METAIRIE, La. -- Corey White is sporting a new look this week. The New Orleans Saints cornerback shaved off his familiar mohawk (which had gone through various shades of orange, gold, black and even pink for breast cancer awareness this year). White said it was "time for a change."

It's not hard to understand his mindset. The third-year pro has had some rough moments since taking over as a full-time starter in Week 2 -- none rougher than this past week, when he allowed Detroit Lions receiver Golden Tate to spring free for a 73-yard touchdown.

And White stressed that there is no more important trait for a cornerback than being able to move past those low points.

"It's about having short-term memory, play by play, game by game. You gotta let it go," said White, who insisted that's not just some cliché that's easier said than done. "At this point of your career it should be easy to move forward from. I'm not a rookie anymore. You've gotta be able to move forward."

It will be interesting to see if the Saints consider another change themselves, with previously-benched veteran Patrick Robinson coming back this week from a hamstring injury and rookies Brian Dixon and Stanley Jean-Baptiste having started to get their feet wet in the NFL.

None is an especially enticing option against the Green Bay Packers and their sizzling-hot passing offense, which will visit the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Sunday night.

But just like the corners themselves, the Saints need to keep the faith moving forward and hope to build off the progress their secondary showed in wins over Minnesota and Tampa Bay and the first 56 minutes of the Detroit game.

"The big thing, and it's no different than the rest of our team, is looking for some consistency," Saints coach Sean Payton said. "You're mixing up coverages, so there's times where there's a little bit more stress on that position, and then there's times where maybe you're playing a cloud or safety help over the top. But everyone of us, we're all looking to have that consistency week in and week out."

At some point, the Saints might consider getting Jean-Baptiste more involved. But so far they've been treating their second-round draft pick out of Nebraska as more of a developmental prospect. And he was riding that same roller coaster with highs and lows in the preseason and training camp.

"He's a real raw guy. We got a raw kid, a piece of clay there, but he has a lot of ability," Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan said of the 6-foot-3, 218-pounder last week. "These big corners are in vogue now because they do some many things to take away the vertical ball and things like that. We're excited about his progression. He's worked really hard, but again we took a piece of clay there and we're betting on the come with him."

Jean-Baptiste wound up playing his first eight snaps of the season at Detroit since Robinson was hurt and No. 1 cornerback Keenan Lewis left the game late in the fourth quarter with an injury.

Jean-Baptiste quickly got his welcome-to-the-NFL moment when he was part of the blown coverage on Corey Fuller's go-ahead 5-yard touchdown catch in the final minutes. Although Jean-Baptiste was covering Fuller to start the play, Payton alluded that there may have been a blown assignment elsewhere, saying, "There's more than just Stanley on that play."

"We've felt like he's come along in the kicking game, and we want to get him some work in the red zone," Payton said. "He's making progress and we've been encouraged with what he is doing."

As for Jean-Baptiste, he too said he's following the cornerback mantra of moving forward.

"That's something you've gotta know. If something happens, you've gotta forget about it and move on. If you let it linger on you, you're just gonna keep having bad plays," Jean-Baptiste said. "I feel like I'm getting better every day. Every time I come to work, I feel like I'm learning something new and just trying to put everything together."
METAIRIE, La. -- If you follow any New Orleans Saints players on Twitter -- or even celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse -- you’ve already gotten the message. They’ll be wearing their all-black uniforms on Sunday night against the Green Bay Packers, and they’re calling for the home crowd to do the same.

Keep digging: Saints players found a little extra inspiration greeting them at their lockers on Thursday -- a cartoon that illustrated why it’s important to “keep digging.”

The simple cartoon showed two men digging though the dirt with pickaxes with a pile of diamonds waiting on the other end. The man on the bottom was inches away when he turned and gave up. The man on top was further away but still furiously digging toward the reward.

Worth a click:
  • ESPN Packers reporter Rob Demovsky and illustrator Todd Detwiler put together a neat package with Packers receiver Jordy Nelson explaining the intricacies of the back-shoulder fade -- a play not unfamiliar to Saints fans.
  • Sunday’s game in New Orleans will be a homecoming for Packers running back Eddie Lacy.
  • Only two of 13 NFL analysts are picking a win for the Saints on Sunday night
  • Times-Picayune columnist Jeff Duncan wrote about how many lives former Saints player Steve Gleason has touched since he was diagnosed with ALS and became a crusader for those battling the disease. The fourth annual Gleason Gras festival is today in New Orleans.
Worth repeating:

“I made a good tackle on an interception, I remember that. I remember we got whooped.” -- Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers on his last trip to the Superdome, a 51-29 loss in 2008.

