The loss to the Tennessee Titans is settling in for another week of bad taste in the mouth. Another week of what could’ve been is here yet again. Plenty of angst is spreading among fans of the New Orleans Saints. Plenty of tough questions in the postgame press conference. No dance parties in the locker room this week. The Margin of error is now the biggest test going forward for the Saints.
No Margin for Error Going Forward for the New Orleans Saints
It’s easy to point to various deficiencies during the game on Sunday. Missed kicks, false starts, or blind referees. You name it, and it probably happened to the Saints again. Who Dat Nation has been down this road before. Wondering what’s wrong with the black and gold. Is it the injuries or the draft choices? Maybe it’s the dinner choices of players or coaches. Things get weird when a team is known for consistency. In reality, being spoiled for a long period comes with a certain entitlement.
It’s inevitable. The noise from outside the locker room gets louder every week until a win breaks the streak. And right now the streak sits at two. Two games in a row lost on a string of a few plays. The difference between 7-2 and 5-4 is so minute, yet the feeling on the outside is ship is sinking. Help! Not us not now.
Parity Rules the NFL
Fair or not, this is the NFL. The parity between the top teams and the middle of the bunch is splitting hairs. Still, the reality is numbers matter. Wins and losses now impact the future of a team playing with practice squad players and a third-string quarterback.
And make no mistake, Sean Payton will never make excuses. Not now not ever.
Payton talked to the media on Monday after reviewing the tape. “Obviously there’s a lot to coach off of, relative to some mistakes,” Payton said on Monday. “We had some opportunities at the end and we weren’t able to capitalize on it. This is one of the occasions watching the tape, there wasn’t anything completely new that revealed itself.”
The answer to all this is margin of error. Think of a swimmer battling to get that extra one-tenth of a second to eke out a victory in a 50-meter race. Or a sprinter not having the luxury of a slow start out of the blocks.
Mistakes Pointed out in Losses
The NFL race is a sprint compared to any other professional sport. One loss in a 162 game season in baseball is not even 1% of the season. Also, a loss in an NBA season is barely over a percentage point in an 82-game season.
Rookie linebacker Pete Warner broke this down in simple words. He’s still adjusting to being in the NFL playing these tight games week to week.
“It’s a tough league. Every opponent and every game that we’ve seen this year has all come down to the fourth quarter. It is hard to put into perspective. It is obviously different for me coming from college (Ohio State) where you do not see many (close) games like this. But you quickly learn every detail and every little play matters.”
Once again, the margin of error has to be close to perfect for this team to win going forward. And this hasn’t changed since Drew Brees was here. The only difference was Brees added the perfection factor. He may have made mistakes but the average eye didn’t see it. The errors were covered up by an experienced hall of fame quarterback. And injuries were never this bad. Still, the margin for error has to be zero for a banged-up team like the Saints. Can’t blink. Not even for a second.
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