Thursday, October 24, 2013

Marrone 'fighting' to change underdog stigma


The New Orleans Saints are favored by 11.5 points in Sunday's home bout with the Buffalo Bills. It's nothing new for a Bills team that's spent all year trying to prove itself.

Buffalo has actually been the underdog in all of its games this season, with an average point spread of five points per game. That's despite the fact the team has lost three of its four games by seven points or fewer.

Coach Doug Marrone told reporters Wednesday he saw the trend as somewhat of a ongoing stigma the team has carried through the years of losing seasons, one that's going to take continual progress to break.

"I think the players understand that we’re fighting," Marrone said via "I said that word after the game; that we’re really fighting to change that image. You can’t do that in one game. You have to do it with consistency and I spoke to the players about that. I think that’s what we’re all doing.

"We’re doing it for a bigger cause. We’re doing it for the people in the region and the fans that have gone through a long period of time where we haven’t been relevant. We’ll just keep working and keep fighting, but I think it is one game at a time, I don’t think a game is going to make a statement in that."

Keeping their winning ways going will be a tough task on the road for Buffalo this week, particularly in the electric atmosphere of the Superdome. New Orleans has lost only eight home games in the last four years, and they're undefeated at home so far this season. Much of that success comes in part to the so-called 12th man in New Orleans, which quarterback Thad Lewis alluded to in his press conference Wednesday.

"If anyone has been in New Orleans, everyone knows it gets loud," he said. "We’ve been doing a great job at it and I think we have the signals and silent counts down pack. That’s why you work on it, you try to limit your voice as much as possible, but if you can use it, so we will be fine as long as we continue to practice."

For what it's worth, Buffalo is 3-2 all-time against the Saints on the road, though the Bills are currently looking to snap a three-game losing streak against Drew Brees and Co. Buffalo actually held Brees to zero touchdowns in their last meeting back in 2009, though the Saints went on to win that game and the Super Bowl that year.

"They're a great team for a reason," running back Fred Jackson said Wednesday. "They are coached well, play well, they have a great guy at quarterback. Any time you have those three things working for you, it’s going to be tough to beat a team like that. 

"We feel like we can compete with anybody in this league. We relish being decided underdogs but that something that comes as part of the business. We have to go down there and change people’s minds about winning a football game."

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