Packers vs. Saints preview

October, 24, 2014
Oct 24
8:00
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Recent history suggests we could be in for a lot of points in prime time when the New Orleans Saints (2-4) host the Green Bay Packers (5-2) on Sunday night inside the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

The past three meetings between Saints quarterback Drew Brees and Packers counterpart Aaron Rodgers have averaged more than 70 points per game, with more than 2,000 total passing yards and a combined 19 touchdown passes.

For that trend to continue, the Saints need to recapture their missing mojo. While the Packers have been among the hottest teams in football during a four-game win streak, the Saints have been maddeningly up-and-down all season, even in their victories. New Orleans is 2-0 at home this year, though, and it has won 13 straight prime-time home games by nearly 20 points per game.

ESPN Saints reporter Mike Triplett and ESPN Packers reporter Rob Demovsky discuss this week's matchup:

Triplett: Rob, the Packers have always reminded me a lot of the Saints in that they look untouchable when their offense gets hot. Is their offense playing as well right now as it ever has in the Rodgers era?

Demovsky: It's close, Mike. But several players this week said they're still not quite to where they were in 2011 when, as offensive lineman T.J. Lang put it, they "could do whatever they wanted." But there's no question Rodgers is dialed in. His only interception, which came in the opener, went off the hands of Jordy Nelson. And here's why the offense might be close to resembling Rodgers' MVP season of '11: He's starting to spread the ball around more. The offense isn't just Nelson, like it was the first three weeks. In Sunday's win over the Panthers, Rodgers hit nine different receivers. That's the way he operated in 2011.

What's the difference with the Saints' offense right now than when it clicks like it has so often in the past?

Triplett: I'll give you the same answer. It's close. Brees and the Saints have still looked excellent at times, and they lead the NFL in yards per play. But they've shot themselves in the foot too much with a total of 12 turnovers and seemingly one bad stretch in every game. Sunday, Brees threw for 325 yards and two touchdowns through three quarters at Detroit. Then they collapsed in the fourth quarter, including a really bad interception.

But all of the elements are still there. Brees has been mostly sharp and accurate with short passes, and he finally rediscovered the deep passing game Sunday. His biggest problem: He has thrown seven interceptions while under duress. The run game has been as good as ever during the Brees-Sean Payton era. They need Jimmy Graham healthy, but he's on the way. They need consistency more than anything else, and playing at home should help kick-start things.

What kind of a defense will the Saints be facing on Sunday night? Green Bay has reminded me of the Saints on that side of the ball with so much inconsistency over the years.

Demovsky: Up until Sunday against the Panthers, it was a defense that was reliant on taking the ball away. The Packers had 11 takeaways (including eight interceptions) in their four previous games but they finally played a solid defensive game where turnovers weren't the overriding difference. Yes, they did have one interception against Carolina, but it wasn't the reason they shut down Cam Newton & Co. The Packers forced three-and-outs on four of the Panthers' first five possessions. If there's an area where they're still a little shaky, it's against the run. They finally climbed out of last place in rushing defense, but not by much. They're 31st this week.

What's been the bigger issue for the Saints on defense: their secondary or their lack of a pass rush, which was supposed to be a strength?

Triplett: The two go hand in hand. The defensive line is a disappointment because, as you said, it was supposed to be a strength and the Saints are loaded with talent with outside linebacker Junior Galette and ends Cameron Jordan and Akiem Hicks. Instead, they've just been OK. But they remain the greatest reason for optimism, and they just played their best game last week at Detroit.

The secondary is a much bigger concern. Top cornerback Keenan Lewis remains excellent, but they've struggled badly at the No. 2 and No. 3 cornerback spots with a variety of players. They lost safety Jairus Byrd to a season-ending injury, and fellow safety Kenny Vaccaro has battled inconsistency and some uncharacteristic missed tackles. This matchup against Green Bay's offense is daunting, to say the least.

You mentioned that the Packers aren't relying solely on Nelson, which is interesting. The Saints have actually done an OK job keeping the most dangerous weapons in check (Dez Bryant, Julio Jones, etc.). But they've been in big trouble against deeper offenses like Atlanta's and Dallas' because they spread the Saints thin and burned them underneath. I know Randall Cobb and Eddie Lacy could cause problems. Do they go even deeper than that?

