METAIRIE, La. – No one inside New Orleans’ locker room Monday claimed to have answers to the Saints’ woes.
But running back Pierre Thomas had at least one idea on how to change what already has happened.
“We’ve got to start over,” Thomas said. “Plain and simple, we’ve got to start over.”
He went on.
“It’s just forgetting about everything, forgetting about the past few games,” Thomas said. “Just move forward. Find out what we have to do correct, whatever it is that we have to correct in our system. We have to look at what’s wrong with our system and correct that.”
There’s plenty to look at, even if just from Sunday’s 27-24 overtime loss to Kansas City.
New Orleans gave up 510 total yards on 92 plays. The defense allowed a 91-yard touchdown run and another 40-yard dash.
The offense failed to gain a first down in the fourth quarter and overtime and was held to minus-16 yards over the final 26 minutes, 49 seconds of the game.
And, maybe the biggest bugaboo is the 18-point second-half lead the Saints gave up at home in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, a venue the team went 9-0, including the playoffs, a season ago.
“Like I said, we were up in this game,” right guard Jahri Evans said. “We didn’t put the cruise control button on. We were still aggressive and we were still trying to do some aggressive things. We just didn’t execute. It just didn’t work out and why it didn’t work out I don’t know.”
With Monday night’s game between Green Bay and Seattle still to go, the Saints rank last in the NFL in total defense and 10th in total offense.
While the Saints have allowed fewer points each week, they’ve also scored fewer points each subsequent week. And they’ve given up more yards each game than the week before.
Meanwhile, quarterback Drew Brees’ efficiency is down, in part because he has less time than ever to scan the field and throw the ball. Already he has been sacked seven times, nearly a third of the total through 16 games a season ago.
“It’s frustrating because as an o-line we pride ourselves on giving Drew time and getting the run game established,” center Brian de la Puente said. “And to not have success, whatever it may be, I don’t know what it is right now.”
Right tackle Zach Strief took much of the blame on Sunday for the loss and, after reviewing video of the game, interim head coach Aaron Kromer said the lineman didn’t play one of his better games.
But to an extent, Kromer said, Strief was taking on too much responsibility.
“He can in no way, shape or form blame himself totally, but I get it,” Kromer said. “He fell on the sword for the team because that’s the type of guy he is.”
Three games into the season, New Orleans is in a position it rarely has been since 2006.
When asked if the interim coaching job was tougher than he expected, Kromer didn’t answer the question directly, instead explaining what he told the players about how they can respond.
“The toughest people in the world and the most successful take on a challenge and look forward to a challenge,” Kromer said. “That’s what we’re going to do and what we’re looking at. We’re looking forward to the challenge we have ahead of us. We’re 0-3 and nothing can erase that.”
The challenge continues for New Orleans on Sunday, when the Saints travel to Green Bay for a 3:25 p.m. game at Lambeau Field.
Kromer, for one, isn’t chalking the game up as an automatic loss.
“If you look around the league and automatically take wins and losses for granted, then all these things that have happened the last couple of weeks to teams wouldn’t have happened,” Kromer said. “So who is to say that we don’t have a chance in Green Bay? I refuse to say that. I really think that we will go up there and have a good effort.”