Saints head coach Sean Payton had to get the team down on one knee and give them a disciplinary talk this week after yet another practice was ended by a offense v defense rumble. Punitive sprints were also doled out by the coach, who preached to his players to be more respectful and hit smarter. Payton took extra time this week to smooth out the rough edges of defensive coordinator Gregg Williams' mentality.
Williams has had the defense competing and playing physically and violently since the first practice. Whether it be driving Pierre Thomas out of bounds, or ripping fumbles out of Jeremy Shockey's hands, or flipping Reggie Bush onto his back during blocking drills, this Saints defense has been making their offensive counterparts raw.
Ofcourse, Payton will likely give extra sprints and coachspeak until someone gets hurt as the result of unnecessary roughness. Then, heads will roll.
Williams wants a physical defense and he loves the new attitude his squad has picked up. But these fights have tested the tempers of the offense.
These physical workouts haven't resulted in any major injuries yet, but what of the mental toll and the exhaustion of patience? What damage has been done to morale and chemistry?
On the other hand, we've seen around the league the consequences of running a "cupcake" camp. With a team that has taken so many lumps over the past two seasons, why not enter 2009 as an angry team? Why not be the team team to deliver the extra hit? Why not be a team used to getting punched in the mount and always punching back?