The New Orleans Saints (0-1) are set to open NFC South play against the Carolina Panthers (0-1) on Sunday at Bank of America Stadium.
The Saints fell short in their regular season opener, at home in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome to the Washington Redskins, 40-32.
Offensive Line/Running Game Coach Aaron Kromer was disappointed with the team’s execution in the opener citing that the squad did not do what has allowed the Saints to win the second most games of any NFL team since 2009.
“We know how New Orleans Saints football looks,” said Kromer. “That wasn’t us (against Redskins) and we are going to get that fixed.”
The coaches and players cited penalties, turnovers and third-down conversions as the areas that stood out in the loss against Washington.
In a team meeting on Monday, Kromer said that the team seemed ready to improve on their last performance.
“I sensed determination,” said Kromer. “I sensed focus. I sensed a wakeup call. That’s what I sensed.”
The team is taking the loss to Washington as an opportunity to pinpoint their weaknesses and improve before opening division play this Sunday against the Panthers.
The Panthers are led by QB Cam Newton who is coming off a Pro Bowl rookie campaign.
Kromer said that facing QB Robert Griffin III last Sunday will help prepare the team to face Newton, another quarterback who is a threat with his legs as well as his arm.
“I would think that for sure,” said Kromer. “Obviously, we would have liked to have more success against it. Any simulation that we try to do in practice wouldn’t be the same with the talent that RGIII has. It definitely is a benefit.”
The black-and-gold have won the last four contests against the Panthers and the series between the teams is tied 17-17. After starting 0-1, the Saints know that there is added pressure in their first divisional game of the season.
“Is it a win or lose this season game? No,” said Kromer. “We need to win this game this week. It’s important to our program. It’s important to our psyche. Constant improvement, constant skill development and learning what we are as a team (is important).”
After reviewing film from Washington on Monday, the coaching staff immediately turned their focus to Newton and the Panthers. The loss reinforced a common goal among players and coaches, to improve each day and keep their focus on the task at hand.
“Every player, every coach, we are all in,” said Kromer. “We are coming tighter together, we are pulling tighter together. We’re going to turn it around. It’s a good wakeup call for us and we’re ready to go.”