Check out photos of Saints coaches and staff during the team's visit to Minnesota.
The New Orleans Saints' in-house grades were in Tuesday, and they were reflective of what was displayed during a season-opening, 29-19 loss to the Vikings on Monday night at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.
"It wasn't a good tape," Coach Sean Payton said. "I thought defensively, we struggled in coverage at times. For the early portion of the game, the penalties hurt in the first series. There was 30 yards (in penalties) in the first series that led to their game-tying field goal and then as the game wore on, I thought the explosive plays hurt us.
"There were some MEs (mental errors), some poor decisions. Overall, not good enough. Offensively, I thought we struggled at times in protection, we weren't consistent enough in the running game and the kicking game, the snap-hold-kick, all that was fairly smooth. I think there was one big play given up in the kick coverage unit and from a kick return standpoint, punt return standpoint, it was average at best."
Even though the Saints are on a short week – New Orleans' home opener in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome is Sunday against New England (0-1), which played its season opener last Thursday night – Payton said the team still must address Monday night's issues.
"We're going to make sure we see this tape," he said. "This isn't one that we can just put away and then get on to New England. So that might be a little bit longer practice times (Wednesday) and/or Thursday.
"But there are enough things that we've got to clean up that we've got to see this before we get on (to New England). Obviously we're planning and game-planning New England, but we can't allow some of those mistakes to happen again."
ONE SHORT: One of the mistakes that will be addressed is that the Saints opened defensively with 10 men on the field. The Vikings gained four yards on the play.
"We had it initially as a nickel call and we ended up with just two corners instead of the third corner," Payton said. "There's a communication that goes on between base and nickel and without singling anyone out, we didn't get it communicated clear enough and fortunately it didn't end up hurting us on that specific play."
Linebacker A.J. Klein, who was credited with a team-high 11 tackles, said it was a disappointing way to begin the season defensively.
"To know we started the season that way, obviously, just a lack of communication to start," he said. "But I think that can fall on me – I always have to know who's on the field, personnel, make sure everybody is out there. So I'll take that responsibility."
NEW UNIT LOOKS GOOD: Payton said that the revamped linebacker corps, led by Klein and rookie Alex Anzalone, had its share of good moments against Minnesota.
"I thought overall, pretty good," Payton said. "I would say both Klein and Anzalone had, I thought, pretty active games. I was encouraged."
Anzalone was credited with two tackles and a pass defended, an end-zone breakup that allowed the Saints to hold the Vikings to a field goal on Minnesota's first drive.
SEEING RED: The Saints were 1-for-5 on red zone possessions Monday night, posting just one touchdown and four Wil Lutzfield goals.
"We had a (mental error) on a trap play that, for the most part, was blocked well and (running back Mark)Ingram is going to have a chance to score a touchdown," Payton said. "It wasn't one specific thing but unfortunately, when you end up kicking that amount of field goals, that's certainly an area we've got to spend more time on and be better at."
Said center Max Unger: "As far as the overall game, against a good defense, you have to be more productive in the red zone. We were scoring points but at the same time, you're not going to win games against good teams when you're kept out of the end zone that many times."