Another story from Gus —
Saints fans are enjoying a very good Monday. The Black and Gold are coming off a convincing 48-22 win at Philadelphia. At his weekly post game-day press conference however, Saints head coach Sean Payton was far from putting his team in the Super Bowl already.
“It is what it is. We’ve played two games and there’s a ton of football left. Our focus has really got to be on improving, and correcting the mistakes, and the things that we have to do become a better team..”
Saints quarterback Drew Brees and the offense is getting a lot of the attention for the team’s 2-0 start, as they should be. 93 points is two games is almost video game like. The Saints defense however has forced seven turnovers in two games, four coming against the Eagle. “We felt like that was necessary to go on the road, to have a chance to win that game that we needed to win that battle and in our case we did,” says Payton.
It is hard to have a bad feeling about the Saints start, however there were some problems the team is looking to correct. “There’s a lot we still have to improve on, by no means was it the perfect game. There are a lot of things when you watch the tape that concerns you. We’re still looking to get better in a lot of areas,” Payton said. “We gave up the big play on defense we talked about that being something that we couldn’t do against this team. We gave up a big return on our coverage units and that was disappointing. Offensively we had a couple protection issues, and certainly the one turnover.”
Throughout his chat with the media, Payton regularly repeated the need to improve, touched on the importance of correcting mistakes, and noted the confidence he has that his team won’t read into the good start.
“I think they’re smart enough to understand how long the season is and really we jus talked about getting the corrections made today, let’s make sure we get the corrections and we put a couple of examples up there in front of these guys that can’t happen,” Payton said of the his morning meeting with the team. “A couple of examples of what we’re coaching and this is what we’re looking for. By days’ end you put closure on the game.”
SHARPER AND JENKINS CATCH COACH’S EYE
Safety Darren Sharper showed again why he was so coveted this past offseason in free agency. Sharper had a 97-yard interception return for a touchdown. “Well he’s smart. He’s a player that understands the scheme. Though he got his weight down this offseason, and came in in good shape,” Payton says of Sharper, and points out the player’s ability to quickly learn a new defensive scheme. “ He’s done a good job. He’s got three turnovers now in two games and is playing with a lot of confidence.”
Rookie Malcolm Jenkins impresses the coach as well. Jenkins had a key strip to open up the second half, leading to a Saints touchdown. “He’s had two big impact plays now two weeks in a row. Last week he chased down a kick return, made a tackle inside the ten, we ended up holding that series to a field goal, so that’s a four point play,” said Payton. “Then yesterday the caused fumble that results in a touchdown is a seven point play, so there’s 11 points that you’d look at specifically and say he’s accounted for in two games, that’s pretty significant.”
BELL HOPEFULL FOR SUNDAY
Saints running back Mike Bell scored a touchdown to go with 86 yards on 17 carries Sunday against the Eagles. Bell suffered an injury to his right knee late in the game however.
“He’s got a sprained MCL. The news on his knee was positive. I don’t want to put a time frame on it, I really won’t know that until Wednesday, but it’s a lot less severe than maybe we anticipated,” Payton said Monday morning. “I don’t know what that does for his status this week, but it’s only Monday right, again the doctors seem to feel pretty good about the nature of that injury.”
Bell in the locker room on Monday says that he is still hopeful he will be ready to play at Buffalo on Sunday.