The New Orleans Saints have been making plenty of moves during the offseason, and the main emphasis has been taking care of their own. Most recently, the team brought back defensive end Noah Spence, who had joined the Saints towards the end of last season. Spence ultimately didn't see the field for New Orleans, but the impact in a month with a team left its mark.
“I guess I was just really attracted to the culture of the program," Spence said on Tuesday.
"I have never been somewhere that was run and just felt the way it did over there. You can tell everybody wants to win and is not just there for just for money or anything like that. Everybody actually really loves the game, they love it there and it's a culture everybody wants to be in if they’ve seen it.”
That's been a main theme New Orleans has seen over the past few seasons, something that Sean Payton and the team has worked on fixing since some of the past blunders during the 7-9 campaigns with questionable leadership.
“It was always something that other people that I know from the league would tell me. But I mean, until you are in the building, you don't really know what they're talking about. You can tell me whatever, but as soon as you're there you see it's run real strategic and everything to point and everyone's getting better every day, just with the littlest details and teaching everything. That is a big difference.”
Spence's decision also had help from around the league and other players about how the Saints ran their operation.
“They spoke to me and I talked to them before I got there and it wasn't ever really like, oh, you should definitely go there. But it was just explaining how they had a different organization and I never really took it as, okay, well maybe I would be playing there one day and then when I got here and I was like, ‘this is really more than what anybody would ever say.’ Everything's run differently, there’s a lot of love in the building. Everyone loves the game, loves their teammates and that's the cultural mindset.”
Spence praised the defensive line, specifically calling out Cam Jordan, for their embracement when he joined the team on December 11. Spence added that they treated him like family and teaching him things that he had never really learned anywhere else and brought them under their wing to make him the best player he can be. In his rookie season, the former second-rounder had 5.5 sacks in all 16 games for the Buccaneers. However, things have gone downhill from there, and his brief time with the Redskins didn't fare much better.
Spence said he's going to do whatever the team asks of him and stressed the importance of getting back all the way focused. He pointed out his younger self going through things both on and off the field, talking about losing focus along the way.
"I just have to get back to being locked in all the way on my goals and that's going to help me to win.”
Ultimately, winning is the main goal of 2020 for the Saints, and it'll be interesting to see what somewhat like Noah Spence brings to the table in training camp and preseason.