Demovsky: The emergence of rookie receiver Davante Adams has gone a long way toward diversifying their offense. Even if teams want to sit back in Cover 2 and roll one safety toward Nelson and the other toward Cobb, they now have Adams, who has good size and speed. Rodgers has looked to him more often of late, and he has a touchdown catch in two of the past three games. If they can get their tight ends involved, then they might be virtually impossible to stop, but so far they haven't gotten much from that spot.

The Packers' two losses have come in loud environments -- at Seattle and at Detroit -- and the Superdome certainly fits into that category. Despite all of their struggles this season, why should the Packers be worried about playing the Saints down there?

Triplett: That could be the great equalizer for the Saints. They're much more dangerous at home -- and for some reason almost unstoppable in home night games. Obviously the atmosphere has a lot to do with it. It's truly one of the loudest venues in the league. And that helps both the offense and the defense quite a bit because of communication. Plus they've got the fast track to work with and no weather conditions, which suits their style (though it won't hurt Green Bay's offense). And players also said they get into the idea of playing in that prime-time showcase knowing everyone is watching. As Brees said, "You feel like you want to kind of back up the reason for them putting you on [that stage]."

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Cousin Sal makes his picks for week 8 in the NFL.
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The NFL Live crew make their picks for Green Bay at New Orleans.
METAIRIE, La. -- New Orleans Saints running backs Pierre Thomas and Khiry Robinson both missed practice again Thursday, leaving their status in doubt for Sunday’s game against the Green Bay Packers.

Thomas (shoulder) is a long shot since he hasn’t attended either practice after being knocked out of last week’s game against the Detroit Lions. Robinson (forearm) has been on the practice field in uniform but has not participated in individual drills during the portion of practice open to the media.

Obviously it’s a good thing for the Saints that they got Mark Ingram back from his own hand injury last week. Ingram would play a significant role in the Saints’ offense if the other backs are out or limited. Travaris Cadet would also likely play an increased role, especially in the Saints’ passing game, if Thomas is out.

Last week, Cadet caught six passes for 51 yards with Thomas limited. Cadet also caught six passes for 59 yards earlier this year at Dallas when the Saints spent much of the game in their no-huddle, hurry-up offense.

The Saints didn’t offer updates on any of their injuries Thursday. There were no changes from Wednesday’s injury report.

Center Jonathan Goodwin (knee) and linebacker Kyle Knox (ankle) remained out.

Tight end Jimmy Graham (shoulder), cornerback Keenan Lewis (knee/shoulder), nose tackle Brodrick Bunkley (concussion) and linebacker Ramon Humber (ankle) remained limited. Cornerback Patrick Robinson (hamstring) practiced fully.
METAIRIE, La. -- The New Orleans Saints re-discovered their downfield passing game last week, with receivers Marques Colston and Kenny Stills both gaining more than 100 receiving yards in a 24-23 loss to the Detroit Lions.

Stills
 
Colston
 If that’s a sign of things to come, the Saints’ offense could indeed be ready to start rolling, as quarterback Drew Brees and others have suggested. That was the one missing element earlier this season, as they’ve been very efficient with the shorter passes and run game. Turnovers have obviously been a huge problem, as well, with seven interceptions and five lost fumbles. But the Saints actually lead the NFL in yards per play (6.3).

“That just showed we have a bright, young corps,” said Saints rookie receiver Brandin Cooks, who had a quiet game at Detroit but has quickly emerged as a big part of New Orleans’ offense. “It’s getting close to where they really start having to pick their poison because Kenny went off, Colston went off, and I’ve had a couple of good games. Jimmy [Graham] has done his thing.

“I feel like it’s getting close to us just busting out.”

Although Colston struggled early this season with a fumble, dropped passes and even a rare game where he wasn’t targeted once, there was little doubt that the Saints would continue to rely on him.

Colston once again emerged as Brees’ go-to guy at Detroit -- on a day when Graham was limited by a shoulder injury and the Saints’ run game was limited by Detroit’s stingy defensive front.

Colston caught six passes for 111 yards, his first 100-yard game since Week 1.

“He’s one of the most consistent guys I’ve ever played with, continues to be,” Brees said. “I don’t know his statistics this year, I know he’s coming off a 100-yard game. I know that I’m always looking for him. And so there may be those times where, hey, he’s not getting it as much as he has in the past or on a consistent basis as he has in the past, but it’s by no means an indication of anything.

“I can just tell you right now I look to him as much or more than I always have.”

