Oct 10, 2021; Landover, Maryland, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Jameis Winston (2) passes the ball from the end zone against the Washington Football Team during the second quarter at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

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Saints, Seahawks in unfamiliar positions as they meet Monday

Coaches Pete Carroll and Sean Payton both cautioned that it’s still early in the season.

For Payton, it was in reference to New Orleans’ passing game. The Saints are second-to-last in the NFL with 169.4 yards through the air per game, well off the standard set during the Drew Brees era.

“The good news is I don’t have to bring the report card home to my mom right now,” Payton said. “We’ve got a lot of football” still to play.

Quarterback Jameis Winston and the Saints (3-2) are coming off a bye week heading into Monday night’s game at Seattle.

Carroll’s Seahawks (2-4) are in a more dire situation, especially with quarterback Russell Wilson (finger surgery) and running back Chris Carson (neck) on injured reserve. The reigning NFC West champions are already four games behind undefeated Arizona in the division race.

Carroll was adamant in his unwillingness to write off his team just yet.

“It’s going to be a long way down the schedule. There are a lot of things that will happen around the league, and we have to take care of our business,” Carroll said. “As it is always the case, postponing judgment is a powerful tool if you have it, and that’s what we have to do.”

Geno Smith will get his second consecutive start at QB for the Seahawks. He completed 23 of 32 passes for 209 yards in a 23-20 overtime loss last Sunday night at Pittsburgh. Smith directed the Seahawks to a tying field goal late in regulation, but his fumble while being sacked in overtime led to Pittsburgh’s winning score.

“I can’t keep coming up short. I put that on myself,” said Smith, who threw an interception when a receiver fell down as he tried to rally the Seahawks past the Los Angeles Rams the previous week after Wilson was injured. “Back-to-back weeks, our defense gives us a chance to score. Give me the ball. We don’t get it done. That’s solely on me. I vow to be better.”

Carroll said he doesn’t want his players feeling a sense of urgency against the Saints.

“I think it’s really important that we don’t let that disrupt the way we prepare and operate because it can turn the way you respond and react in a direction that can work against you,” Carroll said. “When you over-try, you’re not acting like you’re capable of acting. You’re acting like something else.”

The bye couldn’t have come at a better time for the injury-riddled Saints.

Defensive end Marcus Davenport and linebacker Kwon Alexander haven’t played since the season opener and wide receiver Tre’Quan Smith and kicker Wil Lutz have been sidelined since the preseason. All four could return Monday.

Center Erik McCoy (calf) and left tackle Terron Armstead (elbow) returned to practice as limited participants, though quarterback Taysom Hill (concussion) did not.

“This bye is more unique than I can recall in the past just because of the amount of players that have been injured,” Payton said. “This is a tough week because there’s so much going on, and we have to see how it goes. … There’s a handful of different guys (coming back). So, keeping track of it this week is challenging for me.”

Seahawks running back Alex Collins (groin), who rushed for 101 yards against the Steelers in place of Carson, has missed practice this week, as has guard Damien Lewis (shoulder). Defensive end Darrell Taylor (neck), who was carted off late in the game in Pittsburgh and taken to a hospital, has been limited in practice.

–Field Level Media

Field Level Media
Sport Writer & Editor
FLM has a North American focus while tying into regional and hyper-local resources – providing the ability to distribute compelling content through the writing of professional journalists. As the U.S. sports content provider to dozens of digital and print media publishers through strategic partnerships with the likes of Reuters and Nielsen Sports, FLM covers the nuts and bolts with a breaking news desk and game event coverage.

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