New Orleans Saints Executive Vice President/General Manager Mickey Loomis joined Zach Strief on the Saints Radio Network on Tuesday night, discussing his team's week 16 performance against the Minnesota Vikings that secured New Orleans' fourth consecutive NFC South title and Alvin Kamara's six touchdown masterpiece. Dub Jones, one of only four other players to score six total touchdowns in one game, also joined the show as a special guest.
"I would say winning four straight NFC South championships is pretty special," Loomis said Tuesday. "It's been rare in the NFC, and certainly never been done before in the NFC South. So we're excited about that, but that's not our primary goal. Our primary goal is to do some damage in these playoffs and ultimately play for a championship."
With the Saints' recent dominance of the NFC South, the expectation heading into the playoffs each year is Super Bowl or bust.
"I think that expectation was set after the 2009 season, winning the Super Bowl," Loomis said. "We've had high expectations every year regardless of what had happened the year before. And so we have a number of goals each season. You know, winning the division, making the playoffs, winning the first playoff game, all those things. And yet, man, if you don't win the championship, you've ended your season with a loss or you didn't even make the playoffs. And so I feel like our expectations are really high and I feel like that's the right place for them to be, is to set the bar high and go out and achieve it."
The Saints' offensive line has battled the injury bug of late, but its versatility helped pave the way on Christmas Day for star running back Alvin Kamara, who scored a career-best six rushing touchdowns while tallying 155 yards on 22 carries.
"I think there's been a number of games this year where the depth in the O-Line has benefitted us," Loomis said. "Obviously, you talk about Nick Easton being out, Andrus Peat being out. And then Cesar Ruiz who has played a lot of football for us this year started a lot of games in place of Nick Easton, and then James Hurst slid over from his tackle position and played left guard in this game and really did a great job. So it's a credit to those guys and it's a credit to our Pro (Personnel) guys for finding players that added depth to our team. And our coaches obviously for getting them prepared and ready to go. Look, it was a historic day running the ball for Alvin, and a lot of that credit obviously goes to the offensive line."
Kamara's six rushing scores against Minnesota are tied for the most all-time in one game (Ernie Nevers, Cardinals vs. Bears, Nov. 28, 1929).
"He's a great teammate, obviously a great talent," Loomis said of Kamara. "He has a really unique ability to take hits, but it never seems like he takes a direct hit. It's always on an edge. He's got great contact balance and is able to turn small gains into little bigger gains, and big gains into huge gains. Obviously, it all came together in the game on Christmas Day. I'm really proud of him and excited for him to have such a unique record of six rushing touchdowns in a game. I'm also glad that he signed his contract prior to this last weekend than after (laughter)."
Dub Jones, one of only four players including Kamara to score six total touchdowns in a game, joined the show as a special guest on his 96th birthday. Jones scored six touchdowns (four rushing, two receiving) on Nov.25, 1950 as a member of the Cleveland Browns.
"Oh, it does," Jones said when asked if seeing Kamara scoring six touchdowns on Christmas transported him back to the day he scored six touchdowns. "You think about the six touchdowns that you were involved with, and I'm really proud (of Alvin).
"Kamara is a great pass receiver and of course he's a great runner. If you notice Kamara when he's running with the ball, you can rest assured that his head is up, his eyes are open, and that's what it needs to be."