METAIRIE, La. -- The New Orleans Saints are 3-0 for the third time in the Sean Payton/Drew Brees era. The other two times were 2009, when they went on to win a Super Bowl, and 2006, when they reached the NFC championship game.
Not surprisingly, though, Payton and players insisted that nobody is getting ahead of themselves.
“It’s easy (to keep the focus on one game at a time). It’s real easy,” Payton said. “Look, your jobs (in the media) are to reference all those things. For us, it’s noise. What’s most important, really, is that this is the game that we control this week (Monday night against the Miami Dolphins). It’s not all those other things.”
Payton pointed out that the team the Saints just got done playing on Sunday, the Arizona Cardinals, started 4-0 last year before finishing 5-11 and firing their general manager and head coach.
“Our game is too difficult each week,” Payton said. “And the one thing we do a good job of is eliminating the distractions.”
The Saints don’t need any lessons on humility after their disappointing 7-9 finish last year during Payton’s season-long suspension. They appreciate the fine line between winning and losing better than most.
Center Brian de la Puente said Brees talks often about playing “16 single-game seasons.”
“If we can compartmentalize and keep focus on the task at hand, the big picture, the ‘noise’ as Coach Payton is calling it, we won’t listen to it,” de la Puente said.
The Saints’ young defensive players, who have been exceeding expectations so far, insisted after Sunday’s game that they aren’t satisfied with what they’ve accomplished. And Brees said that’s certainly true for the offense after their more inconsistent start to the season.
“Very happy to be 3-0, 2-0 in the division, 3-0 in the NFC. All those things are significant,” Brees said after Sunday’s game. “I think really for us it’s just about playing a little bit better each week. I still don’t even feel like offensively we have reached our full potential. We started well today and we finished strong, but the middle was not up to our standards. So we have to continue to find ways to get better. ...
“But it sets up for a great Monday night matchup this week, Miami coming here. The Dome will be rocking. And our goal is to be 4-0.”