The New Orleans Saints haven’t exactly been world beaters during season-openers. In fact, they’ve lost five straight season-openers including last year’s shootout at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 48-40.
Seemed pretty irrelevant considering the Saints rallied to win 13 regular games last season securing home-field throughout the NFC Playoffs. But, starting out a season with a win is important to the Saints ultimate goal.
“I think a good start every year is important. It’s better than a poor start.” Said Saints head coach Sean Payton. He continued, “I think a good start is something that every team in the league is hoping to start the season with.”
Although Payton said it, that usually goes without saying.
So, to prepare for Monday night’s season opener against the Houston Texans at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome (6pm CDT kickoff), Payton changed the practice routine for week one doing nothing similar leading up to this opener that he put his team through the last five.
As for the the Texans, they come into the game having rebooted of sorts just trading edge rusher JaDaveon Clowney to the Seattle Seahawks for a third round pick and some backup linebackers and acquiring left tackle Laremy Tunsil and wide receiver Kenny Stills from the Miami Dolphins for two first-round picks plus a second-rounder.
Tunsil, one of the better left tackles in the game, was clearly brought in to protect Houston quarterback Deshaun Watson’s blind side. Watson was the most sacked signal caller in the league last season taken down 65 times.
“The right tackle is basically blocking the front side of the quarterback, the quarterback’s vision, whereas the left tackle (Tunsil) is blocking the blind side.” Explained Texans head coach Bill O’Brien. “And so that is the difference. But at the end of the day, they both have to block great players. Here’s a team with New Orleans that has Cameron Jordan and (Marcus)Davenport, who are both excellent players, active players, athletic players.”
Going back to Clowney, even without him the Texans have one of the game’s most feared pass rushers in defensive end J.J. Watt.
To hear from Saints players Drew Brees, Ryan Ramczyk, Alvin Kamara, and Marcus Davenport on Monday’s season-opener against the Texans, click on the video.