Less than a week ago, it was safety Kenny Vaccaro that said he wanted the defensive backs to put in some work on the Saints off day after their lopsided loss to Minnesota. He's shown that type of leadership all off-season, training camp and preseason, but right now, it's still not enough to keep him on the field.
“I don't know,” says Vaccaro. “I don't know what happened. I don't know why I got pulled out of the game. I didn't understand.”
Vaccaro spent most of the second half on the sideline and wasn't at all happy about it. When asked why, coach Payton said the reason isn't isolated to just this game.
“We need to get more consistent play,” says Payton, who’s just 1-11 in September since 2014. “That dates back to last weekend.”
“Obviously, I've got to be better with my preparation,” says Vaccaro. “I've got to be more consistent. The game before, I had plays I wanted to get back. That's going to happen. But at the same time, I didn't understand (what happened) this game. I know Gronk had two catches on me; really great catches. That was about it. That's all that happened. Next thing I know, I'm sitting next to coach Payton.”
And how much longer will we even see that? Vaccaro’s time wearing black and gold could be coming to an end sooner than later. The trade reports around the fifth-year safety keep on coming, and coach Payton didn't deny anything after Sunday’s game.
“It's not unusual this early in the season for teams to call about teams that have depth at running back, like we might, or depth at safety,” says Payton.
“Nothing surprises me,” says Vaccaro. “Anytime the GM gets a call, they're going to ask what are you willing to give. No player's indispensable, except for quarterbacks or certain players across this league. I understand it's a business. It doesn't bother me.”
At least on paper, it looks like the Saints defense improved after Vaccaro left the game. They kept New England out of the endzone in the second half, but playing with a three-score advantage for most of the third and fourth quarters, New England certainly wasn't hurting for points. The Saints defense will have to improve as a whole if there's any chance at turning this season around.
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