Saints Executive Vice President/General Manager Mickey Loomis spoke with Bobby Hebert and Deke Bellavia Thursday afternoon on WWL Radio. Below are some highlights. Listen to the full interview here.
On how difficult it was to finalize Head Coach Sean Payton’s contract extension: “I don’t think it was that difficult because I think Sean’s intention all along was to be here with the Saints. Clearly that was our intention. The biggest difficulty was that we had a pretty long period where we couldn’t even discuss it with his agent (Don Yee). That was the biggest obstacle.”
On what expectations weren’t met this season: “We expect to be a playoff team every year. Whether you are 13-3, 11-5 or 10-6 or whatever records it takes to get there, that’s what we expect to begin with. We go into every game expecting to win. When that doesn’t happen and you end up 7-9 and on the outside looking in, that’s difficult to swallow. That’s not the expectations we have in our building and that’s not the expectations that our fans have become accustomed to so you are left with dissatisfaction.”
On the similarities he has found with working for an NFL team and an NBA team: “Certainly it’s a continuing education for me. So far I have found a lot more similarities than I have found differences. That’s been a little bit surprising to me. Clearly there are differences with a different game. Some of the logistics are different. I think the mentality and the types of things that win in football are similar in basketball. It’s about having discipline, having a good system, having the right coach and being able to develop a good locker room. All those things that we emphasize here at the Saints are important with the Hornets as well.
“I like our Head Coach Monty Williams and GM Dell Demps a lot. I think they are talented guys. I like the makeup of our team. We have a lot of young guys on that team and they are good people. They want to be successful and they want to be coached. I like what I see so far even though the record isn’t what we would like it to be. We are a young team and these are the early stages of development. I think we are off to a good start.”
On what impact the offseason distractions had on the season: “We can’t blame 7-9 on anybody but ourselves. None of the (offseason distractions) had anything to do with how we practice, how we prepare, tackling and the way we execute our offense on the field. We had plenty of opportunities to do that the right way, finish games and make plays. That didn’t impact that. The players that were supposed to miss games ended up not missing games. Every year there are distractions that exist and the good teams have to be able and are able to put that away when it’s time to perform on the field.
“I certainly don’t want to get into any discussion that says ‘our 7-9 record is the fault of somebody other than ourselves.’ If we do that, then we are going to excuse this last season and not be critical enough of ourselves to prevent it from happening again. I understand the (fans’ feelings) and I understand that we didn’t meet expectations. I think excuse makers would say ‘it’s all the league’s fault.’ We are not going to be excuse makers. This is our fault and we need learn from it, be better for it and I think we will be.”
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