The New Orleans Saints have been pretty good about preaching a no-excuses mentality. They said they were going to do their best not to let the suspension of some of their defensive players become a distraction. Some of those suspensions were lifted, however, heading into Sunday’s opener and interim head coach Aaron Kromer says the team may have been distracted in the 40-32 loss to the Washington Redskins.
Kromer says the team was thinking about lifting the spirits of the area’s hurricane victims and the added news that the suspended players would be able to play might have been in the back of his players’ minds.
Aaron Kromer joined WWL in New Orleans with Bobby and Deke to discuss the season-opening loss, an unbalanced offense, facing Robert Griffin III, frustration in the time of possession, being an authoritative figure despite his interim tag and preparing for Cam Newton having just seen Griffin III.
Why did you decide to kick a field goal to make it 30-17 instead of going for it?:
“We felt like just to get it into that single-score situation that it was better for us at that time. It was a decision that we made. We made a lot of decisions during the game that we were trying to throw some deep-bomb balls like Sean would do and they played as soft as they could to make sure we didn’t get the ball downfield deep on them. And they didn’t want any big plays. There were a lot of decisions that were made that were not seen by a lot of people but that would’ve been very similar to what Sean would do.”
Was the pass-heavy offense due to the score or the strength of the Redskins up front or a combination?:
“You go back and you study the game, you’d say early in the game we were calling some runs and we were getting five yards on a couple runs and then we’d get five yards and get a holding penalty spot foul. When that put us behind the chains, that just got us out of it. And then we got to a point where we felt like we needed hurry-up offense, which rarely involves running.”
On the play of Robert Griffin III:
“Robert Griffin’s a special player. They traded a lot of picks to get to him, and rightfully so. He’s athletic, he’s smart and he’s got a good arm. Anytime your quarterback’s a threat to run like he is, a serious threat as a runner, it’s a tough situation to defend. Now, we could’ve done better. We missed some tackles. We talked to the team all week about, Game 1, let’s eliminate the sloppiness. … We talk about playing smart and there’s no reasons for false starts, no reason for holds if you move your feet.”
How frustrating was the time of possession given that they had the ball nearly twice as long?:
“It was very frustrating in the first half. We went three-and-out way too many times. That’s not characteristic of our offense. It really came down to sloppy play. I know we’re going to get it fixed. I know the guys want to get it fixed. It was, I think, we were so hyped up to play in front of this crowd. There was talk of helping the people who were flooded … and talk of guys coming back off of suspension. Maybe it was a little bit of a distraction. We don’t believe in distractions, but maybe in the back of our minds we were thinking about that more than we were thinking about our play and our assignments.”
Is it hard for you to play the role of authoritative figure when you’re just the interim head coach?:
“Everybody’s got to be themself and I’m going to be myself on the sideline. Just as much can be accomplished by a different personality of a word, a talk, a disappointed look. Those kind of things can solve the problem just as much as a guy screaming and yelling because that’s his personality.”
How would you compare Cam Newton to Robert Griffin III and is it helpful to have played Griffin III the week before facing Newton?:
“I would sure say so. With this last game fresh in our minds and knowing the things that they’ve done, it gives us the opportunity to have worked against it and have a plan and see those plays on tape. We have plenty of tape, last year, on Cam Newton, which is a little different from what we had from this last team. But yeah, it’s definitely a benefit.”