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With playoffs in sight, New Orleans Saints looser, more focused

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Almost sounds like they are looking past the Rams to the re-match with the kittens. Loose and focused would probably be the best way to describe the mood of the New Orleans Saints' locker room these days. The players were ...

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Old 12-12-2013, 08:03 AM   #1
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With playoffs in sight, New Orleans Saints looser, more focused

Almost sounds like they are looking past the Rams to the re-match with the kittens.


Loose and focused would probably be the best way to describe the mood of the New Orleans Saints' locker room these days.

The players were in high spirits after practice Wednesday, playfully ribbing each other as they prepared for afternoon meetings.

And why not? Save for an "embarrassing" loss to the Seattle Seahawks, the blemishes on the schedule are few and far between.

With three weeks left to go in the regular season, the Saints (10-3) are almost exactly where they want to be.

Because of their loss to the Seahawks, the No. 1 seed is almost certainly out of the question. But the No. 2 seed is up for grabs, provided New Orleans has a strong finish in its last three games of the regular season -- starting Sunday at the St. Louis Rams, where a victory could clinch a playoff spot.

"We control our own destiny, which is a good position to be," said offensive tackle Zach Strief. "Obviously because of that, this is a huge game. ...

"To us right now, it's bigger than last week's game. It really is, because we need to win two to clinch that, and that's a big deal. Obviously you want to do that as quickly as possible. You don't want to let the Panthers back in."

Sports reporter Rachel Whittaker and Saints beat writer Larry Holder discuss the Rams' pass rush and the battle in the trenches in this Sunday's game in St. Louis, plus facts about the teams' history. Watch every weekday for your snapshot of all things New Orleans Saints.

That's a much better situation than at the same point last year, where even making the playoffs was almost mathematically impossible by Week 15.

According to Make NFL Playoffs, the Saints had approximately a .0005 chance of making the playoffs at the same point in 2012. This season, they're 99.5 percent certain to be playing in the postseason, and need to win only one of three games to clinch a playoff spot.

"This time last year, I think we were out," said linebacker Junior Galette. "It was like virtually impossible for us to get in."

It was around that time, following a 52-27 thrashing by the New York Giants, that interim coach Joe Vitt had to tell the team to relax. It was the final contest in a three-game losing streak where the Saints turned the ball over 11 times. "We've never been in the situation since we've been here in '06, where in the last three games, you are not vying for and playing for a playoff position," Vitt said at that time last season.

But this time around, the Saints aren't heading to practice every day with the weight of a lost season on their shoulders. And that makes for a more relaxed team.


"We were fighting for a playoff spot last year," Strief said. "Our playoff scenario was something like, we needed to win out, and this team to lose twice and this team to lose once."

Being free from those worries results in a trickle-down effect that aids their play. Generally speaking, a tension-free locker room tends to make for looser players.

"It's not as tight in the locker room. Guys are happy," Galette said. "It's not to say that guys aren't happy to come to work. You're happy to come to work. This is the job that a lot of people would love to do. But you can obviously tell that a lot of guys love to be around each other and they're embracing this moment.

"We're taking this one day at a time. We're just happy to be in the position we're in. This is what we worked for all offseason. ... We just want to finish and win this division."

However, the Saints have made it clear there's zero chance of losing focus. With the playoffs almost in reach, the goals are still there. If anything, they're even bigger now.

"Throw the records out the window," Brees said.

"We feel like we're going to be in the playoffs. That's not the focus right now," Strief said. "Our focus is seeding, getting a bye, getting a home game. That's important right now. And that's in our hands. ...

"I think there's just more confidence in the locker room this year. I think we're a better football team this year. I think that kind of goes hand and hand."

For quarterback Drew Brees, who has only eight interceptions compared to 18 at this point last season, the looser the better.

"We try to be loose and relaxed, yet focused at the same time, there's always a balance there," he said. "We just know how important these games are down the stretch, not only for the win-loss record and wanting to win the division down the stretch, but you want to play your best football at the end of the year going into the playoffs, because those are the teams that have the most success."

With playoffs in sight, New Orleans Saints looser, more focused | NOLA.com

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Old 12-12-2013, 09:36 AM   #2
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Re: With playoffs in sight, New Orleans Saints looser, more focused

I don't think they are looking past the Rams. Within 24 hours of the Panthers game, Drew was talking about how the Saints have lost before in St. Louis to a Rams team that had a bad record.
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Old 12-12-2013, 09:50 AM   #3
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Re: With playoffs in sight, New Orleans Saints looser, more focused

Rams arguably kept us from a Superbowl the last time we played...
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Old 12-12-2013, 10:48 AM   #4
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Re: With playoffs in sight, New Orleans Saints looser, more focused

what occurred in the past has no bearing whatsoever on this game.

the goats are going to get mauled.

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Old 12-12-2013, 05:30 PM   #5
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Re: With playoffs in sight, New Orleans Saints looser, more focused

Bring on the Slaughter of the Lambs. This time we destroy them.
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Old 12-13-2013, 09:28 PM   #6
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Re: With playoffs in sight, New Orleans Saints looser, more focused

Head butt the Rams.
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Old 12-13-2013, 09:38 PM   #7
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Re: With playoffs in sight, New Orleans Saints looser, more focused

Goin to the game sunday.. Im Gonna bring some of that who dat nation to that edwards jones dome... WHO DAT

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Old 12-14-2013, 02:04 AM   #8
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Re: With playoffs in sight, New Orleans Saints looser, more focused

"We control our own destiny, which is a good position to be," said offensive tackle Zach Strief. "Obviously because of that, this is a huge game. ...

"To us right now, it's bigger than last week's game. It really is, because we need to win two to clinch that, and that's a big deal. Obviously you want to do that as quickly as possible. You don't want to let the Panthers back in."


heads is screwed on right
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