METAIRIE, La. – By now, it’s fairly well-known for those who follow the New Orleans Saints that 88 percent of teams starting off the season 0-2 since 1990 don’t make the postseason.
For the players, it’s likely that if they didn’t know it before, they’ll know it by the end of the week as they prepare for Sunday’s interconference game against the Kansas City Chiefs at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Hearing that statistic over and over and over and, yes, over again might actually not be such a bad thing, linebacker Scott Shanle surmised.
“I know the statistics don’t stack up well for teams that are 0-2,” Shanle said. “But at the same time, we’ve done a lot of things around here that have never been done before. I think if there’s one thing this team does is it rises to challenges.
“When people tell us we can’t do something or that the percentages are against us, we respond in a big way. I’m hoping with the guys we have on this team will do the same thing.”
For the first time since 2007, New Orleans is 0-2 and sits as the only NFC team without a win heading into its Week 3 contest.
The road will be treacherous for the Saints. Though early, the schedule is one of the tougher ones, the combined record of the remaining 13 opponents being 14-10. In the NFC South, it’s the toughest remaining schedule.
Eighteen previous seasons New Orleans has begun 0-2 and only twice has it finished better than .500. But the Saints also are one of the 12 percent of teams have managed the task of getting to the playoffs after the 0-2 start, finishing 8-8 in 1990 and reaching the Wild Card round.
Three teams have started the season 0-2 and won Super Bowls – Dallas in 1993, New England in 2001 and the New York Giants in 2007.
On Monday, a day after their second eight-point loss in as many games, interim head coach Aaron Kromer pitched that fact to his players, submitting the fact that their first-year defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo held the same position with that Giants team.
And yet, the Saints continue to talk about sticking to their own plan, closing ranks and focusing on practicing their way.
“I think what you look at is, in the past what’s worked for us when you’ve had adversity is to close the doors, circle the wagons, come closer together and say, we have to work our way out of it,” right tackle Zach Strief said. “And it’s the only way that we’ve ever been taught here to react to stuff like this is work harder.
“This is the time for everybody to look in the mirror and say, what can I do, and what can I do to get better, because pointing fingers and trying to figure out why is not our job.”
In other words, the team isn’t throwing in the towel just yet. They’re taking the long view, hoping they can, once more, defy odds and do what few expect them to be able to do.
“It’ll make for a great story,” receiver Lance Moore said. “We’ve had things stacked against us but that’s no excuse. We have to go out there and win games. It stinks now but hopefully it’ll be sweet in the end.”