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Halo 12-22-2009 09:27 AM

New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees: First loss 'a hurdle that we have to overcome'
 
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There was still plenty of optimism and determination at New Orleans Saints camp, as the Saints promised to move on after Saturday's 24-17 setback to the Dallas Cowboys in the Superdome - maybe even to benefit from it.

At the same time, there was plenty of disappointment, too, even some sadness now that the dream of a perfect season has been dashed.


More than any emotion, though, was a sense of unfamiliarity from a team that hasn't been in this position for nearly 12 full months.


"It's been that long since we felt a loss, which is a good thing. But then again you've got to be able to respond after something like that," said Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who was openly excited about the prospect of becoming the first 19-0 team in NFL history.


"There's an adjustment. A little bit of maybe a hurdle that we have to overcome I think, just psychologically," Brees said. "Because it is very disappointing, and everybody around here I think naturally yesterday and today is still a little sour over that. It still stings. But the fact is, you've got to rebound, just like you do every week.


"The fact is, we're still very much in position to achieve our ultimate goals. The goal of going 16-0 or winning every game was not on our goal sheet as a team, but securing a division championship was, a first-round bye was, the first seed was, and a world championship is.


"All those things are still very much in front of us."


Indeed, the Saints (13-1) are still sitting pretty with two weeks remaining in the regular season.


Thanks to another loss by the Minnesota Vikings (11-3) on Sunday night - a "gift," according to Saints center Jonathan Goodwin, that helped take the "sting" off Saturday's loss - the Saints now just need one more victory to secure the No. 1 seed in the NFC and the home-field advantage that comes with it.


They can wrap that up with a victory Sunday in the Superdome over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-12). Then they could have the luxury of resting their starters in Week 17 at Carolina if they so choose.


Of greater concern, though, is whether or not the Saints can recapture the momentum that carried them through the first three months of the season.
Their loss to the Cowboys was disturbing, not just because it tainted their perfect record, but because they played so poorly in so many areas.


And it came on the heels of two shaky victories over Washington and Atlanta that began to expose some cracks in the Saints' armor.


"We're 13-1 right now," Saints Coach Sean Payton said when asked if he believes the Saints have lost any momentum. "I think the most important thing is focusing on securing the one seed. That's what we have to do right now, and obviously we have to look closely at the things that hurt us in a loss like that.


"The big plays, special teams, offensively. Really we have to look at all those areas and look to try to improve like we talk about improving week to week. And I think we'll have our focus. Obviously it hurts to lose a game, but we'll respond to it."


Neither Payton nor Brees would lump the last three weeks together, saying that the two victories at Washington and Atlanta were confidence-boosters, not confidence-shakers, because the Saints were able to pull them out in the end.


"I don't think you're going to win in this league by 14 or 21 points every week," Payton said. "(But) you do want to pay attention to what you're doing well and what you're not doing well, and there's some things we have to get better at."


Most of the Saints' recurring problems have been on defense, where they've been giving up too many big running plays for nearly two months and too many deep passing plays for the past three weeks.


Ideally, though, the Saints' defense will be stronger come playoff time when cornerbacks Jabari Greer, Tracy Porter and Randall Gay, defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis and linebacker Scott Fujita should all be healthy.


The offense was a disaster, too, on Saturday night, with the Cowboys providing constant pressure up front, the Saints failing to convert any third downs until the final minute, and Brees and his receivers failing to connect on several occasions.


But that clearly has not been a recurring problem for New Orleans, who still lead the NFL in total offense (419.6 yards per game) and scoring (34.5 points per game) by wide margins.


And as Brees pointed out, they're still tied for fourth in third-down efficiency at 46.2 percent.


"It's something we're very good at. We just had a game where it just didn't happen for us," Brees said. "It just seemed like in this game, all the things that could have gone wrong went wrong. All the mistakes just kind of added up. Plus we were playing a good team, and a team that absolutely needed a win.


"But it's nothing that can't be corrected."


Brees said the Saints' confidence is still as high as it's been all season. He pointed out that when Cowboys kicker Nick Folk shanked his 24-yard field goal attempt that would have clinched the game in the fourth quarter, "everybody on our sideline" thought the Saints would come back and win the game."


Maybe the Saints lost some of the air of "invincibility," Brees admitted. But maybe, he said, it's a good thing that they know they aren't destined to win games when they don't play well enough.


"I think what we all realize is that all the things that we've not been our best at, kind of have caught up to us now," Brees said. "Whereas you like to say that, 'Hey, even in a win, we're going to go in and we're going to correct all this mistakes,' you know, winning seems to cover a lot of things up.


"And not to say that we're not paying attention to details and that kind of thing when we're winning, but when you lose, that's when you really realize, 'Hey, this stuff will get you beat, unless you fix it.'"


