--The Saints are 0-4 for the first time since 1996, which was Jim Mora's final season as the team's head coach, going into Sunday night's nationally televised game at Seattle. All told, the Saints have started a season with at least four losses seven times in the 41-year history of the organization. Their best finish after an 0-4 start or worse came in 1995, when they won seven of their final 11 games to post a 7-9 mark.
--Saints coach Sean Payton is 0-4 for only the second time in his 11-year career as an NFL coach. Payton was the Philadelphia Eagles quarterbacks coach in 1998, his second year in the league, when they started 0-5 en route to a 3-13 finish in Ray Rhodes' final season as the team's head coach.
--The Saints lost for the first time under Payton when going into the fourth quarter with a lead in dropping a 16-13 decision to the Carolina Panthers on Sunday. Last season, the Saints were 10-0 (9-0 in the regular season) when leading after three quarters. The Panthers trailed 13-6 before scoring a touchdown and adding a 52-yard field goal on the game's final play to claim the win.
--The Saints made some wholesale changes to their practice squad this week, starting Monday when they reached an injury settlement with wide receiver Titus Ryan and then released running back Quinton Smith on Tuesday. They added quarterback Tyler Palko, wide receiver Dante Ridgeway and running back Jamaal Branch to reach the maximum of eight practice-squad players. Palko was waived from the active roster on Saturday so they could bring up linebacker Marvin Mitchell from the practice squad.
Ridgeway and Branch are no strangers to the Saints. They were on the practice squad last season and were in training camp with the team this summer.
BY THE NUMBERS: 1 -- Sacks by the Saints in four games this season. They went more than 20 quarters, dating to the NFC divisional playoffs in January, without one before defensive end Will Smith dropped Carolina quarterback David Carr with 1:48 to play in the first period last week.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "We're going to stand by each other. There's no finger-pointing. That's the most important thing." -- Saints DE Charles Grant, on his team's fourth consecutive loss.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
Desperate to develop some rhythm in his passing game, Saints coach Sean Payton could try some new combinations in his three- and four-receiver sets this week at Seattle. Devery Henderson caught four passes for 101 yards last week against Carolina, but he's had trouble with drops this season. Payton said earlier this week he would like to get veteran David Patten and youngster Lance Moore involved more to give Marques Colston some help.
Another option would be Terrance Copper. He started several games last season and filled in well when Joe Horn was injured in the second half of the season, but has been used sparingly in the first four games.
PLAYER PERSONNEL NOTES
--K Olindo Mare did not participate in Wednesday's practice because of a groin injury. Mare will try to kick Thursday to see if he'll be available for Sunday night's game in Seattle.
--SLB Scott Fujita returned to practice Wednesday after missing Sunday's game with the Carolina Panthers with a sprained right ankle. He should be ready for Sunday's game.
--DT Kendrick Clancy, who's been sidelined for the last two games with a turf toe injury, also practiced Wednesday.
--S Jay Bellamy, who has been bothered by a sprained left ankle that kept him out of Sunday's game, participated in Wednesday's practice.
--RCB Jason David did not practice because of a fractured left forearm that will likely keep him out another two-to-four weeks.
GAME PLAN: Because they've had a hard time playing from behind, the Saints don't want to get in a hole early in a noisy Qwest Field. While they want to get their passing game going, they're going to have to run the ball effectively against the Seahawks, who rank 20th in allowing 115.6 yards a game. Getting a lead could take some pressure off the passing game and possibly help take the crowd out of the game. Defensively, the Saints have been better against the run this season and have done a credible job the last three weeks. So preventing Shaun Alexander from running wild early would be a good start on that side of the ball.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH: Saints WR Marques Colston vs. Seahawks CB Marcus Trufant. Colston hasn't been as productive as he was when he burst onto the scene early last season, but this week would be a good time to start. Getting open down the field and making some big plays against a quality corner like Trufant could be a good sign for the Saints.
Saints RDE Will Smith vs. Seahawks LT Walter Jones. Smith, who had 10.5 sacks last season en route to the Pro Bowl, got his first last week against the Panthers. On Sunday, he will go against one of the best in the league in Jones. Smith won't win every battle, but getting enough pressure to make Matt Hasselbeck uncomfortable will be a key for the Saints defense.
Saints front seven vs. Seahawks RB Shaun Alexander. While Alexander has averaged just 75.6 yards a game this season, the Saints know they can't afford to let him get loose. Keeping him at or near the line of scrimmage and not allowing him to get into the secondary, where he uses his size and speed to punish defensive backs, is simply a must for the Saints in this game.
INJURY IMPACT: RCB Jason David will miss his second straight game on Sunday with a fractured left forearm.RCB Jason Craft will likely start in David's spot against the Seattle Seahawks.