Saints and Eagles are similar teams in distress



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 head coach Andy Reid.
  • Photo by Drew Hallowell / Philadelphia Eagles
  • Philadelphia head coach Andy Reid.

That challenge comes in the form of the (3-4) Philadelphia Eagles who come into with quite a bit of turmoil themselves. Head coach Andy Reid fired his defensive coordinator earlier in the season, has talked about benching quarterback Michael Vick and is on the proverbial hot seat in terms of his losing job. A three game losing streak doesn’t help either. “I don’t even go there,” Eagles head coach Andy Reid told New Orleans reporters Thursday. “What I try to do is I try to control the things that I can control and that is trying to get my football team better.”

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.”

Eagles QB Michael Vick has struggled this season fumbling nine times and throwing eight interceptions to just nine touchdowns.

Did you notice most of Vitt’s comments about why the Eagles are good was based on the talent Philly has on offense? A scary thought considering the Saints defense enters Monday night’s game still ranked dead last in overall defense and haven given up a total of 3,323 yards of offense to opponents.

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.”

Saints assistant head coach Joe Vitt says he knows the defense is not playing well but there are only so many things that can be done to correct it.

It is also at the point of the season where drastic changes in scheme can’t happen. “If you have dramatic changes and you have an eratical change, that’s when panic sets in,” explains Vitt. “ All of a sudden you’re going to create a scheme that you have not worked on in OTAs, that you have not worked on in training camp, and all of a sudden all of the things that looked good in OTAs and looked good in training camp all of a sudden start to look bad right now. If you put that panic in, the players can smell the house burning before the match is ever lit.”


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.


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