The New Orleans Saints gave their players the entire week off during their bye week -- which has been their routine since 2009. And it's worked. The Saints are a perfect 4-0 after the bye since they changed up their routine that year.
In coach Sean Payton's first three seasons, the Saints would squeeze in a couple practices before giving players an extended weekend. But they went 0-3 after the bye from 2006-2008, so he decided to change things up. And he turned to the leading authority on the subject -- Andy Reid. When Reid was coaching the Philadelphia Eagles, he won 13 consecutive games after the bye (a streak that was snapped last year). Reid favored giving players the entire week off.
It can't be that simple, right? … Either way, the Saints certainly aren't going to tinker with it now. They'll return for a bonus practice next Monday before resuming their normal weekly routine leading up to their Week 8 home date with the Buffalo Bills.
“I think the most important thing is rest, especially for our players,” Payton said. “They have been going for a while … so I think it will be a good break for them.”
Worth a click:
The Football Outsiders' Rivers McCown breaks down why the biggest key to the Saints' success this season has been a healthier Jimmy Graham in this ESPN Insider analysis (all the more reason why the Saints hope he can return quickly from a foot injury).
NewOrleansSaints.com's John Deshazier lists 10 things he liked from the Saints' 5-1 start.
The Times-Picayune's Larry Holder hits on several issues from last Sunday's 30-27 loss to the New England Patriots in his weekly film study. I agree with his thoughts on Payton's play-calling and whether or not the Patriots got away with holding on the final play.
NFL.com's Judy Battista was one of many who was surprised to see Payton take a conservative route with his play-calling late in Sunday's game. I understand the sentiment, since Payton is known for being so aggressive. But I think he would have been just as heavily criticized if the Saints threw incomplete passes and gave Brady more time and timeouts to work with. As I wrote in my offensive film review, I think the Saints' biggest regret was probably their execution on the second-to-last offensive series.
The media got a chance to catch up with injured outside linebacker Will Smith at a charity event for his “Where There's A Will There's A Way” Foundation. Smith said he'll be back next year if the Saints want him and talked about how he's dealt with his season-ending knee injury. Ramon Antonio Vargas' story for The Advocate included a great description from Smith's wife, Racquel, about what Smith is like when he watches Saints games.
“He's talking to the screen, and he's like, ‘Argh!'” when he's frustrated, she said. “When they get a sack, he's jumping up and down. ... The kids are like, ‘What's going on? What's going on with daddy?'”