LINKBACK: NOLA.COM

Saint_LB 12-22-2009 09:31 AM

Re: New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees: First loss 'a hurdle that we have to overcome'
 
Cliche #1..."It's not a sprint...it's a marathon."

#2..."It's not how you start, it's how you finish."

Anyway...in giving perspective, I recall the 2007 season while I was following Eli's march to the SB. Somewhere during that season the Giants lost to the Browns, who were then and maybe still are the worst team in football.

Halo 12-22-2009 09:35 AM

Re: New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees: First loss 'a hurdle that we have to overcome'
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Saint_LB (Post 186417)
Cliche #1..."It's not a sprint...it's a marathon."

#2..."It's not how you start, it's how you finish."

Anyway...in giving perspective, I recall the 2007 season while I was following Eli's march to the SB. Somewhere during that season the Giants lost to the Browns, who were then and maybe still are the worst team in football.

Agree. I think the real cliche' that's more than a cliche' is "Any given sunday..."

Saint_LB 12-22-2009 09:38 AM

Re: New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees: First loss 'a hurdle that we have to overcome'
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Halo (Post 186419)
Agree. I think the real cliche' that's more than a cliche' is "Any given sunday..."

True dat!

Saint_LB 12-22-2009 09:42 AM

Re: New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees: First loss 'a hurdle that we have to overcome'
 
Personally, the loss does not phase me hardly at all. A perfect season would have been nice, but if the pressure that comes with that could cause us to falter at the worst possible time, then I'm glad that the pressure of that is gone.

Now...Payton can get on with the real goal of the season, which is bringing a Lombardi to a location it's never visited...the "Big Easy." He can start resting players and preparing them for what, IMO, the season is all about. The regular season is about getting to the playoffs and the playoffs is about getting to the big dance...and then all you have to do is win one game. :)

Papa Voodoo 12-22-2009 10:17 AM

Re: New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees: First loss 'a hurdle that we have to overcome'
 
News to Brees and Payton: We don't give a sh** about going undefeated. We are here for the ring.

saintsfan1976 12-22-2009 10:40 AM

Re: New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees: First loss 'a hurdle that we have to overcome'
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Saint_LB (Post 186421)
Personally, the loss does not phase me hardly at all. A perfect season would have been nice, but if the pressure that comes with that could cause us to falter at the worst possible time, then I'm glad that the pressure of that is gone.

Now...Payton can get on with the real goal of the season, which is bringing a Lombardi to a location it's never visited...the "Big Easy." He can start resting players and preparing them for what, IMO, the season is all about. The regular season is about getting to the playoffs and the playoffs is about getting to the big dance...and then all you have to do is win one game. :)

Right on!!

jnormand 12-22-2009 11:56 AM

Re: New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees: First loss 'a hurdle that we have to overcome'
 
It would have been nice to go undefeated but it's really not the ultimate goal. 16-0 is remarkable, but it doesn't mean much when you lose in the playoffs or the SB.

Lets just say we go to the SB this year, how many of fans are going to ***** because the Saints went 15-1 in the reg season? Are you kidding me? 15-1 or 14-2 is still fantastic and the big game is the one that matters most.

Still a great season, still got a lot of fun left. And it is my true belief that we are going to play the Cowboys in the PO's and this team is not going to forget that loss. If this team is anything, it's prideful and pride turns to pissed off when it gets kicked.

saintfan 12-22-2009 12:56 PM

Re: New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees: First loss 'a hurdle that we have to overcome'
 
I don't care about going undefeated either, but, like most here I'm sure, the closer they got to it the more I was pulling for them to get it. It would have been nice, but at the end of the day, the division, the bye, and home field were the goals. One more win guys. Go get it!

RealDeal37 12-23-2009 07:53 AM

Re: New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees: First loss 'a hurdle that we have to overcome'
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Saint_LB (Post 186421)
Personally, the loss does not phase me hardly at all. A perfect season would have been nice, but if the pressure that comes with that could cause us to falter at the worst possible time, then I'm glad that the pressure of that is gone.

Now...Payton can get on with the real goal of the season, which is bringing a Lombardi to a location it's never visited...the "Big Easy." He can start resting players and preparing them for what, IMO, the season is all about. The regular season is about getting to the playoffs and the playoffs is about getting to the big dance...and then all you have to do is win one game. :)

EXACTLY... So many folk's over look that & were grasp'n the whole 19-0 thing way too much. It would have been nice, but i feel as though it was all far too much for the Saints to grasp all at once. See'n as they have nevver been in that situation before!!!

They will be fine though, it was a wakeup call & it could'nt have happened in a better time then now!!!

We WILL be STRONG in the post season & the whole NFL know's that. Thats why they are'nt talk'n down on us & down grading us in any way!!!

Think about it & so many anylast have been say'mn this week also... Saints have accomplished so much and more in this one season than alot of teams have done in there teams entire carrer's!!!

That say's alot!!!


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