METAIRIE — New Orleans Saints interim coach Joe Vitt said he hopes he has a solution for his team’s turnover problems in the final three weeks of the season, starting with Sunday’s game with the Tampa Bay Bucs.
The Saints have turned the ball over 11 times in the last three games — including nine interceptions by Drew Brees — after giving it away just 12 times in their first 10 outings.
“I think as a football team, we’re pressing right now,” Vitt said. “We have to let it go and let it flow, play hard, smart and together. (Play) harder football and tougher than the opponent, without pressing.
“Just let it go and let it flow and just do the things we’re supposed to do in practice every day. That will afford us the opportunity to win football games.”
New York Giants running back David Wilson was named Wednesday the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week, which is no surprise considering he had 227 return yards — including a 97-yard TD — in Sunday’s 52-27 win over the Saints.
“It shocked everybody,” Vitt said of the Saints’ coverage unit, which allowed 287 kickoff return yards Sunday after giving up 694 in the first 12 games. “Our coverage units have been outstanding this season. It’s been performing at a high level all year long, and all of a sudden, the dam broke.”
Vitt said six players didn’t participate in Wednesday’s practice, their first of the week for the game with the Bucs.
Not practicing were T Zach Strief (ankle), FS Malcolm Jenkins (knee), CB Corey White (knee), FB Jed Collins (toe), RB Chris Ivory (hamstring) and T Charles Brown (knee).
For the Bucs, DE Da’Quan Bowers (hamstring) and G Jamon Meredith (ankle) were the only players who did not participate.
Brees moved up another spot on the NFL’s all-time passing list with 354 yards in the loss to the Giants.
Brees, who started the season in 11th place, is up to eighth with 44,770 yards. He jumped ahead of Drew Bledsoe, who had 44,611 yards, after getting past Kerry Collins and Dan Fouts earlier in the season.
Brees was also ninth with 281 TDs at the start of the season and is now sixth with 313 after passing Johnny Unitas, Warren Moon and John Elway.
Brees and tight end Jimmy Graham will lend their voices to animated characters of their likeness in this week’s episode of “NFL Rush Zone: Season of the Guardians” on Nicktoons.
The episode airs Friday at 8 p.m. on Nicktoons with a replay Saturday at 6 a.m. on NFL Network.
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