Change is coming.
Coach Sean Payton wasn't definitive Monday morning on what the adjustments will be for the New Orleanns Saints, who are 4-6 and on a two-game losing streak, including a 47-14 loss to Washington on Sunday at FedEx Field in Landover, Md., entering their bye week.
But he said the Saints can't, and won't, remain the same
"Here's what I know: Continuing just along the same course that we're taking right now is not something that we're going to do," Payton said. "I'm talking about players, I'm talking about us as a staff, all of us collectively. You've got to look closely at what's winning and what's keeping you from winning.
"The message (to players) was pretty clear, just in regards to how we're playing. It's going to be that roller coaster ride. There are a lot of areas that we have to improve in. We discussed a little bit of the past here, '07 (when the Saints started 0-4 and finished 7-9), '08 (when they finished 8-8 and almost countered a win with a loss the next week).
"It's a success-driven business. That's what we're in. And so, we've got some young guys that want to please and want to do well, we've got some veterans the same way and yet, we've got to look closely at what we're doing and how well they're doing it. The main thing was, it wasn't going to be the same when they got back. It was going to be different. It needs to be."
Based on the statistics, the safe assumption is that the most radical changes may occur defensively. The Saints have allowed 49, 34 and 47 points in consecutive weeks, with only one touchdown occurring via return. This season, opponents have passed for 2,931 yards (with a 66.7 percent completion rate), with 28 touchdowns and four interceptions.
New Orleans ranks last in total defense (424.7 yards allowed per game) and scoring defense (31.5 points per game).
However, rampant speculation that defensive coordinator Rob Ryan had been fired was not true, Payton said.
"I haven't met with (General Manager) Mickey Loomis or any of the coaches individually yet," he said. "Mickey and I will spend some time today and some time tomorrow. (A coaching change) is something that we have not even met on.
"Any type of change like that would be something that would be done with a lot of discussion."
On Monday, the discussion mostly centered on the lopsided loss to Washington.
"Obviously, it was a disappointing loss," Payton said. "We've played some games this year that were close and hard fought. This one wasn't. There weren't a lot of things at all that you come away from the film…it was hard to get excited about watching it.
"I thought we tackled poorly, our alignments were poor, up front in short-yardage situations we were poor, we turned the ball over. I thought we did a decent job covering kicks, I thought our return units kickoff-wise were average. There were a handful of jobs that did some good things. But not enough pressure, too many underneath throws to the backs that resulted in big plays – enough to just make you cringe. I thought Drew got hit early in the game, which was something that is not good, especially if you're going to have some production in the passing game."
Payton said it was difficult to watch the defense struggle after offseason moves that were made in hopes of upgrading the personnel and performance.
"Disappointed, yeah," he said. "You're competitive and you want to have success. You want to see your players do well. It's hard to swallow a game where all of a sudden, you feel like there isn't an answer.
"There are some things on tape that have to be better. And we'll get that right. It might take a little bit of time and it might hurt going down for some people, but we'll get it squared away."