Black and Gold Looks Foward to Home Opener
Doug Miller, NewOrleansSaints.com
Monday, September 17, 2007 - 11:54 AM
The theme was universal in the Saints’ locker room this morning.
It’s good to be home, and it’s even better to finally be gearing up for the Saints’ first home game of the season. Just one of three NFL teams to have begun the 2007 season with two straight games on the road, the sentiment in the locker room was that there is no place like Dome.
“There is no excuse for starting 0-2,” said defensive end Charles Grant. “But it is what it is. We have goals that we can still obtain and we aren’t backing away from the road that we have in front of us, starting with Monday night’s game against a tough Tennessee team.”
The road from which Grant speaks finally winds it way through the Bayou and into the Crescent City on Monday, September 25 with a 7:30 pm kickoff and each player that spoke to media today virtually echoed each other’s thoughts.
“We are disappointed in the way it’s started for us, but this is when we need our fans that most,” said fullback Mike Karney. “We want them to show up, have a good time and get behind us like they were for the playoff game against the Eagles last season. They’re great fans with a lot of passion and they help create our home field advantage.”
“This may sound crazy to some people,” said quarterback Drew Brees, “but after watching film and spending a whole lot of time thinking about (yesterday’s) game, I am really excited. Maybe more so than I have been since I got here.”
Brees stated that seemingly every team goes through ups-and-downs in a season and the Saints are enduring a rough patch of pavement right now, but that the road back to smooth terrain starts right in the Saints’ locker room.
“The first thing we are going to do is to correct the mistakes that have put us in a hole, and that’s on each and every guy in here,” he said. “There’s not a single person on another team in the NFL that feels bad for us and we know that, accept it and I believe it is pulling us tighter together. We believe in each other and are going to feed off of the frustration and put it towards having a great week of practice and get ready for the Titans. That is our only focus right now. It start right here and right now for us.”
“What is in the past is in the past,” he continued. “We have to be smart enough to learn from the mistakes and put it towards getting better and earning our first win and hopefully build off it.”
After a quiet trip across the Gulf of Mexico on the team’s charter flight back to New Orleans last night, the team showed up bright and early this morning for film, strength-and-conditioning sessions and a team meeting, which was followed by positional meetings to review the team’s performance yesterday at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.
The Saints, keenly aware that their upcoming opponent is a stingy group of Titans from Tennessee, will face a formidable opponent that had an opportunity yesterday to upset the Colts.
“The calling card for the Titans is that they are tough, physical team that has offensive weapons and we’ll need to bring our best game,” said Karney. “We know that and we will study what they do and figure out a game plan this week. It’s on us to get schooled up on it, prepare ourselves for a great week of practice and get ready to play.”
“I have only been here a short amount of time compared to some of the other guys in the locker room,” said CB Jason David. “But there are a lot of guys in here with a lot of pride and I have heard that the fans will be behind us 100% on Monday and I know that’s exciting for us. I am anxious to get out there and experience it and just wish the next game wasn’t a week from today.”
The home field advantage that David speaks of is clearly evident around the NFL early this season, as home teams have won 65% of the games through the first two weeks of the season. The Saints, Falcons and Chiefs all have had the dubious task of starting their seasons on the road with two straight games, and (coincidently?) share the same 0-2 records to date.
“To me that puts an added emphasis on this game,” Grant said. “We know that you don’t throw your helmets out there just because you’re at home and expect to win. But to be able to play in front of our fans, to be able to prepare and be in our routine, I think, will be an advantage for us.”