this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; The New Orleans Saints should keep pedal to the metal By Jeff Duncan, The Times-Picayune Conventional wisdom dictates the New Orleans Saints should play it cautious from here. They are NFC South division champs. They need one more win to ...
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|12-09-2009, 09:14 AM||#1|
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The New Orleans Saints should keep pedal to the metal
By Jeff Duncan, The Times-Picayune
Conventional wisdom dictates the New Orleans Saints should play it cautious from here.
They are NFC South division champs. They need one more win to clinch a first-round bye in the playoffs. They own a comfortable two-game lead on Minnesota for home-field advantage in the NFC.
At this point, they'd have to completely fall on their facemasks to lose the top seed in the NFC. Four games remain on the schedule but realistically the Saints' season consists of three games: two playoff contests and, if successful, the Super Bowl.
Saints Coach Sean Payton, of course, wanted nothing to do with such talk Monday.
"Our focus is like it has been," Payton said. "We're still playing for games that matter in a lot of ways. We're trying to put ourselves in the best position possible in the postseason. The only thing I would say to that is that we're going to focus on the Atlanta Falcons. ... Past that, I'm really not looking ahead."
Payton's reticence is subjective.
On Saturday, a day before the Saints spawned the Miracle in Maryland, Payton was more candid with Sports Illustrated's Peter King.
Payton, according to King, said "he's not going to take the foot off the accelerator down the stretch, not even if the Saints have home-field advantage clinched in the NFC playoffs."
I couldn't agree more with Payton's strategy.
The Saints have a shot to do something unprecedented. Since the NFL merged and went to a 16-game schedule in 1978, no team has managed to navigate the regular season and postseason without a loss. Only the 2007 Patriots made it to 16-0, and they were vanquished by the Giants in Super Bowl XLII.
Sean Payton understands history and the Saints' potential place in it. He understands the opportunity at hand, just as he appreciated Brees' shot at Dan Marino's passing record a year ago.
Payton's strategy for the final month of the regular season will be scrutinized. His every move will be questioned. Should he sit his starters? Should he play them to avoid rust? Should he rest the injured?
The safe choice is to lay up, to shelve the starters and rest the injured for another day. And the Saints have plenty of walking wounded these days. That's the postseason road most traveled in NFL history. But that doesn't make it right. The Indianapolis Colts employed this strategy for most of the decade and they've lost five times in the first round of the playoffs.
Besides, that's not the nature of Payton or his team. Playing it safe would belie the club's mission statements this season: Smell Greatness; Be Special.
A 14-2 or 15-1 season smells great. But it's not special.
As Darren Sharper has said repeatedly throughout the season: "Insert unbeaten record here is nice, but we'd rather for the big 19-0. That's our ultimate goal."
The Saints have gotten this far by defying convention.
They are aggressive, sometimes to a fault. They go for it on fourth down and blitz when playing prevent probably would be safer. But that's their mentality -- of their head coach, of their defensive coordinator, of their quarterback.
A fourth-quarter play in Sunday's win epitomized this mentality. On a third-and-11 from the Redskins' 40, Drew Brees scrambled from the pocket and had a wide-open field in front of him.
He could have run for the first down. Heck, he might have been able to walk for it. Instead of playing it safe, Brees fired a missile downfield to Robert Meachem.
You can count on your hand the number of players who would have attempted that pass. The Saints had little margin for error in that situation. They trailed by 10 points. There were less than nine minutes to play. And it was third-and-11.
If Meachem drops the ball or Brees air-mails it, the Saints are staring at a do-or-die fourth-and-11. A failed connection likely derails the rally.
Meachem, of course, hauled in Brees' back-shoulder bomb for a 29-yard gain to set up a field goal and kick-start the miraculous comeback.
Few quarterbacks have the confidence to try such a low-percentage throw.
And few teams have the audacity to tackle the thought of a 19-0 season. But that's where the Saints find themselves. Partly through design, partly through fortune and largely through talent and hard work, they are face to face with the opportunity of a lifetime. They didn't start the season with this in mind, yet here they are.
"This is definitely a great opportunity," running back Mike Bell said Monday. "We're not going to look ahead. If we just keep winning, history will take care of itself."
It's all there for the Saints. They are on the brink of something special, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Who knows if it will happen again.
Now is not the time to play it safe. Now's the time to go for it.
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|12-09-2009, 03:49 PM||#3|
Join Date: Sep 2006
Re: The New Orleans Saints should keep pedal to the metal
I don't even question it.
I suspect the players don't question it either: You go for 19-0 without hesitation.
Wonder why Payton is being so coy when asked about it? If he doesn't go all out for 19-0, he will badly regret it some day.
|12-10-2009, 06:51 AM||#4|
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Shreveport (Port City), La
Re: The New Orleans Saints should keep pedal to the metal
Originally Posted by bobadNO, he's NOT try'n to hide from it in any way at all. It's NO secret now, the SAINT'z are going for it all & SP is right in the mix. Yea, he say's one game at a time & YES that is the right aprouch. Wut he's say'n is we can only focus on one game at a time, but YES our ultimate goal is 19-0!!!
Like they say, who know's if we'll ever get this chance again. Not to mention, how special would it be to make our 1st Super Bowl be the 1st 19-0 Team all-In-one!!! Who Dat!!!
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