The result before the bye week is almost as important as the week off itself. From a mental standpoint, it’s much better to taste victory for a while than have to sit on a loss.
“You never want to go into a bye week with a stick feeling,” says safety Kenny Vaccaro. “Even if you aren’t 0-4 and it’s a different record, you never want to lose before the bye week. A lot of guys go see their family, and they don’t want to talk about it. It definitely feels good and gives us momentum coming back for Carolina.”
Whether the Saints took the win on their own or the Chargers gave it to them as a very early Christmas present doesn’t matter. Their one point win against the Chargers counts the same as their one and three point losses to the Raiders and Giants.
“We could easily be 3-1,” says wide receiver Willie Snead. “But we try not to think about it. We just learn from the mistakes, and we keep pressing forward.”
“We’re a team that comes in here every day, and we battle, and we work our tails off for a situation like that,” says fullback John Kuhn.
To fans, these 1-3 Saints are a far cry from the 2013 team that began that season 5-0, but in the eyes of Vaccaro, they aren’t that far apart.
“When you’ve got a young team, I definitely think that’s one of the number one aspects you need; learning how to win the close games,” says the fourth-year safety. “Every game in this league is close. I remember by rookie year, 2013. We won all of those close games. That’s what made us a good team. The only difference between that team and these teams is we’ve been losing the close games.”
The Saints now have an extra week to get healthy, and all of a sudden, their next two opponents, Carolina (1-3) and Kansas City(2-2), look a little more vulnerable. New Orleans is still a team that has to have a lot go their way to win, but MAYBE San Diego is a sign of good fortune to come.
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