Stills also had a big game, catching five passes for 103 yards, including a 46-yard touchdown.

The Saints would still like to hit on a few more of those “shot” plays they’ve missed on to Stills, Robert Meachem and others.

Cooks could become a factor in that department, too. Despite his blazing speed, most of his touches have come on shorter routes and run plays so far. But he showed that ability in training camp, and coach Sean Payton said some of it has just been circumstance this year.

“He’s been on some that weren’t thrown that way,” Payton said. “He’s someone that we certainly feel like has deep speed, and we can get the ball too down the field.”
METAIRIE, La. -- Eric Olsen was admittedly frustrated when the New Orleans Saints released him last season after he suffered a Lisfranc foot injury in the summer that sidelined him for about two months. But the journeyman guard/center said he understood the "business side" of the decision.

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Olsen said Wednesday that he felt even better about it when the Saints brought him back this week when they needed depth in the wake of starting center Jonathan Goodwin's knee injury.

"I always had the feeling they still liked me here, and it was an injury-related thing that ended up happening. And it was good to know that I wasn't just imagining that, and that they still know what I can do and still feel comfortable enough to bring me back," said Olsen, who spent time with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Tennessee Titans over the past year, but didn’t crack the active rosters.

The Saints have not offered any updates on the severity of Goodwin’s injury, which he suffered during last Sunday’s 24-23 loss to the Detroit Lions. But it appears to be a good sign that the Saints haven’t placed Goodwin on injured reserve. In the meantime, they trust second-year pro Tim Lelito as his replacement. Lelito, who lost a close battle to Goodwin for the starting job this summer, has played well in three appearances this season after Goodwin went down with three separate injuries.

In another roster move Wednesday, the Saints brought back rookie linebacker Todd Davis to their practice squad. Davis was activated for one game, but was released after he made his NFL debut as a backup and special teamer last Sunday.
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ESPN NFL Insider Mike Sando delivers stats to help you make a pick for Green Bay at New Orleans.
Tony Dungy thinks New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees could “take a page out of Aaron Rodgers’ book” and needs to relax.

Brees
 “Their defense is not holding leads, they're giving up some big plays. So Drew is feeling like, ‘I gotta score every time I've got the ball,’” Dungy said on ESPN’s Mike & Mike radio show Tuesday. “‘Now I’m getting rushed a little bit, the pressure's around me. And rather than throw the ball away and punt, or rather than just take the checkdown and let my backs work with it, I've gotta try to make something happen because I'm worried about the defense.’ And he’s throwing interceptions at inopportune times I think because of that.

“So they just need to relax, let their playmakers play, and they’re gonna be fine. They play better at home. This is one of those statement games [Sunday night against the Green Bay Packers]. In my opinion, they have to win this game if they want to be a playoff team.”

Dungy’s take on the Saints has become a popular one in the wake of some of Brees’ costliest interceptions over the past two games against the Detroit Lions and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Brees has been sharp in several areas this season, but he has struggled when trying to force the ball out under duress. According to ESPN Stats and Info, he has the NFL’s worst passer rating this season while under pressure.

However, Brees, coach Sean Payton and teammates like offensive tackle Zach Strief have all agreed with Dungy’s assessment that, “They’re going to be fine.”

They feel -- and I agree -- that Brees is the least of the Saints’ worries going forward and their best chance of leading them back into contention.

Also worth a click:

ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter points out that the Saints still have a good shot at winning the NFC South, where no team is above .500 right now in this piece that requires Insider access.

ESPN Stats and Information took a look at how in sync Rodgers is with his receivers right now.

For all your Packers news and notes this week, check out their ESPN.com team page. And follow Packers reporter Rob Demovsky on Twitter @RobDemovsky.
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John Clayton believes defenses are catching on to Drew Brees' penchant for passing between the numbers.

Saints still have good NFC South shot 

October, 23, 2014
Oct 23
10:48
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videoESPN Insider Adam Schefter hits five of the biggest questions around the league once a week during the NFL preseason and regular season, and sporadically throughout the playoffs and offseason. Have a query of your own? Submit it here.

What do you think the chances are the Detroit Lions trade Ndamukong Suh, since he’s going to be a free agent and has stated that he doesn’t want to return to Detroit?

No reason to do that now, as much as they might be able to get in trade for him. The Lions are tied for first place in the NFC North. Their defense has been playing at a top level -- and Suh has been one of the centerpieces of it. Sure, the Lions might be able to get a premium draft pick back for Suh, but his value would be diminished because he is on an expiring contract, so Detroit wouldn't be able to get back as much. And for whatever the Lions could get back, is it worth sacrificing the success that they are striving for this season? Very likely not.

