Mickey Loomis, New Orleans Saints executive vice president/general manager, discussed the Saints' victory over the Indianapolis Colts and the team's upcoming game against the Chicago Bears in an interview with Mike Hoss on the Saints Hour on WWL on Tuesday, Oct. 31. Afterword, Khai Harley, Saints assistant general manager/vice president of football operations talked about his career path and cap management.
Loomis started the interview by praising the team's 38-27 victory over the Colts.
"It's so difficult to win," he said. "It's especially difficult to win on the road and so whenever you get a win on the road, that's pretty special."
The team had a virus run through the locker room throughout the week, but managed to overcome it, Loomis said.
"A lot of guys that had the bug, found a way to suit up and play on Sunday," he said.
One guy that was put out of action in part due to the bug was safety Marcus Maye. Rookie safety Jordan Howden was once again pressed into action and Loomis said he did a nice job filling in.
"We're excited about him, not surprised because look, I think our guys did a good evaluation in terms of finding a player that was mature and smart and would be a good pro, and he's been all of that," Loomis said.
The Saints were able to rush for 161 yards and three touchdowns against the Colts which the Saints' GM credited in part to the offensive line.
"When you are running the ball well, you are gaining positive yardage in early downs, it makes the latter downs, particularly third down, so much easier when it's third-and-three or third-and-two as opposed to third-and-nine," he said.
Another feature of the running game was the usage of defensive tackle Khalen Saunders in the backfield as a lead blocker for the second week in a row. Loomis said he feels the team gains energy from seeing a guy used outside his typical role.
"He'll probably be asking for running back money here soon enough," he said.
Wide receiver/return specialist Rashid Shaheed brought in three passes against the Colts for 153 yards and one touchdown. Loomis was asked about the former undrafted free agent and he credited the team's area scouts for identifying Shaheed as someone to target.
"He was a good player and was identified early on," Loomis said. "We talked about drafting him late in the draft. Luckily, we had some scouts that had a good relationship with the player and with his agent. (Special teams coordinator) Darren Rizzi and the special teams coaches were involved in that as well, because we really saw him first as a returner, receiver second and so I would say we've been pleasantly surprised how quickly he's developed as a receiver and that's a credit to our coaches and Rashid himself."
Loomis discussed the NFL trade deadline that happened Wednesday, Oct. 31. The Saints did not make a move but the Saints general manager said the team had discussions with several other clubs "more in the acquisition area as opposed to trading somebody."
The talks never "got really serious," Loomis said.
Known as a salary cap guru, Harley primarily discussed the NFL salary cap and cap management strategies. Harley said that his job is to not only look at one year, but to project forward as well.
"Look, every dollar you spend is going to be accounted for whether you account for it today, tomorrow, or the next day," Harley said. "That is or at least has been the great equalizer and that's why we have the parity that we have around the league and, you know, there's going to be a certain strategy involved in how you approach it, but everyone has to deal with similar circumstances."
Despite the salary cap limitations, the Saints recently inked four players to extensions - defensive end Cameron Jordan, guard/center Cesar Ruiz, defensive end Carl Granderson and long snapper Zach Wood.
"I think with each one of the players that we were able to reach extensions, obviously we saw a value in them and they saw a value in staying here and the deals we were able to get done," Harley said.
Regarding the Bears, Loomis said the NFC North team has done some "good things" on the season despite its 2-6 record.
"They've also had the misfortune of having their quarterback hurt, having to go to a rookie backup quarterback who's done some good things as well. We'll have our hands full."
With the NFC North teams being a common opponent with the rest of the NFC South, Loomis said there is "a little extra emphasis" on the importance of the game as it can factor into tiebreakers.
"We can't afford to not be on our A-game come Sunday," he said.