With the Saints still winless, Payton looks at changing lineups Print
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Monday, 08 October 2007 14:05
NFL Headline News

 METAIRIE, La. (AP) -Sean Payton still believes the players he has now can win football games.
The New Orleans Saints' head coach only questions whether he's playing the right ones at the right time.
``There isn't going to be any new guy coming in the building to save the day here,'' Payton said.
With the NFL trading deadline approaching on Oct. 16, Payton on Monday sought to squelch any notion that he might make a significant roster move to help the New Orleans Saints (0-4) get a desperately needed win.
``We've got to be able to do it in-house,'' Payton said. ``The lone ranger is not going to come riding in here with the right plan to all of sudden turn things around.''
Payton hinted at a potential shakeup after Sunday's 16-13 loss to Carolina in a game where missed field goal attempts, dropped passes and untimely penalties allowed the Panthers to pull the game out with a last-second field goal.
Payton used the words ``dumb'' and ``sickening'' to describe his players' efforts after Sunday's loss, adding that coaches needed to ``make sure we're playing the right guys.''
The Saints have most of their major contributors back from the team that went to the NFC championship game a season ago.
Yet, since even before Deuce McAllister's season ending knee injury in Week 3, this has not looked like the same team. The Saints lost each of their first three games by 17 points or more before Sunday's narrow home loss to the Panthers.
``We talked about the expectations all the time and how everybody was ready to embrace the expectations,'' linebacker Scott Fujita said. ``For whatever reason, we haven't responded well to that at all. It's just been kind of a meltdown.''
Fujita said he would be ``on board'' for lineup changes.
``Sometimes a shakeup can be a good thing,'' Fujita said. ``It's Sean's decision. I trust him. But I think, sometimes, making people a little uneasy is healthy.''
Payton said he is willing to make adjustments, but does not want to change the things that worked well against the Panthers.
The Saints' offensive front and Drew Brees looked more comfortable against a strong Carolina defense than they have all season. Brees was not sacked. He completed more than 60 percent of his passes for 252 yards. New Orleans had the ball for more than 35 minutes, a significant edge in time of possession. They outgained the Panthers 341 yards to 243.
In the first half, however, New Orleans was held to a field goal after Aaron Stecker's touchdown was wiped out by an illegal formation penalty against former Pro Bowl left tackle Jammal Brown.
In the second half, the Saints, already holding a touchdown lead, put together an extraordinary 26-play, 93-yard drive that used up more than 10 minutes. New Orleans could only gain 3 yards after having a first down on the 5, and Olindo Mare's chip-shot field goal was low and easily blocked, keeping the Panthers within a touchdown.
``We've got to be able to correct these mistakes,'' Payton said. ``Now if that means playing some other guys a little bit more on either side of the ball or on special teams, then so be it.''
Payton gave only two examples of who might benefit, saying receivers David Patten (5 catches, 90 yards) and Lance Moore (12 and 132) have both done well, but haven't gotten the ball enough.
That could mean fewer chances for deep threat Devery Henderson, whose 54-yard catch set up a touchdown in the third quarter, but who also had a critical long pass bounce off both hands for an interception late in the game.
Payton said he wasn't yet sure what to do about Mare, who was acquired in a trade with Miami and now has missed four of seven field goals. Mare kicked on Sunday with a sore groin, but said he hoped to be better when the Saints travel to Seattle (3-2) this weekend.
``Today's the day everyone's looking for the bad guy and I understand that,'' Payton said. ``That's just the nature of Mondays in this league after you lose.''
 

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