METAIRIE, La. — By now, the banner of Sean Payton glaring down at those looking at it in the New Orleans Saints’ indoor practice facility is well known.
The phrase which accompanies the banner, “Do Your Job,” has become the de facto motto for the team.
But according to interim head coach Aaron Kromer, not only were the players doing their jobs in the season opener, they were trying to do others’ jobs as well.
And that turned out to be a recipe for disaster.
“I think it was a collective effort of everyone,” Kromer said. “The biggest thing we came out of that game talking about is everybody do their own job. There were a lot of people trying to cover for other people it appeared watching the game live and watching it on tape.
“I think it’s a case where we just have to make sure we are doing our job, our particular job, and handle that and things will be fine.”
For much of the past six years, it could be argued that the Saints have gone into game week as one of the most prepared teams in the NFL.
New Orleans is 62-35 in the past six seasons, seventh-best in the league. Its 30-18 road record is third-best in the NFL over that period
Yet, it’s also arguable that Sunday’s disastrous result against a rookie-led Redskins team came about, at least partially, because of poor preparation.
To get back to what the Saints will recognize of themselves on tape they’ll attempt to head into Sunday’s game at NFC South rival Carolina more prepared.
“You focus on routine and the process throughout the week and then know and trust and have confidence in the fact that that’s going to prepare you go out, do your job, trust the guy next to you and play well,” Saints quarterback Drew Brees said.
According to linebacker Jonathan Casillas, the fact that the topic already has been broached in team meetings is a step in the right direction.
Not acknowledging, or even knowing, the problem is the biggest part of the troubles, he said.
“(Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo) gets the negative plays and makes us watch it as a group,” Casillas said. “He’ll point it out to the whole group. You know, this player, ‘We appreciate your effort, but it’s not the right thing. You’re not supposed to be doing that.’ And we all take it as a whole and we correct it.”
It’s also partially poise, which left tackle Jermon Bushrod hinted wasn’t there against Washington.
The stats bear that out – the Saints had 12 penalties for 107 yards, including three offensive false starts, a 12-men-on-the-field penalty and three offensive holding penalties. New Orleans also went 2 of 11 on third downs while only rushing the ball 10 times for 32 yards. Included in Brees’ 28 incompletions were four dropped passes.
“We’ve got to stay poised and we have to take a deep breath and go out there and play as 11 and trust the guys playing to our right and left,” Bushrod said.