METAIRIE, La. — It could have been the giant placards meant to make audibles easier for the Saints skill position players.
Or maybe the ear plugs to dampen the overly vociferous 12th man at CenturyLink Field.
It also could have been the Encyclopedia Britannica that is Rob Ryan’s defensive playbook.
Whatever it was, it didn’t work the last time the Saints played in Seattle.
Saturday, New Orleans (12-5) gets its second shot in six weeks at the Seahawks, the team that went 7-1 at home, 13-3 overall and earned the NFC’s No. 1 seed for the playoffs.
And this time, the Saints know one thing that might make a difference.
“You’ve got to kind of limit the play-calling,” linebacker Junior Galette said. “I felt like we had a lot going in. Kind of limit it so we can play fast and that’s what (defensive coordinator Rob Ryan) is doing.”
So, you mean simplify, Junior?
“Exactly,” he said.
Still, with some rain and heavy winds to possibly contend with in a stadium meant to distract the visiting team, there’s another chance to over think the situation.
Fullback Jed Collins doesn’t think it’ll happen.
“It’s supposed to be wind and rain and we kind of went into it last time expecting wind and rain,” he said. “We’ll simplify it and simply put, you’ve got to do what you got to do to get the win.”
When they played Dec. 2 in the same stadium, the Saints allowed 429 yards to the Seahawks, the second-most yards allowed this season. Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson had three touchdown passes, no interceptions and led the Seahawks with 47 rushing yards.
Meanwhile, the offense couldn’t get out of its own way, recording just 188 total yards, the fewest in the Sean Payton Era and least since 2003. The seven points matched a low under Payton, as well.
Then again, Payton has once again reached deep into his bag of motivational tricks. A week ago it was Popeye’s chicken before boarding their flight to Philadelphia, changing the Gatorade to green and getting new sweat suits.
This week, he painted the midfield of all three Saints practice fields with the Seahawks’ logo.
In the end, though, it won’t be about simplifying or gimmicks.
“At the end of the day, you don’t win games with earpieces,” right guard Jahri Evans said. “You win games by putting your hand in the dirt, hitting somebody in the mouth and playing behind your pads and that’s what we plan on doing.”