Was that the nail in the coffin for the New Orleans Saints' season Sunday, or are they still a serious contender in the NFC?
METAIRIE, La. -- Aaron Rodgers has been one of the NFL’s elite quarterbacks for seven years now. But this season, the Green Bay Packers star has cranked it up another notch.

Rodgers
Rodgers
 He’s gone to ludicrous speed.

Rodgers has thrown for 18 touchdowns with just one interception this year. He’s been especially dominant during Green Bay’s four-game winning streak, throwing for 13 TDs with zero interceptions, averaging 244 yards per game and completing 70.6 percent of his passes.

Here’s what the New Orleans Saints have been saying about Rodgers this week as they prepare to face him Sunday night in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome:

S Kenny Vaccaro: “He’s pure dangerous. I have the utmost respect for this guy, the way he competes, his accuracy, his arm talent, his mobility -- everything is checked off. ... He’s playing the best in the league right now, 18 touchdowns to one interception. Drew [Brees], Peyton [Manning], Aaron [Rodgers], Tom [Brady], it’s that elite category, what we call a blue dot, that they’re gonna beat you some place. Those are the top guys. Everybody knows it, too."

LB Curtis Lofton: “What really makes him special is everything about him. He’s smart, he’s intelligent. His arm, he has a cannon. He can throw from rolling out to the left, rolling out to the right. And he has great speed if he wants to tuck down and run.”

Coach Sean Payton: “He’s playing outstanding football. … His location, his command of the offense, he’s got exceptional awareness. He’s great at getting them in and out of plays. Obviously, they get in an up-tempo system and are able to get a look at the defense and try to get to the advantage plays. But, man, he does an awful lot of things outstanding. He’s having one of those seasons. And you can see the play of everyone around him also in these last four weeks. It’s been pretty impressive.”

DE Cam Jordan: “He’s a complete quarterback. He’s an elite quarterback. We’ve played him twice now, and he’s done a great job of having an awareness in the pocket, and he’s a little bit more elusive than you’d expect. Because of that he makes a lot of great throws when he’s scrambling.”

QB Drew Brees: “Anytime you go up against a quarterback like Aaron Rodgers on the other side of the ball, you know how sharp he’s gonna be and you know you have to be at your best. You don’t have to be perfect. But, man, just everything is magnified in a game like this. Just to be extremely sharp, to execute very well, and you know what to expect.”
A look at where the New Orleans Saints (2-4) and Green Bay Packers (5-2) rank in key statistical categories through seven weeks of the NFL season:

SAINTS OFFENSE:
Total yards: 2nd (437.0 per game)
Passing yards: 2nd (314.0 per game)
Rushing yards: 13th (123.0 per game)
Third-down conversions: 4th (50 percent)
Red zone touchdowns: tie-11th (62.5 percent)
Turnovers (giveaways): tie-10th most (12)
Sacks allowed: tie-2nd fewest (6)

SAINTS DEFENSE:
Total yards: 21st (373.7 per game)
Passing yards: 28th (270.5 per game)
Rushing yards: 11th (103.2 per game)
Third-down conversions: 26th (46.3 percent)
Red zone touchdowns: tie-26th (66.7 percent)
Turnovers (takeaways): tie-30th (4)
Sacks: tie-25th (9)

SAINTS TEAM:
Points scored: 10th (25.8 per game)
Points allowed: 28th (27.5 per game)
Turnover ratio: tie-29th (minus-8)
Time of possession: 10th (30:36 per game)

SAINTS INDIVIDUALS:
QB Drew Brees: 319 yards per game (2nd), 11 TDs (tie-11th), 7 INTs (tie-3rd most), 67.7 completion percentage (4th), 91.7 passer rating (17th), 66.1 Total QBR (10th)
TE Jimmy Graham: 34 receptions (tie-21st), 62.7 receiving yards per game (25th), 3 receiving touchdowns (tie-24th)
WR Brandin Cooks: 34 receptions (tie-21st)
RB Khiry Robinson 55.0 rushing yards per game (21st), 5.2 yards per carry (tie-4th)
LB Curtis Lofton 56 tackles (tie-11th)
OLB Junior Galette 4.0 sacks (tie-15th)

