METAIRIE, La. ― For much of this season, Drew Brees has spoken of a play here or a play there standing in the way of the Saints being undefeated instead of sitting at 4-3 nearly midway through the season.
And the longer the inconsistency continues, the more the question must asked about denying the reality of the situation.
But ask those inside the Saints’ Airline Drive facility locker room and they say there’s no way this team can be denying the reality of the situation.
“The old cliché a film never lies is true,” Saints safety Pierson Prioleau said. “You’ve got to compare your play with (reality).”
Indeed, the Saints see their mistakes each Monday during film review and after a four-turnover performance that included three successful trick plays, there plenty to see.
“It’s a fine line between remaining calm and not paying attention to the details of the situation we’re in,” Prioleau said. “What you want to do is realize where we’re making mistakes.”
It’s the details that might be the biggest difference between 2009 and ’10.
That falls on many players, including Brees, who is the only player to touch the ball on every offensive play other than the center. Brees has eight interceptions in the past three games and 10 through seven games. He had 11 interceptions all of ’09 and three of them this season have been returned for touchdowns.
Yet, it’s more than the turnovers. The Saints are one of the least penalized teams in the NFL with 38 this season. But it’s when the penalties are occurring that is holding the Saints back.
“It’s a part of what can keep you from winning,” Head Coach Sean Payton said. “In yesterday’s game clearly, there were a number of plays that were results of penalties that were costly to us. That gets back to that attention to detail. We’ve been inconsistent in that regards.”
The coaching staff, up to now, has tried to find ways to get the team’s attention. Just one example would be the amount of fines the club has issued player, which, according to left guard Carl Nicks, has risen this season over last. What can get fined? Being late to a meeting or workout.
When posed with the question asking him whether the discipline can be turned on like with the snap of a finger, Nicks said he “doesn’t really know.”
“I don’t know if it’s something you can just turn on and off,” Nicks said. “Maybe we have lost sight of it a little bit or maybe it has just faded into blackness a little bit. We just need to bring the light out and expose it a little bit.”
But it gets back to the players focusing on reality and not dismissing a pattern or trend and like Prioleau said, as long as there’s film of this year’s games, this team won’t be stuck in denial.
“We see the games just like (Payton) sees the games and just like the fans see the games,” Nicks said. “We know what we need to do. There’s no need for fire and brimstone, period.”