New Orleans Saints Executive Vice President/General Manager Mickey Loomis joined Bobby Hebert and Kristian Garic on the Saints Radio Network on Tuesday night to discuss how he and the team spent the bye week. Former NFL general manager and 2015 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Bill Polian also joined the show as a special guest.
"It was different," Loomis said of the bye week. "And yet, man it was fantastic. We weren't able to travel due to the protocols the league's put into place, so you couldn't leave town. Typically, a large group of us, myself included, we'd get away for a few days. But we weren't able to do that so we had a staycation. And look, we got some work in as well so I think it was a good week."
The Week 6 bye offered Saints players an opportunity to get extra treatment, rest, and allow injured players extra time to prepare to become available in the coming weeks.
"The bye week, whenever it occurs, gives your team a chance to recover, rest up and come back with some additional energy," Loomis said. "And we were certainly able to get that done this week."
The New Orleans Saints (3-2) face the Carolina Panthers (3-3) on Sunday at noon in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
"I think they're doing fantastic," Loomis said of the Panthers. "They're playing well. They've lost some close games and I think they've won three out of the last four. So they've done a great job, which is hard to do when you have a lot of new players. You have virtually an entirely new staff, and you weren't able to have an offseason program or a preseason. So, I think what they've done so far is pretty remarkable."
New Orleans will go head-to-head with former Saints quarterback Teddy Bridgewater for the first time since Bridgewater signed with Carolina as a free agent this past offseason.
"Our memories of him being here are pretty fond," Loomis said of Bridgewater. "We think a lot of him, both as a person and a quarterback. I was disappointed, I'm not going to lie, that he signed with Carolina and not a team in another division. But that's OK, we're happy that he's found a home and found some success."
Loomis spoke with Polian about the transition from working in the pre-free agency era to navigating a successful career in the era of free agency.
"The difference was you could be good for a longer period of time prior to free agency," Polian said. "Now, as free agency came along - as you know better than anyone, your team turns over 40 percent (of the roster) every year and you have to juggle who to sign and who not to sign. The description is like going from playing checkers, which is very straight forward, to chess, which is really nuanced. It's much harder to do now that it was before free agency. Much harder."