Fans expecting to see the Saints offense light up the scoreboard this fall were disappointed Friday night when the first-teamers produced just three points on two drives, but with several new receivers in place, perfecting offensive flow takes time.
"I think we're progressing, we're progressing the way we want, but we gotta continue to improve no doubt," quarterback Drew Brees said.
"So much of efficiency in the passing game is trust and anticipation. So I've got to be able to trust those guys, and they have to trust me, as to where they're gonna be, when the ball's going to be there, I can anticipate that, and that usually leads to successful plays."
Head Coach Sean Payton added, "One of the points of emphasis was the alignment, (getting) in and out of the huddle on both sides quicker, being ready and being in position, (avoiding) where the ball's not getting snapped and we're not set or we have a receiver shuffling his feet at the last second getting set. Really in and out, up and down and then on and off. Those are things that I think that are areas we've got to be better at and we're working on."
Payton's return comes with a greater attention to detail, and the players fully welcome that structure.
"It's been good, it's been back to normal," tight end Jimmy Graham said. "He is yelling at me again, making sure that I am perfect on every play. (Being) a guy who is always working on constant skill development is very important. It just makes it easier when he is there able to correct things like that."
And as the offense continues to work on cleaning things up, there's also an added focus on converting those third and short situations.
"I would say that is definitely an area that we can improve upon, that one to two range," Brees said. "Typically we have been a very good third down team, but I would say maybe we have been a bit better in the third and long situations as opposed to maybe not as quite as good in the third and short situations."
"That is definitely an area of emphasis because you think, man, third and one or two, it's got to be a yard, you should get no matter if everybody in the stadium knows you are running the football, it is kind of a test of will at that point."
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