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Payton to be measured by postseason success

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; In a city famous for radical behavior, New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton has become a hero in part because he's so willing to defy convention. New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton appears to believe rest and health outweigh momentum ...

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Old 01-03-2010, 08:11 AM   #1
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In a city famous for radical behavior, New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton has become a hero in part because he's so willing to defy convention.

New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton appears to believe rest and health outweigh momentum and confidence heading into the postseason.
Since taking the reigns of the traditionally conservative New Orleans organization four years ago, Payton has adhered to a riverboat gambler mentality, especially as a play-caller, where he has gone for it on fourth down in his own territory and faked field goals and run reverses while nursing late leads.

So it's not surprising Payton chose the unorthodox route this week when he decided to sit quarterback Drew Brees and other key regulars today at Carolina.

At less than full force, the Saints are at risk of heading into the postseason on a three-game losing streak. Not exactly the way you want to enter the postseason in the NFC, where some of the other seeds have excelled down the stretch -- including:

Arizona, which has won two in a row, three of its past four and six of its past eight.
Dallas, which has won two in a row and four of six.
Green Bay, which routed Seattle 48-10 last week and has won six of its past seven.
And Philadelphia, which is the hottest team, having reeled off six consecutive wins.
There's also this inconvenient truth: No team has lost its final three games of the regular season and made it to the Super Bowl.
In this case, Payton appears to believe rest and health outweigh momentum and confidence. He liked how the team responded in practice and film study this week. If he sensed any lack of confidence, motivation or determination from his players, he wouldn't have adopted this strategy.

"I think this is a confident team, " he said. "We'll be ready when it comes time for the divisional round." Payton essentially is banking on the veteran leaders of his team. He's placing the season on their shoulders, entrusting them to practice and prepare properly for the second season.

New Orleans players said the team's practices Wednesday and Thursday were as spirited as they've ever seen. There was a tangible energy in the locker room all week.

If the Saints have lost confidence or motivation, it wasn't apparent to the naked eye. They continue to be convinced they have what it takes to be special.

To be special, though, they first must be healthy.
It's not coincidental they have been neither for most of the past month.
Their injured list for today's game against the Panthers includes nine starters and eight key reserves. While they admirably overcame the attrition to beat the New England Patriots, Washington Redskins and Atlanta Falcons, it caught up with them in recent weeks.

Without a healthy Pierre Thomas, Jeremy Shockey and Lance Moore in the lineup, New Orleans has struggled to convert third downs. It has led to an almost 19-minute disparity in time of possession in the Saints' two losses.
Without a healthy Jabari Greer, Randall Gay, Scott Shanle and -- until recently -- Tracy Porter, New Orleans has struggled to stop opposing passing attacks. Enemy quarterbacks have completed 68 percent of their passes for an average of 306 yards and an efficiency rating of 95.1 in the past four games.

All seven players should be close to 100 percent for the playoffs with more rest and rehab. Their health and availability for the divisional round far outweighs any concerns about "rust" or momentum.
"There are a lot of things that go into (playoff preparation), " Payton said. "The one thing we do know is a factor is injuries. We know that that is something that you have to be mindful of."

If Payton is willing to test the quantum theory of playoff momentum, he's not alone. Indianapolis Colts General Manager Bill Polian scoffs at the notion. He and the Colts' brain trust have elected to sit their regulars at every opportunity down the stretch of recent regular seasons.

Some believe it has contributed to the Colts' shaky playoff showings of late. Indianapolis has lost its first playoff game five times in the Peyton Manning era.

"The idea that you somehow lose momentum or that you get rusty has no basis in fact, none whatsoever, " Polian said Monday on his weekly radio show on 97.1 Hank FM in Indianapolis. "It's just a theory, and it is great to be spoken about and written about, but the facts say otherwise."
Payton similarly is rolling the dice.

Earlier this week, he correctly said: "Ultimately, this team will be measured on how we play in the postseason." So, too, will Payton. We'll know in a month or so if he's right.

Jeff Duncan can be reached at jduncan@timespicayune.com or 504.826.3404.

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Last edited by Sir Psycho Sexy; 01-03-2010 at 09:17 AM..
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Old 01-03-2010, 09:23 AM   #2
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Re: Payton to be measured by postseason success

I completely agree with this. It's what I've been blabbering on about for a week. Losing 2 games, one that should have been won easily, - then going from saying Carolina is a must win to "Well, Min loss so we will rest our guys." is a gamble.

If we play well SP will be a genius, if we're one and done, he's going to catch more heat than 07 and 08 combined.

Personally, I'd rather have momentum than rest, but I'm going to trust SP, WHO-DAT!
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Old 01-03-2010, 12:40 PM   #3
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Re: Payton to be measured by postseason success

100% right. Especially now
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Old 01-03-2010, 01:08 PM   #4
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Re: Payton to be measured by postseason success

as much as i dont want to be on a 3 game skid going ino the postseason. we're not going to play like we were early on without all of our starters back. so hope resting em and getting back 100% healthy works on our behalf. Who Dat Baby!
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