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No scapegoats for Saints’ start

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; By LES EAST Special to The Advocate Published: Oct 9, 2007 METAIRIE — Don’t look for the New Orleans Saints to bring in any savior to rescue the team from its 0-4 start. There’s no scapegoat whose release or demotion ...

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Old 10-10-2007, 12:14 AM   #1
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Cool No scapegoats for Saints’ start

By LES EAST
Special to The Advocate
Published: Oct 9, 2007


METAIRIE — Don’t look for the New Orleans Saints to bring in any savior to rescue the team from its 0-4 start. There’s no scapegoat whose release or demotion would turn this season around either.

The best coach Sean Payton could offer at his weekly news conference Monday was that he and his staff will tweak what the team focuses on during practice and perhaps modify the player rotation.

But by and large whatever improvement is forthcoming, if any is, will come from improved performance by those who are responsible for the winless start, including a 16-13 setback against Carolina on Sunday in the Superdome.

“The Lone Ranger is not going to come riding in here with the right plan to all the sudden turn things around,” Payton said. “It’s going to happen from within, and it is not easy, and you have to be tough, and today’s a difficult day, and a frustrating day and it’s what tests you as a player, it’s what tests you as a coach, and we are going to respond the right way.

“We have to be able to correct these mistakes. If that means playing some other guys a little bit more on either side of the ball or on special teams, then so be it.”

Payton said the team will work out some prospects today. A replacement for, or complement to, struggling place-kicker Olindo Mare is a possibility. Changes in the rotation at wide receiver and halfback are also possible.

Mare had a 20-yard field goal blocked, which would have given the Saints a 10-point lead with 11 minutes to play Sunday.

He also missed a 54-yarder that would have given New Orleans a 3-point lead with less than three minutes to play. That failed kick stood out even more when Mare’s counterpart with the Panthers, John Kasay, easily made a 52-yarder for the game-winner as time expired.

“Today’s the day everyone is looking for the bad guy; I understand that, that’s just the nature of this league,” Payton said. “The only way to get something like this corrected is to evaluate what we are doing very closely, working harder and paying attention to all the little things, so that when we play in a close game like we did yesterday, the little things go in our favor rather than against us.”

Payton said he wants to give more playing time to reserve receivers Lance Moore and David Patten. That could easily mean reduced playing time for former LSU player Devery Henderson, who has failed to catch several passes that have hit him in the hands the last two games.

“He wants to do everything he can to help this team, that’s something he will continue to work on,” Payton said. “That’s something he is going to have to battle and that’s something he will have to fight through. That is an area we need to help him as best we can. Maybe he catches fifty more balls after practice.

“Fortunately we have some depth at that position, so we are not restricted. Last year he played but he played in a rotation, and we have enough depth at that position that he can play in a rotation.”

Payton said he was satisfied with Reggie Bush’s first game as the primary ball carrier since Deuce McAllister’s season-ending knee injury, but he might spread the carries around more.

Bush had 21 carries for 67 yards and nine catches for 52 yards. Payton said he might involve Aaron Stecker (four rushes for 12 yards and three catches for minus-3 yards) and rookie Pierre Thomas (one carry for three yards) more.

For the second consecutive day, Payton said he and his staff will re-evaluate the distribution of playing time at a variety of positions.

“That’s something that I wrestle with all the time,” Payton said, “making sure that we feel confident that we are playing the right combination of players each week and on each given series and in each game.”

Payton said he’ll adjust what the team does in practice Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. This week, they’ll leave town on Friday night instead of the customary Saturday afternoon to compensate for the time change while playing at Seattle on Sunday night.

“The practice times are not going to change but what we do in those practice times needs to change some,” he said. “The
emphasis and how we structure it we need to look at. Maybe our last year’s Wednesday schedule was good for last year’s team but
maybe it is not what it needs to be for this year’s team.

“Maybe the emphasis shifts more to red zone or maybe the emphasis shifts more to a certain phase. Certainly we have to look at that. Just staying put and doing it over and over again with the result being the same isn’t a good thing. To continue on the current pace without any type of change, I don’t think would be real wise.”

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