You’d be hard-pressed to find a time when the Saints emphasized winning quickly as much as they did to start training camp this week. It immediately stood out when Head Coach Sean Payton and General Manager Mickey Loomis met with the media for the first time on Wednesday.
“There’s a sense of urgency,” Payton said. “I think it will be important for this team to play well early on. The key is that there is no limit with regards to what our expectations are internally. Eliminating the preseason, let’s just focus on getting better. That early start, those first four weeks before the bye, will be very important.”
We’ve learned that the Saints don’t recover well from slow starts. They began the 2014 and 2015 seasons 1-3, and finished both 7-9. Their decision to practice with the Patriots and Texans in the preseason is an attempt to get the competitive juices flowing as soon as possible.
“I think it’s a good opportunity for us to go see competition, get a chance to measure ourselves and see where we’re at,” Payton said. “I think it will be good not only for our young players, but also our whole team.”
With their first two preseason games on the road, it does add some concern that the Saints will travel too much to get as much as they want accomplished in training camp. However, Loomis said the road games will only bring them closer.
“I think it’s a good experience for our team,” Loomis said. “There is some team-building that happens when you go through some things. Obviously the competition with each of those two teams ramps up the energy level and intensity. I think those are good things.”
Their first practice with New England is set for Tuesday, Aug. 9. Their first preseason game is the following Thursday, Aug. 11 against the Patriots.
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