The buck stops with Pete Carmichael, and on Friday, Carmichael made sure he kept it a buck.
The New Orleans Saints' offensive coordinator was absolute in the fact that the Saints' offensive improvement will have to begin with him. Entering Sunday's game against New England (1-3) at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., the Saints (2-2) are averaging 15.5 points per game, have scored four touchdowns and are 4 of 12 in the red zone.
"I've got to do a better job, and it's my responsibility – regardless of what any of the situations is," Carmichael said. "It's on me. I've got to get those things fixed and corrected.
"The outside noise, that's part of this business. (But) it's clear I've got to do a better job, so my focus right now is on the team and the preparation for this week."
In totaling three field goals in Sunday's 26-9 loss to Tampa Bay, New Orleans gained just 197 yards.
"I've got to put our guys in better situations, I think we've got to sustain drives, and the red zone being one of the areas I've got to have better play selection and keep drives going," Carmichael said.
There has been no lack of confidence in Carmichael's ability to help the offense find a groove. He has been on the coaching staff since 2006, was named offensive coordinator in 2009 and has helped structure some of the best offensive seasons in NFL history.
"We have great confidence," quarterback Derek Carr said. "I can only speak from a player standpoint. From a player standpoint, we love Pete. We know what he brings, we know how smart he is.
"We see when we turn the film on: 'That's on me,' or, 'That's on you,' player-wise. 'We've got to do that better for you, Pete.' And I think once we play better and we execute better, hopefully, there won't be a target on his back. Because he has given his whole life to this city and this organization for a long time, and he's still the same amazing coach that he has been the whole time."
"I think that's just the type of team, players, building, organization that we've built around here, that everybody takes it upon themselves to get this thing turned around and corrected," Carmichael said. "Their support means a lot, but ultimately it's my responsibility."
As such, Carmichael said the offense likely could use more player movement in terms of putting players in motion before the snap.
"I think that's something that we can do more of," he said. "It gets the defense thinking a little bit more, maybe it gives the quarterback some indications of what the coverage might be or what they might be doing defensively.
"It's all part of our system, it's just me including it as part of it."
However, Carmichael said the Saints have been close to breaking explosive plays and scoring plays.
"When we watch the film, we see some opportunities out there," he said. "But for those opportunities to happen, I've got to make sure that's all cleaned up.
"I think it's a sense of urgency that we get it turned around. We're four weeks in and going back to last year, I just haven't done a good enough job."