Shutdown Corner

Saints coach Sean Payton changes everything, including Gatorade flavor, to cure road woes

Anwar S. Richardson
Shutdown Corner

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(USA Today Sports Images)

The New Orleans Saints play well at home. However, when the Saints pack their bags and hit the road, they leave their dynamic team with the toothpaste and lotion at home.

New Orleans was 8-0 at home during the regular season, but 3-5 on the road. In fact, the Saints have five losses in their past six road games. The numbers do not improve when you look at New Orleans’ playoff history.

The Saints are 0-5 in road playoff games, and 0-3 under coach Sean Payton. New Orleans was defeated by the San Francisco 49ers during the playoffs in 2011. Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch had a memorable run during a victory against New Orleans in the 2010 postseason.

That prompted Payton to change his team's routine as New Orleans prepares for its NFC wild-card game against the Philadelphia Eagles on Saturday.

“It is all about the new sweatsuits, the beefy mac and the Gatorade flavor,” Saints quarterback Drew Brees told reporters on Wednesday. “We feel really good about what we have going this week with that. I can’t wait to see those new sweatsuits and hopefully that will change our luck.”

Yes, Payton is so serious about switching routines, he changed his team’s Gatorade flavor and will have his squad wear new sweatsuits on the road.

“When you change your Gatorade color, that’s a big deal,” Payton said. “The night before, what you eat is a big deal. Sweatsuits, the only ones were getting kind of raggedy to begin with anyway. We are trying a different name brand.”

Payton even played hip-hop music during stretching and individual drills during practice on Wednesday.

“Just a little juice,” Payton said. “I told them I brought my playlist in. Some of these guys have to get their iTunes up to count. They have to pay their bills. I got a lot on there.”

Obviously, the Saints are adding a little humor to deflect questions about their difficulties on the road.

New Orleans began the season 9-2 and was fighting for home-field advantage throughout the playoffs before finishing 11-5 and claiming a wild-card spot. Despite defeating Tampa Bay in the season finale, New Orleans does not enter this game with much momentum.

Playing on the road is just another factor working against News Orleans.

“Yes, so all joking aside, we are certainly not sitting here overreacting,” Brees said. “We understand our last three outings on the road have not been our best performances. At times, you know you do have to kind of change things up so psychologically (and) you say it is going to be different this time around. Our preparation, I feel like throughout this week as we lay it out is going to be a big part of that. What you do Wednesday, Thursday, Friday in preparation for this Saturday game is what is going to allow you to play great regardless of what the conditions are.

"I think our past history, if you look at our long-term history, it speaks for itself in regards to the road. Like I said, the last couple of outings have not been what we want, but we know we are about to break the seal. We have no other choice, heck, it’s the playoffs. It doesn’t get any better than this.”

Of course, a different Gatorade flavor cannot hurt, right?

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Anwar S Richardson is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at NFLAnwar@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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