(Amber Matsumoto/Yahoo Sports illustration)
Dan Wetzel - Columnist Yahoo
METAIRIE, La. — On Monday, New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton had a wheelbarrow full of $201,000 and the Vince Lombardi Trophy rolled into a team meeting to show the hardware and hard cash (via playoff payout shares) that players could take home if they can manage three more victories.
No “one game at a time” mantra here, let alone “one practice at a time” or “one rep at a time” or anything else from the iron-fisted Coaching 101 handbook.
Here’s the prize, here’s the goal, here’s what we are here for.
Welcome to the Big Easy, where in 2019 Payton feels comfortable that his unique group of Saints doesn’t need horse blinders to focus them on the minute tasks at hand. Instead they can embrace the reality of the playoffs, where the Saints aren’t just the NFC’s No. 1 seed headed into Sunday’s home game against the Philadelphia Eagles, but the betting favorites to win it all in Atlanta next month and still concentrate on what they need to do.
“I was just like, ‘Oh, that’s cool,'” rookie defensive end Marcus Davenport said of the guard-protected pile of money and the championship trophy. “‘Now let’s get to practice.'” ...
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