Deuce McAllister on Saints loss, playoff preparation

Seth Dunlap
December 30, 2018 - 2:54 pm

While the New Orleans Saints lost to the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, the bigger question coming out of the game was whether they would remain relatively healthy heading into the playoffs, or suffer any new injuries to key players.

Three different Saints players had to be tended to on the field in the opening few minutes of the game, including starting offensive lineman Andrus Peat, who was helped to the locker room.  Yet there were no additional injuries after that, something that former Saints running back, and current radio color analyst, Deuce McAllister said was paramount heading into the playoffs.

"Healthy as far as we know," Deuce said of the team's injury situation after the game.  "Not having some of your offensive lineman, that was going to put you at a disadvantage.  Also, when you look at guys not being locked in you don't like to see that."

Deuce is referencing poor play by the team in the first half, especially by the defense that was fielding, for the most part, their first team unit.  The Panthers steamrolled the Saints to a 23-0 lead at halftime, and cruised to a 33-14 victory.  No, there wasn't anything to gain for the Saints if they won this game, other than a team-record 14 regular season wins, but the performance left a bit of a sour taste in Deuce's mouth.

"You already have the number one seed, having nothing to gain from winning this game.  But you want to come out and compete.  I think Sean (Payton) will be able to find some things that he'll be able to go through."

Now, the Saints head into the bye week that they've earned by locking up the top seed in the NFC heading into the playoffs.  How will the team handle the off week?

"You can look at it a couple of different ways," Deuce explained.  "You can give them the complete week off as far as six days in concerned, or you know you can come in and practice two days and give them that time off.  It's really a feel deal for you and your team."

It's a good problem to have, deciding how to spend the bye week.  The alternative was playing a loser-out football game on Wild Card weekend against one of the NFC's better teams.  However, after the spotty performance the Saints put up on Sunday they'll have a few things to work on.

"You want to perfect the things you do really well, or clean up some of the (other) things," Deuce responded when asked what he'd like to see the team focus on next week.

The Saints will next play two weeks from now against either the Cowboys, Seahawks, Vikings, or Eagles -- whichever team is the lowest seed remaining in the NFC's playoff field.

Listen to Deuce's full post game reaction in the podcast below, or by clicking here.

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