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Optimum Performance: U.S. Army Rangers give New Orleans Saints plan of attack for Seahawks |

The New Orleans Saints are one game behind Monday’s opponent, the Seattle Seahawks, in the race for the best record in the NFC. What makes the Saints’ three-game winning streak all more impressive is that the wins were within 12 days, the most recent coming at Atlanta on Thursday, Nov. 21.

Winning comes at a cost, though, such as arriving home from the victory in Atlanta in the early hours of Friday morning, followed by a reduced work day running and lifting weights to maintain what depleted strength Saints players still possessed.

Saints coach Sean Payton knows what his 9-2 team is in for Monday night in the cold, wet and hostile environment against the 10-1 Seahawks.

The Saints are marching into a potential ambush at CenturyLink Field, with not a bad seat in the house and fans on top of the opposing team. According to Payton, “their fans are passionate. They love their team. They’re smart. They know how to get loud and when to be quiet.”

Payton was wise to give his physically and mentally weary players last weekend and two additional days off this week. Keep in mind the Seahawks had their bye week coming into this game.

I reached out to two of my most highly skilled clients, both U.S. Army Rangers who have done multiple tours of duty behind enemy lines in Afghanistan and Iraq in defense of our country. The Rangers, who must remain anonymous, are ideal candidates to offer advice to the Saints as to how recover on short notice and develop a winning mindset in a hostile environment.

Now there’s no comparison between the duties of our volunteer military and professional athletes, as our servicemen and servicewomen often put their lives on the line.

But the Rangers thought their training and how they approach their responsibilities would be a parallel to what the Saints will be facing Monday at Seattle:

Gathering information

Like the Rangers’ ISR (intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance), the Saints’ scouting department and staff have broken down all aspects of the Seahawks’ asset utilization on offense and defense.


The Rangers say, “if the enemy picks the time and we pick the location, then that is defined as an ambush.” Using the Ranger’s PACE philosophy, the Saints must have a Primary attack strategy, with an Alternate plan if the primary fails. Contingency plans must be in place such as with an injury to a key player, along with an Emergency strategy such as shifting a key player into a secondary role — like a wide receiver filling in for a injured punt or kickoff return specialist.


“We (Rangers) never blow off the basic things. Being elite for us only means that we master the basics.” The Saints must prepare in a manner consistent with the potentially wet, cold, and loud conditions they will face in Seattle. As a Ranger said about the environment, “if I am cold, wet and hungry, that is what I signed up for. The best of you should come out during chaos.”


“The mission comes first, then we worry about everything else. Having the warrior mindset is key,” a Ranger said. And the mindset, when things start getting tough, will be the key to the Saints maintaining their focus and composure.

As for the hostile crowd (civilians), a Ranger said, “if we are in an area where we are hated, it means we are doing our job.” As for the Saints’ fatigue factor of playing three games in 12 days, “you can sleep when you are dead. When you are tired, you rely on your training — whether you are awake or not,” the Ranger said.

So here is the final message from one of our battlefield heroes to our gridiron standouts. “I can relate to what the Saints are going into. They aren’t going there to win over the crowd or make anyone like them. They are going there to get their mission accomplished and get out. Even though it’s hostile territory, it’s not unfamiliar. Every time we go into one of the most volatile areas, I am honored that I am the one selected and trained to do this.”

Link: Optimum Performance: U.S. Army Rangers give New Orleans Saints plan of attack for Seahawks |