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SmashMouth 11-12-2012 05:21 PM

New Orleans Saints have turned their season around
 
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The thought of the New Orleans Saints somehow pulling themselves out of the NFL cellar after the first four games of the season, seemed far-fetched and delusional at best.

A month into the season, there was little reason to expect the Saints, who were playing without their suspended head coach and their suspended interim coach, would vie for playoff contention.
But after Sunday's 31-27 victory over the previously unbeaten Atlanta Falcons, the Saints (4-5) at least have the opportunity to move back to .500 for the first time since Week 2. The Saints play at Oakland (3-6) on Sunday.

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"We started in such a hole that now that we're coming out of it and starting to dig our way out of it, we're starting to see some light," Saints cornerback Jabari Greer said Monday. "When we were 0-4, everything was doomsday. Nobody believed that we had what it took to become a good team. Everybody had written us off. There is a lot more football to be played, but I think we're becoming confident in our identity and play-calling and we're just growing together as a team and as professionals."

Saints left tackle Jermon Bushrod agreed.

"The way that we started out this season, for us to be in this position right now is hats off to our guys for not packing it in, for continuing to take this thing one day at a time, one week at a time, and continue to grind," Bushrod said. "We have an opportunity to go (to) .500 this coming week. That's really our focus. We're going to continue to take this thing one day at a time, keep grinding and see where we can go from there."

The Saints, winners of four of their past five games, have improved their play on offense and defense since the start of the season.

Although the defense continues to rank statistically among the worst units in NFL history, it has shown the ability in recent weeks to make big plays, including a 99-yard interception return for a score by Patrick Robinson last week against the Philadelphia Eagles and a fourth-down, goal-line breakup by Greer to secure Sunday's win.

Offensively, the Saints have added a semblance of a running game to what had been an explosive passing attack. Led by the fresh-legged Chris Ivory, who had a sensational 56-yard touchdown run against the Falcons, the Saints gained 148 yards on the ground Sunday, the second straight game in which they have rushed for at least 140 yards.

"We have a formula around here to win, and we've had one since '06," Saints interim coach Joe Vitt said Monday. "It changes on a yearly basis based on the personality of your football team. But this win that we had yesterday was a direct result of how hard this football team has worked from Day 1 when I wasn't here.

"This team has rolled their sleeves up, have weathered the storm, have stuck together, have not pointed fingers and have tried to get better everyday. The byproduct of yesterday's win has been this football team and this coaching staff's character, their ability to stick together and just work at the grind."

Bushrod said there was never any question within the organization that the Saints would figure out and correct their wrongs.

Although the Saints - at one point -- were in last place in the division and being discussed as one of the biggest disappointments in the league, Bushrod said the team continued to work hard.

Now it appears to be paying off.

"We had no choice but to turn it around," Bushrod said. "It's not a good feeling when you come into the locker room week-in and week-out and you don't win a game and you can't be joyful with your teammates the way you know how to be. And that's honestly what we all wanted, and when we got that first win it was like, 'We have got to get back here because it feels too good to win.' All that hard work you put in, you just want to see your team be successful. We're going to continue to take this thing one day at a time."

Meanwhile, the war of words continued between the Saints and Falcons after the hotly contested game.

Despite losing to New Orleans for the 11th time in 13 games since 2006, Atlanta's loquacious receiver Roddy White didn't give the Saints much credit after the Saints handed the Falcons (8-1) their first loss of the season.

"It's not like they came out here and won a game," White said. "I think we kind of gave it to them. We play them in three weeks, and we'll be ready."

Saints linebacker Scott Shanle, who was inactive for Sunday's game, said the Saints took exception to the Falcons' antics long before the outcome had been determined.

Shanle told Yahoo! Sports the Falcons began taunting linebacker Curtis Lofton, who signed with the Saints this offseason after spending the first four years of his career in Atlanta, in pre-game warm-ups.

Apparently the taunting got so out of hand, Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma approached the Falcons' coaching staff and let them know what he thought of their players' behavior.

"They were talking (expletive) to our guy Curtis Lofton," Shanle told the website. "I couldn't even understand them. They were just walking all over our drills trying to mess with him. Vilma went and told their coach it was classless, and they didn't even say anything. It set the tone for the day. It was classless, and they got what they deserved."

Saints cornerback Jabari Greer said the constant back and forth is simply a byproduct of playing in such heated rivalry games.

"It's just the nature of the game," Greer said. "We're very prideful people. This is a hot-tempered game and we realize they weren't going to give him flowers and buttercups. We play a game in which emotions can go crazy, but also, being professional, we have to make sure we maintain our poise and discipline and create the chaos between the lines. I think Curtis did a great job of maintaining his professionalism and going out there and playing lights out between the lines."

As for White's comments about Atlanta giving the game away to the Saints, Greer said he wasn't sure what White meant.

"It's not up to me to interpret what his sentence was," Greer said. "I believe we fought for it. I don't believe anything was given to us. But if they feel like it was given to us, we'll take it."

With the Saints and Falcons set to meet again on Nov. 29 at the Georgia Dome, the teams will get another chance to back up their words.

New Orleans Saints have turned their season around - New Orleans Saints Football NFL News - NOLA.com

mutineer10 11-12-2012 05:34 PM

Re: New Orleans Saints have turned their season around
 
Don't wanna get ahead of ourselves, but I hope this is the case. Still a lot of football left ...

Marlboro Man 11-12-2012 08:29 PM

Re: New Orleans Saints have turned their season around
 
Ok, that's it, I've got $10,000.00 for the guy that knocks Whi.......oh, wait,....nevermind.;)

pumpkindriver 11-12-2012 10:31 PM

Re: New Orleans Saints have turned their season around
 
I hear they have installed a drain in the middle of the field in Atlanta. For some reason every visiting team now thinks thats the men's room.

alexonfyre 11-12-2012 10:37 PM

Re: New Orleans Saints have turned their season around
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by pumpkindriver (Post 456713)
I hear they have installed a drain in the middle of the field in Atlanta. For some reason every visiting team now thinks thats the men's room.

Because people always pee on the field for some reason? I don't get it...

foreverfan 11-12-2012 11:20 PM

Re: New Orleans Saints have turned their season around
 
Slim chance... but a chance. Hardly a turnaround.... but 4-1 isn't bad. We need 11-1.

QBREES9 11-12-2012 11:55 PM

Re: New Orleans Saints have turned their season around
 
Things are looking up.

Halo 11-13-2012 12:58 AM

Re: New Orleans Saints have turned their season around
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by foreverfan (Post 456718)
Slim chance... but a chance. Hardly a turnaround.... but 4-1 isn't bad. We need 11-1.

BAH!

At 0-4 I didn't even want to watch the games anymore. Now my Sundays are for more than getting drunk.......wait.......still getting drunk!

halloween 65 11-13-2012 08:57 AM

Re: New Orleans Saints have turned their season around
 
Got a long way to go, but possible. Defense has to do their job each and every game.

Jamessr 11-13-2012 08:59 AM

Re: New Orleans Saints have turned their season around
 
I'd love for the Saints to win it all this year... However I'm just as happy being the turd in Atlanta's punch bowl too...


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