WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, WV (WVUE) - Self awareness. It's a truly underrated quality in this day and age. Far too many among us just don't understand who they truly are. Thankfully, the 2016 New Orleans Saints do.
They are well-aware that they are a team coming off back-to-back 7-9 seasons. They are well aware that it can't happen again. They are well aware that the pressure is on get things fixed in a hurry.
It's a different kind of pressure. Unless the bottom completely falls out on this season, it's hard to imagine Sean Payton getting fired. He just signed a brand new extension to stay around. This is more of a pressure of legacy. There was a time where the Saints were the 'it' team of the NFL. Lately, they've become a team that barely moves the needle outside of New Orleans. A team that was once red-hot has barely been lukewarm recently.
They want the fire to return.They need it to return now. Every team preaches a sense of urgency but my biggest takeaway from Wednesday's press conference is that the Saints truly want to live it.
"We haven't had the success the success the last two years that we've grown accustomed too or expected so that does create more urgency," General Manager Mickey Loomis said in a very direct tone. "It creates a sense of 'hey we have to do something a little different here.'"
Translation: we got off track the last two years. Now we MUST get back on. And to do that, winning has to become everyone's obsession again. It's important to win drills, win practice, win early in the season. According to Sean Payton, it's even important to win in the preseason.
"I know it's a preseason game but it's going to be important for us to win those as well," Payton told reporters.
In all my years of covering the Saints and football in general, I don't think I've ever heard a coach place such a strong emphasis on winning a preseason game.
But it's a message being sent. The 2016 Saints will be a team that plays to win everytime they step on the field because two straight losing seasons can't become a third.