Metairie, La. - Less than 24 hours after their worst loss since 2007, the Saints got back to work reviewing film and looking ahead to the Buccaneers. Interim head coach Joe Vitt met with the media and the following is a copy of that session, as transcribed by the New Orleans Saints.
Opening Statement: "I just got done meeting with our football team. They are in film study now reviewing yesterday's film. What they've all taken away from this and what I've tried to point out today is that in the National Football League, you have to first keep from losing before you can ever win, because you have to be able to do the small things and the little things to be able to put yourself in a position to win, so when you go on the road and turn the ball over four times, that's not good. When you score a touchdown defensively like we did, that puts us in the 85 percentile of winning that game. On the next play when you have a special teams touchdown that now puts them in the 93rd percentile of winning the game. Yesterday for the first time since we've been here, they had 453 yards in hidden yards combined in the return game, penalty yards and yards from takeaways. You're talking 31 points with those 453 yards. Before we ever win a game we have to keep from losing. Right now we're not playing very smart. We're not playing very disciplined. It starts with me. I need to do a better job of making sure our football team understands the critical factors that go into winning on Sunday. We'll continue to do it. Are myself and them, disappointed? Certainly. Am I discouraged? No. We're going to do everything we can to be prepared this week."
Without waving a white flag do the last three games give the opportunity for the franchise to evaluate younger players?
"We're going to put those players on the field that number one, have earned the right to be on the field and then number two to give us the best chance to win football games. We'll continue to do that. That's what we've always done here. We feel like as a staff and organization we've given guys an opportunity to play and step up and do their job. But, we're going to do exactly what it takes to win football games."
Was blocking the problem on some of the kickoff returns?
"No, our lane integrity is the number one thing. If you're talking about kickoff and punt coverage, number one is lane integrity and number two is leverage. You have to leverage the football and not the blocker and you have to make sure you're in your proper lane."
Being new to the situation with playoff chances being slim with three games to go, what have the last 24 hours been like?
"It's not good. It's not pleasant. We've never been in the situation since we've been here in '06, where in the last three games, you are not vying for and playing for a playoff position. Right now we have nine practices left and three games left. Our players know under no uncertain circumstances what our goal is. Our goal is to win all three games. Our goal is to get better everyday in practice, because everyone is going to be held accountable for the way they prepare."
Is there any explanation for Jimmy Graham having more drops than usual?
"He has that wrist brace on now. I think it's tougher to cup the ball. Obviously we wanted him to make the catch in the opening play of the second half. It's plays he's made before. He's not the lone ranger. We all have to play better. We all have to coach better"
Are the 11 turnovers in the last three games one of the biggest problems?
"That's the number one critical factor that goes into winning football games, giveaway-takeaway ratio. Keep the ball away from your opponent and create field position for your offense. Give your offense more possessions. You can count it as 11. I can count it as 12, because we let the ball land on the two-yard line in Atlanta (possession), so it's 12. Our players are aware of that. Statistically we show it to them every week. It's very disappointing. I have to do a better job in getting the point across"
Do you have a sense of how much the turnovers are a loss of focus as opposed to trying to hard?