a long time. And I think a lot of it has to do with Hurricane Katrina, and people want to see underdogs do well. There's been no bigger underdog than New Orleans. So we want to surround ourselves with successful people, whether they're celebrities or successful in other facets of life, because you can learn from those people.

Have you been especially pleased with any of the newcomers this year?

I think every guy in his own right has done some real good things for us, both on the field and off the field. You know, we had high expectations for those guys, that's why we brought them here, and I think it's worked out. Again, we have a couple more weeks of the preseason to go and obviously the entire regular season -- but I appreciate those guys being here.

How about the team in general, is there anybody playing well that hasn't gotten a lot of recognition from the media or fans?

I think our offensive line has the potential to play well, and those guys never get enough recognition. I think Charles Grant has played well. He's stepped up his game, and that's real good to see after receiving a big contract. Charles has really been purposeful this entire offseason. And again, I think everybody has come in with the right attitude, the right purpose. I think that's been pleasing. We haven't had anybody we can single out and say, 'This guy's dropped the ball or not put the kind of effort in that we need.'

What worries you most? Anything keeping you up nights?

Oh, everything worries me. Injuries worry you, and it's just hard to win games in this league. We start off with a bang with Indianapolis. They're the defending champions, and we're playing at their place. It's a great opportunity for us, though.

The scariest proposition for almost every team in the league is turning to the backup quarterback. After some inconsistent play in the preseason, are you comfortable there?

I know Jamie Martin has won games in the NFL. We have a lot of confidence in him. He did some good things the other night, and he did some things that weren't so good. You know, some of that is not playing a lot. But Jamie has been a good performer in the past. He's won some games as a starter and performed well. So I think we can get him going this preseason, and he's more than capable.

Is there any frustration or disappointment with first-round pick Robert Meachem, or do you have to be patient with rookies?

No. I think we've got a couple things going on there. One is the typical rookie mistakes that every rookie goes through, every new player goes through. The injury thing set him back a little bit, so I think it's a combination of those two things. And the fact that we've got a lot of good receivers in front of him that are high performers. His level of contribution this year remains to be seen. But he's making progress, and we have a lot of confidence that he'll be a good player for the Saints for a long time.

They showed the clip on Saturday night's broadcast of you receiving the game ball after last year's playoff victory. Where do you keep that ball?

It's in my house in a prominent place. I kind of looked at that as a culmination of two years' worth of highs and lows. So I appreciate that very much, because really game balls are for players and coaches, not for the rest of us. Those are the guys that win and lose games. But it's special to get that kind of honor, and I appreciated it very much. . . . I'd just as soon they not show me on television blubbering like that, but that was a good moment.

How much have the last two years meant to you personally? When you first became general manager, the coach and the team were already established. But now you've made a lot of these decisions and kind of put your own stamp on this team.

Well, I think any time you have some success, you're happy, regardless of the circumstances. I'd have been just as happy if we had played in the NFC championship game three years ago, because that's the goal of our organization, to win. But I do think all of the emotions of a year ago and the satisfaction of turning the season around was heightened by the circumstances of 2005, there's no question about it. And heightened by the response of Saints fans and the people of New Orleans and this region. You just can't help but get caught up in that. . . .

But I know this is a team sport, it's a business that requires a lot of people doing their jobs well, so I don't ever look at it like I caused any of it. I can be the fault of some of it when things go bad, I admit that. The buck needs to stop right here. But I just get satisfaction from our organization doing well, everybody in this building. It's not a personal sense of accomplishment for me.

That being said, have you ever seen one individual personnel move mean as much to an organization as signing Drew Brees did?

That was a huge deal for us, but there were a lot of huge deals for us. Having Sean Payton agree to come to New Orleans was a huge deal. I think under the radar screen is the assistant coaching staff that he's put together. A lot of those guys had multiple opportunities, and they chose to come here, when life in New Orleans was still uncertain. Gary Gibbs is a great example . . . and Joe Vitt, Doug Marrone, a number of our assistant coaches.

And the same thing is true with Scott Fujita. He had options to go other places, and he chose to come here. And obviously the Reggie Bush thing was kind of out of our hands, but that was an important milestone. And Brees getting healthy and coming back strong. A bunch of guys had their best years ever. Mark Simoneau just needed an opportunity to play again and got it here. Scott Shanle got an opportunity to play here. Hollis Thomas, Jeff Faine. There's just a whole bunch of good stories about good guys, good players and good people who got an opportunity and made the most of it.

That's what's kind of remarkable. Usually you'll have a few of those, and you'll have some guys that don't make the most of it. It seems like every guy made the most of his opportunity last year. So back to the original question, there's just more to it than that. It's never about one guy.

. . . . . . .

Mike Triplett can be reached at mtriplett@timespicayune.com

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Old 08-22-2007, 02:19 AM   #2
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Re: 'People want to see underdogs do well. There's been no bigger underdog than New O

good post.

Loomis is a class act. He`ll accept all the blame when it goes bad and gives all the success to others when it goes right. That`s just good leadership.
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Old 08-22-2007, 08:25 AM   #3
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Re: 'People want to see underdogs do well. There's been no bigger underdog than New O

made my morning
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Old 08-22-2007, 12:56 PM   #4
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Re: 'People want to see underdogs do well. There's been no bigger underdog than New O

Saintsfan4ever Re: 'People want to see underdogs do well. There's been no bigger underdog than New O

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good post.

Loomis is a class act. He`ll accept all the blame when it goes bad and gives all the success to others when it goes right. That`s just good leadership.
That's what you need to be a successful organization!
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