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What we learned: Attention to detail a major key in Saints thrashing of Giants

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Games are won during weekly preparation, and the Saints focused on a number of nuances that contributed to a win.

New Orleans Saints v New York Giants Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

“Do the little things right,” safety Marcus Williams said. “We do the little things right, and we’re disciplined, we’ll eliminate those big plays.”

Discipline and doing the little things right.

The Saints showed a lot of both traits on Sunday and for the first time this season looked like a team that didn’t need every ounce of their allotted 60 minutes to dispose of an opponent.

Small details that give players an advantage over their opposition can start in the classroom with a coach, but even tinier seeds for success could be planted when a player goes home and does something as minute as getting a massage.

I write this knowing that I’ll suggest to a friend that she have her son (whom has ambitions of playing in the NFL) read it as it offers a good example of the aforementioned.

”I’m not going to make excuses or nothing like that, but my body was tired and I just had to take more care of it,” he said. “I was on top of it, but it was just like I didn’t feel it. But, today I kind of felt like I was good.” - Marshon Lattimore

Attention to detail and mentally tough players have long been staples of successful Sean Payton operations down in New Orleans. It has to be, particularly for an offense that likes to throw everything including the kitchen sink at opposing defenses.

This has been evident with the Taysom Hill packages that have been sprinkled into the offensive gumbo like a good file.

Not that cheap store brand stuff either!

I’m talmbout the one a friend of a friend hands you in a Gerber jar with the words file written in black permanent marker across masking tape.

The Hill usage has yielded positive results nearly every time he’s touched the ball, and to have the confidence to go with him on the fake punt (2nd time this season) along with rolling out his package as much as they did, points to a coaching staff comfortable with the collective attention to detail it takes to run those plays successfully.

They also seem to have done their homework on the advantages and disadvantages of taking the ball out of your Hall of Fame quarterbacks hands for 21% of the offensive snaps.

“Absolutely. Now, understand this. When the quarterback takes the snap and the quarterback is handing the ball off it’s 10 versus 11. Does that make sense? When the quarterback takes the snap and is handing it or keeping it, it’s back to 11. So what you can do, you can literally not block a defensive end and let the quarterback just decide. Well, I don’t want to do that with Drew. So that leverage gets regained if the actual quarterback himself is someone that’s part of the run rate.

From Payton putting emphasis on creating more turnovers in practice the week prior, to the defensive backs playing an outside shoulder technique and not biting on double moves, collectively there were small things that the team got fixed as a whole and it lead to their first true complimentary win of the season against the Giants.

Miscellaneous Thoughts

  • Alvin Kamara will go down as one of the best 3rd round picks ever if he continues to be as productive as he’s been. Through 20 games of his short NFL career he’s scored 114 points. That’s a faster start than any other skill position player Payton has acquired in his time with the Saints.
  • Dennis Allen making adjustments showed up promptly. One small detail worth mentioning is Marcus Davenport playing in a 2-point stance more often in pass rushing situations. That’s a coach allowing a player to do what he’s comfortable with.
  • David Onyemata played more snaps than Sheldon Rankins. That’s significant because the Saints are reducing Rankins run down snaps and it keeps him more fresh for pass rushing situations. He forced 4 hurried throws and won very quickly at times with a refined spin move according to Rev.
  • Payton really respected the Giants defensive front. For them to run on them the way they did was phenomenal. Twas a good example of the o-line imposing it’s will. They played playoff caliber football along the LOS.
  • Thomas hinted after the game that his low numbers weren’t because he was ineffective but because of the attention he garnered. Payton probably noticed this and used him as a decoy to open things up for other guys like playoff Josh Hill. He still caught 4 passes on 5 targets. You can’t blank him out.
  • Saints don’t win very often when Drew Brees fails to score a TD and yet they did just that against the Giants.

New Orleans heads into their Week 5 Monday Night matchup vs. the Redskins with momentum, an extra day to rest (to get said maintenance) and a little bit more time for Mark Ingram to slide back into the ranks after being away the last month. All things positive, the Saints closed out the 1st quarter of their schedule above .500 for the first time since 2013. The objective at the start of the season was to come out the gates fast and as the curtain falls on Act I of “March to the Lombardi #twodat” they can look back and say mission accomplished. On to the Redskins and the fall of the next historic NFL record at the hands of Drew Brees. Who Dat!