PACKERS OFFENSE:
Total yards: 25th (325.4 per game)
Passing yards: 20th (226.7 per game)
Rushing yards: 22nd (98.7 per game)
Turnovers (giveaways): tie-2nd fewest (4)
Sacks allowed: tie-9th most (17)

PACKERS DEFENSE:
Total yards: 19th (362.7 per game)
Passing yards: 6th (214.9 per game)
Rushing yards: 31st (147.9 per game)
Turnovers (takeaways): tie-2nd most (14)
Sacks: tie-14th (16)

PACKERS TEAM:
Points scored: 4th (28.4 per game)
Points allowed: tie-9th (21.0 per game)

PACKERS INDIVIDUALS:
QB Aaron Rodgers 239 yards per game (21st), 18 TDs (tie-3rd), 1 INT (tie-37th), 66.8 completion percentage (7th), 117.3 passer rating (2nd), 83.9 Total QBR (4th)
WR Jordy Nelson 101.7 receiving yards per game (22nd), 47 catches (tie-5th), 6 receiving TDs (tie-4th)
WR Randall Cobb 64.6 receiving yards per game (17th), 35 catches (tie-18th), 8 receiving TDs (2nd)
RB Eddie Lacy 52.7 rushing yards per game (23rd), 4 rushing TDs (tie-3rd)
LB Morgan Burnett 56 tackles (tie-11th)
METAIRIE, La. -- When you lose a game the way the New Orleans Saints did last week, coughing up a 13-point lead in the final four minutes at Detroit, quarterback Drew Brees said "it was painful for all of us."

"It bugs you for like 24 hours. I mean, it really bugs you," said Brees, who bluntly admitted after the game that he let his team down with a late interception.

Ultimately, though, Brees insisted that the way the Saints played for the first 56 minutes of that 24-23 loss at Detroit still breeds confidence that things are heading in the right direction.

[+] EnlargeDrew Brees
AP Photo/Paul SancyaDrew Brees said Sunday's loss to the Lions "was painful for all of us."
And now that the page has officially turned toward a Sunday night showdown against the Green Bay Packers in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, Brees said the overriding emotion is excitement for that next opportunity to build on that progress.

"As you got into Tuesday and into today, you said, ‘Man, guys, we're getting close,'" Brees said. "I don't think we've scratched the surface with what we can do this year yet offensively. I think we've showed signs, and yet I think just on a consistent basis we haven't quite found it yet. But we're on our way, and that's the exciting thing. You keep chipping away at it, knowing that your best is still yet to come.

"And we're gonna need it this week against Green Bay."

Players like Brees and offensive tackle Zach Strief admitted that they have to be prepared to engage in a shootout with quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, who might have the hottest offense in football right now.

The Packers (5-2) have averaged 36.25 points per game over their current four-game win streak. Rodgers has thrown for 18 touchdown passes with just one interception this year -- with that only interception coming in Week 1.

"Anytime you go up against a quarterback like Aaron Rodgers on the other side of the ball, you know how sharp he's gonna be and you know you have to be at your best," Brees said. "You don't have to be perfect. But, man, just everything is magnified in a game like this. ...

"It just makes you feel like you have to be even that [much] more precise and execute that much better, take advantage of every opportunity that you get."

The Saints have to be especially precise against a Green Bay defense that has forced 14 turnovers this year. The Packers lead the NFL with a turnover ratio of plus-10, having turned it over only four times.

"More than anything, I think we need to protect the ball against this team," Strief said. "So we don't just have to put up points, we need to do it efficiently. Because they've been really good at taking it away, and that offense has really fed on that."

Turnovers have been a problem for the Saints this year. Brees has thrown seven interceptions, and the Saints have lost five fumbles. And some of Brees' recent interceptions have been very poor decisions while trying to force a throw under pressure -- including the most costly one of the year to date at Detroit.

Brees' TD-to-interception ratio is 11-to-7 this year, which is far below his normal standard. But he said those numbers in and of themselves don't worry him or concern him or "keep me up at night" because he's more concerned with the improvement going forward.

Coach Sean Payton said earlier this week that Brees is "the least of our worries." And Strief offered a similar vote of confidence Wednesday.

"I think that Drew is doing what Drew's always done. And he's not getting a lot of help," Strief said. "I think you look at the two-minute drill at the end of the game [at Detroit], we ran six plays, he was pressured on all six of them.

"So obviously Drew is always gonna probably get more credit and he's gonna get more criticism than he's due. We understand that. And if there's one guy in this locker room we're gonna support 100 percent, it's gonna be Drew."

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