METAIRIE — With a rare opportunity to get an advance look at their next opponent on Sunday afternoon, New Orleans Saints interim coach Aaron Kromer did what anyone else in his position would do: He spent quality time with his family.
Chances for NFL coaches to do that during their noses-to-the-grindstone season are worth far more than whatever might be gleaned from watching the Tampa Bay-Kansas City game.
And anyway, Kromer isn’t much for TV as a scouting tool to begin with.
“I’d rather watch a coach’s tape,” he said Monday, the Saints’ first day back from their bye week. “I like to form my own opinions of what’s happening on the field, so I’d have to shut that off, No. 1, to watch it on TV.
“No. 2, it takes too long. On a coach’s tape, I see what I want to see, run it back and really study it.”
But others watched, particularly defensive end Junior Galette.
“I study everything I can,” he said. “So I like to get a good TV copy, especially a day ahead of everybody else, because that makes it like a bonus day.
“The coach’s tape doesn’t have sound. But with the TV tape, if you listen really close, you can lock in on the cadences. As a pass rusher, it really helps me out a lot.”
But then why don’t coaches use TV tapes?
“They’re not in the game,” Galette said. “We’re the ones who have to be out there.
“It’s amazing how much you can get off TV.”
Cornerback Jabari Greer, who missed part of last week’s game because of a groin injury, said he would have liked to have seen the game but had other distractions.
“I watched some of it,” he said. “But when you have young kids, you spend the day watching Clifford and The Wiggles. You don’t get to see a lot of football.”
Second-year defensive end Martez Wilson hasn’t gotten a lot of attention before, but his game-clinching sack, strip and fumble recovery against the Chargers changed all of that.
“You dream about making plays like that,” he said “It was like getting a triple double.
“Everybody in New Orleans was so happy about it, and they’ve all shown me a lot of appreciation. I’ve felt like I was the hero of the week or something.”
Many players take the opportunity to see their college alma maters play during bye weeks, but for guard Ben Grubbs and defensive tackle Tom Johnson, perhaps it was just as well that their old teams were on the road.
Auburn, where Grubbs played, lost to Ole Miss 41-20 to fall to 1-5 overall and 0-4 in the SEC just two years after the Cam Newton-led Tigers were national champions.
“They’re having some growing pains,” Grubbs said. “But I have confidence they’ll get it turned around.”
Things are even worse, at least recordwise, at Southern Miss, Johnson’s college.
The Golden Eagles, who have had 18 straight winning seasons, lost 38-31 in overtime to Central Florida to fall to 0-6 under first-year coach Ellis Johnson. So unless USM wins out and then wins a bowl game, the streak will be snapped.
“My coach isn’t there, and most of the guys I played with are gone, so I don’t keep up with them that much,” Tom Johnson said. “But I know it’s not like USM to be 0-6.
“That’s not our tradition at all. There’s got to be a lot of upset alums.”
Safety Malcolm Jenkins took in a high school game in his hometown of Piscataway, N.J., instead of going to the Ohio State-Indiana game.
If he had gone, he would have had to have sweated out the undefeated Buckeyes’ 52-49 victory against lowly Indiana.
“A win is a win,” Jenkins said, “but I couldn’t have shown my face around here today if we’d lost.”
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