The Saints are dealing with several injuries from their Thursday night loss to the Falcons, that allowed the Falcons to stay in the hunt for the NFC South. One could argue that Alvin Kamara, who is an MVP candidate in his first year, leaving the game in the first quarter completely changed things for the Saints.
That wasn't all for New Orleans, though. The Saints also lost Senio Kelemete to a concussion, linebacker A.J. Klein and safety Kenny Vaccaro to groin injuries, wideout Ted Ginn Jr. (to, presumably, an injury that occurred on this catch) and defensive lineman Trey Hendrickson. Marshon Lattimore was also sucking down oxygen on the sidelines for much of the night.
"It's 100 percent a product of playing on Thursday night. Do you understand what guys' bodies go through in a game? And then to have to turn around four days later and to play?" Brees said. "Look at the injury studies: They're off the charts. They're off the charts. So is this smart as it pertains to guys' health and safety? No, absolutely not."
According to Brees, it's a no-brainer issue: playing football on a Sunday and then coming right back to play again on four days rest is just "unnecessary."
"I can sit here and tell you that no player likes putting himself at risk on four days' rest, to come and put their bodies through what they put them through in a game," Brees said. "So you hope that it's addressed [this offseason], you hope that it's talked about and you hope that something is done about it.
"When you see guys go down, when you lose guys for what you think is unnecessary just because you put 'em at a much higher risk in such a quick turnaround, that gets you upset."
Brees also added, in his capacity as a member/leader in the players' union, that the issue would be "addressed" this offseason.
There probably isn't a whole lot the union can do to battle Thursday football. It feels like something the league is very much in love with, because of how much money it generates and the amount of programming it creates for the NFL Network (although a majority of the Thursday games have been broadcast on NBC/CBS or using those crews).
Sean Payton, for the record, probably agrees with his quarterback.
"What do you guys think? Seriously, speak up," Payton said. "What do you guys think? Why do you think there were so many injuries tonight? Anyone?"
Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan said in a postgame interview with the NBC/NFLN crew that "the front end" is brutal because you have to prepare for the Thursday games on a short week but the "back end" is a bonus because it basically becomes a mini-bye for the teams who play on Thursday.
The attitude toward that short-week situation probably directly correlates with whether a game is won or lost. For the Saints, they realize just how big a swing game this could end up being at the end of the year. The frustration is understandable.