When John Fox and Peyton Manning stepped into the pocket (the media pocket that is) Wednesday afternoon, make no mistake about it. The take-home message was clear. The Denver Broncos aren’t just dealing with a New Orleans Saints team that is two games below .500.
“I don’t look at stats,” Fox said. “The only important stat is wins and losses, and I know their winning streak is longer than ours right now because they’ve won two in a row, so they’re very capable. We don’t look at stats, we don’t look at records, we watch the tape. They’ve beat two good football teams back-to-back. They’re a very worthy opponent that was a playoff team a year ago.”
The Saints are coming off wins against the San Diego Chargers and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after starting the season 0-4.
“I think for the reasons that are obvious, it’s a game against a really good team, a team that’s hot, a team that their record and their statistics and all those are very misleading,” Manning said. “It’s a big-time football team that knows how to win, and it’s one we need to have a good week of practice and get ready for.”
The Saints also have interim head coach Joe Vitt coming back after serving a 6-game suspension. Fox knows Vitt very well from his days in Carolina when his team was in the same division as the Saints.
Vitt has been a defensive assistant coach in New Orleans since 2006, and he’s been coaching football for 44 years.
“I’ve got the utmost respect for Joe,” Fox said. “I think he’s a heck of a coach, a heck of a man. I’m excited that he gets to go back to what he does best. It’s good to have him back.”
For the Saints, it’s great to have him back. Vitt should be able to help defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo pick their 29th ranked defense up off the ground.
Offensive line coach Aaron Kromer was the Saints’ head coach to start the season, only filling in until Vitt was allowed to return. According to sources, Vitt has a lot more motivational power than Kromer had.
Vitt is Sean Payton’s right hand man. Vitt has no qualms about ripping a player who needs to be ripped; Kromer was at times reluctant to let a guy have it. And with Vitt, there’s an energy that instantly returned to the team. – Mike Florio (PFT)
With Vitt’s return, things just got more interesting, and Sunday night just got even bigger.