this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Team ready to get back to work with mark in the win column Wednesday, October 17, 2007 By Jimmy Smith There was a palpable sense of relief throughout the Saints' Airline Drive locker room Tuesday, when the team re-convened after ...
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For now, Saints' frustration has disappeared
Team ready to get back to work with mark in the win column
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
By Jimmy Smith
There was a palpable sense of relief throughout the Saints' Airline Drive locker room Tuesday, when the team re-convened after its first victory of the season Sunday night in Seattle.
The optimism was contagious but cautious, as the record's reality was still quite stark: it isn't 0-5, but it's still 1-4.
Nevertheless, the frustration that mounted the first five weeks of the season, with a bye-week added in for some additional angst, has evaporated in the short term.
But for many, it was becoming unbearable.
"Definitely. I think we were underachieving, not living up to our expectations, not the media, or anybody else's, but our expectations," fullback Mike Karney said. "Because we had high expectations for ourselves. But that was that."
Now, Karney said, the Saints are approaching things with the realism facing a team that still has a long way to go.
"We're on to the second quarter of the season, and that's what we're focused on. If we can go 4-0 in this quarter, we can come out of this at eight games and be .500. That would be ideal and be in great position and still have a great, fighting chance to win the NFC South and get a playoff spot."
"What sense of relief?" defensive tackle Hollis Thomas asked rhetorically. "We're still in a hole. We got a victory. Yea. We've got to get back to the drawing board so we can get out of this hole. . . . The sigh of relief is gone."
Quarterback Drew Brees was finally able to smile Tuesday instead of gritting his teeth when reporters approached for the weekly explanation.
"I've been thinking about the game the last couple of days, and I'm disappointed about a few things," Brees said. "We probably left about two or three touchdowns out there. But hey, we've got something to build on. We got a win, and that's all that matters right now."
Brees conceded that the frustration level during the losing streak was enormous.
"I mean, I just knew we were leaving a lot out there on the field," he said. "For us to be working so hard throughout the week and it just not coming together on Sunday was very disappointing, especially with the expectations and everything else. But the fact is we're in position now to go out and get another win against a divisional opponent here at home."
It's that narrow focus, Coach Sean Payton said Tuesday, on which the coaching staff asked the players to concentrate following four losses, and the same on which it will ask players to center following a victory.
"You ask them coming off a loss to move on," Payton said. "And I think they understand that we've got to approach it the same way. It's a short week. We're coming off a long trip back. We've got to get on to Atlanta. I think we're mature enough and have the right leadership for guys to understand this game is finished, and we're on to a division game at home.
"It's easier to come back to work and fly home after you win. It's been a while for us. I think that obviously it's a positive, and we'll have to play well again this weekend. I think our players understand that."
What they understood the most, though, was an enormous sense of liberation that first win brought.
"It was pretty bad," offensive tackle Jon Stinchcomb said of the winless beginning, "just because we knew what we were capable of. And we still haven't maximized that. Now it's a little bit of a monkey off our back.
"We've been working hard. And to go 0-4, it was just some mounting pressure you try to ignore. But you can definitely feel a little bit of relief just knowing we can win. There was no doubt in this locker room that it would come. Just the sooner the better."
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