2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Saints 'not playing smart,' playoff chances fade

By GUERRY SMITH - Associated Press
    2012-12-10 18:50

METAIRIE, La. (AP) - Another mistake-filled loss has left the New Orleans Saints in a situation they've never dealt with since Drew Brees arrived in 2006 - playing for little more than pride in with three weeks still left in the regular season.

Although the 5-8 Saints aren't officially eliminated from the playoff race after falling 52-27 to the New York Giants on Sunday, they know it would take a miracle for them to have a postseason future. Four turnovers and horrendous kickoff coverage against the Giants essentially ended their final chance as they ran their turnover total to 11 in their last three games.

``In the National Football League you have to first keep from losing before you can ever win,'' assistant head coach Joe Vitt said Monday. ``Right now we're not playing very smart and we're not playing very disciplined, and it starts with me. I have to do a better job of making sure our team understands the critical factors that go into winning, and then we have to execute them on Sunday.''

The Saints missed the playoffs in 2007 and 2008, too, but this is the first time in seven years they won't be at least 7-7 after 14 games. Ten NFC teams have a better record than they do entering next Sunday's game with Tampa Bay in the Superdome. Instead of worrying about playoff seeding in the final three weeks, their only motivation is finishing .500 and ending on a positive note.

``We have a prideful group in this locker room,'' said running back Mark Ingram, the only player available for interviews on Monday. ``Our focus going forward is just getting better every single day and improving individually. We've had three straight losses. It would be nice to close the season with three straight wins.''

While Brees threw two more interceptions in the second half against the Giants - he had been picked off seven times in defeats to Atlanta and San Francisco the two previous weeks - the Saints also found two new ways to lose.

Their kickoff coverage, which had been among the NFL's best, allowed a franchise-worst 287 yards on six returns.

Giants rookie David Wilson returned the opening kickoff 58 yards to the New Orleans 44, then scored on a 97-yard return and ran one back 52 yards to the New Orleans 46 on his next two attempts. When Thomas Morstead began pooching his kicks in the second half, Jerrel Jernigan returned one 60 yards to the New Orleans 25.

Before Sunday, the longest kickoff return the Saints had allowed was 38 yards.

``If you're talking about kickoff coverage, lane integrity is the No. 1 thing and No. 2 is leverage,'' Vitt said. ``You have to leverage the football and not the blocker, and you have to make sure you're in the proper lanes and you can't piggyback one another. They broke down yesterday.''

Saints wide receiver Marques Colston and fullback Jed Collins fumbled after catches on consecutive first quarter possessions. Until then, New Orleans had not lost fumble on the road all year.

``We're pressing,'' Vitt said. ``We have to let it go and let it flow. Play hard, play smart and play together and do the things we do in practice every day.''

The litany of mistakes on offense and special teams gave the New Orleans defense almost no chance. The Giants started seven series inside Saints territory, including four from the 35 or closer.

Still, defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo said his group took a step back after playing better in the previous four weeks. He was particularly unhappy about a 2-minute drill at the end of the first half, when quarterback Eli Manning led a 69-yard touchdown drive that gave New York a 21-13 lead.

The Giants scored touchdowns four of the five times they got inside the New Orleans 20.

``We've had our struggles, but when other phases struggle we have to somehow find a way to rise up,'' Spagnuolo said. ``We have to make them kick field goals.''

After starting 0-4 without suspended coach Sean Payton, the Saints thought they had recovered from their bounty-related distractions when they climbed to 5-5. Three consecutive ugly losses to division-leading teams have proven them wrong.

``We knew we had a tough stretch ahead of us, but we knew we controlled our own (playoff) destiny at that point,'' Brees said Sunday. ``The most disappointing thing is just losing the way we have and doing some uncharacteristic things, doing all the things that get you beat.''

Notes: Vitt dismissed the idea of giving backups more playing time in the final three weeks, saying his goal was to win every game and he would put the most deserving players on the field. ... A year after setting the NFL offensive record for yards in a season, the Saints are still on pace to give up the most yards in NFL history, although the 394 yards they gave up to the Giants lowered their average to 436.9.

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Jalen SaundersAug 19 09:43a

New York Jets WR Jalen Saunders (undisclosed) is out indefinitely after suffering a 'medical event' that led to a one-car accident.

Mike EvansAug 19 09:37a

Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Mike Evans was named a starter, alongside WRs Vincent Jackson and Chris Owusu, by head coach Lovie Smith. Owusu will start in the slot.

Mike PattersonAug 19 09:23a

New York Giants DT Mike Patterson (shoulder) and TE Daniel Fells (knee) returned to practice in full Monday, Aug. 18.

Shonn GreeneAug 19 09:23a

Tennessee Titans RB Shonn Greene (knee) returned to practice Monday, Aug. 18. QB Charlie Whitehurst (finger) and OT Taylor Lewan (ankle) did not practice.

Odell Beckham Jr.Aug 19 09:13a

New York Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. (hamstring) caught a pass in 7-on-7 drills Monday, Aug. 18, and burst up the field. When he ran into a defender, he [ More ]

Ryan NassibAug 19 08:53a

New York Giants QB Ryan Nassib reclaimed the backup quarterback spot from QB Curtis Painter. Nassib was forced into the two-minute drill in the second preseason game and turned it into the game-winning drive.

