<span style="">Preparation is the key to a life in football. It can be dissected into four categories. They are as follows:
1) Mental Preparation. This is knowing what to do at all times schematically. If you can eliminate mental mistakes, it will enhance the chances of winning tenfold. Mental mistakes, plain and simple, get you beat.
2) Emotional State of Mind. In regards to all aspects of our lives and as a team, this is a point that is crucial. The big question that needs to always be answered is: Are we emotionally ready to give everything we have to win the game?
3) Physical Preparation. The conditioning to win in the fourth quarter when everyone is tired and the strength to break our opponent's will to win.
4) Spiritual Strength. Deep within each of us there has to be a stronger power that tells us to never surrender or give up. It is imperative to have a positive attitude whether we are in a good mood or not.
It's easier to talk about these things on paper rather than in the middle of a difficult 16 game season, but week in and week out, preparation is everything and has everything to do with winning, and vice versa.
The encouraging aspects of our younger players is that they seem to understand their own individual, and on a bigger scale, our situation as a team. They have been preparing each day as it has shown with a stead improvement in play. They are "hitting the wall" in a longer training camp than they experienced in college, but still are making positive strides.
It's that time of training camp when decisions are being made regarding jobs. I remember the awkwardness of seeing friends being cut and released. Usually there is one person known as "the turk or the reaper." That's the person that notifies a player to tell them the coach or general manager wants to see them, and oh yeah, bring your playbook. Each time I have witnessed this transaction everything becomes very quiet. What do you tell a guy that just lost his job right in front of your eyes?
You tell them you are sorry. You tell them to keep battling and to keep a positive attitude. Some guys exchange phone numbers. I always think if we haven't exchanged phone numbers already, chances are we probably won't be keeping in touch, but it's essential to reach out to them anyway. It lets them know they are a good player. You wouldn't make it this far if you weren't. This is a serious business that requires full-time concentration to avoid "the reaper."
Focusing on technique when your tired is a big difference maker. Besides, half of the game we're tired so we might as well focus on technique right now, to help us then. It becomes second nature, but it is hard to get that edge. Three weeks into training camp and we are tired. It's a perfect time to work on technique. It's not easy to take the perfect steps or run the exact precise route when your quads and hamstrings are on fire the first step out of bed in the morning. It's hard to make a great catch when every step reminds you that your feet are throbbing and killing you.
The Proper Technique. You have to always rely on it to succeed.
How about Robert Meachem? He was simply awesome on Thursday night. We've been anxious to see him be dominant. He obviously was the other night. To see growth and the big play ability show up in a game situation is the best part. I've seen, and definitely noticed, his improvement all during training camp. That is really good news for the Saints, because we are depending on him. Two plays in particular stood out. The first was the "bomb" from Mark Brunell. He went all out as he dove and caught the deep ball. Secondly, the yards after the catch on an intermediate route that he picked up were really impressive. He made three or four tacklers miss as he reversed the field and ran down the sideline. The play climaxed with a nasty stiff-arm that snuffed out a would-be tackler on his way to the end zone and a touchdown. We can't wait to see more of these types of plays.
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