The New Orleans Saints returned to work on Thursday following a pair of days off thanks to the extended schedule due to their upcoming game on Monday night. It’s the first time the team got back on a field after an ugly 34-14 loss that left Saints players puzzled after the game.
“We had a great team win at home against San Diego on a Sunday night. (We had) an even better team win after the bye week going to Tampa,” Saints quarterback Drew Brees said reflecting on how the Broncos performance came out of nowhere. “a couple of really good performances as a team and then arguably probably our worst performance of the year at Denver, so it’s really one of those weeks that says how are you going to respond and how are you going to choose to respond to this challenge.”
Philadelphia quarterback Michael Vick has had a rocky season throwing only nine touchdowns and eight interceptions. Alarmingly Vick has fumbled the ball in five of the team’s seven games for a total of nine times this season. “I feel like things could be a lot better,” Vick told local reporters Thursday. “I think not only myself but everybody on this team feels like there is more that they can do to help put us in position to be satisfied with our record. In this game, you just have to keep pushing and try to keep getting better every week.”
Despite the troubles taking place in the north east, in Metairie the Saints are preparing for a team they believe has lots of talent. “We’re getting ready defensively for an explosive and talented offensive unit,” said assistant head coach Joe Vitt following practice. “They’re got speed at the wide receivers, they’ve got a play at quarterback that can extend a down, and they’ve got an elite running back. So they have what we call a lot of reds on their team, Pro Bowl type players.”
So how do you try and stop the bleeding? By being more balanced on offense of course. “There have been, quite frankly, a lot of times around here since ’06 that we have struggled some defensively,” says Vitt of the obvious struggle. “When those things occur, Sean (Payton) works as hard as he can to win the time of possession, to have a good mix on offense, Pete (Carmichael) is doing the same thing, and really we’re going to try to learn and we are going to learn as best we can from the past, but this is a new week with a new opponent.”
Vitt continued, “This Philadelphia Eagles offense has speed on demand, they’re going to push the ball down the field, it’s a big play offense with a quarterback that can extend any down and be explosive on any down and distance. The best thing that we can do defensively is know who our opponent is, know what they do best and understand where it’s coming from.”
Only two Saints players missed practice on Thursday. Running back Darren Sproles (hand) and wide receiver Courtney Roby (shoulder). Roby was injured on that 3rd and 2 play in the second quarter while making a diving attempt at a catch.
A very good sign was that linebacker David Hawthorne (hamstring) and wide receiver Joe Morgan were listed as fully participating after both players missed Sunday’s game in Denver. Morgan missed his first game of the season while Hawthorne missed his fourth game of the year.
The team did make a roster move today in waiving tight end Daniel Graham and resigning receiver Greg Camarillo back to the roster.