Alvin Kamara was named a team captain for the first time this year, which goes to show how important he is as a leader for the New Orleans Saints — even if he is known as more of a “lead by actions, not by words” type.
Maybe to such an extent that self-titled body language experts on social media have put his sideline behavior under the microscope at times.
If the Saints are going to claw their way out of this 2-5 hole they’ve dug for themselves, it’ll mean leaders like Kamara are doing their jobs. Kamara addressed the locker room after Thursday night’s hard-to-watch loss, which longtime teammates like Tre’Quan Smith had never seen before.
Smith detailed the exchange with ESPN’s Katherine Terrell, saying that Kamara told them “We’ve got to find our spot. This losing mentality, that’s not Saints football. We’re not used to it. We’ve got to really police ourselves, hold our own selves accountable, hold our teammates accountable”
That’s true: the Saints won 49 of the first 64 games they played since Kamara joined them back in 2017, but they’ve lost their way in recent years with just 11 wins during their last 24 games. “They don’t like the feeling in their throat right now,” Smith told Terrell.
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What’s unclear is just how the team is being held accountable. Saints coach Dennis Allen was asked about accountability in his postgame press conference, answering ” I think our team knows that they’re held accountable. I don’t think there’s any question that they’re held accountable.”
And that’s a problem. Allen is throwing out words without taking action. He hasn’t moved responsibilities on the coaching staff. The same coaches are calling plays and exercising drills in practice that haven’t had any effect.
Except for injuries, the starting lineup is the same as it was to open the season. Allen watched Andy Dalton throw three interceptions, two of them returned for interceptions in the first half’s closing minutes, and urged his quarterback to nonsensically “keep doing what he’s doing.”
If there’s any sense of accountability for New Orleans, it isn’t coming down from the top.
So someone has to step up, and in this case, it was Kamara. Time will tell if his words were enough to spur the Saints into action. With the season approaching its midpoint, you have to hope it’s enough for a rally and second-half surge from New Orleans.