David WilsonAug 19 05:23a

Former New York Giants RB David Wilson, who had to retire from the National Football League due to neck issues, is in training for the triple jump event at [ More ]

Blaine GabbertAug 19 04:53a

After another poor outing by San Francisco 49ers QB Blaine Gabbert, sources indicate there has been some talk about QB Josh X. Johnson being moved to the No. 2 slot behind QB Colin Kaepernick.

Johnny ManzielAug 19 12:03a

Cleveland Browns QB Brian Hoyer completed two of his six pass attempts for 16 yards during the team's preseason game Monday, Aug. 18, and QB Johnny Manziel completed seven [ More ]

Tyrann MathieuAug 18 11:33p

Arizona Cardinals CB Tyrann Mathieu (knee) will come off the Physically Unable to Perform list Tuesday, Aug. 19, and there is optimism that he will be ready for the team's season opener.

Tracy PorterAug 18 10:53p

Washington Redskins LB Robert Jackson (shoulder) and CB Tracy Porter (hamstring) left the team's preseason game Monday, Aug. 18. Jackson is questionable to return, and Porter is out for the game.

Cordy GlennAug 18 10:23p

Buffalo Bills OT Seantrel Henderson started at right tackle and OT Erik Pears started at right guard during practice Monday, Aug. 18, with OT Cordy Glenn (illness) returning from [ More ]

Darnell DockettAug 18 10:02p

Arizona Cardinals DT Darnell Dockett (knee) will need season-ending surgery after an MRI on his right knee Monday, Aug. 18, revealed a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

Darius ReynaudAug 18 09:52p

The Chicago Bears signed free-agent RB Darius Reynaud (Jets) and free-agent CB Peyton Thompson (Redskins) to one-year deals Monday, Aug. 18. In a corresponding move, the team waived LS [ More ]

Blake BortlesAug 18 08:53p

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles worked with the first-team offense for the first time during practice Monday, Aug. 18, taking three snaps in 11-on-11 drills.

Marquess WilsonAug 18 08:33p

Chicago Bears WR Marquess Wilson (collarbone) could be out until at least midseason after undergoing surgery to repair a broken collarbone, a person with knowledge of the injury said Monday, Aug. 18.

Sammy WatkinsAug 18 08:33p

Buffalo Bills WR Sammy Watkins (ribs) is day-to-day after tests confirmed that he suffered bruised ribs in the team's preseason game Saturday, Aug. 16, according to a person close to the situation.

Matt SchaubAug 18 07:53p

Oakland Raiders QB Matt Schaub will start the season-opener at the New York Jets. Despite a shaky start to his preseason, Schaub has the confidence of the coaching staff, [ More ]

Josh MorganAug 18 06:52p

Chicago Bears WR Josh Morgan will work as the No. 3 wide receiver during practice this week and could also fill that role during the third preseason game, according to head coach Marc Trestman.

Henry MeltonAug 18 06:43p

The Dallas Cowboys would like DT Henry Melton (groin) to play during the preseason because he missed the last 13 games of the 2013 season with a knee injury. [ More ]

Darnell DockettAug 18 06:33p

Arizona Cardinals DT Darnell Dockett (leg) was carted off the field during practice Monday, Aug. 18, after suffering an apparent leg injury.

Cordy GlennAug 18 06:22p

Buffalo Bills OT Cordy Glenn (illness) has been cleared to participate in team drills, according to head coach Doug Marrone. The team will see how he performs during practice [ More ]

Buster SkrineAug 18 05:43p

Cleveland Browns CB Buster Skrine (thumb) recently underwent surgery on his injured thumb. He is still slated to play Week 1 against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Richard QuinnAug 18 05:33p

The New Orleans Saints have released TE Richard Quinn from the Reserve/Retired list.

Korey LindseyAug 18 05:23p

The Dallas Cowboys placed Korey Lindsey (hand) on no-recall waivers from Reserve/Injured Monday, Aug. 18, with an injury settlement.

Brandon BostickAug 18 05:02p

Green Bay Packers TE Brandon Bostick (leg) will probably miss the remainder of the preseason and could miss the team's Week 1 game against the Seattle Seahawks. Bostick is not expected to need surgery.

Owen DanielsAug 18 04:53p

Baltimore Ravens TE Owen Daniels (legs) is being counted on to play Saturday, Aug. 23, against the Washington Redskins. Daniels is experiencing fatigue in his legs that should be [ More ]

Jimmy SmithAug 18 04:43p

Baltimore Ravens CB Jimmy Smith (chest) underwent an MRI that showed bruising and bleeding from his lungs, according to head coach John Harbaugh. Harbaugh said the injury isn't serious [ More ]

Ricky WagnerAug 18 04:33p

Baltimore Ravens OT Ricky Wagner has won the starting right tackle job, according to head coach John Harbaugh. Harbaugh said Wagner earned the job.

Doug WorthingtonAug 18 04:12p

The San Diego Chargers waived/injured DE Damik Scafe (undisclosed) and signed free-agent DE Doug Worthington (Redskins) to an undisclosed deal Monday, Aug. 18.

Pat McQuistanAug 18 04:03p

The Atlanta Falcons placed OT Sam Baker (knee) on Reserve/Injured with a torn patellar tendon and signed free-agent OT Pat McQuistan (Titans) to an undisclosed deal Monday, Aug. 18.

Jon BeasonAug 18 03:53p

New York Giants LB Jon Beason (foot), RB Peyton Hillis (hamstring), TE Kellen Davis (undisclosed), OT Charles Brown (shoulder), TE Xavier Grimble (hamstring), OT James Brewer (undisclosed) and CB [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group