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Travel trouble won’t be an excuse for ‘focused’ Saints

The NFL is often called a no-excuses business, so don’t look for any from the New Orleans Saints about dealing with a short week.

After facing a delayed cross-country flight following a Monday night game, New Orleans coach Sean Payton said the late start “ended up really not being a big issue.”

A cracked windshield on the team plane kept the Saints grounded in Seattle after their 34-7 loss to the Seahawks, and the team didn’t get home until mid-afternoon on Tuesday.

“(We have) a real good advance (scouting) crew,” Payton said on a teleconference on Thursday. “I think the hardest thing was coming off a tough loss like that and then having that wait-around time. We were able to find hotels, get some sleep and then travel the next day.

“I think all things considered it worked out as best it could.”

Payton gave his team Tuesday and Wednesday off to allow the players to get treatment following the game. Usually teams begin practicing for their next opponent on Wednesday, but the Saints began practice Thursday.

“(Friday) will be a Thursday schedule and we’ll practice a little bit (more) on Saturday than we normally would,” Payton said.

Running back Pierre Thomas sounded confident the Saints would be prepared. He pointed to the Week 12 Thursday night game against Atlanta in which the Saints had four days to prepare and eventually won 17-13.

“Coach (Payton) is going to be smart on how we go through practice this week,” Thomas said. “We’re going to be ready for Carolina. We’re going to be focused. We’re putting together a great game plan.”

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