New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton has said that his team is unlikely to return to New Orleans this week afywr Hurricane Ida devastated southern Louisiana. The Saints have found their temporary home in Dallas and it's unclear if they will be able to host the Green Bay Packers in Week 1 at the Caesars Super dome.
"It's too early to determine if we can play the game or not, but from an infrastructure standpoint, we can play a football game," Doug Thornton, the vice president of stadiums for ASM Global, which manages the stadium for the state, told NOLA.com.
"We've got two weeks to work with, and we'll have options with the staff. As long as we can get power and water pressure, we'll play a football game [Sept. 12]. We're going to find a way." Coach Payton claims the Saints have a Plan B.
"Obviously we'll have a Plan B," Payton said. "There are a lot of other things probably from a priority standpoint that are more important for our city. But that all being said, we fully anticipate starting the regular season with Green Bay, and then the question would be where that game is at.
[But] I don't see it being in Green Bay."
The Saints could leave Dallas after Wednesday
The original plan from the Saints was to give their players four days off from Thursday to Sunday. "I kind of see these guys Wednesday taking some time away.
A lot of these guys might head back to where they're from originally," Payton said. "And then me on Wednesday telling 'em, 'Hey, I'll see you guys Sunday night and here's where we're gonna be.'
We just got to fill in that last blank. But I don't see that realistically being in New Orleans." Saints' Demario Davis noted that the Packers won't be feeling any empathy when they meet in Week 1. "Understanding that when we play Green Bay in less than two weeks, they're not gonna take it easy because we're going through what we're going through.
So the mission still stands. You still have to work out, still have to watch film, still have to attack practice with everything you've got in you," said Davis, the Saints' reigning NFL Man of the Year nominee.
"The Gulf Coast community is a resilient one. It has endured natural disasters before, and it has rebuilt and recovered. I think when you have something like that, you know with confidence that you can make it through this.
So I think it's gonna be all of us working together, looking out for not just ourselves and our family but those around us and working in community and unity and pitching in and trusting that we're gonna make it through this together."