The message was clear Wednesday at the New Orleans Saints training facility. A 0-2 start stinks and the team hasn’t played the way they are capable of playing. There is nothing they can do about the losses to Washington and Carolina however and the best medicine for an ailing football team is to get a win.
One gets the sense in the Saints locker room that you can try and put the past behind you but being reminded that your winless still stings.
“It’s reality. Sometimes it hits harder than others but it is what it is right now. We have exactly what we deserve the way we played the first two weeks,” said Saints safety Roman Harper when asked about the 0-2 start. “We really haven’t deserved to win any games no matter how close it is in the end or how good we can try to make it. We haven’t played well enough to win the game and we understand that and because of that we have to improve. We have nowhere to go but up.”
Harper is right about that as the Saints defensively are ranked dead last in team defense. 922 yards and 75 points in two games will do that.
Despite those numbers, several defensive players Wednesday said there was improvement between the Washington and Carolina game. The breakdowns they feel aren’t about being familiar with defensive coordinator Steve Spaguolo’s system but more about just not executing. “I wouldn’t say beating our heads against the wall, I would say more it’s like shooting ourselves in the foot,” Saints linebacker Curtis Lofton said. “I’m not going to let coach Spags take the bullet. It’s on us as players to go out there and we got to execute.”
“We’re just not far off.,” adds Harper who hinted that a few wrinkles are being worked on this week to try and help things out. “We cut down a lot of mistakes mental wise that we had in that first game and now defensively we just got to improve on some little areas, some different fits things like that and I think it will be better this week as we continue to improve.”
“It was a good practice today, we played fast. Guys are into it,” said interim head coach Aaron Kromer of Wednesday’s work. “They realize that we are playing one game at a time and it’s all focus on just this week.”
Wednesday a pair of Saints missed practice. There were defensive end Turk McBride (ankle) and LB Jonathan Casillas (knee). Wide receiver Marques Colston was limited as he continues to deal with a foot injury.
Colston hasn’t looked himself in the games he has played while hauling in seven receptions for 120 yards. “I know he has been battling that and it’s been frustrating for him,” Brees said of Colston playing through the injury. “He’s continuing to do everything he needs to do to be full go and be his best. So I’m very confident he’ll be there very soon.”
Brees found himself on the injury list but says is okay from having his ankle rolled on in Sunday’s game. Safety Roman Harper (wrist), cornerback Johnny Patrick (thigh) all were listed as having fully participated in practice.
DEVERY READY TO GO
Wide receiver Devery Henderson was also listed as fully participating at practice. “I’m good. Had a good practice today,” Henderson told a large group of reporters.
Henderson suffered a concussion in the first half against Washington. “Initially I thought I was fine. I didn’t really have any type of symptoms or anything immediately after but just to be on the safe side with what did happen it was best I come out of the game,” Henderson recalled of the hit that injured him.
Henderson has been a topic amongst the fans and media this week in terms of how his presence on the field helps the Saints offense. Henderson is the team’s deep threat and helps stretch defenses with his speed.
“He can do everything,” Brees said when asked about what it meant to have Henderson back in action.” He can do the downfield stuff, the intermediate stuff, the short stuff. He’s’ a great blocker in the run game. He can stretch the field. He’s obviously involved in a lot of our game plan, so it’s great to have him back.”
“I hope me being back helps the team as much as it can,” Henderson says. “I’m going to go out there and just try to do what I do and play hard and play fast.”
The team held out Henderson last Sunday at Carolina making it the first time in six years that the former LSU wide out would not play in a game. “It was hard. It was even hard just watching practice. The part of me not being involved and wanting to be involved you know was tough,” said Henderson.
MAN IN THE MIRROR
Head coach Sean Payton has at time used physical motivation in the locker room to get a point across. It has come in the form of opposing team quotes or pictures that get hung on player’s lockers.
A bit of Payton was seen today inside the locker room as players arrived to find that a small round mirror was fixed to their lockers, about face height. The move could stem from Monday’s comments made by Saints defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, who mentioned that during difficult times “that you look in the mirror first” to see how you can fix things rather than point fingers elsewhere.
“You don’t want guys looking around trying to say ‘hey who’s screwing up? Who’s not playing well enough?’ Everyone in here can get better,” said Saints tackle Zack Strief of the mirror message. “It’s easy in the meeting to think that but maybe Thursday afternoon after practice you’re not thinking about it. Until you walk in and you see mirror after mirror after mirror after mirror and you say ‘hey what can I do? I got an extra ten minutes. Let’s get an extra ten minutes, let’s get a little more film in this week. Let’s keep trying to get better and hopefully that improvement as a team translates in a wins.”
The Saints will continue to practice on Thursday and Friday as they prepare for Sunday’s game against 0-2 Kansas City in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome at noon.