Wednesday, December 29, 2010

New Orleans Saints' Mindset Brings Them Into Playoffs

“Honestly we expect and plan on playing in the postseason. That expectation is something to where it would have been disappointing had we not had this opportunity. I would say that once you’ve had a chance to win a championship, your thirst for more of that type of success only grows stronger. You never take for granted these seasons or these years because this group isn’t something that’s a permanent thing.
“I don’t view (the playoff berth) as a checkmark in what we’ve wanted to accomplish. We want to accomplish bigger things than just getting into the postseason.”
--Sean Payton, New Orleans Saints' head coach, after New Orleans clinched consecutive playoff berths for the first time since making three straight appearances from 1990-92. 


After winning the Super Bowl last season, Saint regular season wins like the one over the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome this weekend are not a big deal in New Orleans.
A big part of this mindset and high expectations for the New Orleans Saints comes from quarterback Drew Brees.   
"He can put a mistake past him, and the players all feel that with him under center, we are in any game we play," Payton said of Brees, who completed seven consecutive passes on the go-ahead touchdown drive, including a 6-yard touchdown to tight end Jimmy Graham on third-and-3.
"I was just telling myself, give ourselves a chance," Brees said. "The defense did a great job of stopping them ... and I've seen this team come back and win in a lot of different ways. So despite everything that had happened previous to that last drive, we could go 90 yards just one play at a time, convert some first downs and find a way to take the lead back."
The Saints fought their way back in Monday night's game, marching 90 yards for the go-ahead touchdown with 3:24 remaining.  
"It's very rewarding, because you're going to have things happen like that. It's not always going to be rosy. There's going to be some mistakes made and potentially mistakes made by you," Brees said of the clinching drive. "So you just have to find a way to respond. At the quarterback position everyone is looking to you for confidence. They want poise, composure. If you get rattled, they get rattled. If you stay poised, they stay poised. And you just try to show that for them."
Brees completed 35 of 49 passes for 302 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions in another winning effort.
Excerpts from NOLA.com (December 28, 2010) and 2theadvocate.com (December 29, 2010). 
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