No fans at Saints' opener is 'a bummer,' players say

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The New Orleans Saints announced Wednesday that no fans would be allowed at the team’s home opener vs. the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sept. 13 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tight end Jared Cook thinks it’s “a bummer.” 

“Fans motivate us,” he said. “Having people in the stands, crowd control, they influence the way the game goes, they influence snap counts. Influence motivates defense, makes it louder and harder for opposing offenses when they're in the building. 

“So, I think, you know, it’s going to definitely be different.”

Cook said he thinks playing in an empty Mercedes-Benz Superdome will take some getting used to but understood the reason for the decision. 

“I couldn't imagine, with the way things are going now, how they would play with a full packed stadium with COVID going around now,” he said. “So, hopefully, they'll have it figured out and, hopefully, the fans can start falling in soon.”

Saints safety Marcus Williams echoed his teammate saying the lack of fans is unfortunate but said the Saints will have to focus on winning games regardless.

“We'd love to have them out there, but if they can't, we've still got to go out there and do our job,” Williams said.